Copyright 2009 
by Lin Stone

This fact may be hard to take so I'll put it up here to start with.

Most of your Back Pain
-- is YOUR fault. 

Pick One Cause, or more: 

  1. You won't exercise. 
  2. You won't take care of yourself.
  3. You weigh too much.
  4. You won't eat right
  5. You keep your back in a constant state of torque
  6. You tilt yourself forward at the hips when you work at a desk.
  7. You lift heavy objects with your back, instead of your legs.
  8. You aren't using good posture.

Even when you have a REAL problem, any of the above conditions can magnify and accentuate that real problem.

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One more back pain resource, and you are free to go.

The worst thing I have ever done for my back was go to a general practitioner. "We've gotta have X-rays!"  

How many?  Well, a dozen or so ought to do for a start.  Then, after he gives up he starts sending you to his friends and every one of them has gotta have MORE X-RAYS!

I don't believe this course ever stops until your insurance company pulls the plug and refuses to pay for any more of this nonsense.

Back pain is a physical problem.  My advice is to go see a physical therapist FIRST.  Then if you are sent to an M.D. at least you have a good excuse for a bad decision.

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My back has been hurting since 12 August, 1963.  I must have had a thousand X-rays of my back and dozens of MRIs.  I've tried every kind of treatment doctors could think of, even  the stupid idea of letting a psychiatrist have at me.  Nothing offered to me by modern medicine helped.  Nothing. 

I remember the turning point, making an appointment with a back pain specialist in a last ditch effort to stop the pain I was in.  She had sounded so friendly and so helpful over the phone that I just knew she could and would help me.

The great day arrived and I walked into her office.  The doctor came to the door and beckoned for me to follow her down the hallway.  Ready for relief, I began trailing her. 

Then I noticed she was hobbling along on crutches, the kind that your hands slide into and then brace against your arm?  Being behind her I felt licensed to study her body for signs of her infirmity. 

She had no strength in her ankles.  They collapsed and fell all the way over to either side of her legs.  With every step she took, her feet turned completely side ways so that the leg bone HAD to be bearing up her weight.  Can you imagine ANYTHING so painful and hard to live with?  And I was complaining to her about a little bit of pain?

She must lose a lot of customers, letting them follow her down that hall.  I turned around and walked rapidly out of her hall, out of her office, and out of her sight. 

Just knowing she could be cheerful in spite of such infirmities helped me to be more cheerful while enduring my affliction -- but you know what, knowing how bad off she was didn't help me much otherwise. 

It took many more doctors, hospitals, operations and years of searching, but finally I fell rather desperately into the clutches of an old country chiropractor that found the real cause of my back pain.  "You've got one leg that is hitting the ground two inches sooner than the other one." 

I'd been told that before, but nobody had been able to fix it.  This chiropractor punched me hard on both sides of the neck simultaneously and charged me $30.  About nine months later I had to come back for a readjustment, but now, nine years later, the mal-adjusted pelvis problem remains fixed.

So, am I suggesting a chiropractic cure for everyone?  Absolutely not.  My first advice remains.. See a physical therapist.  But wait, let me be more explicit than that.. See the BEST physical therapist you can find. 

Back in the good old days I wasn't rich enough to see a physical therapist.  It was cure myself, or quit.

62% of the people in the United States complain of back pain occasionally so I used the condition as an introduction when meeting new people, anywhere.  "Hello, what are you doing about your back pain?"  It wasn't long before I encountered an individual who had conquered his back pain and was only too glad to tell me how to duplicate the solution.

The first thing on the list was EXERCISE.  As a group, US back pain sufferers don't exercise often enough. Remember, it isn't our bones that are hurting, it is the muscles that are hurting. 

Take The Strain Off Your Back!

The reason our muscles are hurting is because they are being asked to do more than they are capable of.  Consequently, the less we exercise the more they hurt.  Fortunately, the obverse is true also: the more exercising we do, the more work those muscles can do without hurting. 

Isn't that wonderful? 

Unfortunately, most people fall into the trap of doing the wrong exercises to stop the pain.  The pain is felt in their back so they begin exercising their back.  They'll get down in the floor and do a pile of sit ups, thinking this will help stop their back pain.  Then they'll arch their back in the other direction to straighten everything out, then get up with an awesome sweat and -- -- yep! more pain.

Just like getting punched in the neck to solve a unbalanced pelvis, we need to exercise OTHER muscles to take the original strain off our backs.

