C Vitae

Back in his court

Your aching back: Five causes, five treatments

from back expert Brian Hainline, MD’82
1. Prolonged stress without a solution or reconciliation

Find a way to release stress
“The low back is intimately tied to emotional stress and may carry stress by way of prolonged increased muscle contraction and imbalance. Listen to your body and be willing to ask yourself some straightforward questions such as: ‘Am I taking care of myself?’  ‘Am I placing more physical or emotional stress on my body than my body can handle?’”

2. Intense exercise or sport involvement without proper core-back development

Develop your core muscles
“Pilates is a more advanced form of back exercise and ultimately develops the core-back muscles, including the abdomen, buttocks, and upper and lower back.”

3. Ignoring the daily demands placed on the body

Be mindful
“‘Mindfulness exercise’ of any kind is the best exercise for the back. This means that you are focused on your breathing and your body movement, and not on a to-do check list or a television program. Walking is excellent in this regard.”

4. Ignoring posture day in and day out, especially at the work place

Pay attention to posture
“Yoga is an advanced, wonderful combination of mindfulness and core-back development. Yoga must be done with patience and particular attention to one’s breath, as opposed to a predetermined pose.”

5. Ignoring early signals of back tightness and soreness

Avoid denial
“When back pain does not respond to simple measures such as rest, manipulation, or acupuncture, or if there is associated leg pain—especially with leg numbness or weakness—you need to consult a neurologist or spine specialist.”

Return to story