Back pain is becoming an increasing disability, increasing by more than 50 per cent since 1990. A series of papers just released by The Lancet shows that most treatments such as surgery and the use of opioids is doing more harm than good.
Apart from accidents and genetic conditions, there are multiple reasons why chronic back pain is reaching epidemic proportions. Poor posture, stress and a mainly sedentary lifestyle are some of the obvious. In Germany statistics from public health insurance companies show that back pain has been one of the main reasons for absenteeism from work for years, costing the national economy a fortune in lost productivity.
Anyone who has suffered lower back pain will know how debilitating it can be and what impact it can have on happiness and general well being. It can force us into a state of paralysis where even the most willing of minds is trapped in an incapable body.
During stress situations our muscles tighten, especially around the neck and shoulder areas. Pressure has to go somewhere and will eventually find an avenue around the weakest part of our back in the spinal discs of the lower back.
The spinal discs play a crucial part in supporting the upper body, and allowing a wide range of movement in all directions. The supporting muscles of the spine inevitably degenerate when we don’t exercise enough. A slipped disc often comes when performing a mundane task. Of course back pain has to be checked by a physician. Sometimes an underlying serious condition such as an infection of a vital organ or cancer can be the cause. Every body is different.
Having practised Tai Chi and yoga for years, I can really recommend these body arts as extremely healthy for body and mind with a good teacher giving special emphasis on body posture.
People with lower back pain initially find any type of exercise painful, making an already serious situation worse by reducing all movement and causing more muscle degeneration. Therefore the most simple way to start is simply by walking which increases the stability of the muscles in the feet, legs, hips and torso.
Gentle, slow walking also improves circulation, pumping urgently needed nutrients into the spine and removing the toxins. You are in effect “walking off” that back pain. But with our busy lifestyle, most people will argue: “I don’t have the time to do at least 5-8 kilometers a day!”
There are many ways the mind tricks us into staying in a state of procrastination. But here are some tips of integrating more walking into your daily routine:
- Use the stairs rather than the elevator
- Walk to work and back if you can, or use a parking further away from the office
- Find a nature area you enjoy for your walk. Its that much more fun.
- And the best tip of all: Get a dog. A dog will tell you in many ways when its time for a walk, be there rain or sunshine. Its a fact that dog owners are healthier, simply because they do more walking.
Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters
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