My name is Dr. Jeffrey Garofalo and as a Chiropractor in practice for 12 years and having taken care of thousands of spines literally in Bolingbrook and Surrounding areas I have seen certain exercises that people perform on a routine basis that are damgaing their spines and causing more problems. You will be shocked and quite surprisedto find out that even the exercises that I am about to tell you about are even being taught to you by your personal trainers.
The first exercise you should Never perform is pulling or pushing behind your neck. For example if you are trying to work on your back muscles many people will use a machine where they will grab a bar and pull down behind their necks while bending their neck forward. Some people will try to work on their shoulders and grab a bar behind their neck and push up.When you pull or push behind the neck while bending the neck, you are bending the spine forward in the neck level and pushing the discs from teh front of your spine and bulging them out to the back side of the spine. This causes pain first by stretching the discs and second by forcing the discs to push up against the spinal cord. Ultimately either with enough weight or over enough time you can cause a disc herniation. The photo at the left shows the correct way to pull or push which is in front of your neck to keep your neck in a neutral strong position.
The second type of exercise is bending over trying to lift weight off the ground to try to strengthen your low back. These exercises are known as "Dead Lifts" Again when bending forward and putting weight in front of your body you are creating a long lever arm at the lowest level of your spine at L5 and by creating a long lever arm the weight now actually creates more pressure at the front of the disc and again when that happens it forces the disc to bulge backwards stretching the disc creating pain and again with enough pressure or over enough time can cause a disc herniation. In order to strengthen your lower spine you should lie on your stomach
and arch your upper body and lower body up and down. These exercises are called "Superman" and will be non gravitational and non harmful to your lower back discs.
The last exercise that is very dangerous for the spine is putting weight up on your shoulders and performing squats. Again the problem with this is that when you put weight up on your shoulders is that you now become top heavy. Gravity when bending down to squat will pull your upper body forward again creating a long lever arm putting pressure on that L5 disc just like above. I recommend if you want to perform squats you need to take the big rubber exercise ball put your back against it and hold weights in your hand and squat. You now evenly distribbute the weight from front to back and strictly isolate the leg muscles without activating the spinal discs.
Improper Squat Proper Squat
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