The majority of acute back pain are caused by a strained back and lumbar muscles.
How do we get to that?
At first, any muscle tension occurs due to disproportionate loading. It can happen because of these three most common activities: sitting, walking and sleeping. Let us look at each of them separately.
If the posture is crooked and a person is sitting in this position for several hours a day, then back muscle strains will occur as they try to compensate for the imbalance. The muscles attempt to straighten the body into the correct position and in order to do that one set of muscles must strain more trying to restore a straight position. However, a man stubbornly continues to sit askew. If sitting asymmetrically for a long time, the muscles get tired and over time the body adapts to the posture, distorting the pelvis, spine and shoulders. This is how scoliosis (spine deformation) occurs, which manifest itself in the form of lateral (to the side) curvature of the spine. In more severe cases, there can also be dislocation of the vertebrae. Visually scoliosis expresses itself as a curvature of one side of the body, one shoulder is higher than the other and one shoulder-blade is bigger than the other. The most typical mistakes while sitting are the following:
- Crossing your legs or twisting your legs round each other;
- Tucking one leg under your buttocks;
- Sitting at your desk with computer on one side, not in front of you;
- Inappropriate choice of chair and inadequate height of the chair in relation to the desk.
I would recommend that you check on how you place your feet on each step. You can do that by looking at the soles of your favourite pair of shoes. Most probably the outer parts of heels are more worn-out. It means you put your incorrectly: with toes turned on the outside. The correct way to walk would be by placing your feet parallel to each other so that the inner side of one foot is aligned to the inner side of the other. If it is not like this, it means that your leg will be twisted and pelvis along with it. This creates the basis for a crooked spine and the onset of scoliosis, which results not only in a skewed pelvis, but also in a skewed spine and shoulders. In this case, it is necessary to begin straightening yourself from the correct walking habit and pelvis.
There is a special asana sequence (special yoga poses), which deals with the correction of a twisted posture, and can be acquired and practiced in my yoga lessons at the Shiva Centre.
I have frequently heard many people say that they have one leg longer than the other. Although this is possible, in most cases the legs are of equal length, but the pelvis creates an asymmetric effect where one side has been lowered and therefore one leg looks ‘longer’ than the other. Check the shoe soles once again. They must be worn out unevenly: one heel more that the other.
One more thing when speaking about shoes. Dear women, your backs are in double trouble due to high heel shoes. I must admit that I love legs in high heels, but I know what you ‘pay’ in order to look glamorous. However, try to wear flatter heels in everyday life to save your back. The problem lies in the fact that a high heel shoe lifts the centre of gravity shifting it forward, it strains back muscles, curves the spine, and strains the lower muscles of the spine and the shoulders. If this is all added to everyday stress, then there is no wonder that most women suffer from headaches and migraines. Tense shoulder and neck muscles create an obstacle to blood flow in the head, venous blood collects in the head cavities forming different blood pressure in the head and the rest of the body, and therefore you have a headache.
I would like to remind you that in order to use your everyday activity for straightening your back, you should put your feet parallel to each other and regularly practice special asanas and then your body will gradually rectify this asymmetry. Do not expect a very quick result, because the process can take several months, however, you will feel how your body is straightening.
The following everyday items are deforming your back:
- too soft mattress;
- high pillow;
- incorrect sleeping position;
- improper shoes (not only for women, but also for men);
- incorrect manner of wearing a handbag;
- incorrect manner of carrying a child;
- improper diet which degrades the structure of bones (for example, yeast);
- wrong and/or curved posture when driving a car;
- any regular and asymmetric muscle load;
- depressive personality.
The beginning of spinal problems
The beginning of everything can be found in childhood. Spinal deformation results from disproportionate growing body overload in physical trainings and heavy school bags or other extremes – insufficient physical activity and muscle weakness. Frequently characteristic features can be observed early in a child’s development indicating that if such a lifestyle continues, it will 100% deform the backbone. Some of them are the following: hunched shoulders, a heavy pace, pain in joints and chronic tiredness.
A weak back and the whole body muscularity is a factor contributing to deformation of the spine. Working everyday with people, I have observed for a long time a very bad tendency among young people. Here I mean physical fitness and overall health. I cannot find other words to describe it: it is destructive! I would never have thought that teenagers can suffer from old people’s diseases, such as: arthritis, rheumatism, without mentioning the scoliosis which has already become commonplace, as well as other unpleasant conditions. In my childhood I would hear people say: ‘When we were growing up, it was not like how it is now.’ Today I can relate to this. When I was growing up together with my peers, we spent a lot of time playing outside in the fresh air doing different physical activities, free play and pranks. Since there was no Internet and there were only few interesting films on the TV, we spent our leisure time playing hockey, skiing, swimming, playing a range of games etc. Today we can see a completely different situation. A huge number of young people spend their free time differently: sit in front of screens. When I was working at ‘Ādažu čipši’ (the leading Latvian potato processing company, whose core business is production and distribution of potato chips and savoury snacks), we did research where we found out that teenagers aged 11 – 17 on an average day spend at least 8 hours at the computer or surfing the Internet and 7 hours are spent watching TV! No wonder that such a young and growing organism has problems with health, because there is a lack of healthy and normal physical activity.
Such a lifestyle results in an unhealthy body. There is no muscle mass, therefore there is nothing that holds the skeleton together and it slowly breaks apart. As a result, tendons and ligaments receive disproportionately large loads resulting in pain. It should be highlighted that the blood circulation is ensured not only by the heart but also the muscle system. Weak muscularity in the arms and legs insufficiently stimulates the blood circulation, resulting in a bigger load on the heart and in a greater risk of anaemia.
Another common diagnosis among teenagers is migratory arthritis. Briefly, in migratory arthritis, pain spreads from one joint to another. What you actually have is a very weak musculature which cannot hold together the whole body. So the functions of muscles are taken over by tendons (however, they are not meant for this) and soon after you start to feel pain in the joints. Therefore, I recommend that everyone finds a physical activity that ensures a symmetric load to the whole body. And, please, do not fall into another extreme – excessive and unbalanced loads are one of the main causes of spinal deformation, scoliosis and spondylosis. Especially in childhood, when the body is still growing and developing, it is important to adopt physical activities to children’s capabilities.
The spine is like a frame, which is used by all the internal organs. If the spine is crooked, then all the internal organs are not in the right places and cannot function properly. The moment you straighten your back, it will significantly improve the whole-body health, metabolism and immune system. Therefore, I would warmly recommend that all people having any problems with the spine start doing hatha yoga – physical exercises and do not postpone it to later. Postponement will make it worse.