Eighty percent of Americans will suffer from back pain at some point in
their lives, conventional wisdom says. But the way people treat that
back pain varies widely. Many will just take over-the-counter
painkillers to try to mask the pain. Others will opt for surgery, which
almost never solves back pain problems for the long term. Want to know
I have far more experience in this area
than I ever wished for. As a chronic sufferer of back pain for nearly a
decade, I tried all the "easy" ways to get rid of it: inversion,
chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage therapy, herbs, fitness and
nutrition. None of them worked for me initially, but that was largely
due to the fact that I didn't take any of them seriously. In other
words, I might lift weights once a week, or stretch out once a week, or
take a couple of herb capsules, or receive acupuncture treatment once a
week, and so on. But I never did anything "all the way."
the chronic pain just got worse. I eventually got to the point where I
couldn't sit down for more than 30 minutes at a time without devastating
pain in my lower back. And I was only in my 20's. I could see the
future, and it didn't look pretty.
So I got serious about physical
exercise. I got serious about improving my diet and supplementing with
superfoods. I began a program of flexibility training: 20 minutes each
day at first, then slowly expanding to 40 minutes each day over the
course of around two years. I also started a very difficult strength
training program designed to strengthen my lower back, abdominal
muscles, and everything along my spine. On the side, I began daily joint
rotation practices, dabbled with Pilates and Tai Chi, and started
receiving chiropractic care once each week.
The result? Today I am
100% free of back pain. I went from chronic pain to zero pain, without
drugs or surgery. In fact, I did it without the help of a single doctor.
How did I do it? Primarily through strength training and flexibility
training. Most lower back pain, I've since learned, is actually caused
by weak muscles that frequently spasm. (This is true even if your pain
has been diagnosed as a so-called "physical deformity" by a doctor,
which is almost universally hogwash, by the way. That's a term that
doctors just pull out of thin air went they don't know what's causing
the pain.) You see, if your back and pelvis aren't flexible enough,
everyday activities like sitting can create enormous tension in your
lower back due to fundamental body mechanics, and that tension causes
the muscles to go into spasm. When those muscles are sufficiently
strengthened, they can carry a lot more weight, meaning that your body
weight seems light in comparison. Also, the more flexible you are, the
easier it is for your muscles to hold you upright, further reducing the
chance of pain.
But here's the hard part: I had to train every day
for nearly 12 months before my pain really disappeared. That's 300 days
or strength training and flexibility training without knowing
whether I was getting any better. It takes tremendous discipline to
undertake that sort of physical training but I now believe that it is
precisely this sort of program that would prevent and even cure back
pain in more than 90% of those who suffer from it. Most people, though,
won't commit to strength and flexibility training for a full year just
to see results. They want results now! They just want the pain to go
away, and so they go to their doctor and demand prescription strength
Once the pain is masked with drugs, you're really in
trouble. Now you're not receiving the signals from your body that should
be telling you to exercise. Now, with the pain gone, many people just
return to their sedentary lifestyle, ignoring the need to use their
bodies in order to keep them healthy. At the same time, the prescription
drugs are devastating their liver organs or, frequently, creating a
physiological addiction to pain medication. It's a downward spiral.
The only way to halt that spiral is to make the tough decisions:
reprioritize your life. Get to the gym every single day. Work your abs
and your back as best you can, and incrementally increase the weight you
use. Today, I do back extensions while carrying a 120-lb. barbell. When
your back muscles can easily lift your body weight plus 120
pounds, you can bet it's easy for them to hold your spine up in a chair.
Hence no back pain.
Another tip: never sit in chairs. Always sit on
stools or benches. This way, you're relying on your own muscles to keep
you upright. Never get lazy and allow the back of a chair to hold you
up. In this way, chairs actually promote chronic back pain, and airplane
seats are the worst of all -- they're actually shaped in a manner that
causes spinal pain!
Also, the strength training and flexibility
training applies to you regardless of your sex. Most men will lift
weights, but they won't stretch out. Most women will stretch, but they
refuse to lift weights. You need both in order to be strong, flexible
and pain free. This applies no matter what your age. In fact, the older
you are the more you need strength training just to keep your bone
The bottom line to all this is that back pain need not
be common. It is largely preventable through daily exercise habits that
confer extraordinary benefits to your health and have been proven to
prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic conditions as
well. So get with the program and start moving your 'bod! You can
reverse your back pain through physical training.
About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health researcher, author and award-winning journalist with a passion for teaching people how to improve their health He has authored more than 1,800 articles and dozens of reports, guides and interviews on natural health topics, and he has published numerous courses on preparedness and survival, including financial preparedness, emergency food supplies, urban survival and tactical self-defense. Adams is an honest, independent journalist and accepts no money or commissions on the third-party products he writes about or the companies he promotes. In mid 2010, Adams produced TV.NaturalNews.com, a natural health video sharing website offering user-generated videos on nutrition, green living, fitness and more. He's also the CEO of a highly successful email newsletter software company that develops software used to send permission email campaigns to subscribers. Adams also serves as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a non-profit consumer protection group, and practices nature photography, Capoeira, martial arts and organic gardening. Known as the 'Health Ranger,' Adams' personal health statistics and mission statements are located at www.HealthRanger.org
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