Everything I Thought I Knew About Low Back Pain Was Wrong – Jenni Rawlings Yoga & Movement

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I ended up getting an X-ray and an MRI and consulted with an orthopedic doctor around 2014. I discovered that I had an old fracture on both sides of my L5 vertebra that hadn’t healed properly because it hadn’t been diagnosed at the time of injury. To this day, I have no idea how that happened; I have no memory of a severe fall or accident, which I was told is how that type of injury happens. Doctors said there wasn’t really anything that could be done at that point, other than managing my symptoms. Fusion surgery was the only other option, which they weren’t recommending at my age, as there is a significant loss of mobility that comes with the surgery.

There was a little bit of relief in knowing exactly what the problem was, but I was also feeling discouraged wondering what else I could do. Having a better perspective on what my situation was, I started being even more careful about the type of workouts I was doing and the activities I was partaking in outside the gym, but I was still feeling no improvements.

Turning Point

In 2016 I heard a podcast with coach Christopher Sommer, a former gymnastics national team coach. In the interview, Coach Sommer was talking about his training philosophy and more specifically his approach to reducing the risks of injury and rehabbing them. He delved into lower back problems specifically and how he thought the standard approach to dealing with that type of injury was nonsensical. He even took a few digs at Dr. McGill, pointing out the limitations of his research.

Needless to say, I was taken aback by his comments and the strong views he had on the topic. It was hard to disagree with anything he was saying, however; everything was logical and everything made sense in his explanations. His argument revolved around the fact that our spine is required to move in all sorts of ways in athletics, as well as in everyday life. For that reason, he believed in training the spine that way and challenging it in various positions.

After some reflection and realizing I had made zero progress with my current approach to treat my back pain over the past 3-4 years, I felt compelled to try Coach Sommer’s methods. He had an online training system called Gymnastic Bodies, which I decided to sign up for. After all, what did I have to lose at that point?

The program was centered on flexibility, bodyweight movements, and full range of motion strengthening exercises. There were no flips or acrobatics involved, just ways to strengthen your body in a variety of positions. At first, I was excited to try something so completely different from what I was used to and something that challenged my current beliefs. At the same time, I was a little hesitant to start moving my back in all these “weird” ways I wasn’t used to – ways I’d previously considered off limits. There was a little bit of fear that I could make things worse. I had believed for the previous 8 years that the spine was meant to stay neutral at all costs, so this was quite the paradigm shift!

Here are two examples of spinal full range of motion exercises I worked with:

#Thought #Knew #Pain #Wrong #Jenni #Rawlings #Yoga #Movement

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