If you are in pain, let’s not waste time. To understand what this method of back pain /neck pain correction is about try this practical example:
Yawn your back pain away™ uses this and other more advanced breathing techniques for back pain.
It is done in three simple steps all done at the same time as seen in Fig 1.1
Fig 1.1 Lengthen, Stretch arms side to side and Breathe™
Step 1: LENGTHEN
Stand upright, with feet close together. To lengthen, just imagine being lifted from the crown of the head by a string and making yourself taller by a few millimetres. You should feel your body instinctively reacts by lightly engaging core muscles and neck muscles. Maintain this throughout the exercise.
Step 2: STRETCH ARMS AWAY FROM EACH OTHER
Hold your arms horizontally and imagine your arms being lightly pulled away from each other. Only a very small amount of muscle tension is needed. Also maintain this throughout the exercise.
Step 3: BREATHE DEEPLY
Breathe in and out at your own pace with deep inhalations. Do not hyperventilate. Wait for the need to breathe if necessary. Concentrate in achieving good, deep inhalations as this is the most important part. Initially breathing like this becomes difficult but with some patience and practice it is possible. Just take it in small steps.
Proof of concept: If you are doing this section correctly you should feel that your breath becomes restricted when you inhale. And you should also feel that some muscles in your abdomen and neck tighten when you lengthen.
Brief Explanation: The human body has two mechanisms of support for the lower back. One uses the spine as a support, and the other does not use the spine as support. Instead, it does the opposite. It reduces the load on the spine and it lengthens the spine. What you are doing above is using the second mode of support, as opposed to allowing the spine to carry the full load until it develops problems. In this case, you are breathing using your diaphragm. If the spine is continuously loaded over a few decades and without the second type of support, it will sag and gradually go out of alignment and eventually cause problems like tightness or back pain. And, if the second type of support is used correctly, the spine will gradually align by itself. Since this second mechanism is already build into your body, all that it takes to activate it, is, to imagine being pulled by a string from the top of your head. You should feel some muscles in your abdomen automatically tighten when you do this.
Steps 1, 2 and 3 above are a simplified example of what this method is about and it should give the reader a more comfortable feeling in their lower back.
Yawn your back pain away™ is a method of teaching how to use the various support mechanisms of the back and the various levels of lengthening strength™ the body is capable of using. It is not an exercise program, in which a person has to dedicate a certain amount of their time to back pain. This method is applicable to everyday life and normal daily activities, since support mechanisms of the back are a build in part of the human body. If you either walk, sit or stand during the day that is when it is used.
Explanation to musculoskeletal lower back pain: When the body does not use its internal support mechanisms.
When we seat, walk, exercise, etc. There is two ways in which the body uses the lower back. One compresses the lower spine, the other lengthens it. Your body controls this at will but becomes used to compressing the spine far more often than lengthening it. Compressing the spine over many years or even decades, will gradually force it to go out of alignment and the result is the feeling of tightness and eventually back pain. Over time your back becomes shorter by a few millimetres and muscles adapt and also become shorter. Making it difficult for your back to reset and relieve itself from misalignment. What originally starts as a minor discomfort gradually becomes back pain. Lengthening will bring it back into alignment. Except the abdomen has become shorter over the years and does not allow much lengthening to take place. The body’s strength and ability to lengthen also becomes weak.
Fig 2.1 shows how the back sags over the years. And muscles become shorter and learn to work that way.
Two ways in which the body uses the lower back:
The lower back has two support mechanisms. One is the spine; the other is by using its internal organs as support.
1-The body uses vertebrae and discs of the lower back to support the upper body.
(Most people understand this) We slouch or use the spine as support. This is what we do most of the time. We simply rest on our bones. After a few decades the body becomes used to it and relies too much on this as main means of support. Gradually the lower back develops problems. The lower spine starts to sag, curve and change natural curvature and alignment due to being under compression. Just like a bridge with columns made of many flexible joints and blocks would slowly buckle and develop misalignment problems after a while. The spine is not structurally a very stable means of long term support. There are too many joints in it.
2-The body uses its internal organs as means of supporting the upper body.
(Most people do not understand this. This is relatively misunderstood please pay attention because it makes a world of difference). When the body tightens core muscles around internal organs it produces hydraulic pressure inside the abdomen. This hydraulic pressure makes the lower back act as a hydraulic jack inside the body that can extend itself and separates the diaphragm away from the pelvic floor. By doing this the body can stretch the lower back and reduce the load on the spine. The weight of the upper body can partially supports itself on abdominal organs rather than on the spine alone.
Fig 2.2 The lower back has two support mechanisms. One lengthens the spine, the other compresses the spine.
The neck also has a different but related mechanism and the ideal situation is to benefit from lengthening the spine from the tail bone to the base of the head.
If the body uses the spine as its main support for decades, the spine will gradually sag and its length decrease very slightly. The muscles used to control the lower back will shorten, adapt to the new length and become used to work that way. The result: tightness or lower back pain.
This process happens over a period of 10-30 years. Perhaps it starts at around late teens when we stop growing. Simply training the body to use its core muscles better during exercises might or might not solve the problem because all the muscles that control the lower back have become shorter and do not allow the spine to reach its optimal length. Conventional stretching doesn’t always work because it is possible to bend the body by either lengthening or by pivoting on our joints as in normal spine compression mode. People’s initial approach to stretch and exercise is to continue doing what they are already used to doing for decades. What is necessary is to bring the spine to its original condition ideally by its own means. One of the challenges is trying to reverse something that took decades; using muscles in a way people never did effectively at the start. There is also the question of how much inner strength is a person able to develop if they have never use their core strength before. Holding good posture by using the muscles correctly would eventually work but it would take another 10-30 years.
© 2012 All rigths reserved. No part of this book can be reproduced without written permission by the author
Dear internet traveler,
This is a sample from the book YAWN YOUR BACK PAIN AWAY™ A method of teaching how the back works to avoid neck and back pain. Occasional use of the sample given above should give you some relief. For some fortunate people that’s all they will ever need. If you are a long time chronic back pain sufferer, you want to know more or perhaps you simply want to say thanks and contribute to this project, there is a different and more advanced approach with a detailed explanation described in the book.
You can find it and peruse it in the trusted Amazon.com site. (click image for link)
This is not another book of exercises for back pain. It is simply a well taught explanation of how the back works and techniques of how to trigger the support mechanisms of the body. Yoga, Pilates, Martial Arts, Dancers and other disciplines use them, but their focus and learning curve is different. It is not a manual of Yoga or dancing either. It is a manual of how a person living in the modern world can use fundamental principles of the human body. And use them to eliminate back pain.