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Posture & Movement Require Brain Education

Our brain controls our posture and our muscles. Therefore posture and muscle tone (i.e. how tight or relaxed a muscle is) is an expression of the brain. We must pay attention to this expression and how it relates to movement.

A frequent cause of disturbance in our movement quality, why muscles get tight, why we display poor posture, and why we may have trigger points or pain is due to insufficient muscular stabilization of our spine.

Insufficiency is our stabilization system is exactly the reason why patients and athletes who have poor body awareness demonstrate poor ability to simply relaxation. Believe it or not, relaxation is easier said than done. If the brain doesn't know how to relax fully certain muscles, the low-grade state of contraction will keep muscles and surrounding joints under constant stress. This constant stress will ultimately lead to trigger points in muscles, dysfunctional movement patterns, and altered posture.

This is why specific exercise progressions that respect the developmental aspects of posture and movement are so critical. Exercise should not only address muscle function, but it must also address brain control to change how our body functions.

"Brain Education" focuses on the efficiency of our postural and movement control to avoid overloading of specific tissues and joints while promoting muscular balance.

Movement and relaxation is a skill. It must be practice daily through purposeful exercise with complete awareness to the feeling of the movement. This is the gateway to change in the body. These changes are valuable to anyone who is simply looking to get out of pain or improve their athletic ability.

However, there are still those that challenge the notion that there is an “ideal” or “good” posture. They will have you believe that there is no such thing as “good” or “bad” posture. The reality is, when it comes down to determining what is “good” or “bad” posture can be simply summed up by saying….”It depends.”

What will dictate “good” or “bad” when it comes to form or posture will depend upon a number of variables specific to the individual. We can find efficient form and ideal posture that someone should respect and when they don’t, the result is excessive wear and tear on their joints and tissues, leading to pain and progression of degenerative changes.

Yes we need to be efficient in movement and have a vast movement capacity. Yes there is no single posture that we should maintain for an extended period of time, no matter how “good” it is.

But those notions go out the window when our body meets increasing external resistance to our movement or we are performing movement at increasing speeds.

What does that mean?

Yes, we should be able to flex our spines and perform a body weight squat with posterior pelvic tilt (aka the dreaded “butt wink”) and resultant lumbar spine flexion. Yes this would be considered normal healthy human motion. But that doesn’t mean that one should perform a loaded barbell squat with the same intent or form. This could be an injury waiting to happen. When increased load or speed of movement comes into the picture (ex. barbell squat), very specific considerations must be made to that individual on the form and posture they express during the squat pattern to maximize their muscular efficiency and minimize stress placed on the joints.

These are the same considerations that must be respected when it comes to rehab and the subsequent development of fitness/physical ability. According to McGill, this breaks down into two stages:

  • Stabilization of the injury and reduction of pain by approaches that follow desensitization and healing.
  • Development of strength and physical ability only begins when the first stage has been achieved.
In order to desensitize the patient, we must promote postures and movement that minimize stress on the joints and injured tissues. Otherwise, as stated by Mosley, most people will “wind up” their nervous system as a way to over-protect because they are aren’t prepared for what they are asking their body to do. Desensitization and reducing perceived threat is critical in the first stage of healing.

Once pain is reduced, the development of specific fitness qualities can take center stage. This is when we address the complexity of the movement system. Panjabi established the importance of the passive, active, and neural systems for trunk/core stability and movement. Jull and Richardson found in voluntary movement, activity of the deep spinal muscles precedes activations of the superficial muscles (aka feed forward mechanism).

The integrated spinal stabilization system (ISSS) serves as the “feed forward stabilization mechanism”. The ISSS consists of the diaphragm, pelvic floor, all parts of the abdominal wall, short intersegmental spinal muscles, deep neck flexors, and serratus anterior. We know that these muscles essentially form the “deep core” that is so important to train for efficiency of posture and movement.

