Chronic Lower Back Pain is a fairly new entrant in our life. Lower back pain, perhaps is one of the leading complaints of visiting a physician today. No age group is spared from this malady, be it, school going children, office going middle age or senior citizens. All have fallen victim to this condition.
This was definitely not the case till a few years ago and therefore, it becomes inevitable that we look for answers to the question – What has happened in the last couple of decades to our lifestyle to have deteriorated our health, that too, so drastically?
Increased Comfort = Increased STRESS = Decreased Wellness
Humans have reached the pinnacle of technological development. So much so that one’s entire life can be comfortably spent with just ‘a touch of a button’. This automatically translates into the fact that our daily movements have reduced to almost a non-existent level (note that chronic back pain is still a part of urban life: rural areas, where activities and natural living are a predominant part of human life, still remains untouched from this problem).
Comfort, but at what cost?
Luxurious lifestyle has percolated into our system so deeply that it is beginning to shake the natural physical constitution of our entire body without us even noticing it. By the time, we become aware of this issue, it has already developed its own comfort structure bringing in its wake a lot of psychosomatic problems – CLBP just being one of them.
At this juncture, these problems need incessant and diligent efforts to reverse the abnormalities.
It all begins at childhood
Childhood is the most crucial phase for the right physical & mental development. This is the time when the bones and muscles are in the process of shaping up and can be molded the way it is exposed to. But today, this is where begins the journey of postural misalignment.
The child is supposed to be involved in various forms of physical activities which automatically develops and strengthens the required muscles, bones and joints. A child is supposed to play as much as possible, eat as and when he is hungry and sleep whenever and wherever she can. Outdoor activities in its various forms are more than enough to twist and turn, stretch and contract as well as lengthen and strengthen our body in the required ways.
But the story is so very different today. The child’s movements are restricted with chairs and tables in the schools and with gadgets off the school. Outdoor activities have almost become an extinct now.
It is carried to our school & college
As we move from play school to proper school to colleges, nothing much changes, in terms of, our connection with the chair and table and the gadgets. Of course, the dependence has increased on these tools due to the long hours of studies. The postural misalignment which would have begun at playschool starts making a foothold at this stage of life.
Even work space is not spared
The same transfers to our workplace – with further increased hours of sitting and screen exposure. Of course, the wooden and simple chair have been upgraded to leather chair with much more comfort this time, allowing movement in various directions furthering the misalignment. Natural corollary = Muscular Imbalance = Leading to an Imbalanced Lifestyle.
Congratulations! back pain has manifested into a full blown chronic condition
Back pain has become a persistent and deep-rooted condition. We are forced to attend to it now. The very first response is seeking medical attention. But then, this will be just a short-term solution to the problem and not something that will eradicate the problem from its root. We swing back to the same lifestyle once medical help brings some relief and the vicious cycle continues endlessly.
|Table: Immediate Effects of Office Chair Sitting on the Lumbar Spine|
|Picture of the Standing Spine.
Note the Normal Lumbar Curve. This spine is in balance with the weight spread evenly over the whole surface of the disc and facet joints.
|Picture of the tall person’s spine while office chair sitting.
Lumbar flexion has occurred at the Lowest Intervertebral Joints (L4-L5 and L5-S1). The discs are opened and stretched toward the back, and this habitual positioning makes the discs weakest at the point where they are most likely to rupture.
|Picture of short person’s spine while office chair sitting.
Note the extra curve at the base of the spine. Lumbar extension has occurred at L4-L5 and L5-S1. The facet joints are being compressed together at the back, and the sciatic nerve may be pinched.
Yoga, in its entirety, can have a life transforming effect. But that might seem like a daunting task to many, given the hustle bustle of our fast-paced life. The best news – dipping just your toes in this wide ocean called Yoga, can have a profound impact on your wellbeing. Being watchful about your postural alignment alone can put an end to ‘Chronic Low Back Pain’. Adding a few more minutes of practice can almost eliminate it from your life. In summary, an elementary endeavor of just correcting one’s postural alignment can do wonders for eliminating lower back pain. And then, further regular practice will make this affliction vanish from our being.
Live a Pain-Free life
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Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.