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Back Pain


Chronic back pain can arise from various sources such as prior injury, poor posture and movement patterns, tight muscles, or even as a conditioned response from the brain. Thankfully, in many cases, back pain can be significantly improved with simple stretches or exercises.

In this article, we'll focus on a disc compression -- a very common cause of back pain -- and some stretches you can use for relief. 

Your spinal discs are essentially the padding between each spinal vertebra. When they get crushed or pinched or otherwise distorted, back pain often ensues.

This pressure on the discs usually arises from one or more of the following:

1) Compression
2) Flexion
3) Extension
4) Rotation

With this understanding, it becomes apparent that relief from back pain can often be found simply by counteracting the force that is damage the disc.

If a disc is being pinched by an over-extended (arched) spine, getting into a position of flexion (like lying on your back with your feet elevated and your hips on a pillow) is likely to help.

Conversely, if being overly flexed is causing pain, lying on your stomach and gently raising your torso by pushing yourself up with your arms (creating extension) may help. If your spine is rotated, rotating your spine or hips the other direction may help. And if your discs are compressed, hanging from a bar (with all or just part of your weight) will likely help.

You'll have to experiment some with different movements to find out what is causing your pain and to see what works best to relieve it, but one or more of the above movements should help. In future articles, I'll talk more about other solutions, but that should be plenty to get you started.

To your health,

Dr. James Matthews

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