Back pain is something that almost everyone is guaranteed to experience at some point. Health Direct claims that 1 in 6 Australians have back problems and 4 in 5 have had back problems in their lifetime. There are many causes of back pain, the vast majority of which are classified as “non-specific back pain,” meaning that the problems are not caused by a specific medical condition (or the person concerned never gets to the bottom of it).
Instead, the most likely cause of back pain has nothing to do with the bone structure of your spine, but rather with the muscles and ligaments that surround it. Pain caused by these muscles can be caused by lifting too heavy weights in the gym, lifting a heavy load improperly from the floor, sitting too long, or the very common cause of poor posture.
Many of us are guilty of poor posture. We either slouch in our chairs or, for example, do not stand up straight when walking, which, if done consistently over many years, exerts additional pressure on the back muscles. If they’re not strong enough to bear the heavy burden of poor posture, you end up with a back.
A simple test to see how good or bad your posture is was recently posted on the @spreadwhealth Instagram account. While the video focuses more on shoulder mobility, that range of motion (or lack of it) could affect your back as well.
The video paints an incredibly clear picture of how we can all be prone to poor posture. The video will be presented by Andrew Dettelbach, one of the founders of W Health. Andrew can speak from a lot of experience, he suffered from a 10 mm herniated disc – also known as a herniated disc – on his L4 / L5 disc, the two lowest vertebrae of the lumbar spine and the area most responsible for supporting the upper body.
After suffering from depression, Andrew began to train his body to feel comfortable, not affect his back injury, and also to bring benefits. It is this knowledge that makes him a reputable source to counter common ailments such as lower back pain.
Although we recommend that you see a physical therapist instead of relying on inspiring figures from the Internet for all of your complaints, his test is certainly worth it to check your shoulder mobility.
The first test is to have your back to the wall and move your arm up so you can see how good your shoulder mobility is. However, as the video shows, Josh, the guinea pig in this scenario, blows his ribs – and middle back – and bends his elbow to compensate so he can bring his shoulder over his head. Andrew explains how the body should be properly positioned: bra straps on the wall, shoulder blades on the wall and ribs in. This positioning offers your actual maximum freedom of movement.
Andrew explains that his core is not the most stable, and therefore “inefficient,” as Josh pulled his ribs wide apart when pushing overhead, even with weights. It also puts more pressure on the back muscles than necessary to lift the weight above your head.
“The core doesn’t necessarily shut down, it’s just inefficient. It’s not the best position it could be. You will be able to put more weight over your head when stacked with a natural pelvis. “
“When [Josh] Lifting weight overhead, which is usually around 10 pounds, will compress some things in the spine instead of using that whole cylinder as a base.
He goes on to claim that you don’t necessarily have to walk around life with such a solid posture, but when you’re exercising it’s incredibly important. A good cue to make sure you are as straight and stable as possible is to imagine that there is a puppet string above your head that is pulling you up. Standing this way can help reduce the curvature of the thoracic spine (upper back), and excessive curvature can cause a condition known as kyphosis.
To improve posture and then relieve back pain, you should always do some stretching before training – and even walking – and it can’t hurt to just stretch every day even if you don’t want to exercise. Stretching helps activate and prepare your muscles so they can strengthen themselves with everyday tasks like walking.
So do the simple shoulder mobility test, stretch, and you can say goodbye to mysterious back pain in no time. Now it is “explainable” …