Back Pain Control

back pain control involves regular exercise to maintain the strength of back and abdominal muscles, proper nutrition, and proper posture while at work, when working out, and at home.

If you were to ask 100 people what the cause of their back pain was, 90 would probably say that it was because they had a bad disc or a herniated disc. In fact a bulging disc or herniated disc that is pinching on one of the major nerves of the spine may be the immediate cause of your back pain symptoms, but the real cause of your troubles may be many years of bad posture.

Bad posture can hurt your back in so many ways. Bad posture can put as much pressure on the spinal ligaments and intervertebral discs as if you were carrying around 25 pound dumbbells in each hand, everywhere you go. Let's take a look at one study performed by Dr. Alf Nachmenson, who designed a study to demonstrate the amount of strain that various postures place on the discs of the lumbar spine.

In this study, Dr. Nachmenson assigned the subject into 8 groups, who were either lying down, standing, or sitting. To further differentiate the groups, the groups were divided based on whether that were standing or sitting with their back erect, or hunched over, whether their hands were empty or holding weights. Here are the 8 subjects groups whose backs were tested for strain.
  1. Subjects lying down on their backs (supine position) (25)
  2. Subjects who were lying down (lateral position) (75)
  3. Subjects standing up straight (100)
  4. Subjects standing, but bent over at the waist, at about a 40 degree angle (150)
  5. Subjects standing, but bent at the waist at a 40 degree angle, and holding a dumbbell (220)
  6. Subject sitting, with their back erect (140)
  7. Subject sitting, but with their back humped forward (185)
  8. Subject sitting, with their back humped forward, and holding weights in each hand (275)

Listed above are the 8 subject groups. The number to the right of each subject group is the number assigned to represent how much strain is put on the back muscles, facet joints, spinal ligaments, and discs while they were in this position. The results show that the position that put the least amount of strain on the back was the supine (lying down) position. The backs of the subjects were under the most strain when they were slouched forward and holding weights in their hands. The results also show that subjects put relatively little strain on their backs when standing vs. sitting. These results are especially meaningful to people in an occupation where they are sitting all day, and especially ones who spend a lot of time in their chairs while they are using back posture.

If you think that you may have bad posture but down know how to fix it, there are plenty of resources available. If you want professional consultation, there are experts for just such a think. Doctors and other clinicians may be trained in techniques such as Feldenkrais and the Alexander Technique. Both of these health systems involve the teaching of patients on how to recognize flaws in their own body mechanics, and how to correct them.