Daily Dose of Coach #211: A quick note on back pain

I've lived with back pain since I was 24. I had two herniated discs that put me down for about 6 months. I didn't chose to do surgery. I did chose to act like I had surgery, meaning I did nothing for that painful time period.

I also chose to learn as much as I could about back pain, core strength and how I could help others avoid this debilitating condition. If you chose to read this post, you may have back pain. And I wanted to debunk a myth that many of my types of clients (driven, motivated, goal oriented, deny pain and even injury until the have to address it) believe.

It's the myth that getting stronger muscles will strengthen their back. Often, the thought process goes into strengthening the abdominal muscles like, " shouldn't I do more crunches or back extensions to strengthen my back ?" The answer is "Hell no" from all angles. And from all angles I mean that developing stronger muscles anywhere is not the key to decreasing back pain.

Dr. Stuart McGill says it like this, "Think of strength in relation to the body like horsepower in relation to a car. If a souped up 500 horsepower engine is put inside a dinky, broken down car and then raced around town at top speed, it's only a matter of time before the mega-engine rips the frail frame and suspension to pieces."

McGill explains that people with back pain have developed a disproportionate amount of strength in relation to their endurance. Endurance means maintaining proper movement patters. So when it comes to improving the back pain condition, endurance in sustaining healthy movement patterns always takes precedence over developing strength.