Bulletproof Your Back... With Snacking?

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

Back pain happens to a lot of us, whether we’re an active crossfitter deadlifitng regularly, or someone driving a desk who runs on the weekend. In fact, 70% of adults will experience an episode of low back pain at least once during their lifetime.

The human spine is composed of 24 vertebrae (in most people), running from the top of our skull to the top of the pelvis. Most people report low back pain, which is the lower third, or the “Lumbar” region.

Want to know a fun fact?

In developed countries, the rate of back pain is about 60-70%. In nomadic populations, rates of low back pain and dysfunctions such as disk degeneration are much lower. What’s one of the biggest differences? We use chairs in the US. Sitting as it’s performed today, with the hips, knees, and ankles in a 90/90 is suspected to unduly load our lumbar spine, contributing to the anterior shift and degeneration, and contributes to poor dissociation of the hip and low back during movement.

You may have heard that “Sitting is the new smoking.” Well, close enough. So, make sure to get up throughout the day, stretch, move, put yourself in positions you wouldn’t normally move into. I call this movement snacking, and it’s the first thing I recommend when someone mentions some general aches and pains. This helps promote blood flow, tissue lengthening, and redistributes load throughout your body. Motion is lotion, and the more diverse (gentle) motion you include, the more you’re lubricating your tissue. The second step in addressing your back pain?

Throw out all of your chairs.

Just kidding!

Keep your chairs, but start integrating regular movement breaks throughout your day to help keep yourself in motion and nourish your joints and tissues.

So what does movement snacking actually look like during the day, especially to help address that low back pain?

Take movement breaks, or "Movement Snacks" throughout your day. You take breaks for snack time, for water, for the bathroom, all to tend to the needs of your body. Diverse movement is another need of your body, to keep it healthy and you happy. Anytime you go to the bathroom, do ostrich walks as you walk towards the bathroom to stretch those hamstrings. Perform walking lunges on the walk to the kitchen.

I recommend a range of activities, like foam rolling your middle back, performing the Bretzel, or resting in a lunge position to stretch out those tight hip flexors, because the cause of low back pain can be so diverse. Movement snacking can also include bridges, hamstring stretches, or exercises for your core like dead bugs.

Not sure what those things are? Have you got nagging back pain that still doesn’t go away with things like that? Contact us to book an appointment so we can get to the root of what’s bothering you!

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