Back Pain? Get On The Ground!
Posted on September 23rd, 2021 to Barefoot Training
A month ago, I became a dog dad and welcomed Rusty (Red Fox Lab) into the world. He’s a great dog thus far and I have enjoyed watching him learn and grow as each day passes.
It got me wondering about the relationship and history between humans and dogs. In my little research on the human-dog relationship, I learned that it began with wolves and the most sociable ones were paired down. This eventually led to cross-breeding and we end up with floppy eared dogs like Rusty.
You might be wondering, “Yeah cute dog and all, but how does this relate to movement and working out?”. Well, one of the first things I noticed is how quick and easy it is for this 3 month old dog to sit, stand, lie down, and roll over. This is because he has spent every day of his 3 month life on the ground. While these movements are easy for him, they are not as easy for us humans. Part of the reason these are harder for us is because humans are the only primates that are normally biped (standing on two feet). This erect posture also places much more weight on our lumbar spine and leaves us vulnerable to lower back issues.
In his book “Muscles and Meridians”, Phillip Beach correlates common musculoskeletal disorders to evolutionary biology and Chinese meridians. In his chapter titled “Archetypal postures”, he talks about back pain and how we spend too much time treating the symptoms rather than the root cause of the symptom. He goes on to mention three ways to improve your back health and overall well-being. These three tips include floor based living, erecting yourself from the floor, and rehabbing the feet by walking barefoot on rocky surfaces. He refers to shoes as “sensory deprivation chambers” and talks about how detrimental they are to pain free movement as they disrupt the feedback loop between brain and body.
Try incorporating some more ground based movements and flows into your routine. Here are the 9 major movements that Phillip mentions in his book:
- Full Squat
- Toe Sitting or Standby Posture
- The Drinking Posture
- Cowboy Posture
- Long Sitting
- Cross-Legged Posture
- Side-Saddle Posture
- Tailor’s Posture
Here are some movements you can practice. Try doing each movement for two minutes straight before moving to the next.