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HERMIT the FROG

How to Cope with Backaches

I used to have backaches all the time ... but I never actually realised it until one day when I had a dentist appointment. As usual the nurse asked whether I was on any medication and I mentioned, "just aspirins for my backache." She then tells me, "Oh, yes. I see you were on them last year for your backache also." That's when I took notice that I was having quite a few backaches. Some of my friends also often had backaches so I question them what they did about them. They all had different stories and tried different remedies but nothing seemed to have any long term effect. Their doctors had offered different advices and I took note of all of them. Further intrigued by some of the claims, I went to the library and made a study of backaches and their remedies. The proverbial lightbulb lit above my head as I began to understand some of the basics of the problems, their causes, and what looked like a simple solution. This solution was actually so simple I found it hard to believe, but as I tested it the results proved themselves. For me, backaches became a thing of the past. I have offered this solution to a number of my friends, but unfortunately most of them felt my solution was just too simple and couldn't possibly be of any benefit. They still suffer from re-occurring backaches. My method is of benefit to most backaches caused by strains, sprains, twists, or overpressured muscles, ligaments or tendons and is more in the line of preventative than curative. Naturally, if there is something physically wrong with your backbones themselves, this procedure can't be of much benefit to you.

To recognize that this method will help you, first of all you must understand why the backaches occur and why this method will help. Here is a picture of a typical posture.

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Notice the "S" shape of the back? This is commonly called the 'natural' curvature of the back. The word 'natural' here actually means this is this normal, regular, standard curvature of the average back. This does not mean the correct or most efficient or best form for the back.

Just consider the human body's bone structure. The lower body consists of two powerful legs to carry the entire body and the hips which hold up the internal organs. The upper body consists of a large head to protect the brain, two powerful arms to work with and a large rib works to protect all the upper internal organs. Our four footed animal cousins have two front legs in place of the two arms we have, so they have two legs to carry the lower body and two to carry the upper body while as you can see we must rely on just the two legs to carry everything. The two major sections of the body are connected by a thin flexible string of small bones that make up the spine. In our four footed cousins this flexible bone structure is used to merely hold the two major sections together and the flexibility is important. There is no great necessity for these bones to hold up any great amount of weight (except for horses and other pack animals that man has put to use). In our bodily structure, however, that thin strip of flexible bones has to hold up the entire upper body section, and it's quite heavy. These bones have to rely on a network of muscles, ligaments and tendons to help them carry the load.

Remember when you were a child and used to try to pile up poker chips to see how many you could stack up before they fell? If you were very careful, had a level surface and there was no wind or vibration, sometimes you could really stack them up high. But remember how easily they all fell down with just a slight tip? That stack of chips is very much like your stack of backbone vertebrae. As long as you keep your back straight it can support a lot of weight but the more your spine curves the weaker it becomes and the more your back has to rely on the muscles, ligiments and tendons, and this is the source of simple backaches.

Picture the army master sergeant yelling at the recruits, "Shoulders back, pull your gut in! " This twofold action straightens the back. Evidently the army knew something important!

Your body tends to form in the direction you use it. The more you slump and allow your spine to form that natural curvature the more it tends to curve and it will continually curve more, thus causing more and more backaches. The more you try to keep your back as straight as possible, the more it tends to that direction.

The average person sleeps average of eight hours a night. These eight hours, a full one third of your life, are a great influence on the shaping of your back. Picture a person sleeping on his back or stomach.

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Notice how in both positions, the back tends to revert to that dreaded natural curvature? Now look at the position of someone sleeping in the fetal position. Notice how his back is now no longer concave but now more convex?

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This is why you are always told that sleeping in the fetal position is the 'correct' position. I carried this even further. By kneeling down, sitting back on my heels, and then bending forward until my head rested on a pillow, I found I had bent my back to a complete convex position, completely contrary to its 'normal' backache causing position. The longer one can keep one's back in a convex position, the more it can combat the concave, so-called 'natural curvature of the back'. My daughter, seeing me in this position, saw it as "Kermit the Frog". Although this position is highly recommended, and does wonders in relieving back pains, admittedly, it's not the most comfortable position in the world, and I always slept best sleeping on my stomach. That's when I devised the "Half Kermit". To accomplish this position, I lie on my stomach and then bring one knee up as far as I can, up to my chest, lay my arm over that leg with my hand under my foot. The pressure of the foot holds the hand in place and thus the arm holds the leg in place. Although only one knee is bent up, it's enough to pull the back into the required convex position. After awhile, when I want to roll onto my other side, that leg goes down and the other comes up. It's a quite comfortable position, and after doing it awhile, soon it becomes a natural normal sleeping position. Eight hours a night keeping your back in a convex position does wonders in straightening out a concave back.

Since I've been sleeping in this position, I've no longer had any backaches.




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