The Three Things We Do Every Day That Cause Lower-Back Pain

Most people fail to grasp how life’s incidental behaviors—walking, sitting, and standing—are responsible for so many chronic aches and pains that develop over time. Many of us pay close attention to technique when exercising, but don’t think twice about how we walk, sit, and stand, and the lower-back pain that can develop as a result.

These three things that we do most often (you can throw sleep in there as well), but pay least mind to, often determine the alignment of the bones and the tone of our muscles.

Being upright on two legs presents us with a maintenance issue. We have to work to have successful upright posture, a dilemma that doesn’t exist for my dog and cats. A vertical spine is not held up by itself. It takes awareness and effort to get it right and we have only been doing it for a very short time (homo sapiens sapiens is only around 400,000 years old).

There are so many things taught to young children, but walking, sitting, and standing are not usually among them. (Unless “stand up straight” and “don’t slouch” count as teaching, but I don’t think they do.) Most people come to posture corrections as adults, if at all, and the concept of ergonomics at a desk or workstation still eludes most. And, as a walking teacher, I can assure you that no one thinks they need to learn to walk before they begin the process.

“Sitting is the new smoking” is an evocative phrase, but I think a distinction can be made between sitting and sitting correctly. No one is well served by sitting at a desk for eight, 10, or 12 hours a day, but sitting correctly, which means aligning your pelvis properly, minimizes the stress and pain that often result from prolonged sitting.

And between walking, sitting, and standing, walking tops the list. Lower-back pain made worse by poor walking technique is mind-bogglingly common. While walking might not be the direct cause of your lower-back pain, poor technique will surely exacerbate the suffering. Learning to master life’s incidental behaviors can go a long way toward living a longer, healthier life.

Find out about Jonathan Fitzgordon's program on CoreWalking at Kripalu.

This article was originally published on Jonathan's website.