Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Tips on Reducing Lower Back Aches and Pains

The Rx Review: Reporting on Fitness and CrossFit News, Contributor

back pain crossfit lower back aches

People young and old struggle with lower back pain on a daily basis. The discomfort and soreness that is often associated with this kind of injury can affect even the simplest of actions, such as getting out of bed, bending over, and walking.

One of the most common causes of pain in the lower back is a torn or pulled muscle or ligament. Tears and pulls often occur when an individual carries something that is too heavy. Or when they use their back instead of their legs to lift objects. Other causes of lower back pain include poor posture, sports, and repetitive movements.

Most Americans (eight out of 10) will experience back pain at some point in their lives, although each case will be unique and require specific treatment. Unfortunately, nine out of 10 of these individuals cannot pinpoint the cause of their pain, and therefore often struggle with avoiding the problem in the future. Desk workers and backaches go hand in hand, with 54 percent of Americans attributing their discomfort to a poor stature at their desk. If you’re not sure what is causing your back pain, consider keeping track of your daily activities. It’s important to note when your pain is most aggressive to pinpoint some connections.

The following are some helpful tips on reducing lower back aches and pains:

Ice/Heat

There is still some ongoing debate about just how effective ice therapy is following an injury. Despite this, many leading practitioners recommend that within the first 24-48 hours of experiencing lower back pain, an individual should be consistently applying ice to the sore area. Ice will help to reduce any inflammation present and works much more efficiently than heat. Applying heat to the area may relax the muscles. But it will also add to the inflammation, making the injury worse.

Be sure to only keep ice/heat on the area for twenty minutes at a time, taking breaks in-between.

Strengthen the muscles

It is common that individuals will use their back muscles to complete a multitude of activities; however, this can often put too much pressure on the area and cause tears, sprains and pulls. To avoid re-injuring the lower back, it’s ideal to strengthen the muscles around the area and the abdominal muscles. In doing so, the body is able to rely on a more widespread area for strength. This is opposed to putting all of the pressure directly onto the lower back.

Integrating some back-strengthening exercises into your daily routine can help to improve posture, straighten the spine and reduce stress on the spinal discs and joints. CrossFit and functional fitness training is a great way to strengthen your lower back. Especially if it’s done with correct form and techniques. So too is yoga and pilates.

yoga crossfit

Bracing

Back pain can cause discomfort no matter where you are. But it’s not always easy to pull out some ice or perform a workout. When you need extra support on the go, braces for lower back pain can help to supply that additional protection and comfort.

Braces that are designed to aid in the reduction of lower back pain come in all types of styles and designs, but are fairly discreet for the most part. Individuals who wear these braces can easily strap them on underneath work clothing or athletic gear, making it easy to get that extra support no matter where they are and what they’re doing.

Some braces will come as they are, while others offer a combination of compression and heat therapy. Braces use compression to help reduce swelling while increasing blood flow to the injured area for a faster healing process. Many of the materials available are extremely breathable and lightweight, ensuring that moisture is released and the skin stays warm and dry.

Braces are ideal for helping to treat a variety of lower back pain conditions. You can find a model for all kinds of ailments including sprains/strains, abdominal compression, herniated disks, Sciatica, Spondylolysis, tumors, post-op disk surgery and instability.

Stay active

The worst thing that an individual with lower back pain can do is to stay stationary through their pain. This isn’t to say that they should take part in their regular activities or anything that causes discomfort, but staying mildly active is important to keeping the spine loose and limber.

Even if this means doing some gentle yoga or walking the dog, keeping the joints and muscles oiled will be important to a healthy recovery.

Mind your weight

If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy weight, you may also notice that you’re experiencing increased lower back pain. Obesity and lower back pain often go hand in hand, with obesity significantly contributing to pain and discomfort in this specific area. Essentially, the spinal cord is responsible for distributing the activities and weight carried to different parts of the body. Excess weight puts a lot of extra pressure on the spinal cord and often causes damage to the area. The lower back is the most susceptible to this damage, and the pain is difficult to reduce unless some of the excess weight is removed.

