The lecture was the second in a preventative health education series started by club manager, Will Baker.
“Usually people who come to see me complain of pain, but pain is very subjective. There are a lot of reasons why people have back pain,” Huebner said.
A supporting structure made up of building blocks, the back is comprised of bones and the shock absorbing material in between.
“It is a very intricate mechanism that also acts as conduit for nervous tissue,” Huebner said. “The critical second component is the core. It’s really all about the core.”
Taking time out between discussing myths to demonstrate exercises from his personal trainer, Josh, Huebner said one of the things he wants to emphasize is that sometimes as patients and consumers of medical services, we don’t ask what we can do for ourselves.
“The mindset is that someone’s going to fix me, I can’t fix myself,” he said. “The way we’ve looked at back pain in this country is both passive and recessive, but the truth is that many of us are not fit and have weak cores. We have to take personal accountability for our own health.”
Huebner added that in many cases, pain in the back is a marker for poor health elsewhere.
“It doesn’t mean that your physician can’t do something for you when you have back pain, but there are a lot of things you can do for yourself,” he said.
With seven tissues in the back that can be a source of pain, Huebner said whenever someone presents with back pain it’s almost a crapshoot to pinpoint the exact source.
“There’s a lot of gray area with the back. Most of the time, a back pain diagnosis is speculative,” he said. “There’s a common myth that as technology has improved, our ability to diagnose a specific source of pain has also gotten better. In general, we vastly overuse medical resources in this country — back pain is a prime example.”
One of the other messages Huebner delivered is that acute back pain will subside in time.
“Acute back pain will get better by itself. Part of it is also listening to your own body,” he said. “A lot of back pain that occurs acutely will get better in a specific amount of time no matter what you do. The body has incredible mechanisms to heal itself. There’s tremendous internal recognition and healing signals. When the process heals, it stops. It’s pretty miraculous.”
Huebner’s said if most people do regular maintenance back strengthening exercises, the results can be as good, if not better, than medication or surgery.
“A lot of Americans don’t look at our cores. We don’t pay attention and do the maintenance on our core so we can have strong muscles. If you do maintenance, it’s amazing how much better you can feel. You can be more fit and have less pain — that’s the bottom line.”
Back Pain Myths:
1. In general, your practitioner can do more for your back pain than you can do for yourself.
2. In most cases, your practitioner can be specific and tell you exactly what is the source of your back pain.
3. An MRI, CT scan or plain x-ray usually will pinpoint the source of your pain.
4. Most back pain requires a specific intervention in order to improve.
5. Prolonged bed rest enhances recovery from back pain.
6. When your back hurts, invariably something “goes out” and needs to be “put back in.”
7. A “bulging disc” is a bad thing that needs to be corrected.
8. Most casts of sciatica related to a herniated disc will require surgery to resolve.
9. Fibromyalgia is related to a derangement in the neck region and therefore, spinal manipulation or surgery on the neck will treat or cure fibromyalgia.
10. Spinal surgery usually results in total relief of pain emanating from the lower back.
11. Glucosamine “grows cartilage” and thus can “cure” arthritis in the spine.
12. Frequent steroid injections into the spine or surrounding tissue is a good therapy without any systemic consequences.
13. Most Americans have strong core muscles.
14. Most Americans are fit.
The next lecture topic will be “preventing injury” by Jeff Smith of Northern Michigan Sports Medicine Center. The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19 at the Petoskey Health and Fitness club located at 317 Mitchell Street in downtown Petoskey.
Marci Singer439-9348 - email@example.com