It seems inevitable doesn’t it ? Back pain, 84% of the adult population will experience some form of back & neck pain in their lives and 50% of those will have a recurrent episode. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3872656/)
Why do we experience back pain?
Your spine is the central support of your body. It is involved with almost every move you make.
It is naturally strong and mobile with a fascinating design of 34 bones (vertebrae) which although fit together perfectly are each slightly different in their shape.
It is designed to enable us to move in all directions and it works well when we move regularly and with variety of movement.
Between each bone there is a disc. The centre of the disc is filled with a pulpy gel which adapts it’s shape based on what you are doing. Discs are capable of absorbing considerable force (like walking and running) and shock (a fall or any impact) and also enable you and your spine to move. Ligaments, elastic bands of fibre, run the entire length of your spine, both in front and behind, to support the vertebrae and keep the entire spine column in one piece. Muscles are then built up in layers around your spine which help to stabilize and move your trunk.
Top 3 ways to keep your spine moving well:
Alignment of the bones:
Posture, how you hold yourself when you sit, stand, walk, run…. this is the first step to aligning the bones of your back and neck. There is no single perfect posture. You are aiming to stand tall and hold a position that puts your back under the least strain-not too rigid or too relaxed. When the bones are ideally placed, then the chance of compressing the nerves which exit your spine is reduced and your joints can stay healthy. Here is a video to help with alignment when standing https://vimeo.com/user57080769/review/426929700/0da7f368bf
Maintaining healthy discs:
Once your bones are held in good position then the discs can move and react as you require. Your discs have that gel centre which is surrounded by fibrous layers. As we age, and with certain movements, especially twisting, these layers can become cracked and sometimes tear. You will then feel some stiffness, pain and if the disc ruptures, referred pain down your leg. Good hydration, a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and moving your spine in all directions regularly, will help to maintain good disc health. Below you can see how your discs are affected in a variety of positions during the day/night. Going from the least to the most pressure on your spine.
Maintaining strong and flexible ligaments and muscles:
Your spinal muscles are like the ropes on a sail, you need the muscles to help to keep your spine upright and avoid one side becoming too tight, strong or long, for example, continuously standing with your weight in one leg or a slumped posture. You can keep your spinal muscles and ligaments in great shape with good alignment, regular movement and a good breathing pattern. You want your breath to come down past your chest, into your ribcage and down toward your belly and all the way back out. It is like a cloth shining your spinal column as you inhale and exhale all day long.