Thursday, September 26, 2013

Understanding and Eliminating Common Back Pain

More often than not, the most common experience of back pain -- is not from aggravating it in some traumatic exertion or injury, but noted when one gets out of bed, and cannot move the back into the condition of mobility and flexibility -- but the spine seems to be locked into one position that virtually immobilizes not only the spine, but every other joint attached to it -- and thus the movements of that individual, seems to be very limited and even painful to the observer.

Meanwhile, the movements of a healthy back and individual, is to seem unrestricted even by the presence of any backbone -- so fluid, effortless and pain free is their movement -- as to seem to be impossible or unimaginable to most other observers, who have never explored those ranges -- or thought it possible.

The most extreme examples, are the movements of the rhythmic gymnasts and ballet dancers, who try to make effortless, what to most others, is impossible -- including and especially, standing on their toes, or equally impressive -- pointing their toes towards the ceiling, etc. --  when most people have to be reminded that they even have the power to wiggle (move) their toes.  Yet on the other extreme, there are those who have learned to paint with their toes, or play musical instruments -- usually in compensation for the absence of the usual faculties for performing such tasks.

That is what they have trained and conditioned themselves to do -- and so they can.  That is similar to the person who has cut their hand, and then has to teach a finger to apply continuous pressure to that wound for an extended period of time -- to prevent extensive blood loss.  That's not what they usually do, but that is what they must do -- to get by for the next 24 hour period -- and that is what they have to get very good at, because their very health and lives depend upon it.

So the range of possibilities are very great -- when one sees the urgency of it -- as simply what must be done, especially when there are no others around to take over the situation -- and nurse one back to full capabilities and health.  That should also be one's recourse, if the professional advice does not work -- rather than the lifelong dependency on those treatments that never full eliminate the problem -- in the first place.

And that seems to be the case with many people reporting back pain that even seems to get worse with (bed) rest -- that the bed itself may be the culprit.  The obvious case, are the old spring mattresses in which the springs are so badly worn, that one is essentially sleeping in a jacknifed position all night long -- and then finds it difficult to just straighten up as soon as they get out of bed, and instead, they have to walk in that jack-knifed position all day, or at least a while before their back loosens up enough to allow them to straighten up.

That's the obvious one, but less obvious, even with a good mattress and support, is that the back muscles will relax, and allow the lower back which is usually an arch, to flatten out along the bed and even to assume a rounded position -- accounting for the appearance of those with a permanently rounded back that does not have the shock-absorbing properties of the back in an arched position, which also allows maximal chest expansion -- just in breathing, and most importantly, breathing while sleeping.  Instead, their chests remained always compressed, rather than assuming its fullest expansion possibility because the back must be arched to articulate that position.

That is the essential value of yoga -- which is this focus on back articulation, and the breathing it enables.  But it sufficient to note, that the back rounded position, is also the chest compressed position, while the back arched position, is also the chest maximally expanded -- and most athletic movements, are variations on this theme.  One produces maximal power by thrusting the head forward, while obtaining maximal relaxation just in moving the head back to produce an exaggerated arch -- which is also the greatest range of the breathing movement, as the chest volume is altered that produces the greatest pressure differences that determines air movement.

The measure of health, can also be detected by the fullness of one's breathing -- as well as the constricted breathing of people in poor health, and particularly mental health -- because the organ most impacted by oxygen and blood flow (circulation), is the brain, which is the limit of every other function and functioning in the body.  Nothing else can perform better than it -- by deliberate design of evolution.  That has to be the top priority no matter how much one would wish it to be otherwise -- and what person in their right mind, would desire it to be otherwise?

The distinctive feature, that proclaims the human's evolutionary success over all other forms and species, is the peculiarity of an upright posture -- that is enabled by the curvature of the spine that is shock-absorbing -- that allows this chest expansion and shoulders-back presentation of robust health -- as opposed to the slouched over position of one obviously in declining health, and moving in great pain -- which the predatory animals, are particularly instinctive at spotting as the target for their efforts, and their best chances for their own survival.

They're not going after the gymnasts with their greatly exaggerated shoulders back and sway-back postures and strut.  They're going after the ones with their shoulders rounded forward so as to constrict their chests, with their heads bent forward and so immobilized in that position as to be unaware of most of the activity around them -- including their impending doom.

Realizing this, one should not sleep with a pillow under one's head simulating this posture, but instead, should place that pillow in the small of one's back so as to force one to rest in a back arched posture and chest maximally expanded and the shoulders back -- as their default (resting) posture, that is the condition they want to be in.


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