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.
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.