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Overcoming back pain

How often have you heard someone complain of back pain? According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, it's one of the most common medical problems, with about one-fourth of U.S. adults experiencing at least one day of back pain in a three-month period. In a new BeWell Q&A Jean Couch, author of The Runner's Yoga Book and producer of the Your Pain Free Life DVD, offers some suggestions on coping and overcoming back pain.

Couch, who is the founder and co-director of the Balance Center in Palo Alto, attributes the prevalence of back pain in industrialized nations to long-term poor usage of our bodies:

We have lost our natural alignment. Most people think it is because we sit so much, but really there are people in other cultures who sit at looms or other workbenches for hours a day without collapsing the way we do. It really isn't the sitting that is the biggest problem; it's the way we sit that is killing us. A hundred years ago most people sat up-right; now people sit curved over, and it is this collapse that is ruining the spine. I hear myself saying all the time that this fashion of collapse is a cultural phenomenon, but the suffering is individual.

The rest of the Q&A is worth reading, and it includes one small change people that people can do to save their backs.“You have to sit on the bottom of your butt,” Couch says.

Previously: Relieving Pain in America: A new report from the Institute of Medicine

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