Back pain is on the rise. This study done in North Carolina over a 14 year period has shown that more and more people are reporting cases of chronic back pain. In fact it has more than doubled.
It is estimated that 80% of people will suffer from back pain at some point in their life, with the likelihood increasing as we get older. While most will recover, it will only be temporary as studies also suggest that 85% will have lifetime recurrence.
As well as back pain being on the rise, predictably, so is pain treatment. Spinal injections, surgery and the prescription of opioids (specifically for back pain) are also at an all time high.
So what’s going on? Why are we getting worse? Well, there are a few indicators mentioned in the study; obesity, depression and, with this particular population, construction work has also risen significantly over the 14 years. What does that tell us? If I may speculate based on this study and my own education and experience, it’s a combination of inactivity and misguided activity. What I mean by that is: people are not moving enough, moving poorly and/or just not ready and able for everyday, functional activities. It’s something I see all the time in my job and something I have experienced personally. I used to work construction during the day and go to the gym in the evenings. So I was active but not functional and my back and neck suffered because of it. I had always been active but I had never trained my body with respects to human mechanics and so the rigours of a full day on the building site coupled with lifting weights without the proper foundation wreaked havoc on my body.
For others, low levels of activity is the culprit. When muscles aren’t worked they get weak and lose tone. The body succumbs to gravity and pain ensues.
Luckily, I found a solution. It was called “muscle balance”. You see, muscle imbalances are kind of like computer virus’. They cause you to function in a way that is not ideal. Usually, a certain muscle group will be over dominant and try to do most of the work because the other muscles are too weak or too untrained. It can also cause certain muscles to stay tight and not allow for proper movement of the joints. This can place too much stress in certain areas, like the lower back, and cause a lot of pain.
My gym work at the time was based entirely on how I wanted to look, there was very little thought gone into how well my body functioned. I did stretch for 10 minutes at the end of every session but that was also misguided, arbitrary and, I later found out, causing some problems of its own. Through studying this type of training, not only did it lead to a career as fitness trainer but I also fixed the issues I was having with my back and neck.
Feel good and look good
I was still able to train for aesthetic reasons but now when I left the gym I felt good. Not like I had just been dancing at a concert with some party chick on my shoulders for an entire gig (actually, maybe that’s what happened to my back). And just in general, I felt loose but strong. I had more energy. I could stand for more than half an hour without getting aches. I was sleeping better and I could get straight out of bed and put my shoes on without having to wait 20 minutes for my spine to loosen up. I was able to go back playing soccer and boxing without my knee giving out half way through the season. In case your thinking that I just got lucky, I’ve applied the same techniques to many clients over the past 7 years who all report the similar improvements. The only thing I regret was not starting sooner but, c’est la vie.
The actual strategy, in terms of a bigger program design, will vary from person to person depending on their particular issues and goals. But I can pretty confidently say that the exercises I provide here will help pretty much anyone reduce their back pain and get them moving and feeling much better in only 5 minutes a day.
If you need help with a more detailed training program then click here to get in touch.
To get the video for the aforementioned exercises click here.
Do each exercise for 1 minute (each side for the last one). My advice is to do it first thing in the morning so that you start the day off with something positive. Consult with your doctor or physician beforehand just to make sure that you don’t have any serious issues.
So there you have it. Better than a pain pill, free and only takes 5 minutes a day.