Eighty percent of runners are sidelined with pain or injury each year – eighty percent! In an attempt to explain this phenomenal statistic, some have concluded that humans simply are not designed for running, that there is a fundamental flaw in the human design, or that only the exceptional escape injury. Others don assistive devices such as motion control shoes or orthotics, or do compensatory exercises in an effort to hang in there ‘til the next run, race or goal.
While it is true that there must be a fundamental, systemic flaw when 80% of people become injured doing something as natural as running, the underlying problem is not poor design or a lack of corrective or assistive devices, but a misunderstanding of our bodies’ natural mechanics. (more…)
Nearly all of us began our lives with naturally balanced posture. Yet, along the way, we modeled the posture of others, spent our days inactive and, over time, transformed our beautifully designed musculoskeletal systems into an imbalanced, overworked, and often-painful body framework. If we want to be healthy as we age, learning how to balance our postures and mechanics is essential.
When our bodies are not properly balanced, there are several consequences:
- Our joints don’t move fluidly, may lose some of their natural range of motion and suffer needless wear and tear because our bones don’t track properly. This can contribute to both a reduction in function as well as pain or debilitating conditions such as osteoarthritis (more…)
If you’re looking for a reason to go on a vacation this year, add this one to the list: it’s good for your back.
Why is vacation good for your back? Because it addresses three of the reasons that your back hurts.
First, one of the most significant contributors to back pain is stress. And not the type of stress that is a major event that causes a big stress response and demands some type of response. No, the way that stress leads to back pain is those daily pain-in-the-neck stressors like commuting to work, getting both you and the family out of the house in a timely manner day after day, or dealing with the daily frustrations of the workplace.
You’ve probably heard or noticed that working on a computer for a prolonged period of time can be hard on your eyes. You may notice symptoms such as burning, tightness, pain, watering, blurring, double vision, or headaches. These symptoms can vary from person to person, and are collectively referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome.
However, viewing your computer screen for prolonged periods of time can also contribute to back and neck pain for one simple reason: your body will follow your eyes. In other words, if you can’t see, you will move your body until you can, by bending forward, rounding your shoulders, or moving your head forward. All of these movements put your body into an unbalanced position, which leads to muscles that are tight and shortened, or stretched and lengthened, joints that don’t function well because the bones aren’t oriented properly, or compressed spinal discs.
Even a well-designed computer work area loses its effectiveness if you can’t see the monitor. (more…)
We’ve all heard people talk about how “their back went out”. Something like, I slipped on a wet floor and my back went out, or I bent down to pick up a sock and my back went out. Or maybe there was an event, such as an automobile accident, athletic event, or maybe it started at work. In many – most, actually – cases, the pain just started with no specific triggering event.
It seems intuitive to attribute the pain to the event that occurred at its start. However, with back pain it’s usually more of a “last straw”, in that there were things that you were doing on a regular basis that actually led to the “triggering event”. Primary contributing factors include inadequate movement, imbalanced postural mechanics, and stress; there are also several secondary factors. (more…)