Here is a statistic from Steven Brill's recently released book on the current state of health care in the United States,"America's Bitter Pill":
"We spend $85.9 billion trying to treat back pain, which is as much as we spend on all of our country's state, city, county and town police forces. And experts say that as much as half of that is unnecessary."
Wow. That is just a staggering fact to digest!
Here's the thing. Most back pain will go away within a reasonable period of time. What I'm consistently teaching my patients is how to manage their backs, rather than let their backs manage them. Towards that end, I want to share with you three very basic exercises that will go a long way towards helping you keep a healthy back. They don't require any special equipment or a gym membership. Just a little effort, consistency, and attention to form.
Stuart McGill, PhD is a professor at the University of Waterloo outside of Toronto. He is considered the foremost expert on spine biomechanics and is a go-to resource for anyone in the field of rehabilitation. If anyone has studied the spine and its properties more thoroughly than Dr. McGill, he or she has yet to identify themselves. Dr. McGill has shared what he considers his "Big Three" core exercises for good spine health. They are the McGill curl up, the plank, and the birddog. Here is a quick clip of each:
McGill Curl Up
In this clip, I use a foam roller as a "coach" to help keep me in a neutral position. It is not necessary but simply augments the exercise.
Each of these exercises can be progressed or regressed, making them more difficult or easier based on one's capabilities. As you can see, they're pretty basic movements that don't require more than a little floor space. Give them a try. They're free. Maybe, just maybe, they will help you do your individual part in chipping away at that $85 billion price tag.