Back Pain – The Primal Posture Solution
Produced by Zamacona Productions
Back pain is not only more common in industrialized countries but has become pandemic, affecting about 85 percent of the population. There are many reasons for this but one big one is posture. We have not only forgotten how to eat, we’ve forgotten how to move. Esther Gokhale has gone back to traditional cultures to relearn how to sit, stand and move. She has observed, for example, women in Burkina Faso bending over while working for seven to nine hours a day with no back pain. This is not some kind of genetic issue. Our ancestors had much less back pain than we do today.
Part of the solution is to correct misunderstandings about what proper posture looks like. The human back is not supposed to be as straight as a yard stick. It is also not supposed to be slouched or swayed. Using diagrams and live models, she shows us what correct posture looks like and how to train yourself. There are several techniques such as stretch-sitting, stretch-lying, hip-hinging, and stack-sitting that are used to relieve back problems. These techniques help stretch out the back and hydrate and avoid pinching disks.
Back problems can be more than just a pain in the back. One of the patients Gokhale worked with suffered regular migraines and after correcting back posture and movement, the migraines have been greatly reduced. Of course, chronic pain can also make it hard to sleep, which in turn leads to all kinds of health risks. Others with ruptured disks who were told they would need surgery wisely tried the Gokhale method first and are doing just fine now without the surgery. An older man who had walked with a cane has retired the cane and gone back to his weightlifting routine. Back surgeons everywhere are crying, and my thumb is UP.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2013.