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Is Your Stretching Regimen Helping or Harming You?

October, 2016

Stretching is a common prescription to help with back pain. At https://www.healthoutcome.org, the world’s first crowdsourcing platform to rate medical interventions, stretching is the 6th most commonly used intervention, after physical therapy, NSAIDs, heat, rest, and cortisone injections. On a scale from 0-5, stretching (rated 2.6) is the 5th most highly rated intervention after Postural Modification (3.8), Yoga (3.1), Supplements (2.9), Weight Loss (2.8), and Meditation (2.7).

 


Back pain caused by tight muscles is common

 

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How not to Hunch like your Parent and Grandparent

April, 2022

Hunching over or rounding the upper back is often regarded as a hereditary characteristic. I frequently hear people say, “my back is stooped just like my mother, and her mother had it too.”

Is a hunched back Nature or Nurture?
I agree that hunching is certainly a family trait—but it is largely a learned one, not inherited.
We mostly learn our posture from our parents and family members. As we grow up, the role models around us in wider society also hold sway. Unfortunately, in our culture, these are usually pretty poor examples to follow. Our relationship to healthy posture has steadily been eroded over the past one hundred years, as I explain in my book 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back. Read more

Home Exercises Part 3: Cat-Cow

August, 2021
This is our third blog post in the series where we put popular exercises under scrutiny to examine how they stack up—or not—against the principles of healthy posture. Here we are looking at “Cat-Cow,” a common exercise for mobilizing the spine. Cow is one of the “holy cows” of conventional exercise. Done on all fours, it puts the spine into extension (swaying). It is paired with Cat , which puts the spine into flexion (rounding). Alternating between these postures is widely considered to be a good or even necessary exercise for mobilizing the spine. Read more

Hypermobility

September, 2021

Flexibility in the body is generally regarded as a plus, and most people want more of it. Flexibility is seen to enable a wide range of motion, avoid muscle pulls, and spare wear and tear in overly tight joints. But like most things in life, you can have too much of a good thing. In this blog post we are going to look at why excessive mobility has a downside and how healthy posture can mitigate that.

An exceptional range of motion makes for a very “bendy” looking body. Enter the age-old art of the contortionist, a mainstay of acrobatic troupes, circuses, and fairs, which for centuries have enthralled and appalled audiences in equal measure. 

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