BPL14: How to Fix a Thrown out Back with Dr Jeremy James
The thrown out back. Intense pain, inability to move normally or stand up straight; together with the fear that there must be some serious injury behind all this.
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According to today’s guest, Dr Jeremy James, the back locking up like this is actually a protection mechanism:
A lot of times, your brain is sensing that there is an unhealthy load being placed near the spinal cord…..it’ll cause the muscles around your back to go into spasm…..to protect your back
Before I figured out how to avoid this happening (by keeping my back in good shape), I threw my back out more than once.
I always thought that it was a case of waiting for the acute back spasm to stop before starting to get moving.
Jeremy says, however, that thrown out back recovery time can be reduced by getting things moving straight away.
We talk about how to do this right.
Jeremy often gets calls from patients with a thrown out back. He describes how he talks them through a process that almost always works. So you’ll hear how to fix a thrown out back faster.
Excerpts from the show
Jeremy’s a really interesting guy and, before I knew it, we’d been talking for over an hour.
Aside from the thrown out back, we cover a stack of important topics. There are some real pearls of wisdom in there for you:
- I Put My Back Out – How Do I Fix It?
- Nerve Pain in the Back
- What Is Mechanical Back Pain?
- Mri for Back Pain Diagnosis
- Back Pain Doctors Can’t Diagnose
- Disc Problem Symptoms
- How to Lift Things Safely
- The Younger Next Year Back Book
I have split the interview over 3 episodes. Be sure to come back and hear the other instalments and:
Founder of the Backforever program, and co-author of The Younger Next Year Back Book, Dr Jeremy James
If you click the above link and buy on Amazon I will (probably) make a small commission at no cost to you. For a chance to win a copy of The Younger Next Year Back Book click here.
I Put My Back Out – How Do I Fix It?
Thrown out back? Check out what Dr Jeremy has to say in this episode.
- It can happen to anybody
- A huge part of that is the panic. That severe anxiety when you get in that state
- There are several ways you can talk somebody through the acute instances
- A big part of that is your brain trying to protect your spine for some reason
- A lot of times, your brain is sensing that there is an unhealthy load being placed near the spinal cord…..it’ll cause the muscles around your back to go into spasm…..to protect your back
- One of the main things you have to do…..is to tell your brain that you understand that there’s some danger…..and that you’re going to use the muscles in your torso to protect your back, so that your brain can turn off that spasm and allow you to get moving…..one way to do that is to use the muscles in your torso to protect your spine – then move your legs
- I’ve talked countless patients through this process. It almost always works.
- If you can get people walking safely…..that spasm will go away much more quickly than if you just lie there
Nerve Pain in the Back
- All pain is transmitted by nerves. By nerve pain, I mean pain that originates from irritation of the nerve
- Most back pain isn’t nerve pain
What Is Mechanical Back Pain?
- If you just have bio-mechanical back pain, which is what the majority of back pain is, this book should help quite a bit
- Most back pain is musculoskeletal…..the result of unhealthy loads being placed on parts of the spine
- Muscles that get tired…..cause a lot of pain; either locally or that can refer down to the buttocks
- I spent about a year sitting at a computer my stress level was high. It wrecked my back – after about a decade of being super healthy with zero pain
Mri for Back Pain Diagnosis
- Most people over the age of 35 or 40 have significant findings on an MRI…..Even if they have no symptoms
- X-rays and MRIs typically do not correlate to symptoms
- For instance, I have stenotic sections stenosis in parts of my – spine degenerative disc disease. I haven’t changed that. None of this exercise, or behavioural change, changes what your spine looks like on an MRI. It just stops irritating those segments and you learn to re-balance
Back Pain Doctors Can’t Diagnose
- You should always be evaluated by a physician to make sure you don’t have one of those rare but scary things like cancer or infection
- (As a young man) I developed some pretty serious back pain
- It’s hard to pinpoint the cause
- I went through the general medical realm first. I was frustrated by the care that I received. For back pain – it treats it pretty poorly
- The first person that offered me significant relief was a chiropracter…..looking at the back like a mechanic would look at a car; a biomechanical model
- He restored range of motion to some joints and got the muscles to relax
- I got significant short-term relief – that opened my eyes
Disc Problem Symptoms
- Numbness is usually indicative that you have a herniated disc
- A disc has a fibrous outside and it’s liquid inside. If you tear that outside and some liquid spills out, it can really cause some irritation
- Over the long term, it can do damage to the nerves
- If you’re getting numbness, that can be a medical emergency – especially numbness in the groin (saddle anaesthesia)
How to Lift Things Safely
Avoid a thrown out back by lifting stuff safely
- Your lumbar spine wasn’t designed to initiate movement – especially not repetitive movements with loads such as picking things up
- The spine and the muscles in your core are designed to stop movement
- The hips, on the other hand, have big powerful muscles around them and they are supposed to bend, twist etc.
