Dear America –
I hate to be a buzz kill, but you need to shape up. For starters, STOP all that sitting, take off those clunky shoes (except that super cute pair), dump the poor posture and stop slacking in the exercise department.. and thats just for starters. The above said cultural norms are the culprits for our aching backs among other things.
In a super nutshell here’s why our backs get burdened so often..
Our weak core and poor posture result in a collapsed front body and a strained weak back body. Visualize the familiar collapsed front, rolled in shoulders, rounded back (think computer work, driving, TV watching, texting, ugh). Bulging disks can result which irritates and inflames muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia. Tired and strained muscles reflexively respond with tension and spasm, all of which can be very painful.
The chemical process of inflammation produces substances like free radicals that irritate surrounding tissue. Also lactic acid is a by-product of the chemical reaction of muscle contractions. These are all irritants to soft tissue. Muscles respond to the irritants by reflexively spasming as a guarding to attempt to immobilize and ‘protect’ the back. When one ‘throws their back out’ when already tensed, vulnerable back muscle strains or tears upon loading. Simple activities like standing up out of a chair, raking, shoveling snow can be life altering events.
WHAT TO DO?
If your back has been thrown out, resting in neutral is first. Supine with calves on chair seat is a time-tested favorite. Improving circulation with heat, cold, massage helps process the irritants out the soft tissue. Next – very gentle stretching to circulate blood and oxygen and to start the person moving, but this is only the beginning done during the acute phase. Once the back musculature is not so reactive to movement, spinal extension (backbends) and core development should start as soon as possible. This is when Yoga comes to the rescue!