back pain: the skinny.

"Back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 years old. More than 26 million Americans between the ages of 20-64 experience frequent back pain."

I was doing some research for a talk I'm giving next month, and stumbled upon this factoid.

Back pain is the LEADING cause of disability. If you are a regular, or even sometimes sufferer, this probably doesn't come as a surprise. You are well aware how debilitating it can be when your central support structure is a source of radiating pain.

And then?

"Adults reporting low back pain were three times as likely to be in fair or poor health and more than four times as likely to experience serious psychological distress as people without low back pain."

I'm not a big 'facts and figures' kinda gal, but this one hit me hard.

Pain has deeper-reaching effects than we may realize at first blush.

We aren't given these bodies to see how long we can keep them from decaying-- they are our joyful containers.

Or they can be, if we fully embody this form, exploring its many forms of movement, stretching, flowing, twisting, flexing.

The modern approach to back pain is often to stop moving -- since movement itself can often create more pain, or exacerbate irritated nerves, our natural instinct is to avoid. Or in some cases, our healthcare professional tells us to 'rest it'. To sit, or lie down, and ultimately let the compression of the low spine continue. And that is exactly the opposite of what needs to happen.

Enter depression. Compromised immune function. Loss of core strength, which is crucial for supporting that spine. And we know well that make-you-crazy spin of the mind when there is pain that just.won't.go.away.


Now: I'm not suggesting that you should behave like nothing is happening.

Nor am I expecting that you jump into a Vinyasa Yoga class and get all Gumby with yourself. That type of "pushing through the pain" can create lasting damage.

But pain is always an invitation to look both deeper and more broadly at the picture of your being: physically, emotionally, and behaviorally.

And this is part of our work, as humans inhabiting these delicate-but-infinitely-wise bodies:

To remember how to listen.

When the body says YES.

And when the body says NO.

It's a quiet language, especially if you're firmly entrained in our cultural breakneck pace that leaves no room for a pause to breathe.

Begin. Begin now. Begin moving, slowly exploring in circles and spirals and side bends and breath.

Begin to study the language of your nervous system. Your emotional response. Learn your own inner signs and signals, edges and places of expansion.

You are your own best healer, once you know what you're hearing.


I can help you learn that language. A one-on-one session focused on helping you listen, learn, and become fully embodied and empowered in your own healing work. Part movement, part subtle body work, part conversational exploration. Schedule a session with me here.


Ankati Day