T Nation

Back Pain that No One can Solve

Here’s my input from my first look at your photos:

  • Hyperlordosis at the LSpine w/ APT
  • Poor thoracic extension (and likely overall poor thoracic mobility)
  • Poor shoulder mobility into full shoulder flexion
  • Protracted Shoulders/Thoracic kyphosis
  • Mild forward head posture
  • Valgus knee position - likely due to tight hip IRs and weak/inactive hip ERs
  • increase winging of L scap when compared to R

I’m curious as to what your normal training regiment looked like prior to, during, and after your injury/sypmtoms increased.

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[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:

[quote]LevelHeaded wrote:
Here’s my input from my first look at your photos:

  • Hyperlordosis at the LSpine w/ APT
  • Poor thoracic extension (and likely overall poor thoracic mobility)
  • Poor shoulder mobility into full shoulder flexion
  • Protracted Shoulders/Thoracic kyphosis
  • Mild forward head posture
  • Valgus knee position - likely due to tight hip IRs and weak/inactive hip ERs
  • increase winging of L scap when compared to R

I’m curious as to what your normal training regiment looked like prior to, during, and after your injury/sypmtoms increased. [/quote]

Haven’t seen all the images, but from the back, he also has valgus ankles/over-pronation. Would you agree?

BBB[/quote]

Yes. Looking at the photos again, he definitely has some over-pronation occurring. It is likely related to the tight hips causing knee valgus position, which commonly is accompanied by over-pronation of the foot/ankle. Thanks for pointing that out BBB.

Frankly, from the looks of his static postural photos, his whole kinetic chain is due for some work, which is quite typical of most people today.

Okay okay thanks a lot guys.
Now first still a few questions:

  1. My right foot is apparently over-pronated, and my left foot also, but to a lesser degree. Should this mean is should to more corrective exercises on the right side and less on the left side? Or completely ignore the left side? Or do i just do corrective exercises 'equally' on both sides and it automatically evens both sides out?
    

2)Can someone explain me why my left side of my shoulders stand lower? When jogging i sometimes have a sharp pain after some time running on the left side of my upper back only, like under the scapula i think.
Does it have to do with my hip/leg imbalances (if so please explain) or is this due to the increased winging of Left scap.
3) Oh and last question, maybe for the people that are into martial arts, will improving all my posture issues make it possible for me to get dramatic punching power increase? Due to better kinetic linking and much more efficient natural movement patterns? I am asking this because at the moment, with my ‘screwed up posture’ i have pretty good power in my punches for a 75kg(155lbs) guy like me, but not that blasting K.O. power that the rest of my siblings have. My three brothers, one cousin and my father were all boxers, and they all had really amazing K.O. punching power (always the hardest punchers in their gym) so i think we have this punching power in my familys genetics, but maybe i lack this K.O. power because of my poor posture? Or is this completely nonsense what i am telling and maybe i’m just the unlucky one of the males of my family to be somewhat weaker?

Levelheaded: Prior to: Basicly no training at all for 3 years. A LOT of epic slouching in early teenage years at school. Plus a lot of slouching at home after school (playing computer games for hours). Note that at this time i already noticed i had hyperlordosis and forward shoulders ( i’m sure i have this since i’m a kid actually, in pictures when i was 9 i had this big belly protuding but was looking skinny lol)

During injury/symptoms: Bodybuilding split routine for 5 days, including compound like squats, deadlifts, OHP, bench press, Bent over rows, and a ton of other machines/ typical BB exercises. Squats and deadlifts probably all performed with Bad to Extremly Awful Bad form (rounded,over-arched back, wrong movement, forced movements, wrong grip…) but i couldn’t care at the time because ‘i seemed to get bigger and stronger’ and people complimented me on my appereance (despite some little teasing here and there about my swayback.) On top of this 2 days per week of MMA or Judo training.

Then i really started to notice the tightnesses/awkward posture and injurys build up. My right hip flexor seemed to always ‘tear open’ and heal but then ‘tear open’ again every time i did a little exercise and this wouldn’t stop. I also noticed some lower back pain and increased hyperlordosis. And also a LITTLE of this back tightness which made squatting (having heavy weight on my upper back) somewhat uncomfortable but for the rest OK.

