A Possible Back Pain Solution By Phillip Beach

Author Phillip Beach of Muscles and Meridians once said  "our basic neuroarchitecture is built around patterns that have not changed for 500,000 years."  As much as this is true, the current research is revealing more about these neuroachitecture and it's patterns.  After watching a very interesting video of Michael Boyle talking about Beach's theory to address back pain, everything started to make sense.  

"The skin of the sole of the foot is supplied by the medial and lateral plantar nerve, from the tibial nerve.  The tibial nerve comes from L4, L5, S1, S2, S3.  The multifidus receives information direction from the DRG/ Posterior rami nerve from the same nerve roots.  Also From S3 nerve root is the pudendal nerve which innervates the pelvic floor muscles" 

This explains why a foot massage can actually relax the the body and it can also can support the theory of reflexology.  

In Beach's Book he states:

"All day I listen to people describing their low back pain.  From a biomechanical perspective our species has real vulnerability in the low back region.  Contributing factors include our erect posture that places much more weight on lumbar spine and the intervening intervertebral disks (IVDs).  In addition we have made a pact with the biomechanical devil by utilizing the H-CF for our gait and throwing patterns as, paradoxically, our lumbar IVDs are particularly vulnerable to twisting insults."

Each spinal segment has an army of muscles that start at that level and course downward.  Each spinal segment issues a pair of nerves that control the muscles starting from that segment, and supply a segmentally related patch of skin.  The most vulnerable spinal segments are found at the function of the lumbar spine and the sacrum (L4/L5 and S1), which send their sensory spinal nerves down to the sole of the foot, i.e. the most vulnerable segments are driven by the most information.  This is important.  The small muscles of the low back are thus segmentally related to the soles of the feet.  Information drives all systems so her we have a sensory platform devoted to the most vulnerable region of the low back.  Shoes, from this perspective, are a sensory deprivation chambers that cut down the raw information we need to stand and walk in precarious upright manner.  To counter this I suggest to my patients to take their shoes off and walk barefoot on rough ground."

Beach nails it with explaining how the lower back and the soles of the feet are related and he could not use a better way of explaining how bad shoes are from a sensory blockage standpoint.   Shoes from Breach's perspective do end up acting as a sensory deprivation chamber.   As Beach suggests, it is very important to walk on barefoot on a rough ground.  Of course you probably should ease in to this and not constantly walk bare feet in streets since it is not safe.  

Kelly Starret earlier in in 2015 stated that he makes sure at least one day of the week he is completely bare feet.  In his podcast Kelly also spoke about the benefits of walking bare feet and how important it was.  Marv Marinovich for years trained his athletes to do feet work and I don't think anyone really understood exactly why it was so important.  Most coaches just went with this but not much really understood the why were were doing this.

Michael Boyle suggested training with bare fee but this is something that should progress slowly.  Michael recommends doing agility ladder drills to get started.  I completely agree with this approach.  I got in to bare feet training way too fast and ended up with bad feet pain.  Not to mention, I also dropped a 35 lb plate on my big toe and my x-ray revealed that I broke it.  It is very important to be smart and safe with this type of training.  Michael also stated in one of his summits that he made a 10' by 1' board with 1-3 inch diameter stones glued to it and walked on it 20 minutes a day as Beach recommend and this helped his lower back pain tremendously. Mike also said this was something that worked for most of his athletes.

Hopefully we will see more studies in the future on walking on stones in correlation to back pain but it does not hurt to start walking on similar board stone platform daily.  As the old Turkish proverb says "No doctor knows your body as good as yourself."





Battle Chains with 4 Inch Ball Handle

Battle ropes are a great tool for athletes; and, I find them to be a great complimentary tool to kettlebells & sandbag workouts.  They are a great tool to build up upper body conditioning and to build a long lasting grip.  I like to use a two-inch battle rope to focus on grip endurance and there are not many other tools that can match the benefits of this type of training.  Building not just a strong grip, but a long lasting grip, is very important for most sports, especially martial arts.  If your grip wears out during a grappling bout you are out of luck.  I find this similar to being stuck in a gunfight without any ammo.  I have seen MMA and grappling athlete’s grips and arms burn out after an unsuccessful guillotine attempt.  This is a tough spot to be in.  If you have well conditioned grips and arms you can recover from these type of situations and keep going.


Another tool I use to amplify the benefits of this type of training is: using chains and ball handles.  I commonly use a 4-inch softball with an i-hook attached, which is connected to a chain.  I basically insert a 3-inch i-hook into a 4-inch diameter ball as shown in the picture below. Then, I use a chain quick link to hook up the chain to the ball handle that is shown picture below.

This is a set up that really works my grip and forearms and is a great complimentary tool to add to your current battle rope training.  I use ball handles that are 2-inches to 5 inches in diameter.  It is great to use different handles to continuously challenge the grip. I use larger diameter ball handles to focus on two handed rotational exercises or chopping exercises.  The ball handle is an amazing tool to challenge your upper body and grip strength and conditioning.  I use a two chain set up or a single chain set up, as shown in video, for unilateral exercises and rotational power building exercises.

In the video below I am demonstrating only a few of the exercises that can be performed.   With this chain and ball handle modification, you can perform any exercise that uses a battle rope. The chains have a different feel and your grips and forearms will be in for a fight.  I recommend interlocking your fingers during the two handed exercises.  The figure eights’, rainbows, rainbows w/ lunges, and Russian twists are great to perform with the two handed exercises.

The battle ropes I use, are costlier than the chain set up.  If you have chains laying around, you can use this set up to get a great workout without spending too much.   I recommend using the ropes and this battle chain set up as a part of the routine for the best results.  This ball handle chain set up will supercharge any of your unconventional workouts.