With everything going on right now, who’s got your back? Having a few people that you can count on for support, is worth it’s weight in gold. Speaking of which, after having my Dad here for a week, hunched over in a chair, with a magnifying glass as big as an ipad so he could see the print, it was apparent why he has nagging back pain. It was so painful to witness and no matter what I did to try to help his ergonomics, with macular degeneration and glaucoma, it was a fruitless endeavor. Most of the time these are tried and true tips If you suffer from pain so keep reading; I’ve got your back.
Everyone is sitting a lot more that they used to these days and with that, comes expanded waist lines, pounds and pressure on our skeletal system and joints and ligaments. This throws our system out of wack, creating weak links that result in back pain.
- 80% of all people will experience back pain at one point in their lives.
- About 50% of the population that work complain of their aching back regularly.
- It is the leading cause of missed work and and accounts for more than 264 million people world wide.
- Most back pain is due to improper body mechanics as opposed to inflammatory arthritis, cancer, fractures or infection.
- Most back pain will subside by proper body mechanics and proper treatment.
In general what happens when we sit, is we are shortening our hip flexor muscles (inner groin muscles and part of the psoas) and psoas; (the muscle that extends from your lower lumbar spine through your hip to the femur), and allows the hip to flex, as in walking. If we slump all day we are elongating our back muscles which decreases strength and weakens our chest muscles, (pectoral muscle) and core muscles that support our back. This puts too much load on our discs and joints unnecessarily, which results in pain.
The visual below pretty much explains it. See how when the body bends forward it creates a compression/contraction in the entire front of your body and makes for an unhappy or a really angry back. Also, look at what happens to the head as it jets forward taking our cerival spine (neck) out of alignment and pulls on the back. The cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (mid back) and lower lumbar (lower back) are actually all one even though they are broken down into different segments and referred to separately at times. Each structure has an impact on the other. Our neck weighs between 6 and 12 pounds and when that happens, neck and shoulder pain also get into the action.
And that friends, is how the saying it’s a pain in my neck or ass came into play. That is why I often ask someone “what or who is a pain in your neck or arse”? In Reiki (hands on healing), it is believed that low back pain in associated with guilt. Sometimes, when I ask the question and someone can see what is triggering the sensation it will disappear if it has an emotional component to it.
Of course falls from sports injuries or loss of balance etc. can result in fractures and back pain but most back pain is from improper mechanics. Bulging discs are also often a result of poor body mechanics.
Proper Body Mechanics
- Sit or stand with your vertebra stacked from your sacrum to the top of your head.
- Keep space hip width apart between your legs, even when you are sitting, (no crossing your legs please). You feet need to be flat on the floor.
- Keep your pelvis slightly tucked for proper curvature of your spine.
- Keep your shoulders, hips and knees in alignment with your head directly over your cervical spine.
- Your chin should be tucked so that it is in alignment with your shoulders.
Modalities That Help:
Stretching is vital to lengthen muscles to release tight muscles. Generally holding 30-60 seconds is a good rule of thumb or every second for each year you are.
Exercising helps you strengthen muscles so they can give you the support you need to keep you uplifted and strong. Strengthening your abdominals and back are vital to eliminate back pain.
Massage is a wonderful modality to loosen tight muscles and lets them relax, giving you relief. There are many different types of massage depending on what you need. Swedish, Trigger Point, MFR (myofascial Release), ART (Active Release Therapy) are often great massage forms of body work for back pain. Modalities such as Rolfing (restructuring), Thai, or deep tissue might actually throw your body into spasm; making it worse.
Craniosacral Therapy is the connection of the bones in our head and the dural tube in the spinal column that connect to our sacrum. We use the bones as anchors to release tight connections and allow the cerebral spinal fluid to move which helps release stuck areas through sensory and skilled hands. It can be very effective for back pain, anxiety, stress, insomnia etc.
Chiropractic or Soft tissue mobilization
If you need to move a bone back into alignment, this is a great modality as long as you don’t use high velocity chiropractic which uses force. 1-3 people in 100,000 people can have a stroke when using force. While this may not seem like a lot; If you are the 1, it’s 100 %. In my certification exam for Swedish Massage which is a light touch with long strokes, someone went too deep on an older woman and their client had a TIA (mini stroke) and was rushed to the hospital), so I always aim for using the least amount of force to accomplish the same result and use soft tissue release to help move the bone in place while I help guide and support the process.
The principle is based on opening up channels in the body through the 14 meridian lines where chi might be blocked. Needles are placed in different parts of the body with either thin Japanese style needles or thicker, Chinese needles in particular areas to stimulate neurohormonal paths, and blood flow releasing pain. I personally have had both the chinese needles which for are very painful for me and the Japanese which I barely know are in me so I much prefer those.
Exercises That help The Back:
- Note: Take out the side plank until you are pain free
Avoid The Following If you have Back Pain:
- People that drain your energy
- Heavy Lifting
- Bending at the waist: Bend both knees with and squat to pick up any items.
- One sided activities: try to alternate sides
- Golf: Puts more pressure on discs because you bend to pick up the ball and twist.
- Spinal Twists: Avoid at first and add slowly.
- Heat usually; Ice is the general rule of thumb for the first 48 hrs to reduce inflammation.
- Soft chairs and couches and don’t forget to loose some weight-:)
* Topicals such as biofreeze, juniper, peppermint, helecrysm, black pepper (essention oils) can help you feel better but don’t solve the issue. I use a homeopathic Arnic 200 or 30 3-4 times a day.
Keep Moving and please let me know if this might have helped you in any way.
I really appreciate you taking time to read, liking (if you do of course), commenting and or sharing. Thank you so much.