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Interesting Way to Help Relieve Back Pain

One of the things that people usually become dismayed about as they get older is that they end up with more aches and pains than they had in their youth. Sometimes this is due to medical conditions, but thinking of back pain, specifically, I’ve found an interesting way to help relieve the pain and to prevent it from happening.

It is estimated that one in three adults experience moderate to extreme back pain. In my own case, there was a root cause of me feeling back pain. First, I was in a car accident when I was about 18 when I was rear-ended by a guy who struck my stationary car and he was traveling an estimated 55 mph when he impacted me. I started experiencing severe back pain immediately following the accident, from a condition the doctor called ‘hyper-accelerated lumbar displacement’. I asked him what that was and he grinned and told me, “Whiplash”. 

The back pain got better, until, like an idiot, in my early 30’s, I managed to drop an antique upright piano on myself, messing up my hip and both knees in the process. I pulled muscles in my back as well. From that time, I’ve periodically had back pains. Sometimes it is an ache and sometimes it is painful spasms.

What I’ve discovered that actually is beginning to help me isn’t something new at all. It is just something I haven’t thought about. It is also something that I picked up, accidentally, in my efforts to become a better and stronger singer.

The thing is that, as I learned, the strength of a person’s voice is related to the amount of air they can draw into their lungs. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Air is drawn into the lungs by the work of the diaphragm. As it is drawn downward by the abdominal muscles, it creates a vacuum that causes the lungs to fill with air.

A key to this, though, is posture. If a person has poor posture, they won’t be able to draw a full amount of air into their lungs. One of the first things that I’ve been taught for singing more powerfully is to work on correct posture. 

I used to have good posture. To know if the posture is good, lay on a flat surface with the shoulder blades on that surface. Most of the back should also be on the surface, down to the small of the back, which is slightly raised, then the back of the hip girdle is on the surface and the heels should be firmly on the surface with the toes pointed straight up. The head should be on the surface and slightly tilted back so that there is a bit of an arch to the neck. If the position feels strange or awkward, you need to work on your posture.

Remain in this position for a few minutes, concentrating on how it feels. Then stand with your back against a wall in the same position, for a few minutes, to get used to the feeling.

Most people don’t have great posture, so it really doesn’t feel ‘natural’ and takes practice.

Although I started this with the idea of building the strength of my chest voice, I discovered something amazing…the posture exercises are helping with my back pain. Gradually, over the years, my posture has worsened. It was only when I realized that it was helping with the back pain that it occurred to me that poor posture has been increasing the stress in the muscles of my back. It is no wonder that my back has been getting progressively worse. So has my posture.

  • What kind of posture would you say that you have?

    • Excellent
    • Good
    • Fair
    • It needs a little work
    • Poor
  • Did you realize that good posture is needed for both singing and to help with back pain?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Singing yes, back pain no
    • back pain yes, singing no

What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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24 Comments

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    • The stretching and walking around is a lot more important than a lot of people realize, particularly if a person spends a lot of time sitting at a desk. It is important in another way, too. Part of the problem I have in my legs is from sitting too long in front of the monitor without periodically getting up and moving around. This is an instance when I’m a great example of what happens when a person doesn’t do what they should do.

        • For about 15 years, I worked as a senior tech and a technical engineer. Unfortunately, I didn’t get up and walk around periodically, as I should have. Many times I’d stay sitting for 8-10 hours a day, many days in a row. I’m paying the price now. If I’d spent even two minutes every hour getting up, stretching, and walking around the room, my legs would be in far better shape than they are.

          • Great job! I have a feeling that I walk a lot more than I think that I do. Even when I’m just watering the church flower beds, there is a great deal of walking involved. The two buildings are about 350 feet, all together, and those aren’t the only flower beds. I also drag the hose across the street to water. However, I’m pretty sure that you walk a lot more than I do.

  1. I also suffer from back problem brought about by my 21 years as a registered nurse. This past profession has brought on a slight scoliosis for me. Even though I am usually as straight as a ramrod my back causes me pain whenever I do chores like passing the vacuum, dusting etc. After each of these and even after walking I have to sit down on a straight back chair to relieve my back pain. Also being slightly overweight at this time in my life, I am working on losing weight by simply decreasing my intake… One exercise I found useful in treating back pain is lying down on a flat surface and slowly bring one knee to your chest, release it and repeat it with the other leg. You can do this exercise also standing up against a wall and lifting one knee and the other one…

    • It makes sense that this exercise would be useful. It is quite similar to some of the exercises that physical therapists use. Both my wife and daughter have gone to physical therapy and the exercises aren’t really exercises, in that they don’t necessarily strengthen muscles, but they stretch the muscles and increase ROM.

      It is very surprising how many people have very little idea of just how important the muscles of the back are. It is nearly impossible to move anything on the body, even a finger, without having back muscles involved in the action.

    • I remember my mother telling me to sit up straight when I wasn’t even a teenager and she said it over and over. Since she never explained why she was saying it, I didn’t realize at the time that she was encouraging good posture and didn’t really know why it was important.

  2. Losing weight will help back pain too if you are overweight. Unfortunately I can’t stand up straight due to spinal issues; but I do my best!!! I would say that most of us don’t know about posture and singing voice.

    • If poor posture is due to medical issues, it can be difficult or even impossible to correct the issue, sometimes even with surgery. For people who don’t have those issues, though, there is usually plenty that can be done about posture.

      The military often tells men and women trainees, “Chin up, shoulders back, chest out.” That last part is unneeded because if the chin is up and the shoulders are back, the chest is automatically out. However, the whole point is that they are encouraging good posture.

    • I forgot to say that you are right about weight, too. I’m thankfully not overweight, but my biggest issue is that I can’t walk very far before feeling severe pain. I find that it is far worse when I’m carrying something, like groceries, a bag of dog food, or what have you. Most of that pain is in my legs, but all that I’m doing differently is that I’m increasing my total weight when I carry something. That increases strain. I don’t have a lot of issues with lifting things, just with taking them somewhere once I’ve lifted them.

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