“Lift with your legs, not with your back,” is a popular sentiment and sound advice that many of us have heard over the years. Perhaps it was your gym teacher who told it to you, or maybe it was your parents when you helped them clean out the garage as a kid. Regardless of who told it to you, the intentions behind it were all the same – saving yourself some unwanted and unpleasant back pain.
Have you ever picked up the kids from school? Or literally, every picked up your kids? Well, if so, then you have used your back. Have you mowed the lawn or shoveled snow? Or maybe you have simply gotten up in the morning and gotten dressed? If you have answered yes to those or have ever brushed your teeth, done the dishes or opened the fridge, then you have used your back. And chances are, you likely don’t give it very much thought while you are doing those things. That is unless you suffer from back pain, in which case even the simplest of tasks can feel like an insurmountable burden. However, it does beg the question as to why your back hurts in the first place.
One of the first question that anyone will ask when they are experiencing back pain is “Why is this happening?” and all too often it is the answer to this question that leads to a solution. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of culprits, and these are among the more usual suspects:
Everybody knows the importance of water, however, often that is limited to “we need it to stay alive.” However, the full breadth and scope of what water does for our bodies are truly amazing, especially when you consider that every single organ and cell is affected by it. And yes, this also includes your back and spine. But how?
In-between each of your vertebrate is a disk that acts much like a shock absorber. These disks consist of two parts: a flexible outer ring that is filled with a gelatinous like substance called the nucleus purposes. The second part is the inner substance which is made up of mostly water. The trouble is that throughout the course of the day, that water slowly drains out. Then at night, as we lay down sleeping at night, those disks will slowly begin to rehydrate, that is, assuming we have enough water in our systems. Interestingly enough, it is this phenomenon that causes us to typically be about a quarter to half inch shorter when we go to bed than when we wake up.