Paying attention to your body weight is important to making sure that your spine is comfortable. Controlling your weight also allows you to maintain proper posture. Maintaining a healthy weight also makes it easier to partake in physical fitness, which is another great way to maintain a healthy body that is free of aches and pains.

weight scales crossfit lower back aches

Stretch

If your daily routine requires a lot of stationary work, then you’ll want to make sure that you take time to stretch every half hour. For those that work at a desk-type job, set a timer for yourself and do a few stretches that bend your body in the opposite direction. This will help to relieve your muscles and spine from the hunched position they’ve been stuck in, and it will also help to get the blood flowing and bring back some energy. Classes like gentle yoga or hot yoga can also be beneficial to those struggling with a sore back. So too can programs like ROMWOD. But if you already lead an active lifestyle day to day, try not to overdo it when you finally have time to rest.

Conclusion

At the first sign of a sore lower back, start paying attention to where the pain is located and the types of activities that seem to be causing it. Many people struggle with pinpointing the actual cause of their lower back pain. However, being aware of the problem may help to solve your discomfort issues. Consider these tips to reduce lower back aches and pains; if the problem persists, speak to a doctor about further options.

By Craig Hammontree

Craig Hammontree serves as the CEO for SportsBraces. Craig oversees all operations and business activities to ensure they produce the desired results and are consistent with the overall strategy and mission.

Before joining SportsBraces, Craig led multiple teams to success in large fortune 500 companies. His family and spending time at the lake is how he spends his off time. If he can combine the two that is his oasis.

Tips on Reducing Lower Back Aches and Pains

Testosterone: Minimize Deficits to Maximize Gains

The Rx Review: Reporting on Fitness and CrossFit News, Sponsored Article

testesterone 2

Testosterone is a male sex hormone produced in the testes (and to a lesser extent the adrenal glands) and is largely responsible for muscle hypertrophy and increasing strength, as well as regulating bone density, red blood cell count, libido and many other processes related to health and fitness. Testosterone is not exclusive to men and women also produce the hormone in their ovaries and adrenal glands, although at somewhat lower levels.

Factors affecting Testosterone

Unfortunately, production of testosterone decreases with age. It’s often see with an onset around 25-30 years associated with a 1% decrease per year resulting in decreased muscle tissue synthesis, lower fertility and increased fat mass. There are multiple other factors which may decrease testosterone production prematurely, including weight gain, poor diet, stress levels and sleep. Sleep has a significant impact on Testosterone levels. Getting only 5 hours of sleep a day results in a decrease of up to 15%. Stress also negatively affects testosterone production. When under stress, the body produces another hormone known as cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels result in a subsequent decrease in testosterone. The impact on mood can also lead to the development of bad eating habits and poor sleep routines. These factors can further lowers testosterone. Avoiding stressful situations and employing stress relief techniques such as meditation can help to reduce cortisol.

Increasing Production Through Exercise

Luckily, there are many options to help promote testosterone production. Resistance training is one of the best methods to increase your levels, with high-volume, moderate to high-intensity training shown to produce optimal improvements in hormone levels, strength and muscle hypertrophy. Along with the type of workout, when you exercise can also have an impact. Working out later in the evening is associated with greater increases in testosterone levels. It may also lead to a better workout, as your muscles will be warmed up due to daily activity.

testosterone 1

Image Credit: Sharon Christina Rørvik

Supplementation

Research into testosterone replacement therapies has also produced many medically approved alternatives to combat naturally shrinking production. These include gels, injections and patches which are all readily available. Rather than directly introducing testosterone, some therapies focus on manipulating the endocrine pathways which lead to production. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone which structurally resembles Luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulates testosterone production in the body. The pituitary gland produces LH normally during sleep. By influencing hCG levels via diet or injection, it is possible to enhance your testosterone health and improve performance throughout the day, without altering your sleeping pattern. Further lifestyle changes such as losing weight and dietary vitamin and mineral supplementation have all been associated with higher Testosterone levels, greater muscle mass, and better general well-being.

Testosterone has a major impact on your fitness. And some of the ways you may be reducing your gains can go easily unnoticed. However, with just a few small changes it can be possible to see large increases, not only in your physical performance but your general health as well. Be sure to keep working hard, but don’t forget that in some cases, doing nothing can produce the best results.

Testosterone: Minimize Deficits to Maximize Gains

Monday, 19 February 2018

New ice climb in Val Badia, Dolomites

Ice climbing in the Dolomites: on 10/12/2017 Manuel Baumgartner and Simon Kehrer made the first ascent of Schorschs Weinfall, a new icefall in the Longiarü Valley - Antersasc in Val Badia, Italy. Baumgartner reports.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Changes to CrossFit’s Drugs Policy in 2018

The Rx Review: Reporting on Fitness and CrossFit News, Contributor

crossfit's drugs policy

The 2018 CrossFit Games season is set to get underway later this month, with the first workout of the CrossFit Open to be announced on February 22.

