Billions of dollars are spent trying to prevent and/or rehab back injuries. I think the medical establishment is failing in this area. Why? An enormous effort and promotion in research and therapy has been focused on “strengthening the core” (which, in reality, there is no core unless you are using the term to mean “center”). It’s not a weakness in a specific group of muscles because the human body is not wired that way. Movement is based on a neuromuscular system dependent upon receptors in the joints and tissue. It can’t be divided into sections and labeled, for example, “core muscles.” We sit down and get up from chairs by neuromuscular connections between joints and muscles. We have developed movement therapies and fitness programs focusing on muscles and not on the foundation of how those muscles connect and work together. I’ve spent my career “undoing” the good intentions of fitness programs and literally undoing “tension.” There is no need to protect your back if you skillfully understand the movement. The confidence comes in the experience of sitting.
Why do we say “good or bad posture?” We don’t say good or bad swim stroke. We say “I need to work on my backstroke.” When we talk about movements we love we say “I need to work on my form” as in golf. These movements we find engaging and we are connected to them. Yet we see the ordinary moments in our lives not as interesting, and as a result, we’re not good at them. We go searching for the fix with Google search, medical experts and fitness gurus. There is no fix. It’s literally an act of mindful connection, a true interest in the movement at that moment. That moment may happen to be putting on your socks, but it’s a human movement that is interdependent on the whole neuromuscular system, just like the swim stroke.
The natural movement we see with indigenous tribes is based on balance and connection. We get out of bed to experience the day not because we know it is a “good” for us to do. What if the act of getting out of bed became an experience we actually enjoy? Maybe we would surprise ourselves with a better golf swing!