“My grandfather never had it, my father never had it and I have never had lower back pain”
He pronounced proudly.
I had been consulting with a middle aged man, who came to see me about a painful neck.
I asked him to stand up and bend forward, noticing that the contour of his lower back didn’t change during this motion.
When standing, the lower back has a lordosis type of curve (it bows in), but when bending forward, this curve, normally, is supposed to flatten out and reverse.
It meant his lower back was too stiff to change during this maneuver. It was obvious why once I saw his lower back x-rays. An overwhelming amount of osteoarthritis evident over the lower spine.
So how is this possible?
He has this much osteoarthritis and has never had lower back pain?!
Actually this happens more often then not. Your spine can start deteriorating and all the while you have no pain!
Also, this type of degeneration is very slow and is hard to perceive it.
What typically happens, at some point a person becomes aware they are stiffer then they used to be. Most of us just dismiss it as a by product of getting older.
What is astounding however are a number of people who avoid it. These are the people ‘who don’t show their age’! These are the people who don’t look ‘typical’. They are usually just the right weight and walk and stand with a good posture.
These 2 items have not been acquired as a result of starting to do the ‘right things’ after a long time of neglect. They have been a lifelong right type of lifestyle. And luck! Luck as far as not having been involved in any physical trauma like hard car accidents, falls or other types of mishaps.
Even so, if the first 2 items were and are a part of your lifestyle the impact of the physical trauma will be greatly decreased!
So what is the correct lifestyle to have a healthy lower back throughout your life?
Several factors top the list.
Correct posture is one. It starts from childhood.
There is a high school near where I live and daily I see these teenage students walking to and from school. There are a good number of them who walk and stand properly but about half of them are going to have lifelong problems if they continue with their current postures and styles of walking.
Another key factor is proper diet. It is as insidious as a bad posture.
Most of these kids like to indulge in junk food which changes their internal chemistry and contributes to early degenerative changes, not just to their spines but entire bodies.
This is the one of the principal reasons why we, as chiropractors like to see young people – if you can be of influence to get them to eat healthier and adopt a proper posture they will become much healthier adults.