Let's start out in a sitting position to prove my point. If you can't watch yourself rise in a mirror, then go to the waiting room of any doctor's office and watch other people rise.  Virtually every one of us will use our backs to rise.  We lean forward and JERK ourselves upward.  That means that virtually every one of us is straining our back muscles every time we rise from a sitting position. "No, no.  This is killing my back!"

So, if it isn't the back muscles we should be working on so that we can rise more easily to our feet, what muscles should we be using?  Well, let's start with the calves, the thighs, and the gluteus maximus.  These are the muscles that SHOULD be raising up the trunk of your body.  Your back muscles should just be going along for the ride.

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The Workouts

Exercise #1 (for people who stand up or stand in line a lot.. Squeeze your gluteus maximus muscles together and hold the pressure for at least two minutes, preferably three, then relax for a similar amount of time.  Continue for fifteen minutes.  Use it again any time you get into a long line.  For best results, start BEFORE you begin feeling pain in your back.

Exercise #2, Throw your left hip out to the left as far as you can and stretch your right arm down as far as you can.  Hold for one minute then throw your right hip out to the right as far as you can and stretch your left arm down as far as you can.

Exercise #3,  while keeping your hips and legs locked in place turn your entire upper body to the left and look as far behind you as you can.  Now look to the right in the same way.

Exercise #4, Bend your knees and let your upper body sag straight down.  Hold this until your knees begin to burn, then hold the position anyway.  Ignore the burning for as long as you can, then straighten up and wait for three minutes before doing this again.

Exercise #5, Put your left hand on the left side of your jaw and force your jaw against it as hard and as long as you can.  Hold for one minute then put your right hand on the right side of your jaw and force your jaw against it as hard and as long as you can.  Hold for one minute then release.  Now hold one hand under your chin and force your chin against it as hard and as long as you can.  Hold for sixty seconds then put both hands on top of your head and force your head against your hands as hard and as long as you can. 

Exercise #6... Take a short walk every other day.  With each step, pull your knees as high up as you can as if trying to touch your chest.  Take a longer walk each time you go until you are satisfied with your endurance.

Exercise #7, if one leg is weaker than the other or hurts sooner than the other raise that knee up until it is perpendicular to your body, then swing the leg all the way to the left then all the way to the right as often as you can.  While we are thinking about that weak leg I'll throw in another exercise.  It is too balance on the other leg and extend your weak leg to its full length and revolve it slowly from as far to the front and opposite side as you can reach to as far around to the back as you can reach.

Exercise #8, Glide, glide.  Glide as you are walking.  Do you remember power skating?  Your upper body sways gently from side to side -- you clench your toes, bend your knee and PULL the foot back to you while gently shifting to the other side to do the same.  Sure, you're going to look stupid.  But try it when nobody is around to laugh and see if you don't tire out rapidly.  If you do tire out rapidly, you NEED this exercise.  If all else fails, take up skating.

"What about my back?"  you ask.  "My back, my back.  Don't I need to exercise my back?"

Exercise #9, How many times is your back just killing you and you finally make it to your car and just slump over for several minutes until some of the pain dissolves?  Boy, how wonderful it would be if you could just teleport yourself home into your bed, how wonderful that would be!  But you've still got THIRTY MILES to go.  Doggone it.  Okay, here's the exercise.  Move your seat forward an inch or so.  Put both feet up against the first rise of the floorboard and make as if to straighten your legs.  Use this force to shove the small of your back (and ONLY the small of your back) up against the back of your seat.  Hold this pressure for at least sixty seconds.  Let the pressure go suddenly, rest, then do it again at least once and preferably twice.  You should notice an immediate loss of back pain.

You can achieve the same dramatic results at home by setting your chair against a solid wall before starting.  If much of your work involves sitting you will want to contrive ways you can do this exercise throughout the day -- without looking like a fool.

Okay, we have worked on the minor back pain, how do you know if you have a REAL problem? 

Back pain in and of itself is usually not really a disease. It is a symptom of disease or damage. Whenever you experience back pain you need to consider that this is your bodys signal that some underlying tissue is in distress. Where is this tissue?

It may not even be located in your back! But for the purpose of our discussion here, serious back pain fits into one of these categories:
1) Pain that is debilitating to the point that one cannot carry out any activities of daily life.
2) Pain as a result of a condition which could lead to long term damage to the body.
3) Pain that is a signal of serious underlying diseases from meningitis to metastatic cancer.

the end

Lin Stone is an author, writer, and photographer. He has written numerous articles in the health fields, and hundreds more in other categories.  Thanks to the Internet, most of these articles and books are yours to read for free.     

No information contained on this site should be used as a substitute 
for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed professional in that particular field.

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