Esther Gokhale - 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back
I'd been having back pain for years, but for a long time I didn't consider it much more than a nuisance. Then over the last couple of years it became more serious. I was having back spasms where I'd literally fall down on the floor in pain. The worst one kept me on the floor for a half hour, literally unable to move. Bunny was with me, and I couldn't get up to care for her. That was the worst thing.
My feet were hurting too - again, it'd been going on for years, but it didn't become a real problem until my recent gig at Big Pharma, where I was walking an average of 8 miles a day doing office deliveries. This was the plantar fasciitis I posted about earlier.
I had to take a couple of weeks off work to let my feet get better, and I had to figure out what was wrong with me. As providence would have it, I was reading Instapundit and stumbled onto a link to Matt Drudge's post about posture. On the 18th anniversary of his site, Drudge wrote (I'm paraphrasing here) that he had spent many hours sitting at a computer, and his back would be a wreck if it weren't for Gokhale.
That sounded like the solution I was looking for, so I ordered the book immediately. I zeroed in on basically two things I'd been doing wrong, probably for my whole adult life:
(1) I would bend my lower back the wrong way all the time. Your lumbar spine should be curved with the convex side facing the front of your body. If you bend it the other way - in the process of bending your body forward or down, especially if you are putting any weight on it - you are asking for trouble. Your tailbone should always point out, and never be tucked in. Those nice strong muscles on the sides of your lower spine are there for a reason - put them to work. When bending, BEND AT THE HIPS, NOT THE WAIST. Your spine should remain straight - don't be shy about sticking your butt out!
(2) I've had a habit of walking with my toes pointing out, putting the weight on the inside edge of the foot. This, too, is going to hurt you. I had to train myself to keep my toes pointed directly forward, and to get my lazy ankle muscles in the game, putting my weight on the outside edges of my feet. This felt awkward at first - because I'd been doing it wrong for so long! - but I got used to it quickly and started feeling improvement right away.
The results? The back pain stopped IMMEDIATELY. I haven't had a spasm, an ache, or so much as a twinge since I changed my posture. The foot pain took a little longer to clear up but it steadily improved over several weeks, to the point where my feet barely get sore at all. A full work week in the Big Pharma office left my feet tired but not in pain. Sidewalks were the biggest problem, but now even sidewalks don't bother me. I can walk laps around Dolores Park every day and not get sore - that's something I couldn't even think about a few months ago.
So the moral of the story is: If you've been having problems with your back and/or feet, consider that posture might be a factor - and take a look at this book.