Then i decided to ‘take a break’ from lifting, this break i have for almost one year and it still has not stopped. I decided to also drop the Judo/MMA because of the ‘get thrown on your back’ aspect, which made me feel unsafe with my lordosis and also every time i raised my right knee my hip flexor would ache.
I decided to take up Boxing and do a shitload of cardio running since that didn’t bother my hip flexor and i didn’t notice my back tightness. So then by weeks and months this upperback tightness got worse and worse and started to crack more and radiate more to my chest/ribs, until today where it really annoys me to the point of sometimes wanting to give everything up.

Whoop i have the feeling i have a lot to correct, but first i want to make sure i got everything right so i won’t screw myself more up.

THANKS a lot

  1. One thing, you are really starting to over analyze everything. Just do the corrective exercises as prescribed and I’m sure you will see results. If there is still a discrepancy after a while, then begin to look to do more focal work on one side of the other, but at this point, your whole body needs work so don’t ignore anything.

  2. The shoulder is probably lower due to something further down the kinetic chain - like your hips. You probably have some upper body limitations contributing as well, but i can’t tell for certain based off of the information you have presented.

  3. Better posture = Better kinetic chain linkage = no leakage of power transmitted through torso/limbs = increase power of strikes.
    If you have better posture, it would be likely to assume that your glutes are active and strong, your hips are mobile, your lumbar stabilizers are strong, your tspine is mobile, and your scap stabilizers and rot cuff are strong, so the power (which will initiate from your hips) will transfer well from the start and through your body without much energy leakage.

So from your history: you had a shitty base to start, going into shitty technique using a BB split, stopped strength training all together due to issues, and decided to increase volume/intensity of running, which is a highly repetitive activity, while you had poor activation/motor patterns and biomechanics. You are correct in that you have a lot to correct. Were you doing any kind of exercise to try and correct any issues you had?

Honestly, I’m hoping that you are able to get most of your stuff resolved from A&C, but with your history and the amount of issues you seem to have, you may benefit from going to see a professional for help with it all as well.

[quote]LevelHeaded wrote:

  1. One thing, you are really starting to over analyze everything. Just do the corrective exercises as prescribed and I’m sure you will see results. If there is still a discrepancy after a while, then begin to look to do more focal work on one side of the other, but at this point, your whole body needs work so don’t ignore anything.

  2. The shoulder is probably lower due to something further down the kinetic chain - like your hips. You probably have some upper body limitations contributing as well, but i can’t tell for certain based off of the information you have presented.

  3. Better posture = Better kinetic chain linkage = no leakage of power transmitted through torso/limbs = increase power of strikes.
    If you have better posture, it would be likely to assume that your glutes are active and strong, your hips are mobile, your lumbar stabilizers are strong, your tspine is mobile, and your scap stabilizers and rot cuff are strong, so the power (which will initiate from your hips) will transfer well from the start and through your body without much energy leakage.

So from your history: you had a shitty base to start, going into shitty technique using a BB split, stopped strength training all together due to issues, and decided to increase volume/intensity of running, which is a highly repetitive activity, while you had poor activation/motor patterns and biomechanics. You are correct in that you have a lot to correct. Were you doing any kind of exercise to try and correct any issues you had?

Honestly, I’m hoping that you are able to get most of your stuff resolved from A&C, but with your history and the amount of issues you seem to have, you may benefit from going to see a professional for help with it all as well.[/quote]

  1. Yes i often over-analyze, i am just a very perfectionist person and get easly frustrated if things aren’t going ‘perfect’. Ok, so i’m just gonna do equal correction on both sides for every issue i find. But you know the thing is i am worried that i go too far with the corrective exercises. I mean like doing too much anti-scapular winging exercises and ending up with a too ‘scalped in’ wings (the opposite). This is what i don’t understand, will i come to a ‘good end’ or can i pass behind the ‘sweet spot’ and end up worse with the correcting exercises? If YES maybe i’ll just have to post pics every 2-3 weeks so people can tell me when to cut off exercises.

