Healing Your Own Backpain: Get Educated Not Suckered!
A special thanks to Jason Welsh, a Brownsburg Chiropractor, for providing this article.
A few weeks ago, while watching some football, a commercial kept getting aired about how you can cure your back pain by using the advertisers tool/plan/machine. To be quite honest, I don’t even remember what it was because I started envisioning the deluge of questions coming my way in the coming week about this “new” back pain cure that people are seeing on tv. So let’s get it out there. These claims are a load of garbage. To put it nicely, it’s a money grab. Don’t buy it!
You see the claims everywhere. Magazines, television, radio, flyers. “Cure your back pain with these 3 exercises”. “End sciatica by doing this one stretch”. “Alleviate 90% of spinal arthritis by buying our machine”. You see where I’m going with this right?
Let me present this from another angle. If there was a single stretch that could cure sciatica, or 3 exercises that could get rid of back pain, don’t you think back pain would have been eliminated long ago. It’s not like new exercises and stretches are being invented. It’s all been done folks.
Instead of falling prey to slick advertising, let me offer an alternative. Understand what is causing your pain. Realize that pain is the last thing to show up to the party and if something is hurting, the underlying cause has been hanging around for a while. So let me give you a quick rundown of back pain.
What Causes Back Pain
This is a very broad overview and is by no means a diagnostic lesson or an all inclusive guide to back pain. I’ve been studying this stuff for over a decade and still see cases that are new to me.
Musculoskeletal back pain is generally caused by one thing, improper movement. Whether it’s too much, too little, poor form, it all leads down the same road when you don’t take care of your body. All of the disc herniations, nerve impingements, sprains and strains are secondary to the misuse of a joint.
The brain is very protective of the spine because it contains the spinal cord, the communication pathway to the entire body. If this goes, we’ve got problems!
Add this to the plethora of abuse we heap on our back every day and you’ve got the first half of the equation.
The second half is the impending fallout in response to the stress. This is where the complexity starts and the potential injuries are vast and varied.
Since most of you probably aren’t shooting for a doctorate level education in this stuff let’s leave that side of the equation alone for now. Instead, let’s focus on what you can do to affect the first part.
Where to Start
We know you’re not going to change the protective nature of the brain. That leaves the abuse and neglect we subject ourselves to. So here are some tips to help you battle and prevent back pain. (And no, doing one or all of these is not a cure all, but a starting point).
MOVE! You heard it here countless times by now. If not refer back to the beginning in my e-Book, The Health Puzzle. We were made to move. Not just at the repetitive motions we subject ourselves to at work or at the gym.
Get your body and limbs moving in all directions and angles that you can think of (safely). We try to hard to regiment our movement through lists and workouts. Try approaching movement as a child. Roll around, jump up and down. Do yoga or pilates, climb a tree if you want. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Your body recognizes movement for what it is, not for what set you’re on.
Focus on Mobility. This one ties in to #1 but I want to stress it. Again keep it simple. We’re not looking for master level acrobatics. Just try to explore ranges of motion and do things that you typically wouldn’t do in your normal routine.
Avoid Sitting. On a daily basis people ask me about the best chair or ergonomic cushion. The answer is no. I would rather you have a crappy chair. Because then you will be so uncomfortable you will be forced to cut back the amount of time you sit.
The goal is not to find the most comfortable chair you can in order to sit and become an 8 hour drone. Prolonged sitting has devastating consequences on the spine and brain.
Limit sitting to burst of 15-30 minutes. Get up and stretch, shake it out, do a cartwheel. Just let your body know it’s not nap time and you are still using those muscles and joints.
Question: Do you spend time daily maintaining and caring for your body? Share with us what helps you.
By Dr. Jason Welsh, DC