Low back pain (LBP) can be one of the most debilitating experiences of your life, as some of you may already know. Statistics show that 80% of adults will experience at least one episode of serious back pain. Furthermore the research shows that once you’ve had a significant low back pain episode the likelihood of re-occurrence is very high and the probability of it becoming chronic is significant. This often leads to the sufferer becoming even less active and avoiding certain exercises to avoid pain and thinking this decision will help their situation. Notwithstanding this strategy only contributes to their back becoming weaker and even more vulnerable to even more frequent and debilitating injury. Unfortunately to find relief far too many people, and their doctors defer to medication and eventually surgery without ever considering exercise. Yet a properly developed exercise program of stretching and strengthening exercises have proven to be the most effective method for combating many low back, postural, and cervical neck issues. In fact several current meta-analyses confirm the superior effectiveness of exercise for low back pain. Subsequently there is a high probability that a Certified Fitness Professional (CFP) can help you with LBP by slowly improving the strength and condition of your back, avoiding the risks of surgery and improving the quality of your life. The largest of these studies reviewed 23 published reports on 21 different randomized clinical trials involving 30,850 individual participates.  Another included reviews of 29 separate trials with sample sizes ranging from 20 to 323 persons for a total of 2431 individual participants.  Each of these comprehensive analyses looked at an array of significant factors that resulted in positive outcomes for the various studies and its participants. Among other matrices regarding low back pain, they looked at pain reduction, improved spinal mobility, muscle strength and endurance, quality of life, participant's sense of independence and well being. Both of these meta studies found exercise to be the most effective cure for chronic low back pain.
“I was referred to Richard by my physical therapist, after my second round of PT with her for my back. I was pretty miserable at the time. I had had two series of epidurals, and multiple PT sessions over the prior year. I was at the point where I could not stand still for more than a few minutes without pain shooting down my glutes and into my leg, with tingling and numbness in my feet. That was tough since my job requires a lot of standing. Richard proved to be the solution. He is not just a "trainer" - the man is incredibly smart, knows everything about the body, and how to explain things in a way that reinforces the exercises he takes me through. Since I started working with Richard, I have been largely pain-free, comfortable standing for long periods, and back to an active lifestyle (biking, golf, etc). I am north of 60 years old, and one of the great things about Richard is he is not that much younger than me (but in much better shape!), and so he knows how to work with someone my age. It's been life-changing for me.”
Roger F., Law Firm Senior Partner
Over time this muscle imbalance can result in structural changes in the vertebrae of the cervical spine (neck). Nevertheless, if caught in time a corrective program of stretching, muscle activation, and strengthening can significantly reduce the severity of posture issues.
I started working out with Richard Parker, Jr. of the Sports Club/LA over 10 years ago at a time when I was experiencing chronic back and neck pain. About the same time, I got back into horse-back riding which I hadn’t done in over two decades with any regularity. I joined a local Maryland fox-chasing club and got totally hooked on this particular equestrian sport. A day of fox-chasing can be pretty intensive – 3 to 5 hours in the saddle over rough terrain at speeds that would not be described as sedate. Core strength and balance are critical, as well as endurance. Fox-chasing season – September through March - is followed by a month or two of riding cross country courses from 3 to 6 miles in length with anywhere from 20 to 30 jumps of various heights. Perhaps to some that might not sound so intense. But for me, considering that I sit behind a desk 40+ hours each week, along with my spinal issues, it is no accident that I’m able to do this. Credit goes to Richard - I would not be able to pursue this activity to the extent I do if it weren’t for the personalized training program that Richard developed for me, taking into consideration my back and neck issues, and tailoring a program specific to my needs.
Martha Klasing, Managing Partner, Operations
If you are considering the irreversible risk of back surgery please consider the findings of these and other studies published in the Journal of American Medical Association, The Cochrane Library, and the Lancet. The Lancet study recommends simply this,“surgery and over treatment should be avoided.”  The point is, supervised exercise should be tried first, exhausted even, before considering the often irreversible risks of back surgery. Exercise is a proven method for dealing with back pain allowing the body to naturally and non-invasively heal itself. But the choice is always yours.
1. Steffens D, Maher CG, Pereira LS, Stevens ML, Oliveira VC, Chapple M, Teixeira-Salmela LF, Hancock MJ. (2016) Prevention of low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine 176(2):199-208
2. Saragiotto BT, Maher CG, Yamato TP, Costa LO, Menezes Costa LC, Ostelo RW, Macedo LG, (2016) Motor control exercises for chronic non specific low back pain; Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews 8;(1): CD012004
3. Balagué F, Mannion AF, Pallisé F, Cedraschi C, (2012) Non-specific low back pain; The
Lancet 379(9814), p482-491
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