My back hurts right now and I know a little bit about back pain so I thought I’d share what I’m doing to make it feel better. A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away when I was a physical therapist, I became what’s called McKenzie certified. This, in my opinion, is the best way to treat back pain and here’s why. This method is all about figuring out what movements cause your back to hurt and based on that, decide how to treat it. It’s actually getting to the root of the problem and not just giving you generic exercises for back pain. For example, and this is really simplified, it’s common for pain to come on/worsen when you bend forward so bending backward should lessen the pain. Did you ever bend over to lift something up and all of a sudden you got this horrible pain in your back and couldn’t straighten back up? It’s bending over forward that caused the pain so bending backward might help. Flexion and extension of the spine. A lot of people are in shock that I would have patients extend the spine. With this treatment, you won’t just go in, get your “alignment” checked, have something popped and told you have to come back 3 times a week for 12 weeks. Who knows who tells you something like that? Anyone?
It’s my upper back that’s hurting. My thoracic spine. I’m doing some thoracic extensions to make it feel better. Often, bending forward is the problem because we do it all day, we live in a world of flexion. You are probably flexing the spine when you’re sitting, because most people slouch when they sit. And after a stroke, well you’re going to sit quite a lot. But sometimes I would treat back pain with some kind of forward bending. Not often, but sometimes.
But this pain I’m having I’m treating with extension. And the number one thing you should do, above all else, the most important thing for your spine, the single piece of advice I would give if I could only give one piece of advice, is to have good posture AT ALL TIMES.
Addendum: I just read through the entire posture website again and I disagree where it says not to sleep on your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach can be good for your back. It all depends.