I have also on this blog highlighted my contention that there is a big psychological aspect to all this. I read Sarno years ago and was pretty convinced by his argument. Sometimes your mind will kick off pain to divert your attention from something psychological that it really finds threatening.
I interviewed Monte here too who builds on that argument.
My personality is such that I do worry. Relaxed on the surface but often quite stressed out underneath. So all this makes sense....and I can correlate back pain with stresses in my life.
I am still working on the mental stuff to get over this but I'm getting there.
Anyway, remember Z health and mc? The mc seminar was useful in that it built on the psychological element in a different direction. It accepted that much pain / muscular tightness was due to psychologically perceived threats. Z health is about physical ways to modulate that threat, to persuade your mind through movement that the threat is not serious.
But.....despite all that my back this week was such that I went to see a friend for a massage.
This is heresy to Sarno / Monte, but I still think there is a physical element sometimes. This particular muscle was in spasm for some reason. Possibly psychological, but maybe physical.
Colin is pretty skilled - he trains with weights, has been a cmpetitive powerlifter, wrestles and is a pilates teacher as well as a good bodyworker. I'd cetainly recommend him if you are around Ediburgh.
He spent some time on me today, not initialy on massage but thinking about rehab exercises. He is tracing things to my Gluteus medius muscle and Quadratus lumborum muscle on the right not firing properly. It becomes a movement problem about how I walk and squat etc.
The basic presecription is planks and side planks, strengthening the core.
Interesting because Dan John has written alot on the benefits of planks:
Like most people, I hate Planks. It was Joshua Hillis who got me to start doing them and I discovered a funny thing. I hate planks.Also here
Why? Well, there you are shaking from stem to stern doing nothing but holding a position. It is very hard to look calm and collected while shaking. So, let’s make it harder!
I have one simple drill to assess all kinds of issues with my athletes. It is a one minute plank done as follows:
The first twenty seconds, the right leg is raised as high as it can be raised towards the ceiling…an Arabesque right leg, if you will. Without leaving the plank position, do the next twenty seconds with the left leg Arabesque position. Finally, do twenty seconds of the plank. This is how to increase your life: that minute will feel like forever.
So, how do we assess what happened? Many of my athletes who have done far too many Bench Presses and hard baseball throws complain that the planks hurt their armpits. For these athletes, we need Bent Over Rows and Bat Wings. Lots of Bat Wings. If the athlete flops on to the ground and maniacally begins stretching the hamstrings or complains about hamstring cramping, I know that the Goblet Squat and maybe the Deadlift are needed for repairing the Posterior Chain…especially a thing called “Sleepy Butt Syndrome.” (Wake up your Glutes!) These athletes probably should be doing light Good Mornings every day as well as a daily light dose of Goblet Squats. If we just have a shaking torso and screaming in the last ten seconds, well, that’s easy: include planks as part of you workouts, usually after you do anything heavy.
The last issue with planks is simply an observation from my experience, but it is worth considering. I had some athletes complain about cramping calves on planks and I just couldn’t get my mind around it. In our discussions, it always seemed like the cramping calves were also the same athletes who were missing little things like meals, sensible diet practices, supplements, recovery aids and an understanding that nutrition may have some value for the athlete. Hence, the conclusion: my athletes who get calf cramps are missing something in their diet. Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, one or two smart meal choices and a multi-mineral supplement and the problem vanishes. This isn’t science, but experience has some value.
Let's see how this goes.