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Lower Back Pain From Bed

I don’t think ancient humans were complainingabout pains from how they quot;slept funny,quot; so if we’re the same species, what’s wrong withus? Aches and pains are just part of life, butdo you think our cave, tree or grassland dwelling ancestors gave a crap about little aches?Maybe they just didn’t get them as much. A story making the rounds this week claims tohave an answer our posture is bad; like, really bad. A California acupuncturist withchronic back pain travelled the world exploring cultures where chronic back pain wasn’t commonand attempted to reverse engineer their lifestyle choices. She observed cultures where womenand men spent their days working in fields,

carrying heavy objects on their heads, orquote quot;hunched over weaving, for hours,quot; and noted that none of them had back pain, eventhough many were very old. Her explanation? Posture. Based on her observations, the spine shouldn’tform an S, but a J. Looking at these people, late 19th century medical texts, and statuesfrom ancient cultures, all told her we were messing with our spines! This is a totallyplausible reason for pain, evolution guided us to the proper posture and our socialculture has altered it but this wasn’t a scientific study, just a number of casestudies. That being said, there are a number

of studies saying we Americans (and many others)probably ARE doing things wrong. There’s a TON of talk around the office abouthow we sit in hairs, and my mom used to yell at me about slouching. If the acupuncturistI mentioned is right, then sitting up straight COULD help, but if nonscience isn’t enough,studies from San Francisco State University have found keeping up straight when seatedcorrelates with generating more positive memories, whereas walking slumped decreases your energylevels. So listen to my mother, and fix your posture!You’d think something you do once a day (or maybe more!) you’d be good at, but you mightwant to sit down for this one: you’re pooping

wrong. Evolution didn’t involve toilets. Noteven once. Instead, humans would, like other animals, squat! Our human anatomy isn’t madeto push out a halfpound (120g) of waste while sitting down, instead, we’re supposed tobe squatting with the thighs running parallel to the abdomen! A 2003 study in DigestiveDiseases and Sciences found people who squatted pooped faster, and with less effort than thoseon a toilet! A separate study from 2010 xrayed people while they pooped out a fluid thathad been put INTO their colons and they found abdominal strain was way lower for squattingthan sitting! I love science. You don’t have to rip the porcelain throne out of the bathroomthough, just get a shorter one, or even put

a stool underfoot to help align your legsand abs! Since the late 1500s when the flush toiletswirled into our midst, we’ve been pooping wrong and now we’re having problems withour our bowels. Pooping wrong creates all sorts of problems with constipation and, moreseriously, the abdominal strain causes painful swelling and bleeding of the veins aroundyour anus that is hemorrhoids! In the US, eighty percent of the populationwill have a sleeprelated back problem at some point in our lives, and yet… we treatthe symptom not the disease. We spend one third of our lives asleep, but we’re terribleat that too. Sleeping on our stomachs is bad

for the spine, the fetal position hunchesthe back and leads to neck AND back pain. Sleeping on mediumfirm to firm mattressesFAR better for the alignment of the back than too soft or too hard. And if you don’t wantto swap mattresses, at least switch to sleeping on your back; it’s supposed to be the bestfor a natural spine position. Again, think about our evolution, we didn’t evolve to sleepon a pillowtop, but on a thinly cushioned patch of grass or dirt. Today, about onethird of Americans in their50s have some kind of chronic pain in their neck or back; another quarter have pain intheir knees or legs, and another 18 percent

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