Monday, February 20, 2012

What a Pain in the Psoas!

Back pain can present in a few different ways, which we had discussed in a previous post.
Today we are dealing with the iliopsoas and how dysfunction in this muscle can present as back pain
The iliopsoas is involved in hip flexion, but due to its insertion at the 12th vertebrae of the thoracic spine and first through fifth lumbar vertebrae, it is better classified as a postural stabilizer. The psoas hooks up to the lowest part of the back and then extends down to the lesser trochanter on the medial side of the femur. This means that an irritated psoas can be felt from your lower back and buttock all the way down to the middle of your inner thigh. That's a big pain and you know where you will feel it!

Psoas tendonitis can be caused by shortening the muscle due to anterior pelvic tilt (does your booty look like J.Lo?), overuse (too may hills during a run or just too much running/walking), or poor posture (are you really supposed to bend over that way?).

The simplest way to stretch the psoas muscle is to bend both legs at 90 degrees, one in front and one in back as if it were a lunge position. Next, you drive the pelvis forward, flexing the front knee and extending the rear knee. The stretch should be felt all the way down the inner thigh. You can accentuate the stretch by placing the trailing leg on a bench or ball.
Many types of movement or postures can affect psoas function, so its best to evaluate yourself and adjust your training program with a professional such as myself to properly adjust your posture, walking form, and other contraindicated movements.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Eat More and You Can Lose Weight

Are you tired of hearing about portion sizes to control or lose weight?
You can actually eat MORE and still lose pounds or maintain your weight more easily.
We have been entertained by the prospects of a Twinkie diet to convince us that calorie control may be the only necessary component to proper health. Unfortunately, these tests usually are post hoc  or "correlation not causation" arguments and are not valid. His short term gains may have been significant, but perhaps he should have been compared to someone who was malnourished, etc. in order to better prove causation.
There is an important causation, but it depends on the type of calories you consume. Calories come from carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Carbs burn first, then fat, and finally protein. If the body needs energy quickly and you do not have enough carbs for energy, and the fat is taking too long to break down, then your body can turn to protein, and this can lead to inhibition of lean body mass gains. Balancing your diet to meet your energy needs is the single most important goal.

You may need to eat more fruits and vegetables, go heavier on protein, change the types of fats you consume, and decrease your carbohydrate intake if you only engage in moderate activity. Insufficient energy can effect your mood and decision making abilities, so balance your meals accordingly.

If you are active, more protein and carbohydrates may be necessary, depending on the activity and your level of exertion. Running 5Ks and cycling is different than powerlifting which differs from basketball, football, soccer, and other sports.

If you are not sure about how to manage your meals, then you should speak to a lifestyle management and wellness coach such as myself about effective changes. Be prepared to tell your LWMC all about yourself, your physical activity, and your current eating habits. Some of the changes are basic and do not require a specialist such as a nutritionist to solve some of your dieting dilemmas.