- It drives me crazy. I see people at the gym, all the time, being instructed to do rotational movements or lifting movements with their back which is just a terrible idea
- A lot of people have learned to move this way because we have stopped moving in general and we sit on our butts all the time
- A very high percentage of the patients that I’ve seen over the years have completely forgotten how to use the muscles in the buttocks. For them, it’s just much more easy to bend and twist from their back. because they’re not used to squatting they’re not used to having mobility in their hips and knees
- They notice an immediate improvement in their back if you just teach them how to squat properly
The Younger Next Year Back Book
How do you fix a thrown out back? Answers to this and much more in the Younger Next Year Back Book.
- We try to give people, at the beginning of the book…..where they fit into the spectrum and whether they can expect this to help
I will be running a giveaway on a future episode with Jeremy.
Check back for a chance to win a copy of The Younger Next Year Back Book – The Whole-Body Plan to Conquer Back Pain Forever by Chris Crowley and Dr Jeremy James
Thanks for Listening!
How did you cope with your thrown out back? To share your experience, leave a comment below.
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Thanks to Dr Jeremy James for joining me this time and explaining how to fix a thrown out back; As well as all the other good stuff he shared with us.
Find more episodes of the Back Pain Liberation Podcast here
Find out how to end back pain forever, second half of the podcast interview with Chris Kidawski. In his new book he explains his myofascial release process.
Learn a simple way to relax your tight back muscles. Find out the 8 steps to the ‘Relaxation Response’ in the blog post or accompanying podcast episode.
Find out why your personality type is important. Introvert vs extrovert. Recognise and cope with demands of your social environment | Podcast episode BPL33
How to stimulate your vagus nerve naturally, Instant relaxation. With practice develop better vagal tone and greater resilience to stress and chronic pain | Podcast BPL32
Upper and lower cross syndrome – the two basic postural dysfunctions according to James Tang. Find out how to deal with recurring back pain. Podcast episode show notes.
Lack of Motivation to Exercise. Tips and tricks to get motivated and get training from the creator of Moving Stretch, Suzanne Wylde and host, Iain Barker. Also back pain prevention, mind-body connection and resistance stretching.
How to Fix a Thrown out Back. Dr Jeremy James says it’s better to get moving straight away. Hear how to fix your thrown out back faster! Podcast show notes.
Learn why spine surgery is not appropriate for the vast majority of people with back pain and find out what you should be doing instead. | BPL36 Podcast show notes
Ortho-Bionomy explained by Vienna Dunham Schmidt•Tight Muscles and Chronic Pain•Ortho-Bionomy Therapy•Stress Mindfulness and Breathing•Podcast show notes
Moving Stretch creator Suzanne Wylde on back pain self care and stretching for less flexible people, A must-listen if you have an inflexible back. Can emotional stress cause back pain?
Cathryn Jakobson Ramin talks about core training myths and mistakes to avoid. Find out her approach to training a strong, functional core and beating back pain. Podcast links and show notes.
What to do if your doctor doesn’t listen to you.You don’t have to put up with a doctor who doesn’t listen or doesn’t believe what you say. Podcast BPL40
Listen to your body. Keep an open mind and try things. Whatever works for you has got to be good. So says the founder of Moving Stretch, Suzanne Wylde in episode 10 of the Back Pain Liberation podcast. Find podcast links and show notes here.
According to Karen Gabler, most back pain is from a misaligned or stuck sacroiliac joint at the base of the spine. Find out about sacroiliac joint release.
Should I go to the doctor for back pain? Should we treat back pain as a medical problem, to be dealt with by medical professionals? Alternatively, should we try to tackle the problem ourselves? Avoid frustration by having a more concrete idea of what your doctor can actually do for you.