Both Natalie and Bob have experienced lower back pain recently and so we are focusing on the back in the studio this week.
Back pain can significantly disrupt our quality of life and is very common. Up to eighty per cent of Australians will experience back pain at some point in their lives and 10% will experience significant disability as a result.
Reducing or Preventing Back Pain
Back pain can be reduced or prevented by increasing the range of motion in the spine as well as the lower legs.
Back pain: a National Health Priority Area in Australia? Andrew M Briggs and Rachelle Buchbinder, Med J Aust 2009; 190 (9): 499-502.
5 Simple Ways to Avoid Back Pain
Here is some great advice from bio-mechanist Katy Bowman.
Lose the high heels
The scientific consensus is that high heels compress and damage the lumbar spine, increasing osteoarthritis and degenerative disk disease in the low back.
Let the feet point the way
Just like the wheels on a car, your feet should point straight ahead when you’re walking. Military or dance training, or an ankle or back injury, can sometimes result in a sort of duck walk. Line up the outsides of the feet along the straight edge of a carpet or tile floor and walk along it to practice.
Stretch the calves
Tight calves are a major contributor to back pain. The tighter the lower leg, the more one’s gait pattern whips the upper back forward and contributes to curling of the upper spine. Adding a daily calf stretch to any exercise routine helps to better align the spine.
Do the twist
Each vertebra in the spine not only bends forward and backward and from side-to-side, it also rotates. Of all these natural motions, the twisting of the torso is the least used in our culture. Incorporating a yoga spinal twist into an exercise routine will gently reintroduce rotation back into our movement repertoire.
Get a better butt!
The main culprit of low back pain is weak butt muscles. Gluteal muscles not only stabilize the tailbone , they help support the function of the low back muscles. If the glutes are weak, the low back muscles have to work hard.
Katy Bowman, 2013, Alignment Matters, Propriometrics Press, Ventura, CA