Ready to hear something absolutely insane about back pain? 80% of US adults will experience lower back pain in their lifetime. 20-44% of which will experience a reoccurrence within one year. $20-$50 billion is spent annually on back pain in the workforce. Now why is this? The simple answer: we do not move enough.
Anatomy of the Back
To understand why so many people deal with back pain first let first look at the anatomy of the back.The pelvis has 45 different muscles that use it as an attachment point. Now what does that mean to a non-anatomy nerd? That muscles are constantly pulling and jerking your pelvis from every which angel. Let’s just pretend that there are 4 directions that the pelvis can be pulled: up, down, right, and left. If for some reason the muscles on one side of your pelvis are stronger pulling up than the muscles pulling down then your pelvis will actually start to hike up on one side. Now if the muscle on the left side of your body are stronger then the muscles on the right side of your body your hips will begin to swing out towards the left, causing a rotation in your hips. Essentially, muscles can pull joints out of place.
But the question still remains: What does your hip position have to do with your back pain? Well when we think of the joint associated with their back we think – the spine. The spine is a stack of 26 little joints that make up your lower back, mid-back, and neck. The key word is stack. In everyday life when we begin to stack something, i.e. the dishes, papers or books on our desk, it is more desirable that the surface that we are stacking on is level. Why? So that the papers, books, dishes do not go toppling over. Your body on the other hand will never topple over. Instead, it will adapt to that new position as best if can. When we don’t create balance in the body our spines cannot find neutral and be pain free.
Your Back Pain Answer
If this is the case how can we then incorporate balance back into our lives? How can we control the pain when it comes on and prevent it from coming back? How can we keep ourselves from feeling fear when that twinge of pain makes us catch our breath? The answer is surprisingly simple. Move. If we move and incorporate a more dynamic range of motion into our spines, our hips, our shoulders, our bodies then our muscles will wake up. They will begin to do their job and we will have the ability to reset them. Balanced hips + stacked spines = no more pain.
Are You Balanced?
1. Stand in your normal posture. Take a deep breath in and close your eyes. Bring all of your attention down to your feet. Is there more weight in one foot than the other? Is the weight more in your heels or towards the balls of your feet? Do you feel more pressure on the inside or outside arch of your foot? If your answer is anything besides “I feel complete and utter balance,” then congratulations, you are off balance!
2. Back your heels up into a wall, nice and snug. Let your body relax and take a few breathes with eyes closed. Is one side of your body pressing into the wall more than then other side of your body? Feel for your calves, hips, and shoulders. If you feel one side of your body pressing into the wall at any point more than the other, congratulations, you are rotated!
Back Pain Solutions
A few solution idea:
- Move more. The more we move the more our bodies have the ability to reset themselves.
- Incorporate yoga. I am loving popularity of yoga right now. When you find the right yoga teacher they can help tremendously with back pain. They will get you moving and twisting and flexing in ways that allows you to find balance.
- Get our back pain relieving movement sequence. We want to get you out of back pain so we created a movement sequence to help do that. Together, these 5 movements will balance your hips, incorporate movement into your spine, and let your back find a pain free neutral again.
- Posture therapy. A one on one look at the way that your movement creates the pain you feel. With personalized programs and pictures to track your progress, together we can create the right program to get you back to moving pain free.
It is important to remember that no matter what you choose it will take time. There is no magic pill, but there is consistent effort. With consistent effort you can eliminate your back pain once and for all.