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“Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.”

Back Pain

Dear Past (Pain-Full) Self,

Back pain is basically…

Spinal pain….To understand back pain we must first understand the spine and its relationship to the pelvis.

Imagine putting a marshmallow between two graham crackers and then pressing on one side only. What happens?

The marshy BULGES out one side. That’s what happens to your spine’s discs when in compromised positions. The spine is made of intervertebral DISCS and bones, ligaments, tendons, and the spinal cord.

For today let’s focus on the intervertebral discs.

They have a material (annulus fibrosus and nucleus pulposus) that are composed of WATER, collagen, and proteoglycans (PGs). The most amount of fluid is in the nucleus pulposus. We must do our best to make sure these sensitive discs are in good positions since they are filled with fluid. We don’t want them to get smashed and cause a rupture (aka herniated disc)…sounds painful right? It is.

When it comes to back pain…

What tends to happen is the spine gets put in a compromised position and pressure is forced onto the spine. Then out pops the DISC causing it to press on the nerve sending a pain signal to the brain and down the leg (sciatica). The way the spine gets in a compromised position is through a hypo or hyper-curvature in any of the three different parts of the spine (lumbar, thoracic and cervical) by slouching, lifting with a rounded back or SITTING.

What do muscles do to bones?

Muscles pull bones into different positions. Since the pelvis attaches to the spine. Certain muscles along our pelvis and spine, if tight, can pull the pelvis into a position that’s not natural and then with it the spine will pull as well. This reduces the natural curvatures along the spine which put the discs in positions that are not healthy.

So, that’s back pain in a nutshell:

Spine in bad position + pressure + force = disc bulge pressing on nerve (aka pain)…which leads me to my next point…If I can go back in time I would have educated myself on sciatica because it’s just so crippling to many.

What in the world is “sciatica”?

The term refers to pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, which runs down one or both legs from the lower back. It’s a spinal problem that presents itself as back and leg pain.

It’s basically a curse that will….

…haunt you if you don’t learn to manage it and reduce the severity of it…ok I’m kidding it’s not a curse…but it sure does haunt you if you don’t learn how to reverse it…yes I said reverse it! It’s possible and don’t let any pessimist (aka traditional doctor) tell you otherwise!

How do most injuries to the spine happen?

Most injuries to the spine happen from a sudden impact while the spine is in a compromised position, or it comes from continually putting the spine in an unnatural position for long periods of time. In either case, it results from what? PUTTING THE SPINE IN A BAD POSITION!If that’s the case don’t do that, am I right? Yes, but it’s not that easy, here’s why…

We haven’t been taught to move, stand or sit properly.

It takes multiple bends to break a paperclip. Our bodies in the same way take multiple bends in bad positions to finally, “snap”. But, did it really just “snap”? No. It went through years of abuse and then one day you added some extra force like a sneeze or lifting up your niece and guess what? POP! And then shooting pain goes down your leg and you end up binge watching Game of Thrones for a few days eating ice cream like you just had a bad break up…which you literally did…and now you feel divorced from physical activity. You no longer think it’s possible to fix it because your only consultant is usually a doctor that is funded by big Pharma and wants you to pop legal Heroin (aka Oxycontin) and stay sedentary until you die…

But there’s HOPE! Don’t give up!

The sciatica you’re experiencing is only a symptom of what’s really occurring, which is faulty spinal mechanics. The disc that bulges is usually the L3-L4 or L4-L5 which is the area around the nerves that run down your legs (aka the sciatic nerve). This is why you feel a numbness, tingling, or shooting pain down your leg when you have sciatica.

Fix that plus…

…some stretching and you will fix your back pain and sciatic symptoms. It’s that simple. It takes time, it will not happen overnight, but if you persist it will fix itself in less than 6 months! What are some exercises and stretches to fix it, you ask? Stay tuned for the next blog to find out!

Stretch/Mobilize + Move, sit and stand properly

Your Future (Pain-Free) self