Are we bending over correctly to prevent back pain? How do other cultures do it?
If you ever watch a baby do it, they are more likely to squat then bend over. Other cultures squat which is thought to keep the knees, hips and lower back’s healthier, but they also bend over differently than we do as well.
In America and many western societies, we tend to bend over rather than squatting and we have a relatively high incidence of lower back pain in our society which may be a result of these activities. Other problems common to western societies include knee and hip problems as well.
Back pain may be a result of how we learn to bend at the waist as a recent NPR article suggests. While it is not always practical to squat like a baby, in other cultures, when they do bend over, the hinge at the hips instead of arching the mid back. The author suggests the big idea that the way we bend may be one of the reasons we have a high incidence of back pain. There may be more similarities to how babies squat and how hip hinging to bend works to protect the lower back joints.
He explains his theory and even offers a video of how to hinge your hips properly when you bend forward. The idea is that when done this way, it takes the strain off of the spine and back joints when engaging the body into a bend.
While this may be more difficult for those of us with tight hamstrings and calves, the technique can be learned with practice. Using the idea of neuroplasticity, which re-synapses the brain to learn movement patterns, if done regularly, you can over a period of time make this your new way of bending without giving it much thought.
Check out the article here
Lost Art Of Bending Over: How Other Cultures Spare Their Spines
To see if you’re bending correctly, try a simple experiment.
“Stand up and put your hands on your waist,” says Jean Couch, who has been helping people get out of back pain for 25 years at her studio in Palo Alto, Calif.
“Now imagine I’ve dropped a feather in front of your feet and asked to pick it up,” Couch says. “Usually everybody immediately moves their heads and looks down.”
That little look down bends your spine and triggers your stomach to do a little crunch. “You’ve already started to bend incorrectly — at your waist,” Couch says. “Almost everyone in the U.S. bends at the stomach.”