“I just bent over to pick up my sock off the floor and I couldn’t straighten up. I’ve been in excruciating back pain since.” A lot of us know someone with a similar story. Of course, picking up a sock off the floor doesn’t cause a severe injury. It’s just the straw that broke the camel’s back. The question is, what loaded the camel so much in the first place?
In my experience, the painful area is never the problem. It is just the part that pays the price. For example, if the upper part of your back isn’t mobile, the lower part will compensate by moving too much. This puts excessive stress on the area and loads the camel’s back. If you have limited hip mobility, this will also cause the lower part of your back to compensate to make up for it, again loading the camel’s back. I can honestly say that I have never seen anyone with acute back pain whose hips were in the right place. They are almost always badly aligned with limited mobility.
All of this means that if we unload the camel’s back proactively we can avoid the acute episode of excruciating pain that levels you. In order to do this, a full body assessment is required to find the distant sources producing the stress in the lower back.
But how do you know you’re going to have an episode of acute back pain before you have one? Of course, you don’t. Or do you? When I ask specific questions, I often get answers that indicate there were telltale signs that something was off prior to the injury. This can include things like aching in the lower back, stiffness in the upper back, or pain in one or both hips. These are warning signs that things aren’t moving quite right. Don’t ignore your inner camel. Have these issues addressed before you reach the final straw.