  2. Thanks for confirming this. More motivation for me on getting things right.

While having my issues i did some correcting exercise yes. I did alot of static stretching on my hip flexors and hamstrings. I did a lot of static pec/shoulder stretching. I did glute activation exercises but not consistent enough, above that some of the exercises seemed to make my lordotic angle way worse! Some extra ab/core training, which somewhat helped by giving me tighter abs, but more likely temporaly. After bench pressing i always did good stretching on my pecs, and after squatting good stretching on my hip flexors. But all this effort together didn’t help much.
Oh and before buying A&C, i tried the free Neanderthaler No More, after my first 3 rolfing sessions. Guess what, after the first day i came back crying inside (not literally) from frustration. After doing the first day’s workout, i had even more pain around my upper back, hips and knees, and my posture looked even worse. It was because i couldn’t sustain form due to my issues, and that is something they should have been more clear about when writing a program about correcting posture which involved exercises that already kind of require good posture. But i am glad the exercises from A&C seem way lesss ‘requiring good posture to be able to complete’

About professional help, the only professional help that helps me at the moment is my Rolfing therapist (which i have to cross the border for cause my country doens’t have any rolfers).
For the rest i spent hundreds of euros on wasting my money and making my pains worse on Chiropractors, doctors, orthopedic therapist, manual therapisy etc. I live in a somewhat mentally low level country, which is Belgium.
Basicly no one around me can help me, i would be GLAD to pay good money for a professional, but this time to really help me.

All the “good” advice i get from these professionals in change for my hard earned money is things like:
‘These orthopedic soles will surely help you get rid of your hip and back pains’ COST : 130 euro for a pair of useless soles which gave me knee and groin pain.

‘After this cracking session your back pain will be much better’ COST : 50 euro for nothing
‘Oh, after this one i’m pretty sure your back pain will be gone’ COST: Again 50 euro for nothing
‘Oh it might be something else that’s wrong, i’ll do some fascial release techniques on you, this will surely remove your back pain, but it is possible that you need to come one more last time’ COST: And again ripped off for 50 euro
‘Oh hey, if after this session it’s not getting any better, then i can not help you anymore.’ And again ripped off for 50 euro by the same guy, so i paid 200 euros to this guy for getting known that he can Not help me at all, without even apologizing, i never heard the word Sorry from him.

‘For correcting your big belly and back pain you need stronger back muscles,train your back more!’ Oh for this money i also had the following great advice included: ‘You can’t change your posture, this is how your body is!’ COST: 30 euro for TWO pieces of shit advice. What a great deal, two for the price of one!
… and much more…
Note that one of the chiro’s who ripped me off had all special recognitions hanging on his wall in the trend of ‘Best Chiropractor of Belgium’ ‘Prestige Chiro of Belgium’ ‘Certified bla bla’ If you ever hear something in the trend of ’ … best of BELGIUM’ be sure that it means literlly shit :wink: Don’t ever waste your money traveling to this country also.

If you can recommend me a real professional or what to look for please feel free to tell me, i will be happy to spend my money on him if this time it isn’t a ripoff. Which type of therapist do i have to look for to provide me with real correcting analyzation and exercises? Not just gimmicks.

If you want to read a more full story of my failure with the Neanderthal No More program and about my frustrations with the Belgian “Professionals” feel free to read my other topic:

Yes yes a very sad but true story :slight_smile:

Bump…

Again, stop over analyzing. Each person will react differently. I have never seen somebody “go past the sweet spot” by doing corrective exercise. The corrective exercise is training your body and muscles to work optimally in the best biomechanical and proper natural position. The ONLY thing I have seen negatively from corrective exercise is people putting way too much focus on them when they don’t need to. Just do the exercises, see the results, and cut back once you have achieved some better postural positions and biomechanics.

The example you gave of “too much scapular exercise”/“getting scaped in” just shows that you don’t have a great understanding of how the body works. This isnt meant to be an insult, but just pointing things out. From that , you would benefit from either just following A&C to the letter OR look to start working with a corrective exercise/rehabilitation specialist (whether it be an AT, PT, physio, S&C coach, etc).

