January 20, 2017
Back pain is increasing and getting worse in the world despite all the money, technology, research, medication, restrictions, devices, surgeries, and our feeble attempts at isolating the back as the culprit.
Since when did we become such a weak and wussy society afraid to use our bodies? More brain power and technology is available today than ever before and we are getting further away from answers.
There’s a big reason they keep treading water in the back pain arena; they keep isolating the back. The back is connected to everything else in the body, even your little pinky toe. Both of them. It’s really nice to know all the anatomy and how it’s ‘supposed’ to work, but that doesn’t mean anything in the movement and pain game.
The dirty little secret they either don’t know, won’t tell you, or refuse to believe is that the back never behaves the same way with everyone.
What the back does, when it does it, and where it does it depends on a few things:
To put it another way: Who you are, what you are doing and where you are doing it matters!
A good launching point is to back off the back. Look somewhere else. Does that make too much sense? Common sense that is. You have every right to explore different avenues and approaches to help your pain when you have done everything the establishment tells you ‘should work’ and yet your back still sucks.
It’s time for the crazy shit path.
So lets’ get to stepping..
Stop respiring from your neck and your chest because it’s killing your back. Respiration and breathing are not the same thing. Respiration everybody does or you would be dead. Breathing takes conscious attention and effort. Breathing is the creamy filling of spinal stabilization. The central cylinder of the diaphragm, pelvic floor, transverse abdominis and multifidi, keep you braced and safe. Just like a hug from Mom.
They form what’s known as the Intrinsic Core.
If you don’t own this support cylinder you don’t own stability. If you have a back pain issue you can ‘guarandamntee’ that this system needs work. Start to breathe from your belly, your back and the ribs. Imagine inflating a ballon 360. Don’t just inflate the front of the ballon (the belly).
See video below of me teaching in Amsterdam. Do either flat on the floor or feet on the wall. Don’t let the chest move before the belly and back. Inhale via your nose and out through the mouth.
Take off your foot condoms (shoes.) Your feet are supposed to feel a ton of the ground (environment.) If you wear shoes you don’t feel the same stuff. Just like a condom. Oh you’ll feel something, but it’s just not the same. And yes that means take off your socks too.
Is it any wonder that the nerves in your lower back go all the way down to your feet? Hells bells why not show some love to the furthest end of the nerves to make your back feel different? Massage your feet every day and walk around on many different types of surfaces.
The bottom of your feet have a fast track to your brain to give you a sense of where your body is in space and time. Skin on the ground helps muscles in your lower back function better.
Okay admit it. When was the last time you actually went down to the ground on purpose? Most of us only go there if we fall our we had a really rough night out on the weekend. That’s too bad because the ground has a magic in it. Every fiber in your body is designed to get you off the floor. The first thing that happens when you put more of your body on the ground is you feel safer and more stable. The safer your brain feels the more movement it gives ya.
The ground never lies. It always gives you feedback of body position unlike sinking into a mattress marshmallow. The more skin you have in contact with the ground the more sensory input your brain gets which feeds forward to help the back.
The skin and the brain come from the same neurodevelopmental tissue known as the ectoderm. Stimulating the skin is a neural hack way to help your brain mitigate pain.
So start moving the rest of your body that doesn’t hurt and you just might start to feel better in your back. Or you could sit your unstable ass in a chair all damn day it’s up to you
I am not saying you shouldn’t do therapy or medical interventions. Absolutely jump through the proverbial hoops. I’m already assuming you have had every test and assessment in the known universe and nobody can figure this shit out. Or they gave you the diagnosis of non-specific low back pain. That’s a fancy way to say they have no freaking idea why your back hurts.
When you get tired of hoop jumping and you want to take back control of your life start doing these three simple things. What if they don’t help? Well you just learned something about your body and you need to take another approach. Be more proactive.
In my 25 years of helping people with back pain, including my own, I have never seen a case that did not improve to some extent with these three habits.
I’ll end with words from the smartest doctor I have ever learned from, ‘Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.’ -Dr. Seuss
I’ll see you on the floor. Bring your smile and your mojo.