The #1 Reason You Throw Your Back Out (and how to fix it)

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One of the most common things I hear from my back pain patients when taking their history is…

“I was bending over to pick up (fill in the blank) and I threw my back out.”

These people are typically in A LOT of pain and are hardly able to move….even the slightest movement makes them wince.

Maybe you know what I’m talking about?

I’ve had patients “throw their back out” from picking up children, potted plants, laundry baskets, groceries or even bending over to get the dishes out of the dishwasher.

After having one of these episodes people become VERY afraid of picking things up again. It’s like they’ve been scarred for life! When the pain subsides they return to their daily routines…but this time with much more caution and trepidation.

And…all too often…the back pain never quite resolves or these episodes become recurring events. People end up resorting to taking pain pills to numb the pain and back braces to protect themselves.


The REAL Reason

What I want to do today is bring awareness to what’s REALLY going on in these situations and offer the best solution to fix it.

You see…this is not so much a back problem as it is a MOVEMENT problem.

We humans have literally forgotten our natural ways of moving as a consequence of living in the modern world.

The average person will spend anywhere from 50-70% of their time sitting…not to mention sitting in very poor positions.   Compare this to just over 100 years ago when most humans were still standing up, moving and performing manual labor.   Ironically, back pain was much less prevalent when we lived this way.

As a result of chronic sitting, we move with these human frames that have become adapted to the sitting position. These adaptive musculoskeletal changes and imbalances that occur from chronic sitting set us up for injury.

For example when picking something up we tend to round our backs, let our knees cave in and shift our balance forward (a movement pattern that looks A LOT like our sitting position).

This is an injury waiting to happen…especially if we add any load (extra weight to the activity)


How to FIX it!

A wise man once said “It’s never the WHAT…only the HOW.”

In other words it’s not so much WHAT you pick up that is hurting you back…it has everything with HOW you do it.

So in an effort to help you remember how to move again I want to show you exactly HOW to pick something up correctly.


The #1 Reason You Throw Your Back Out (and how to fix it)

I hope you got something out of this video!

This is something that EVERYONE (no matter the age) needs to learn how to do correctly in order to PREVENT pain and maximize function.

This is especially applicable to sport and fitness. You’ll never be the athlete you could be if you don’t master this pattern.

Teaching people how to appropriately pick things up and mastering this movement pattern should be a part of almost EVERY back patient’s rehab protocol before he or she is discharged from physical therapy. If our patients don’t learn how to do this correctly the same injuries will continue to occur.

The hip hinge (proper bend) shows up everywhere from daily activities to high level sports…yet so few of us actually get it right. Please take the time, practice this movement and master it!

So…what do you think about this? I want to hear from you?

Try the hip hinge out and let me know how it felt in the comments section!


We stand. We move. We fix things.

Chad Walding, DPT, OPEX L1, RKC


For more solutions to fixing movement patterns, decreasing pain and tuning up your body check out our Sitting Solution program here.

12 Responses to The #1 Reason You Throw Your Back Out (and how to fix it)

  1. Chris Ward

    Fantastic video! Thanks for not assuming we all know how to properly bend from the hips, and thanks for sharing a progressive way to learn without hurting ourselves in the process.
    : )

    • Chad Walding

      Thanks so much Chris! I’ve definitely learned not to assume anything when trusting that people know how to move correctly. I think we once knew how to move correctly but we lost that when we started to sit all the time. It’s time we remember:)


  2. Fadwa Idelah

    I thought it was a good reminder to practice so that it becomes a regular/normal way of picking things up. I think that we’ve just normally got our minds on so much that we don’t think about our movement in doing things. But when we get ourselves used to properly moving when bending to pickup things like the video we will do better with less injury. It’s a really good tip to practice til it becomes an automatic norm when picking things up. Gotta practice this a few times, thanks!

    • Chad Walding

      Yes Fadwa! It’s neurological memory that needs to be repeated correctly over and over. We tend to forget our positions when we sit, stand and the HOW of movement because we have so much stimulus in our modern world. Hopefully this can bring back some inner body awareness:)

      Thanks for watching,


  3. Mark Bennett

    Chad You are right Learning to how lift the right way is so right. I would like for you to let us know how find a yoga instructor that can cook and clean and have the same interest as you. The hole world would know the name of the the same as to that diet book you wrote and I do know the name of the diet me and my spell check can’t spell it. Some guys have all the Luck I hope you never for get it and If you do that Yoga instructor as a real long line of men if you do. Its just to bad I would be at the end of the line With no hope were I am at so write a book

    • Chad Walding

      Hey Mark…yes…this stuff is critical. It’s to try out different yoga instructors in your area and find a teacher that resonates with you. I believe the book you are referring to is our Paleo Secret 30 day challenge which is a great way for people to maximize nutrition, minimize toxicity and reset their health. Thanks for the comment and hope you are well:)


  4. Suzanne Higbee

    I have been going to an Egoscue clinic for the past year after discovering where my back problems were coming from. I have done the exercises and have tremendously improved my posture. I have delved into reading all I can so I have a better understanding of ALL that is contribulating to my pain, and know that it will take a long time to undo what I have done incorrectly for years! The straw that broke my back was cumulative stress. I ran across your website and was excited to continue in whatever you had to offer. I love your book, the exercises, videos, and the mission you are on to share with the world! You are so right on and have a most wonderful way of showing and explaining our generations dilemma! Thank you SO much! Question: when I added your routines to my Egoscue exercises, I noticesd a “million” trigger points that raised their ugly heads! Am I aggravating these to a point that I should lay off for a while, or just work through them. I believe I have good structure when doing them. Maybe just do the routines every other day? Thanks for your help! I just love your program!

    • Chad Walding

      Hey Suzanne…thanks for the comment and kind words. Regarding the trigger points coming up my best guess would be that you’re waking up some areas of the body that have been doormat for a long time and now you are NOTICING them more. They have likely been there all the time but they were so inhibited (little blood flow, muscle contraction, neurological communication, etc..) that it just wasn’t felt by you. It’s also likely that you’re muscles are a little sore because they are moving in new ways. Every other day will be find but over time you should notice these go away as you become more aligned. Stick with everything and keep us updated on how you’re doing:)


  5. Erikka

    Chad, Thanx for the great video and showing how to properly lift. Loved where u show to keep our heads in a neutral position we r all so busy multi tasking we never think don’t keep looking up while picking up or twisting around to talk to someone while picking something up! Thanks for the great exercise progression. It always helps to be able to see it while/before doing!

    • Chad Walding

      You’re very welcome Erikka! You are so right…the spine should be in neutral throughout the movement as we don’t want to compromise the central nervous system….yikes! Thanks for the comment and keep in touch!


  6. David Graves NMT

    I LOVE your stuff. I try to get all of my clients and friends to follow your posts and get up and DO the exercises and stretches. I immedtiately feeel the benefits of each exercise and stretch. I even post a link to your site on my resources page. This is good, good stuff and I cannot thank you enough for posting all of the material you do. Its life changing, posture changing, easy to follow awesomeness!

    • Chad Walding

      Ahh…thanks so much for the kind words David! It really means a lot to me and I’m so happy you’re spreading the message 🙂


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