The Evolution of Back Pain – Are We Becoming a Nation of Weaklings?

Back Pain

“The lifetime prevalence of non-specific (common) low back pain is estimated at 60% to 70% in industrialized countries (one-year prevalence 15% to 45%, adult incidence 5% per year). The prevalence rate for children and adolescents is lower than that seen in adults but is rising.2,3 Prevalence increases and peaks between the ages of 35 and 55.4 As the world population ages, low back pain will increase substantially due to the deterioration of the intervertebral discs in older people.”

Taken from the ‘World Health Organisation’– here’s the link if you’d like to read further

Whoa there, 60% to 70% of non-specific back pain in industrialised countries?!? I think you’ll agree, Jill. That’s huge!

Back pain is widespread, us humans have these things called ‘spines’ they’re basically a bunch of bones precariously balanced on top of each other. Our ‘spines’ are usually robust, and they have an amazing design to them (as you would expect from Mother Nature), but us humans don’t always look after our ‘spines’ very well.

When we were in the design phase of ‘human,’ we had quite a bit of physical activity to do. We had to run away from tigers (we were always running away from these, apparently), had to build fires, chop down trees, catch our food, poo in the woods and walk very long distances.

Our bodies needed to be healthy, strong and flexible at the same time. We also developed massive buttocks (some bigger than others!), and they enabled us to walk upright – which was a fantastic achievement of evolution.

This way of living lasted a very long time, with very little change. Then, within the blink of an evolutionary eye, us humans (because we have super big brains – in our super heavy heads) started to, very quickly, like in the space of 200 years, invent things. We designed stuff to poo in, to sit on, drive in, to even fly in, things to wash our clothes, portable fires, things to cook our food and eventually – shops that delivered food!

There is now no need to walk long distances carrying heavy loads or hang from trees to get the best fruit, and no need even to squat to have a poo (I talk about poo alot! Well, it is a massively important thing, and a main indicator of health).

Mother Nature has been unable to catch up with us. We have basically eradicated movement from our lives. We’ve become ‘creatures of captivity,’ this modern world is not our natural environment.

We are not designed to be sitting (or standing) for long periods. We are not intended to hang our heads forward and round our shoulders while we’re sitting all day at a computer screen, and we are not designed to lie around on a sofa watching a TV. Add into the mixture readily available high energy foods, and you have the recipe for a spine disaster!

Muscles that are meant to spend the day pulling, pushing, chopping, lifting and running are now left to grow weak and long (and no, one hour in the gym a week, is not going to counteract 15 hours a day sitting) – this means that our ‘spines’ become unstable and are no longer able to do their job of supporting the aforementioned heavy head. Our giant buttocks that were designed for supporting our pelvis while we squatted, ran and jumped – are now mostly used for sitting on, and are becoming saggy and baggy. Add to that the extra large belly that some of us humans sport, which places further pressure on our finely designed bone system. We’re living in a modern day spinal recipe for disaster.

Our bodies are crying out for help.

And they do that, in the only way they know how – PAIN!

How can I fix my back pain?

Once you’ve ruled out any significant concerns (always see a medical professional if you’re in any doubt), then BY FAR, the best way to treat back pain is exercise, remember we’ve evolved to move!

I’m going to say Pilates, and corrective exercises, are fabulous for treating back pain, because…well, they are!

I’ve trained many people who’ve had sciatica, back and neck pain. Strengthening the structures not only around the spine, but also throughout the whole body can have a massive impact relieving your pain, but also your overall wellbeing as well. Couple that with a great nutrition and lifestyle plan, and you can quickly make huge improvements to your body and your wellbeing.

I regularly have people forgetting they were in tremendous pain, after just a couple of weeks.

You will be able to move better, feel stronger and maybe lose a few inches along the way, but most importantly, you will FEEL better in your own skin.

Here is a video that I made earlier. Do this little routin to help relieve a stiff back after a hard day on the plains….or maybe the computer.

Before you exercise, you may want to check with a medical professional which exercises are right for you, as some may not be suitable for your specific type of condition.

**You have my permission to share this video with anyone you feel may benefit from it.**

Main things to consider before exercising;

  • • Start slowly and build up gradually.

An experienced instructor will be able to write you a progressive program to do this.

  • • Stay as active as you can – your body is designed to move!
  • Learn how to move correctly and then move more!

Other things you can do to help back pain

  • • Posture – make sure that you are sitting and standing correctly. No slouching.
  • • Try not to stay in the same position for long periods – that includes seated and standing, remember you are designed to MOVE!
  • • Deep breathing – THE best thing for pain management and stress.
  • Learn how to breathe correctly using your exact bodily mechanisms, and it will help to ease your pain and reduce your stress.
  • • Drink plenty of water – the first place your body will take water from if it gets dehydrated is the discs between your vertebrae.
  • • Learn how to lift correctly.
  • • Reduce your weight – excess weight mainly around the belly area will put pressure on the spine.
  • • Painkillers and anti-inflammatories – will help over a short term, but shouldn’t be relied upon as long-term management of back pain.

What to do right now!

There you have it; our spines are meant to be a stable and robust structure.

To keep them healthy you need to be moving them on a very regular basis.

If your body is telling you that you need to do something about your spine, by giving you pain – then you need to make sure that you listen to it. There is no point in ignoring pain.

Once you’ve checked with your medical professional, then you can start to think about getting some movement back into your life.

Join our ‘Movement’!

If you are suffering from back pain, and have tried everything, maybe you’re just taking ever-increasingly strong cocktails of pain killers? Then you really do need to start a mobilising and strength building program.

With all of my private clients I always start with a full postural assessment and a lifestyle assessment. I like to look at the whole body, rather than just your site of injury. You will then receive a bespoke program which will include nutritional and wellbeing factors (where necessary), as well as an individual plan which you will receive electronically.

You’ll be able to access your program wherever and whenever you like!

Our clients are often amazed at how fast they can start to feel improvements.

It will not just be your back pain that we consider – but improvements will be made to your whole body!

**Don’t wait until you have a back problem, prevention is better than cure!**

I hope that this email has maybe helped convince you that you need to do something to keep your spine healthy and strong?

Do let me know how you find the stretches in the video, I love to hear from you.

I hope to see you at the mat very soon.

Jill x


If you’ve enjoyed the video, and if you’d like more – don’t forget to sign up for our Monthly Membership program. You’ll receive one new workout per week and one LIVE class per month. Here’s the link to register your interest.

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