From some of your description of previous corrective exercises you did, I’d venture to guess you are not performing them properly. If you are performing glute activation drills (especially hip extension based drills) and it is worsening your lordotic curve, then you are not getting true glute contraction and are creating the motion at your lumbar spine through hyperextension instead. Again, another reason to get some instruction from a professional. Also, I am curious as to what “abs exercises” you performed?

I have personally only had good results from NNM and have seen others get good results from it as well. I’d venture to guess it wasn’t the program’s fault that you had pain, but likely your own improper technique and running of the program. It just seems like you are looking to place the blame on so many others, rather than face the blame yourself. I completely agree that there are shitty professionals out there, and sometimes it is hard to find a good one. But lets stop and look at your situation with those professionals.

It sounds like you saw at least four different professionals…the one common variable in all of those situations is you. Now I’m not saying that it is without a doubt you, but just listing the facts as I see them. You admit that you had years of horrible posture. You admit that you had lifting experience with horrible technique. The years of horrible posture alone will take a lot of time to correct. Add in lifting with bad technique, and that can add on some significant pathologies in addition to that which will then cause the pain and further postural issues. You also brought up your MMA training, boxing, extra cardio/running, etc. Your body may not have been ready for those activities due to the years of abuse of poor posture and then lifting with poor technique, especially the extra cardio/running.

It is going to take TIME to correct these things and things will definitely get harder before they get easier. I hope you don’t take this post personally as an “attack”. Just from your responses, I think you are in need of a little brutal honestly. Wish you the best of luck, it’s going to be a long, hard road.

Hey LevelHeaded.

I’m surely not taking this as an attack, i am only happy that you are the one that is helping me out. I like honest people.
You are correct, i don’t know much about the body, that’s why i came here confused with a ton of questions, because i wasn’t sure of anything. Honesty is honest. Thanks for clearing things up.
I am not blaming anyone else for my issues. It is my own fault because of my crappy previous behaviour, i totally recognise this. This is my fault. I am not giving the proffesional the fault of my injuries and bad posture. But i do give them big fault for giving me the completely wrong advice, while possibly also knowing they were wrong, but still consciously giving me false promises and lies in order to get money off me because i looked like a young stupid boy.

About not using glute activation on supine bridge exercises, not true because i definately squeezed my glutes and felt the burn in them. But you may be right that my spine also did some part of the work, i think i have to adjust my knees angle in order to get the good positiion for only glute work.

The abs exercises were just crunches, twisted crunches, bycicles, and some planks. although the plank i could mainly only execute correctly with an empty stomach, this because with a full stomach it was hard to flat tighten my abs, this in turn made it more difficult to make a straight back, so it gave me lower back pain due to the curve.

Yesterday i had a last angry visit to my doctor and after him starting to yell at me in my face ‘You have to wear better shoes, wear your ortho soles, and start swimming then your posture will correct itself!!!’ and was yelling all kinds of other nonsense, while getting closer to my face, i got really angry to the point my upper lip started to lift unconsciously, showing my teeth and i felt in rage ready to beat him up. But i kept my rational thinking and at the point he noticed my teeth showing (i couldn’t stop it) he kind of scared and backed off, then in a normal tone continued to talk, but in turn listened to what i’ve told him about posture, then he started to show more respect and agreed with me. Then he finally told he was going to look for a real good professional, oh and the best part he then also agreed that the ortho soles from his friend ‘specialist’ weren’t that great. He’s going to look up for me for a real good physio who specialises in postural exercises.

Ok so lesson learned, here in Belgium when doctors try to rip you off you just have to show your teeth and make an angry face like you are ready to eat them alive. Then they will get scared of trying to rip you off and they will stay honest with you.

Ok i’m starting this A&C program, going to do it for about 2-3 months, then after hopefully already seeing a lot of improvement, i’m going to contact this last, hopefully good therapist that the honest/scared side of my doctor will prescribe soon, just to make sure i didn’t miss anything.
Finally after my whole posture is fixed up, hopefully after 4 months, i’m going to post some final pics on here.