The ISSS required “Brain Education” to work optimally. There is no way around it. We must focus our attention and efforts to ensuring that no matter the task, we must rely of the ISSS if we are going to realize our movement potential, maintain healthy posture, and minimize joint pain.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing someone who says “good” or “bad” posture doesn’t exist. Again the answer is it all depends. Posture and the considerations we make regarding it are always specific to the individual and task at hand. Posture shouldn’t handled in a general approach. Most rehab, training programs and online instruction is handled in an over-generalized fashion. When people need specific, when they need individualized considerations. And that’s the best approach when it comes to helping one learn how to educate their body in regards to what’s best for their posture and movement.

 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/movement-that-enhances-performance-reduces-injury/

https://gallagherperformance.com/a-movement-screen-will-never-show-movement-habits/

https://gallagherperformance.com/low_back_pain_causes_and_treatment_recommendations/

https://gallagherperformance.com/chiropractic-rehab-dns-treatment/

https://gallagherperformance.com/a-solution-to-headaches/

https://gallagherperformance.com/finding-a-solution-to-your-shoulder-pain/

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Exercise Hacks Ep. 8 - Breathing and Bracing

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHRCCRmeznQ[/embed]

Ideal movement and optimal strength development first begins with using the diaphragm as the primary muscle for respiration and for Intra-abdominal Pressure (IAP) or what is also known as the abdominal brace.

A frequent piece of feedback we receive at GP is that much of what we coach is the opposite of what most people have always heard. In regards to breathing and bracing, too many people have either heard or been coached to 'draw' or 'suck' in their abdominal wall. These tips only serve to rob people of stability and strength and play a role in low back pain.



In this video series we discuss how to test IAP for yourself. This is much more challenging that it seems. Insufficient IAP is many times due to poor diaphragm activity and its functional relationship with the abdominal muscles. Poor IAP indicates an underperforming core.

If you're dealing with acute/chronic pain, frustration with progress in the gym, or plateaus in athletic performance and haven't had your breathing and IAP assessed - you're missing out! Learning to properly breathe with the diaphragm can be the stepping stone to the realizing the potential you have when it comes to physical ability. Since breathing is foundational to correct IAP, the core cannot function as it is intended until breathing is normalized. The core is our body's powerhouse and it starts with breathing. It sounds too simple to be true, but improving your breathing can have profound impacts on pain and performance.

Re-training the breathing pattern and creating sufficient IAP cannot be fully covered in a series of 60 second videos. Want to learn more? Set up a consult with us. Assessing, coaching, and learning is very individual. When it comes to getting rid of pain and improving how your body works, GP's level of care, attention, and progressive instruction with our personalized training, chiropractic, and rehab will get you to your goals.

 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/3-common-reasons-low-back-pain/

https://gallagherperformance.com/3-ways-breathing-impacts-health-performance/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/solution-long-term-improvement-back-pain/

https://gallagherperformance.com/dns-solves-pain-improves-performance/

 

3 Common Reasons for Low Back Pain

According to research conducted by Dr. Stuart McGill, "People with back pain actually have stronger backs than people without back pain, so weakness is not the culprit." In our experience in both treating and training individuals suffering from low back pain, there are three common factors that seems to play a central role:

1) Breathing Pattern - of all the factors that play a role in back pain, breathing is the one that gets dismissed the easiest or patient's are quick to write-off as irrelevant. Truth of the matter is breathing plays a HUGE role. The diaphragm is our primary muscle for respiration AND serves as a deep stabilizer to the lumbar spine. If breathing is not normalized, no other movement in the human body can be. Breathing is that critical. Learning to properly breathing and integrate proper breathing into movement must be learned or else the rest of the stabilizing system of the spine will remain dysfunctional, continuing to contribute to pain.

2) Core Stability & Endurance - in order to build a resilient spine, the core must be stable and conditioned well enough to handle the demands of either daily living, exercise, or sport. The core does require higher levels of muscular endurance which must first be established before more specific qualities of strength or power can be trained. While training for endurance or strength, it's critical that one is aware of their core as it relates to static and dynamic postures in order to maintain stability that spares the joints and discs of the low back.

3) Hip Mobility - stiffness or tightness in the hips will ultimately result in more motion and stress being placed on the low back. The hips are designed for movement and when they get tight this will cause one to bend or twist too often in the low back region. Repetitive motions such as bending and twisting are commonly associated with low back pain. Simply put, the lower back is not designed for repetitive, excessive motion. Improving hip mobility will begin with proper breathing and the learned skill of proper core stability in posture and movement (do you see the theme here?) Then from there, specialized attention must be given to the musculature of the hips and core to correct imbalances and improve overall function.

