Questions about muscle spasm and "weak knees"


Any suggestions for back spasms and weak knees?

--L. Brown


Back spasms are quite often a sign of instability and the muscles are attempting to splint the area to keep movement from being excessive (and, thus, causing more wear/tear).  I would recommend a thorough assessment by a qualified practitioner.  Once that has been accomplished, both the TVA progressions (p. 212) and the Horse Stance Vertical (p. 155) in my book (available in print or digital format here: will likely be good starting points for you.  And even if the spasms have a different root cause/causes (nutrition would be an obvious suspect as food sensitivities can create inhibition of the core secondary to inflammation of the intestines), the muscles being targeted during both movements are essential for your orthopedic integrity. 

Weak knees?  Since no part of the body works in isolation, I would say it's not the knees so much as the legs; and not the legs so much as the body.  Training the hip extensors will likely benefit you.  But you would need to progress appropriately.  So, I would again recommend obtaining clearance from a qualified professional.  Then I would work on length/tension relationships and optimal core functioning.  In fact, it's likely the knees feel week as they don't have a solid foundation (i.e. back) off which to exert force.  L1 through L4 could all be compromised, too, so pathology here needs to be ruled out and/or addressed.  Lastly I would begin a strengthening program which progresses from a non-axial loading position (i.e. supine/floor based) to more neurologically complex/axial loading exercises (hands and knees, knees, standing) to mimic the functional demands of the real world.  All 3 planes of motion should be addressed with a focus on maintaining your balance over your center of mass.  Let form and pain free range of motion dictate parameters like sets and reps and make sure to include periods of unloading both in your training week and your training cycle so that the body has a chance to super compensate and get stronger/healthier. 


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