I’m out on my Correction trip. Farwell

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Ghent, Belgium

After finally going through a whole review of my static and active assesment diagnosis, i came to the conclusion that i’m going to do pretty much 80-90% of all the exercises. The only thing i’m not gonna do is strenghten my hip flexors.

But oh well i’m glad i’m going to do the whole program, i seems way more practical than the Neanderthaler no more program!
No weights, no machines needed. I can do this program in my on a floor mat, just need to buy some resistance bands, a better foam roller, an a medicine ball!

Great, i’m starting this whole correction program. I am going to add in core workouts to get even better results, going to do SMR, and static stretching. Also i’m going to the last 3 sessions of my Rolfing.

It seems that i have to do 64 exercises ! I am thinking of doing them every day, or should i split the list up in 2-3 days.

Wow that Mike Robertson is a total dick.
I’ve made an account and posted questions on his forum.
After getting a reply telling me that he wouldn’t give me free advice, and that that i should pay 1000USD for him to help me, i replied that i was just looking for an answer on three little questions.

The guy deleted my thread and account on his website.

What a total arrogant selfish guy. after i paid $127 for his Assess & Correct, he deletes my account and thread on his forum because i refused to pay him 1000USD for his professional help.
What does this guy expect, after acting like such a scammer that i send him 1000USD so he can run away with my money?

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[quote]MaydayMayday wrote:
Wow that Mike Robertson is a total dick.
I’ve made an account and posted questions on his forum.
After getting a reply telling me that he wouldn’t give me free advice, and that that i should pay 1000USD for him to help me, i replied that i was just looking for an answer on three little questions.

The guy deleted my thread and account on his website.

What a total arrogant selfish guy. after i paid $127 for his Assess & Correct, he deletes my account and thread on his forum because i refused to pay him 1000USD for his professional help.
What does this guy expect, after acting like such a scammer that i send him 1000USD so he can run away with my money? [/quote]

I don’t want to diminish your experience. However, there’s usually three sides to such incidents: the two opposing versions; and somewhere in between…well, you get the idea. So if anyone wants to give Mr. Robertson a heads up and see if he wants to give a rebuttal, I’d be interested.

I do appreciate your candid description. You’re not the first - and certainly won’t be the last - guy to see a well-known person in a less than kind light. It’s posts such as yours that are important in that it helps keep the superstars in the industry grounded (again, if Mr. Robertson wants to state things from his perspective, I welcome it).

(I must say - I had a similar experience with another industry star. I won’t mention his name; however, it did sting a little when he refused to acknowledge a comment on his site regarding a certain topic. The harsh reality is that these men and women know that they can piss off a certain number of people and it won’t hurt them one bit.)

BBB is right. Those of us in the industry (I’m a Strength/Conditioning Coach and Trainer) do have a living to make. So often it’s a fine line between giving help and charging for professional service.

Anyway, just write it off as a learning experience (I know that sounds condescending but isn’t meant to be) and take up BBB’s offer while the gettin’ is good.

Also, LevelHeaded’s advice about over analyzing is worth consideration. You need to develop the ability to shift between the big picture the smallest of details.

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:

[quote]MaydayMayday wrote:
Wow that Mike Robertson is a total dick.
I’ve made an account and posted questions on his forum.
After getting a reply telling me that he wouldn’t give me free advice, and that that i should pay 1000USD for him to help me, i replied that i was just looking for an answer on three little questions.

The guy deleted my thread and account on his website.

What a total arrogant selfish guy. after i paid $127 for his Assess & Correct, he deletes my account and thread on his forum because i refused to pay him 1000USD for his professional help.
What does this guy expect, after acting like such a scammer that i send him 1000USD so he can run away with my money? [/quote]

Wow really? I’ll help you out for $9999 if you want.

Seriously though, Mike has to make a living, but I am a little shocked by his reaction.

What are the 3 questions. I’ll help for free, since I’m a nice guy, though I also have to make a living :wink:

BBB[/quote]

BBB,

You are such a nice guy.
I swear to god if i ever become a millionaire, i’ll keep you in mind to send you a USD 10.000 donation for your help, and tell Mike Roberson and see his down syndrome jealous face getting red haha.

