What is the best way to solve back pain?

One movement at a time.

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A few metaphors to set this up:

  • Your back is a battlefield. The pain points are where two opposing forces meet and clash.

  • Your back is a football field… One team is trying to get to their end-zone. The other team is trying to stop them. Actually both teams are trying to get to their respective end-zones and both teams are trying to stop the other.

  • Or tug of war. One team pulls on the rope, and the other team pulls on the same rope and everyone pulls with all their might, and the whole thing stays completely still. LOTS of tension, no movement.

You get the idea. In each situation, one side produces an effort that goes directly against the other side, and if they’re well matched, they stay locked in an eternal struggle for domination.

It’s often the same with back pain. One set of muscles doing one thing. But another set of muscles—the antagonistic muscles— doing something else, directly opposed. And what happens when they both do these things at the same time?

Pain.

That’s why the best way to solve back pain is one movement at a time.

If you can figure out how to let one set of muscles win, which also means letting one set of muscles lose [temporarily], then an important part of you gets what it wants… And, surprise! All of your parts are important! So it doesn’t matter which part wins first! They’re all a part of the same nervous system.

When part of you gets what it wants, system-wide things start to happen: relaxation, deeper breathing, a sense of well-being.

So, the trick is figuring out how to start letting yourself win and lose at the same time. The best way to practice this is doing one movement at a time.


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