National healthcare statistics claim that 65 million of us suffer from back pain. It's the number two reason for doctor visits after colds and other respiratory infections. What's happening?
First consider this fact: sitting increases spinal stress by 35% compared to standing and 50% compared to lying down. Now think about the lives that we lead: sitting for too many hours in a car commuting, working at a computer, watching TV, or playing video games. Being overweight. Picking up heavy objects incorrectly. Wearing high-heeled or platform shoes. Carrying heavy backpacks. Not exercising regularly. Smoking. Worrying about home, work, and world issues. They all affect our spine.
There is, of course, another obvious and common reason for back pain: injury. But regardless of whether our problems are the result of a sports injury in our youth, an accident, or the daily wear and tear of life, when our spines are misaligned and unbalanced, our posture loses its natural curves and our front-to-back posture becomes twisted. Muscles spasm. Ligaments can get stretched and torn. Vertebrae can slip. Discs can be herniated-the outer ring weakens and may tear causing the gel-like inner portion to bulge outward-putting pressure on nearby nerves resulting in pain and dysfunction. We're no longer strong enough to fight the effects of gravity. Our overall health is compromised.