Blueprint For a Bad Back (or Neck)
By Dean Moyer
Author of Rebuild Your Back
So, do bad backs just happen? Did yours just show up one day uninvited and decide to move in? Or did you inadvertently hang out a welcome sign?
Like it or not you're in the process of building a back. You may not feel like building anything right at the moment but there is no getting around it. If you're still among the living you're building a back.
The question is… are you building a strong back or are you building a bad back?
How to Build a Bad Back
Check how you're sitting right now. Odds are you're either slouching or -- if you are attempting to sit up -- you're actually leaning forward. In either case, your lower back is probably curved forward in the shape of the letter C.
If you work at a desk isn't your body usually hunched forward intent on the task at hand? Isn't your lower spine rounded and bent in a forward direction for eight hours a day? And even when you sit back in your chair, don't you tend to slouch with the back once again in that C shape?
If you work on your feet don't you tend to work bent forward? Leaning over the fender of a car? Digging in the garden? Shoveling sand? Doing housework? You name it.
When you play, don't you lean into it? When you rest, don't you collapse in a chair or on the ground and slouch? Of course you do. We all do. In fact, we adopt this posture so frequently that we've actually come to think of it as normal.
This C shape, as I call it, is the position most of us adopt throughout the day and -- if you'll bear with me for a moment -- I'll try to show you why I think it's an open invitation to a bad back.
Bent on a Bad Back
So what happens when you spend most of your day bent forward? After all, we all do it. What difference could it possibly make? How could something so mundane and ordinary lead to the development of back trouble?
Well, for starters, the muscles and ligaments that support your spine grow and adapt to whatever posture you hold them in the most. If you hold your back bent forward, then certain ligaments will become shorter almost never getting stretched while others will become overstretched and elongated.
After years spent constantly hunched forward what do you suppose would happen if you suddenly straightened up? What would happen to the ligaments that have adapted to that C shape?
The answer is quite simple. The ligaments of your back won't be accustomed to being forced in the opposite direction. When you call on them to unexpectedly stretch beyond the limits to which they've adapted they tear... and you now have an injury.
Perhaps the first time is only minor. You might barely even notice it. But as it heals back in your normal position of forward hunch a small scar forms on what once was a healthy -- if short -- ligament. This scar is now stiffer than the once pliable ligament you were born with and, what's worse, scar tissue tends to shrink over time further shortening the ligament.
A Bad Back in Training
Multiply this minor injury over years of similar mishaps -- injuring and re-injuring this poor ligament -- always training it to return to your usual position of forward slouch and before long it becomes more of an effort to stand up straight. Until at last, you really over stretch this shortened, stiff, badly scarred ligament and the tear becomes a major injury.
Now you're really in pain. You can't move... can't straighten up... can't do anything without searing pain. All you can do is lie down and even then it's difficult to find a position that doesn't hurt.
You've really done it now.
After a few days, perhaps a week, you're finally able to begin moving about again and you return to your normal activities a little at a time. But, since you didn't know you caused the whole episode yourself by your own negligence, you return to your old habit of always bending forward in that C shape.
The Bad Back Shuffle
This injury, when it does finally heal, leaves you even stiffer and more heavily scarred than before. And you discover that now you re-injure your back almost every time you attempt to pick up anything heavy. You've developed the worst possible thing. You have literally built yourself a bad back!
The more you injure your back, the worse it gets. Soon you tend to stop moving it any more than you have to. You sit even more than before trying to avoid the chance of another injury and more back pain.
Every time you forget and try to straighten up a little twinge of pain... that old stiffness... reminds you that you've been cursed with a bad back. So you sit back down and avoid any activity that might cause another injury and more days of agonizing pain.
How to Un-build That Bad Back
There is no question that there are many causes of lower back pain. And there are numerous factors that can contribute to what we sometimes refer to as a bad back. And it's only natural to blame the most recent (or the most severe) injury for all our troubles.
Many of us can point to a car accident, a sports injury or something that happened on the job... but the truth is... it's what we did before and/or after "the big one" that really put us in the ditch.
So what do you do now? You've unknowingly spent years building a bad back. How do you go about getting out of this mess?
Simple… you rebuild your back.
Hey, it's not rocket science. If bad posture -- along with a few injuries -- has taken its toll and left you with a bad back then the answer is to begin taking steps to reverse the process.
Your spine is made up of muscles, bones, discs and ligaments and you don't need a Phd. to understand it. The only solution to a bad back (or neck) is to strengthen and recondition those same muscles, discs and ligaments.
You can waste your time and money on dozens of doctors, treatment programs, operations and pain relief products and all you'll be doing is wasting your time and money. If you want to correct your bad back and eliminate the back pain for good... whether caused by bad posture or not... there is only one solution.
Rebuild your back.
Until next time,
About the Author
Rebuild Your Back
Rebuild Your Neck
The Pain Relief Manual
Last updated: May 17, 2007