When my neurosurgeon pal Dr. Jeffrey Gross said my L5-S1 herniation was a surgical case I was shocked!
I opted for an MRI because I had been having a lot of right sided low back and sacroiliac joint pain (SI joint pain).
On long walks or hikes I’d end up limping as my right foot didn’t seem to want to join the adventure.
There wasn’t a big injury, just progressive pain over time.
I’ve lifted heavy weights for years, taken some nasty falls skiing, ice skated, played hockey as a kiddo and fell on the ice or slammed into the boards hundreds of times.
The L5-S1 region of the body correlates with the root chakra in Ayurvedic medicine.
It’s the region of the body that develops and maintains your balance, physically and emotionally.
Chakras are related to the stages of how you develop in the womb.
The root chakra is your basic needs center.
Food, water, shelter, security, stability and emotional needs.
Since stability and security, emotionally and physically resonated I had to question, does this pain go way back for me or is it something right now?
After a podcast conversation with a fellow named Yogi Aaron a light went off in my head!
Yogi Aaron (I still have no idea about his last name), believes that stretching in excess can lead to instability in the joints of the body.
There are little ligaments that support the joints of your spine to glide, bend, rotate and stabilize you all day.
Your muscles and tendons also work to stabilize your joints and there are some key ones that support the spine.
That is if they are strong enough and getting the right signals to stabilize you.
My coach, Dr. John Rusin and my dear friend, Dr. Becky Rucker, a doctor of physical therapy in Tacoma have been after me for years to “brace” better when lifting.
Turns out this bracing thing, I was lax on till I saw my MRI was a really big deal.
Bracing for weight lifting can be translated into everyday life when it comes to joint stability.
Lifting something, bending over or getting up out of a chair are similar when it comes to mechanics.
If your muscles are not engaging properly to lift your bodyweight or weights your muscles will compensate for a while…
… and what’s the cost to your body?
Joint damage, bone spur formation, disc bulges, herniations and more!
How do you prevent this?
Look for a fitness professional, athletic trainer, medical provider or physical therapist with any of the following certifications:
- C-PS – Champion Performance Specialist (Mike Reinold’s training)
- PPSC – Pain-free Performance Specialist Certification (Dr. John Rusin’s training)
- C.SMA – Certified sports medicine acupuncturist (Matt Callison’s training – I have this training) – directory HERE
- Functional Movement Systems – directory HERE
Learn what muscles of yours are not firing, that are weak and not stabilizing your spine or joints.
Make it a point to work on strengthening them, not stretching them further.
Yogi Aaron has a program specifically for those who are into yoga and want to learn how to incorporate stability into their practice, it’s called AYAMA (Applied Yoga Anatomy & Muscle Activation) – click HERE for more info.
He has retreats in Costa Rica that look lovely, which brings me to my second point on stability.
If you find you’re stuck in fight or flight stress mode and nothing is working to get you out of it – this is for you!
When you have pain your nervous system is going to be in stress mode 24/7.
The same thing happens when your joints are not stable.
Your nervous system has receptors in your joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons.
Those receptors send messages to your brain about where you are in space.
If weakness or instability is sensed in any of those areas, your brain will keep you in fight or flight mode.
Instability is seen as a threat for injury to your brain.
How much precious energy and brain space is being hijacked by a body working to keep you from getting injured?
Stability in your body is just as important as emotional stability for your nervous system.
If physical stability is off it’s hard to have emotional stability.
My conclusion…if you’re dealing with either or both it’s worth it to have an evaluation of your total body strength to reconnect the nerve and brain communication.
Reduce the messages of instability from the body to the brain to free the mind.
In a world where brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, depression, frustration and feeling stuck is common, it’s worth looking into the brain body stability connection.
Now you know what I’ll be up to in 2024!
Here’s to your health,