Mel Collie | fear and your back
Back pain can be a direct result of anxieties, fear, worry , stress, a sign that we are always on the go, with stuff to do, places to go, families to organise, deadlines to achieve, dinner to cook, etc etc …and on top of all that, we get bills in the post , a stressful phone call , worry about the kids…all the things that just come along in everyday life, stress can create fear, which then becomes a response from the brain to the muscles.
Back pain is prevalent in many of the worlds population. The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study estimated that low back pain is among the top 10 diseases.
Here in the UK, low back pain was identified as the most common cause of disability in
young adults, with more than 100 million workdays lost per year. In the U.S. an estimated 149 million work days are lost every year because of low back pain
The condition is most common in Western Europe, followed by North Africa and the Middle East, and was lowest in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Why is that? Can we do something about it?
Well, our brain controls the muscles and whats happening in our central nervous system. When we feel fear, the front of the body contracts, shoulders round, abdominals contract, head juts forward.
When the body responds to fear and stress, it flexes, as if its trying to protect itself from oncoming danger. The same response our reflexes would have if we were walking down the stress and heard a loud noise, like a car backfiring or a door being slammed shut, our head juts forward, the shoulders round, the jaw tightens, the fists clench, eyes close, abdominals tighten up as the body flexes forward the thighs rotate inward and hamstrings contract.
The whole body is connected in our responses.
Constant contraction of the lower back muscles in a response to the Green Light Reflex, isnt because you have weak abs, its because your back is responding to your brain , its repeated over and over again throughout your life, it becomes a habit.
Learning how to deep breathe slowly into the belly is a good place to begin, this is a novelty for many of us, as we are so used to shallow breathing due to our rounded contracted posture, our diaphragm is affected by the position we hold, as are the lungs, we then tend to use the small neck and shoulder muscles to help us breathe, in turn, this also contributes to neck and shoulder pain.
Yet many of us shun the simple task of learning how to breathe correctly because, well, its just so simple it cant possibly work, surely we should be doing loads of sit ups to make our abs flat so we can have a stronger back?
Well,not really, most sit ups, even though its not a bad exercise, are done using the neck muscles to stabilise the body, hence many get a sore neck when they do sit ups, the very same neck muscles we use to breathe with…do you see where Im going with this?
Ok, so for you, if you have lower back pain the the moment, these 2 following moves are very simple,
Simple exercise for you to do for back pain, : Lie on your back with hands under your lower back, the 5 vertebrae are opposite your navel.
Breathe out and flatten your lower back into your hands, breathe in and slowly arch the back off your hands. Repeat 5 times slowly, no less than 30 seconds, so dont rush it, the plan is that your brain feels the movement.
Then, still on your back, place the hands behind the head. Lift the head, as you flatten the back into the floor. Lower the head as you arch the back, exactly as you did in the first movement, but this time you are now using your head as well, co coordinating the head movement with the pelvis movement, feeling the movement, sensing the muscles being used.
Practice these 2 simple moves daily, practice them just after you wake up, again at night, think of these simple moves as an investment into your future of your back health. Theres 5 more simply effective movements that follow this, watch this space for videos to follow on a couple more.
They will help you notice tight muscles in the back, help release them, allow the length of the muscles to return to normal, allow the blood pressure to flow through the fibres, helping muscular strength, flexibility and repair. You are changing your body by teaching your brain.
Pilates & Posture Sessions in Portreath, Cornwall.
Kinetic Chain Assessor Level 4