To sum up - learn to breathe properly, stabilize the core, develop mobile/athletic hips.


More related reading:

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/how-dns-solves-pain-and-improves-performance

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/when-should-i-see-a-chiropractor

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/3-ways-breathing-impacts-health-and-movement

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/3-exercises-for-athletic-mobile-hips

Exercise Hacks Ep. 7 - Core Stability for Shoulder Mobility

[embed]https://www.instagram.com/p/BeQzemWjvaa/?taken-by=gallagherperformance[/embed]

In this video we discuss a very relevant truth when it comes to the shoulder - sometimes your shoulder pain is not a shoulder problem.

The inability to properly stabilize the rib cage and pelvis as well as having adequate movement in the thoracic spine can result in problems associated with the shoulder blade or shoulder joint itself. As a general rule, reduced mobility or stability in one area of the body will result in compensations in other areas. These compensations often take the look of reduced movement quality, joint/muscle stiffness, or poor movement control.

To correct the problem you must first identify the true cause.

This video demonstrates an exercise progression that can help improve core and scapular stability as they relate to shoulder motion. The plank variation utilizes single elbow support on one arm and a slider with a reach on the opposite arm all while being performed from support on either the knees or toes.

Some tips and pointers to keep in mind during the set-up and execution of this exercise:

  • Choose a support position (knees or toes) that enable you to maintain proper posture and support without compensation during the exercise.
  • Brace the core with proper intrabdominal pressure (IAP), maintain a neutral spine and pelvis
  • Shoulders, rib cage, and hips shoulder remain parallel to each other. Think about maintaining a 'table top' position from shoulders to hips.
  • Keep the chin tucked and maintain a neutral head and neck position.
  • The only movement that occurs is from the hand/shoulder on the slider. Perform a reach straight ahead and return to the starting position with hand next to the shoulder.
  • Perform 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps per arm and switch sides. Be sure to give yourself adequate rest between sets and allow for enough recovery.
Dealing with shoulder pain? Give our office a call and set up an appointment so we can customize a rehab program tailored to you.

 
 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/powerful-innovative-approach-improving-body-functions/

https://gallagherperformance.com/beginners-guide-injury-recovery/

https://gallagherperformance.com/finding-a-solution-to-your-shoulder-pain/

https://gallagherperformance.com/solving-movement-problems-entertainment-vs-effective/

The Solution to Long Term Improvement of Back Pain

The problem:
It’s not uncommon for people with recurrent episodes of back pain to become fearful and to start avoiding activities in life. They begin to associate pain with the activity and that the activity is doing harm. Thus, in their minds, pain equals harm and any activity that causes pain avoided. The problem becomes that as this the list of activities grow, deconditioning sets in and begins to feed into back pain. At this point, most figure they are just “getting old” or figure they will need to “learn to live with the pain”. The reality is there is a solution to help you fight against these feeling of fear and limitation and enable you to fight dysfunction in your body.

The solution:
Research tells us that exercise should be part of your back pain solution. This isn’t true of just backs, as exercise should be part of any joint pain solution. Time and time again, more than any other intervention, exercise has demonstrated the ability to provide positive outcomes in back pain relief and reduced relapses. However, too often people use different exercises to help reduce their pain only to find that exercise makes their back feel worse. The solution isn’t just simply exercise, the solution is understanding the right exercises to do while also understanding which exercises to avoid. You need to know what exercises for sciatica and disc herniation are best to do 1st to create a good foundation of movement before progressing to more difficult exercises. Where do you go for that information? Over the past several years we have put together a clinically successful exercise progression program for our patients and clients with back pain. These exercise progressions serve as the framework for rehabilitation and also serve as the foundation for improving athletic performance. Join us for our Core Training – From Rehab to Performance workshop and learn more about what you can begin doing immediately to help reduce your back pain, feel better, and improve your performance in sport or life.

 
 


More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-best-exercise/

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