I actually have only 2 questions left before finally getting started (speaking about procrastination…)

  1. Since apparently i have to do 64 exercises from the program. Do you think it’s a good idea to do all 64 exercises each day, like 5-6 days per week, if i have the time?
    Or should i split them up in in like 20 exercises per day and so only be able to do two ‘complete’ workouts per week?
  2. Any ideas on reps and sets? Or should i just do these exercises for an ammount of time? Mike doesn’t mention anything about reps or sets, so i have no clue.

And the third question i actually left out was if i have to do everything equally on both sides. LevelHeaded answered me that i should stop over analizing and just do them equally on both sides so i will :stuck_out_tongue: Although somewhere on this jokeman Mike Robertson’s website he posted that you should focus more on your ‘worse’ side. But whatever, stop analyzing, i’m going to start with each side equally until i first see improvements then fine tune.

Thanks

Bump

Omg frustration building up.
With this new job i have working shifts in a factory lifting stuff and standing 8 hours a day hunched over a table, the area around my back gets really tight.
At this point turning my body gives me an excruciating tightness pain. Like the muscles around my spine are ripping open.

Also now often the Cracking even gives me stabbing pain. Before cracking never hurt, now it slightly hurts when i hear a pop (just for an instant as it happens)

Ok i got this tennis ball for some Self Myofascial release, since the foam roller doesn’t hit the spots enough ( foam roller is most useful though for self-cracking).

Now i got a few really tight spots around my upper back. I notice my trigger points start around my midback, on the erector spinae, on both sides. Pressing hard on that area along my spine gives some relief and some pain.
But the worse tightness is on my upper back. Actually under my scapulae. I think it is my rhomboid muscles mainly, but also erector spinae and the muscles around me.

The tightness is the worst on the left side, under my left scapulae in the ‘corner’ near my spine. A
My god, when i press with the tennis ball on that spot, i feel such a sharp stabbing pain, i tense up and start sweating, i feel my heart racing and my body closing up. When pressing on the tight muscles i feel this stabbing pain radiating really on my spine itself, like the muscles are some tight ropes around my spine, that’s how i feel it. Often after releasing the tight knots around my spine, i feel my spine sinking in and cracking at a spot or two, like the ropes around my spine just loosened and my spine reagained its mobility.
When the tension is released i feel instant relief, i feel really relaxed and good.
I can pretty much ‘relief’ my whole ‘right side around the spine and upper back’ but this nasty rope-ish muscle under my left scapulae doesn’t seem to completely loosen up. There’s always still some tightness, maybe i can’t completely reach the whole muscle.

All this is really worrying me. I know the problem is postural and muscular, but i am afraid i can do dammage to my spine itself, by holding it so much in these tight posititions, hence i can crack it so many times after myofascial release.

I think i am going to stop boxing and any exercising altogether, and do only posture correction for the next months.
But i feel so bad about this, i really want to keep doing some sports. I was just on my way from having ‘sucky cardio, boxing skills and stamina’ to ‘ok cardio, boxing skills and stamina’ in boxing. Now if I stop all training for a few months i will probably have to start all over to catch up my progress pfff…

Should i stop boxing? I feel it also makes things worse, since the hunched over and imbalanced stance.
Or is it OK to just continue boxing 3 times per week with my issues? If yes anyone any alternatives that won’t stall my progress and make things worse?
Running bike in the gym? Rope Skipping? Running definately is making my posture worse i think with my misaligned hips and feet.
At least i would be glad to be able to do some exercise that i can maintain my cardio in the next months.

I’m at a hard point in life. I have this hard job, which makes me tired and takes away a big load of my free time. And i have this back tightness that’s getting worse. Now i have to stop my only sport left i could do, which was boxing, for the sake of first improving my posture.

I’ve bought everything i need for the assess & correct. I still only need Minibands. I’m ordering this now.
I am now starting the program.
Practical advice is greatly appreciated.

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[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
Only just picked up on this again, sorry. Got to rush out now, but will probably have time to advise you tomorrow.

‘Stay frosty’ as a friend of mine likes to say :slight_smile:

BBB[/quote]
Thanks. I’m excited to hear what you’re going to say. :slight_smile:

Cheers