Back pain costs governments millions of dollars every year. Yet, as a society we have never been so aware of our spines and how important it is for us. We know the importance of spine health, we know the consequences, we even know the detailed anatomy and physiology, so why is the number of incidents still increasing?
In health and safety at work, one of the first things they teach and educate you on is to lift with a straight back using your legs. Is this really the answer or is it putting a band aide on the problem?
I read a story once that said:”a man had a tree in his yard that was busy dying. The leaves have started to turn brown. The man wanted the tree to return to a healthy green. He didn’t know what to do about this problem so he called in an expert. The expert arrived and with a big smile he said he could solve the problem.
What happened next stunned the owner. The man took out a bucket of green paint and proceeded to paint the tree green.”
Are we doing the same to our spines?
We are trying to find that perfect chair at work to keep our spines in perfect position. We are even implementing standing desks now.
Again, I ask you: is this the right solution ?
The flaw is in the question itself: “what is the perfect position?”
There is no perfect position. Every long term static linear position only moves you one step closer to a degenerated unhealthy spine.
When you look at the spine, it has loads of segments made up of vertebrae and intervertebral disks. These small bodies of bones and pads are there for a reason. That reason is to be mobile. We as a society should stop thinking of the spine as a linear structure and should definitely stop training and exercising it in such a manner. We have heard many stories of power-lifters that can deadlift three times their body weight, but when taking an item out of a car they pull their back out, just because they were in a foreign position for their spine. The linearly “neutral” spine is what the problem is here. We need to start using the spine for what it was meant to be used for, and that is mobility. I am not saying go and deadlift with a rounded back, but be intelligent about it.
Use the spine for what it was made for and make it strong in all aspects so you can still move like children.