How to Help Lower Back Pain, Pain in the Cervical Area, and Shoulder Tendon Pain: Stop Doing These Exercise Practices

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Last modified on Monday, 30 April 2012 00:55

There are a lot of different injuries coming from usage and wear and tear, while most people think "no pain, no gain," when it comes to working out, you've got to realize the difference between "pain" and "fatigue". By deciphering this difference, you can figure out how to help lower back pain and shoulder tendon pain among other different injuries and while people think they just need to work through the pain, the exercises in your routine might actually be the causes or enhancers of some of these pains. You should stop doing these exercises, you may be doing more harm than good.


Shoulder tendon pain is a very general description of pain that seems to be inside the shoulder, affecting muscles that are deeper. The parts of the shoulder that might actually be the ones being affected are the tendons attaching the biceps and the rotator cuffs. These tendons are the supraspinatus, subscapularis, teres major and minor, infraspinatus, long and short heads of the biceps brachii, and even the pecs major and minor and the lats have an attachment in the shoulder. So shoulder tendon pain is one of those pains that you shouldn't just ignore, step back, and take a look as to what might be the real problem.





I know there are plenty of people out there still doing these movements. How do I know? I still see you guys doing it! Despite the fact that people "feel more of a burn" bring the weight behind their head, bringing the weight behind your head puts you in a position where you are more prone to injury. Bringing your arms behind your head puts it in a range of motion where it is at its most unstable. By loading it with weight and going through the repetitive motion of lifting the weight over your head and bring back down behind your head, you are putting pressure on the joint that will create unnatural movements in the joint causing damage to it. Not only are you risking shoulder tendon pain, it's very likely that you are craning your neck forward just to get the weight back there, putting yourself in cervical flexion, adding pressure to the cervical area, which creates a greater likelihood of degeneration in the spine, increasing the the chance of a herniated disk.



This is an exercises almost EVERY guy has done. Why? To build up those huge hulking traps that they see body builders with giving them the "no neck" look. The only problem is, body builders work their ENTIRE trap, not just the upper trap, which is all that shoulder shrugs work. What's so bad about that? The upper traps are only used really for one motion- to shrug the shoulders. So by building them up so much, that motion usually takes precedence in all exercises, preventing you from working the intended muscles. You will just constantly be working the upper trap, which will look huge, but it will look unproportionate. Shrugging is also a motion that is known to be associated with stress. Think about it, when you are stressed, your head is brought back and your shoulders come up. And as you're trying it right now, know that this exercise just ADDS to an already stressed mentality because of where the tension is being placed.



I have to admit, this one is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I constantly have people telling me push ups are horrible and they never "feel" it where they're supposed to. They'll tell me that it just hurts, hurts their shoulders and their lower backs. When I ask them to perform a push up for me, I already know what it's going to look like. Hands closer in, more in a triangle push up position, elbows coming straight out to the side parallel to their shoulders, back with way too much arch, craning their head forward reaching towards the ground... WRONG! That is NOT how a push up is supposed to look like. Widen the hands (to where you're comfortable of course which is usually just outside of shoulder width), bring your elbows more at a 45 degree angle backwards on through the range of motion, bring that head up and touch your CHEST to the ground and keep your entire body straight (meaning tuck in that gut and keep your spine in neutral). And I know everyone is built different so you may have to adjust hand position SLIGHTLY, but that's the only thing. Craning your neck forward, adding pressure to that cervical area, and arching your back is NEVER acceptable, unless you don't really care about your spine and want to walk around in constant shoulder tendon pain and lower back pain later on. Preventing lower back pain on THIS exercise will help you understand how to help lower back pain.


While talking about shoulder tendon pain, alot of the names of the tendons and muscles mentioned above will come up when talking to a doctor, but when it comes to lower back pain, generally the doctor will talk about them as region because the muscles in those regions work pretty much as one and any pain involved in these areas are looked at in terms of preserving the spine. The areas of the back are the cervical area, thoracic area, and lumbar area. When someone has low back pain, the individual suffering from that pain is going to be looking to strengthen the lumbar area and the surrounding areas using rehabilitative exercises, but part of their work out could be preventing them from fully healing or causing even more pain later on. If you want to find out how to help low back pain, whether it's preventing or relieving it, consider what the following exercises are really doing for your workout.



For the same reason as causing flexion of you cervical area by craning your neck forward with behind the neck shoulder presses, crunches and sit ups put you in loaded spinal flexion increasing the likeliness that you will suffer from a bulging disk later on. The most common area that a herniated disk occurs is in the lumbar spine, which is where the most pressure is put on in both of these motions. With these motions, the concept is working your "abs" (more specifically your rectus abdominis), but in reality your entire "core" involves more muscles than just the abs, so you are neglecting the others parts of your core. And in terms of the sit up, the action should be at your hips with the HIP FLEXORS being the primary movers and the abs are only working from an ISOMETRIC hold of keeping them tight through the motion. For the most part, most people aren't doing either motion correctly and end up hurting their entire upper posterior chain from their cervical to their lumbar area. There are a lot of other core exercises that are more complete and actually help you build a stronger core rather than just the abs.


Jogging for 5-10 minutes before working out is NOT a complete warm up. By only jogging before working out, you are only warming up the quads, glutes and your calves (if you're not running flat footed) and only warming up ONE plane of motion (the frontal plane). You're completely leaving out two other planes and neglecting the entire rest of your lower extremity (ie hamstrings, hip flexors, rotators, etc.) and forgetting about the upper body all together. By going through dynamic stretches and different mobility drills, you will be breathing a heavier, sweating a little bit, basically THIS is what really gets your blood “pumping” for your work out. Plus, depending on how fast you are going, every stride that you take can add up to 6x you body weight at every joint in you lower extremity, including your lower back, and without the proper warm up, it's doing a lot of damage to multiple areas. Now don't get me wrong, I do sprints myself, but AFTER a proper warm up and at the right time, which is one more exercise practice that people need to stop.



In addition to constant pressure on your joints with running, doing any sort of cardio is detrimental to your goals. Contrary to popular belief, doing your cardio before lifting does NOT burn more calories or fat. In fact you are really breaking down your muscle before you even touch your fat using this method. By tapping into your aerobic energy system first, you completely bypass your anaerobic system, which is where you will see muscle build/tone to give you that look that you want. On top of that, long distance cardio is a thing of the past in terms of “fat/calorie burn”. You’re really only burning calories WHILE you are doing the exercise, but by building muscle and doing high intensity interval training (HIIT),  you are able to burn calories after workouts UP TO 24 hours later.  And by doing long distance running, not only are you putting so much pressure on your joints, you are aggravating injuries or dysfunctions you might already have through the pressure and breaking down of the muscle. The reason your body ends up attacking you muscles first is because as your body is looking for more energy, it doesn’t go straight for the fat because of the fact that it does not need that many calories to maintain fat, and they provide more energy for your body in EMERGENCY situations (survival). Your muscles take a lot of calories to maintain to keep their shape and size as well as strength, so if you don’t lift enough and provide you muscles with the proper fuel, your body will break it down first. By keeping the muscles that you build, you will turn find a way of how to help low back pain.


Read 785 times Last modified on Monday, 30 April 2012 00:55
Brian Samson

Tennis, Basketball, Flag football, Martial Arts (Multiple Disciplines)