[QUOTE=codered5;1102232]Most lower back pain that isn't structural is from poor hamstring flexibility. Stretch[/QUOTE]
I've been in and out of physical therapy for my back pain for the last 8 years. For me, its always the hamstrings. They get too tight, causing my hips to rock forward, which flattens out the lumbar spine.
I know you said you want to avoid going to a doctor, but you may want to look into chiropractic care. I work for a Chiropractor who is also a sports physician. He is amazing at spotting the smallest imbalances in form that can lead to back pain or a misaligned pelvis. For example: While performing a squat he noticed that on my left leg I was bearing the weight on the inside of my foot which was causing all sorts of trouble. My left leg is also longer than my right leg which throws off my hips and pelvis.
You may have something simple going on that you're just not catching. You'd be surprised by certain habits you have in your daily movement that you don't realize you are doing.......
That's just my 2 cents ;)
I haven't had time to filter through all of the comments, but definitely work on your ENTIRE core, not just your back. Work on your abs/obliques as well as your posture.
I'm an Engineer, so I understand... though mostly at a desk now that I'm not at a manufacturing plant anymore... but I did used to work with tools/dies as well as automotive molded parts, which was definitely tolling on my back!
I've also started going to the gym (post back pain) to build my strength to see if this will help with the pain.[/quote]
Actually, I've doubts about that. If there are basic imbalances there -- too tight here, too weak here, and so on -- then exercises are unlikely to have the desired remedial effect. That's because you'll do the exercises [I]with[/I] those imbalances. So, in effect, you exercise the imbalances -- possibly reinforce 'em (when actually you need to [I]undo[/I] them).
In any case, that's how many minutes out of your week when all's added up? Doesn't what you're doing in the rest of the week, some hundreds of hours, matter?
[quote]I was wondering if anybody knew of some things that would help with the back pain in the long term as im really not keen to go to docs and get pain killers for it.[/QUOTE]
I think that's a wise approach. Pain is a kind of feedback mechanism. Pain tells us when we're doing something wrong. I recall a friend in the Royal Navy telling me that he'd see the Royal Marine Commandos in training and those men would be eating painkillers "like smarties" (M & Ms) to get round the course. Of course, all the way they'd be doing damage to themselves -- it was just out of sight and out of mind, owing to the painkillers.
Well, maybe if you want something enough and choose to put your physical well-being on the line for that ... But for most of us in ordinary life that's a dubious strategy.
Strange as it may seem, the (possibly boring) but non-energetic strategy of taking 20 minutes every day to lie on the floor with your legs drawn up and your head slightly raised (on 2 to 3 paperback books) seems to be as helpful as anything. If you can use your mind to allow your back to sink into the floor -- not doing, just letting -- even better. That allows a release of unhelpful muscular tensions and a kind of reorganisation.
[QUOTE=NZ primal Gwamma;1102777]meaning ?????? .......................[/QUOTE]
Meaning there's a lot of CW on here. Our backs evolved to twist and turn, bend and lift and they don't go to pieces because of you lack washboard abs.
[QUOTE=Rojo;1103414]Our backs evolved to twist and turn, bend and lift and they don't go to pieces because of you lack washboard abs.[/QUOTE]
That's fair comment. In the movement there's a [B]huge[/B] -- but not necessarily immediately obvious -- interest in "fitness" seen in abstract form -- fit for [I]what[/I]? -- and very much revolving around what's imagined to [I]look[/I] good. There's an old Abel James podcast that touches a little on this. I haven't kept up with his podcast, but he's a nice man, and so is his friend George, the slightly crazy commando. Anyway, they had a female friend who got sucked into "the movement" but then gravitated towards its fringes, where, it seems, there are some extreme, and not particularly feminine, aesthetic notions of the body beautiful going round. This lady wanted to be able to see her abdominal muscles, which with a normal female bodyfat percentage just isn't going to happen. She did herself damage in pursuit of that, and it took a realization of what she was doing, and help from George to pull her out of that again.
If you look at old photos of male hunter-gatherers, you can't usually see their abdominal muscles -- because (1) they aren't over-tightened there, and (2) they have some fat-covering. With women following that lifestyle you certainly can't.
But looking back at your original post, Rojo, you say:
[QUOTE]... most back problems are psychological. Not quite psychosomatic, as your muscles do really clench, but the clenching is from suppressed anger and/or stress.[/QUOTE]
I think that's ideology not a description.
No evidence is adduced to show that "physical" factors as such do not matter -- say, chairs (not available to most people only a few centuries ago):
... or heeled shoes, which alter the whole alignment of the musculo-skeletal system.
You're not considering such things, and showing why they don't matter -- although they might seem to -- you're just stating that the problem lies elsewhere, with no consideration given to the possibility that it doesn't.
I'd also question that statement that "clenching [of muscles] is [B]from[/B] suppressed anger".
That seems to imply a dualistic conception with mind and body separate but able to interact -- "from". But maybe the relation is closer than that. At any rate in life -- and who knows what happens after death -- mind and body seem to be so closely related as to be the SAME thing seen from different points of view.
The muscular tension doesn't follow the anger; it IS the anger seen its bodily aspect.
And here's a final point. I said "the anger", not "the suppressed anger", as you did. What seems to be getting dragged in here is a somewhat romantic (but not necessarily socially helpful) notion that in some (usually unspecified) way we do ourselves damage by not letting our anger lose on others. Hmmmm ... there's a deep, and very dubious, (but not unusual) claim to think on.
I think one can have emotional responses -- not necessarily anger; maybe sadness or any one of many others -- that have as their concomitant (seen from the physical side) unhelpful muscular tension. One can [I]also[/I] layer [I]further[/I] unhelpful tensions [I]on top of[/I] those -- e.g. the "stiff upper lip" that stops you crying ... tensions upon tensions. So there's a kind of point in talking of "suppression" (or "repression"). And, sure, that would be problematic.
But there's more than a binary choice here: (1) let the anger go or (2) "repress" it.
And, in practice, a (false) idea that one needs to let one's anger go, results in a state of mind where one stokes it up.
That whole ideology would have seemed crazy to our ancestors, and would still seem very odd in Buddhist countries, where calmness not anger is what is sought.
The truth is, you don't have to either rage like an uncontrolled 3 year-old or "suppress". You can simply stay calm and just [I]"say no to reacting".[/I].
We should all be familiar with this response: read the book. He tackles all this. And it worked for me.
IMO, most of us would rather look to the mechanica/chemical/biological over the emotional/mental. Often that's right. For instance, it's coming to light now that the rash of violent crime that kept growing into the early 90's was the result of lead poisoning.
But sometimes these explanation don't work.
I found that minimalist footwear went a huge way to alleviate any back pain I used to experience. Significant time with artifically elevated heels --> short hamstrings --> lumbar compensation for hip joint immobility. That's my guess.
Thanks everyone, some really helpful posts. I think i may try streching abit more as i used to do karate and was fairly flexible and no back problems but since stopping i have noticed my hamstrings are tightening up. Will also look into going to a Chiropractor see if that helps. Thanks for all replies
[QUOTE=Rojo;1103414]Meaning there's a lot of CW on here. Our backs evolved to twist and turn, bend and lift and they don't go to pieces because of you lack washboard abs.[/QUOTE]
You are not wrong, but you are not completely right.
The human physical body is a whole and requires everything to work well together. Emphasis on together.
The abs may very well be the "front back muscles" and the lowerback muscles may very well be the "back abdominal muscles".
I generally wash both the palm and backside of my hands....do not ignore one side or the other. So yes, I would look at weakened abdominal muscles if there is a history of low back pain.