Over the past few years we have seen several Games and Regional athletes have been caught using banned substances and consequently suspended from competing.

This year, CrossFit HQ has made several changes to its Drug Testing Program to ensure the 2018 season has a level and fair playing field for all athletes.

Here is a look at the updated drugs policy and what it means for athletes:

Any athlete can be tested

As a condition of participation in CrossFit sanctioned events, each competing athlete agrees to undergo drug testing in accordance with this policy. Anyone signing up to the Open could be tested, at any time during the season.

Refusal to consent to, or comply with, the requirements of this policy prohibits an athlete from participating in a CrossFit-sanctioned event.

Regional and Games athlete will be tested

All podium finishers at the Regional events will be drug tested. In addition, athletes will again be tested at the CrossFit Games later in the year.

  • Championships Drug Testing: may occur on site at ANY CrossFit-sanctioned competition. All athletes at Regionals and the Games are subject to testing. In addition, the selection of athletes to be drug tested may be based on random selection or position of finish.

Process of drug testing

  • Collected urine and/or blood samples will be sent to a World Anti-Doping Agency-approved laboratory for analysis. Samples will be tested in accordance with WADA guidelines to determine if banned drugs or substances are present. Appropriate sanctions will apply for positive drug test results.
  • If the laboratory reports a specimen as substituted, manipulated or adulterated in any way, the athlete will be charged with refusing to submit to a drug test. The athlete will be subject to the same sanctions applied to a positive drug test.
  • Drug test results will be reported to CrossFit by Drug Free Sport. CrossFit will notify athletes of a positive test result by email.
  • Athletes who commit a violation of the Drug-Testing Policy will have the right to state their case prior to any sanctions being imposed. Within 72 hours of being notified of their violation, an athlete must provide written notice of their intent.
    crossfit's drugs policy

    Ricky Garard tested positive to a banned substance in 2017

What sanctions will be imposed for those who breach?

  • Disqualification from the competition and loss of results.
  • Loss of results from previous competitions.
  • Forfeit or required return of any prizes, awards or money.
  • Suspension from participating in future CrossFit-sanctioned events. CrossFit Inc. will determine the suspension lengths on a case-by-case basis. Penalties may include a lifetime ban from all CrossFit-sanctioned or sponsored events.
  • Public disclosure.

Other changes

CrossFit HQ announced earlier in the year a new way for the community to report allegations of misconduct. This could be any violation of the CrossFit Games rulebook, including submitting false scores, team athletes not actually working out at the same CrossFit affiliate, doping or using any kind of banned substance.

In short, it means anyone can report a violation by filling out an allegation form, or sending an email. CrossFit HQ have stated that all allegations will remain confidential.

Summary

With the sport of CrossFit growing larger every year, HQ are doing the right thing by strengthening its anti-doping policy. Increased testing and a stronger community involvement will only help in ensuring no ‘cheating’ athlete slips through the cracks.

However, it really is up to the athletes competing to ensure they know exactly what they are putting in their bodies. Several athletes have tried claiming they were unaware they had taken a banned substance. Ignorance, however, is not a valid excuse.

Yes, there are several cases where athletes have been taking banned substances for health reasons. These may including individuals who require particular medications to control illnesses or diseases. Or those with hormone deficiencies that may need HGH Treatment’s from clinics like Greenberg Health. If that does relate to you, then your best course of action is to reach out to HQ and notify them of your situation. Full disclosure is often the best course of action in situations like these.

For a full list of banned substances for athletes competing in the 2018 CrossFit Games season, check out the updated Drug Testing Program by clicking here:

Changes to CrossFit’s Drugs Policy in 2018

Video: Stefano Ghisolfi climbing La Capella (9b), Siurana

The video of Stefano Ghisolfi redpointing La Capella, the 9b sports climb located at Siurana in Spain.

Ice climbed at Jackson Hole Skiing Paradise

American alpinists Nathan Brown, Sam Macke, Jackson Marvell and Brian Mulvihill have established two new ice and mixed climbs at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Jim Bridwell, goodbye to legendary rock climber The Bird

Jim Bridwell has left us. Yesterday, February 16th 2018, one of the absolute legends of rock climbing and mountaineering, died aged 73.