My family has bad backs. I’ve grown up with it and in my 20’s I began having back problems.
The problem becomes in your 20’s, when you’re invincible, you don’t worry about it…in your 30’s you begin to. If you’re me, you just take the pain as it comes. You hurt, you cut back on the gym, you look at other ways to work out.
Until one day you can’t walk.
Last Friday was that day.
After going to the traditional doctor and being told I have a herniated disc, my options were simple, ‘Predisone, a lot of ice, cut back on running, cut back on the gym, and cut back on martial arts. In a year, if you do that, it should reabsorb. But, just know you will always have problems and pain the rest of your life.’ I went to my friends wedding rehearsal on a cane.
That’s not good enough for me, so I went to the neighborhood chiropractor. And I ran 6 miles with the dogs today with minimal pain and picked up kettlebells for the first time in 3 weeks.
I am a believer in chiropractic, but I am also a believer in understanding the mechanics of the body, how it moves, it’s structure, and using that structure to accomplish tasks. After studying the situation, and going for adjustments, I made three changes using ‘Breaking Balance‘ principles that if you have a bad back, you might find some relief. They are simple things you can form a habit out of…
1) Your fighting stance becomes your every stance. We know from Breaking Balance that we are most stable with our feet shoulder width apart…it is optimal for our internal support structure. So, engage it…feet shoulder width apart whenever sitting, standing, squatting. It seems simple, but look at your own movement and see how often you skip this step and tweak your back. If you are sitting, standing up, even sleeping – keep your feet shoulder width apart and not outside of your feet. This will help you by keeping your support structure in line with the spine and your line of gravity like we talk about in Breaking Balance. It’ll center your equilibrium and force your legs, not your back, to do the work. Getting out of the car – spin and get your feet out, plant them, stand up. Getting out of bed, same thing. Sitting down, same. Take a minute and take the extra step and let your body’s natural structure do the work…like we demonstrate in the manual!
2) Shift your upper body forward by 5 to 10 degrees when walking or running…make your body use a balancing movement. Often times we slouch when we walk or run. The spine is a natural spine to absorb impact, but when we put too much force on it when in movement, we can aggravate the back. By shifting our upper body forward, we move our center mass outside of the load bearing area, forcing a balancing movement. This will take pressure off the spine because our internal support structure will begin to shift constantly to regain equilibrium. It propels us. Experiment and shift your center mass forward, make your body do the work for you instead of the pressure on the spine.
3) Be mindful until it’s mindless. Point 1 and 2 can alleviate a lot of your pain when in motion, but you have to stay at it. Be mindful, force yourself to do it. We are releasing a manual on our CCIA concepts soon, and the point of this concept is to be mindful until it’s mindless. We are natural bipeds, which means we do not distribute weight across four friction points with the ground to create an optimal load bearing area. So, we have to be mindful of points one and two – our center mass, line of gravity, and balancing movements to maintain equilibrium – to take pressure off the spine. If you have back problems, it means your natural spinal spring is not ‘springy’. The more pain you have, the more you will compensate, creating muscle tension to adapt your body to the pain to stop it. By consistently engaging your internal support structure, you can reclaim some of the spring you’ve lost – and use your legs and equilibrium to compensate for pain instead of muscle.
You can check out our interactive manual with over an hour of video explaination of the written theory, ‘Breaking Balance’ here – http://www.pramek.com/shop/default/breaking-balance
It’s truly innovative and as you can see, not only for combat.
Be well and go easy!