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Back Pain

 source of the pain,” says Bartley. Muscle Activation Technique. Looking at muscle weakness rather than tightness is the key in correcting imbalances that can lead to pain, according to this approach. Developed by biomechanics specialist and former Denver Broncos consultant Greg Roskopf in the mid-1990s, Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) is a science-based system that relies on neuromuscular physiology to explain its efficacy. Because the body naturally protects itself by preventing movement where it senses instability, MAT specialists are trained to look at the body’s muscular systems and their functional relationships. The technique seeks to enhance stability and mobility rather than risk increasing mobility without stability. “A typical session involves a thorough range of motion exam, manual muscle tests, manual treatment of tendon attachments, and retesting,” says MAT therapist and personal trainer, Mark Regis. “MAT also uses isometric exercises to enhance neuromuscular feedback.” Physical therapy with Pilates. The pulleys and springs on Pilates equipment help the low back pain patient move efficiently and effectively. Plus, Pilates employs a technique so simple it is astonishing in its effectiveness: breathing. “One of the main aspects of the Pilates treatment is the use of the breath because, with low back pain, people often use a fear-based shallow breathing instead of full, deep breathing,” says physical therapist Lise Stolze of the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Denver. “It is the breathing techniques, along with the assisted movement techniques, that help to relieve the inhibition of the affected muscles.” As part of her doctoral research in orthopedics, Stolze is studying how Pilates can aid in physical therapy for pre- and post-surgery patients, and those who have neurological symptoms, as in sciatica. (Stolze is looking for study volunteers. Contact her at 303-919-6312.) When muscles are inhibited by pain, natural movement patterns are lost. “Pilates is one of several techniques that promote intelligent movement and helps to retrain lost movement patterns. This helps patients achieve a positive experience of movement without pain,” says Stolze. “Your body needs to move and Pilates allows for continuous movement, ultimately without the inhibition caused by pain.” Linda J. Buch is a certified fitness trainer in Denver; linda@ljbalance.com . Contacts Dr. Scott Bainbridge, 303-783-1300, denverspine.com . Advertisement Carolyn Bartley, chiropractor 303-388-6886, activehealthdenver.com Mark Regis, muscle activation technique therapist, 720-936-2222, muscleactivation.com Lise Stolze, physical therapist, 303-919-6312, lstolze.wordpress.com or shcdenver.com Other resources: “Fixing You: Back Pain,” Rick Olderman, Boone Publishing, 2009, $11.99 “Framework for the Lower Back,” Dr. Nicholas A. DiNubile, Rodale Press, 2009, $18.99 “Pain Erasure,” Bonnie Prudden, M. Evans and Conpany, 1980, $14.95 Linda J. Buch


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