Back pain is a complex problem. To find out how to best prevent and eliminate it, I spoke with Stuart McGill, PhD, a world-renowned expert in low-back disorders and spine biomechanics with over 30 years of experience including research, training clinicians and seeing patients. He is a professor emeritus at the Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo. He’s written several books including Back Mechanic: The Step-by-step McGill Method to fix back pain.
The majority of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives. McGill says poor posture and prolonged sitting contribute to this widespread problem, as does combining improper loading with unhealthy movements such as spine-flexing. Compression followed with bending the lumbar spine can lead to disc bulging and herniation which can press on a nerve and cause pain. Some exercises such as forward-bending yoga poses, sit-ups and crunches can result in injury with repeated use, though not everyone is as anatomically susceptible. McGill says crunches put the equivalent of 340 kilograms of compression force on the spine! [Read more…]