Rehab & Recovery Zone!

The Sound of Agony…But Not Defeat

By Ryan Krane

The above illustration shows the proper way to perform the plank exercise.

You know how you hear a sound sometimes and you know exactly what that sound means? Like when you hear the "err whoop err whoop" of a fire engine, you know there's an emergency. Recently, I've had some ear shattering moments myself.

The other day, I was standing in line at the grocery store when my cell phone started ringing. I had gone there to pick up some baby food and was sorry I did because the line was long. When my cell phone started to ring I answered it, realizing it would be quite some time before I reached the cash register.

"A-a-a-a-a-h-h-h  m-m-m-y-y-y freeeakinnn b-a-a-a-ck!" I couldn't tell for sure, but by what he said and his Boston accent I guessed it was my on-again off-again client, Trevor.

"Hey, Trev, hello to you too. You sound like you're in pain, man."

"You could say that. It feels like a vice around my torso. I need you now!"

"You know, Trev I haven't heard from you in months and now you're on the phone demanding my time.

"I don't know…should I…shouldn't I?"

"Ryan, stop freakin' fooling around. Seriously, I need your help."

"Okay, okay, where are you? Home? Okay I'll meet you there in about an hour."

When I arrived at Trevor's place he was moaning, stretched out on his back on his living room floor. After talking to him about what happened, I discovered he pulled his back out about 10 days ago and had since been to an urgent care facility. The doctor there said it was likely musculoskeletal in nature and that it should go away on its own; they also gave him a prescription for muscle relaxants. The muscle relaxants helped subdue the pain, but he didn't like taking them because they made him tired. When Trevor started to bend to tie his walking shoes just before calling me, his back spasms returned.

"How did you initially hurt your back?"

"I was in my kitchen putting up a new light fixture. I reached up with one arm and my back muscles started to grip my front and sides like a vice. I guess they didn't like the way I was stretching."

"It sounds like you may need to strengthen your core muscles in the front of your torso," I said. "When these muscles aren't strong enough, we overcompensate with our back muscles. This can leave them strained and at risk for injury."

"So what can we do, Ryan?"

"I'd like to start out slow with some core exercises that will eventually help to strengthen the muscles in your abdomen without putting too much press on the already stressed muscles. Let's start with the plank and progress from there. As you start to build your core strength you'll see that your back muscles also become stronger, and the stronger they become, the less prone they are to injury.

"Gently roll over on your stomach. That's it. Now, with your arms shoulder width apart, head in neutral and body in a straight line from your head to your toes, push up. That's it."

Trevor and I will continue working together on building up his core muscles. With the right maintenance he'll be able to change his next kitchen fixture without injuring his back. Knowing Trevor, I can't guarantee anything else will go right, but his back shouldn't hurt.

Ryan Krane is a certified Corrective Exercise Specialist and one of the leading fitness consultants specializing in corrective exercises in the Los Angeles region. He is helping clients become healthier and pain free with his brand of corrective exercise called The Krane Training Method, which combines flexibility, posture and strength training movements to help clients remedy chronic ailments such as back pain, shoulder pain and other common body aches.

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Ryan Krane
Ryan Krane, Inc.
Corrective Exercise Specialist