Why You Hurt
“The Doctor of the Future will Give No Medicine but will Interest his Patients in the Care of the Human Frame, in Diet, and in the Cause and Prevention of Disease…”
- Thomas Edison
Contrary to traditional views, back pain (chronic pain in general) is not a bone problem, it is a muscle problem caused by our modern lifestyle, which renders our structural muscles – those responsible for holding us correctly – ineffectual due to lack of proper or sufficient use.
Over time, the body continually decreases in its ability to hold proper alignment around gravity due to injury, repetitive stress and prolonged sitting. This places increased pressure on the joints leaving them vulnerable to pain, in the same manner a car would run inefficiently if out of alignment, causing undo wear on the tires. Surgery, one of the most common treatments for back pain, is almost never the answer. More often than not, it aggravates the pain and weakens the system and only addresses the symptom and not the cause. If your posture is poor prior to surgery, it will still be poor after surgery. This leads to repeat surgeries. Pain-killing drugs, the second most common treatment for back pain, have serious side effects and can become addictive.
The physical pain that many people experience stems from the following influences:
We live in a sedentary society. People are reliant on technology, automation and mechanization.
The human body is designed according to a blueprint or ideal form. This blueprint requires constant stimulus to be reinforced and maintained.
The human body is designed for motion. Our ancestors lived a much more active lifestyle than we do today. We had to move in order to hunt, bend, twist, run away from prey. In other words, optimal physical function determined our survival. The human body is still organized according to this blueprint or design and expected to function in the same way, yet it is not exposed to the stimulus necessary to ensure this function. As we cease using our bodies in the way they were intended, muscle groups begin to weaken and atrophy. This leads to System Breakdown, and explains why movement eventually becomes restricted, or compensated and, eventually, painful.
Gravity is a constant. Therefore, if you are not strengthening the intrinsic muscles to hold the body at right angles, you will become out of alignment. If your body is not aligned, much like a car, you will begin to wear out a tire (or in your case, your back, neck, etc.).
The body has two muscular systems:
- Intrinsic or postural muscles – designed to hold the body at right angles (i.e. the ankle, knee, hip, shoulder and head [ear]) aligned with gravity.
- Dynamic muscles – the larger muscles groups (i.e. quads, hamstrings, abs) designed for large contractions to move our bodies.
Your body must be held at right angles in order for your body to move and operate effectively and without pain. Therefore, if your therapy involves mainly movement of dynamic muscles (i.e. weightlifting), then chances are you are exacerbating your problem.
Insufficient or inadequate stimulus to the body causes what we call “System Breakdown.” Specifically, after a period of 24-72 hours, the muscular system of the body begins to weaken and, if left long enough, atrophy if not provided with the stimulus it needs to remain flexible, balanced and strong. Once the body begins to experience System Breakdown, other muscle groups need to step in to assume the roles of weak or compromised muscle groups. We call this compensation. It is compensation that causes pain!
Once we experience pain–in other words, our body telling us something is wrong–we tend to identify the pain site or symptom as the cause of the problem. We treat the symptom! We do not realize that the reason that specific part of your body hurts is due to the entire system failing or “breaking down.” Neither do we realize that you can not fix a part without addressing the whole. There is a reason that particular site hurts: it is taking on too much responsibility for holding and moving the body. THE ONLY WAY TO RELIEVE THE STRESS ON THAT PARTICULAR SITE IS TO RETRAIN THE OTHER MUSCLE GROUPS TO RESUME THEIR INTENDED ROLE AND FUNCTION!