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“My Lower Back is Killing Me!” – How to Fix Lower Back Pain

what to do for lower back pain relief

What to Do For Lower Back Pain Relief

I have permanently fixed the vast majority of my back pain that bothered me for 4 years.

Previous to having a sedentary day job, where I started sitting for 40+ hours a week in a chair, I never had back pain.  I never had any health issues actually, let alone chronic pain like back and neck pain.

My first job out of college I was working in a high school as a tutor. It was a pretty sweet gig, but compared to the jobs I had before (always on my feet, or moving) It was pretty sedentary.

I didn’t think it was much of a problem, until about 3-6 months in, when my back started aching every day.  It wasn’t a bad ache – just a little bit here and there. I’d get up, walk around, maybe sit on my desk instead of the chair, and it pretty much went away.

But as time went on the ache was getting worse and worse. I spent less time sitting down because it was hurting my back and neck.

Eventually the year ended and I had the summer months free (aka not behind a desk). I didn’t notice much pain then.  But a few months after, I ended up moving to China and enrolled in a university and I was once again sitting all day. Combine this with the fact that my “mattress” consisted of a 1/2″ thick piece of cloth, I was starting to get really severe back pain on a daily basis.

I couldn’t sit up in class – it hurt my back too much. I couldn’t even slouch – somewhere else my back would hurt. But the worst, by far, was that I couldn’t sleep because I was constantly awoken by back and neck pain. Thus began my long journey into insomnia and myriad other problems.

What To Do if You Wake Up Each Day Thinking, “My Lower Back is Killing Me!”

Back pain is the #1 musculoskeletal complaint in the United States, affecting nearly 80% of all adults. It has also been shown to be predominant among workers in enclosed workspaces (like offices — which I learned the hard way), and people who sit for more than 3 hours or who engaged in manual labor.

Musculoskeletal complaints are the #2 reason for physician visits, and approximately 31 million visits were made to the doctor’s office because for back pain in 2003.

The estimated value of lost work time as a result of musculoskeletal injuries was estimated to be almost $120 billion.

We are in the middle of a pain epidemic. 

What to Do For Lower Back Pain (The Guide of Awesomeness)

  1. Two Things Worked (When All Else Failed)
  2. The Gokhale Method: Why Pocahontas Never Had Back Pain
  3. Gokhale Method: Lesson 1 – How to Sit Without Back Pain
  4. F.A.Q., Common Mistakes & Other Awesomeness
  5. The Other 3 Techniques That Fixed My Back Pain

What I Tried For Upper Back and Lower Back Pain (That Didn’t Work)

When I finally couldn’t sleep because my neck and back pain were so bad, that was my wake up call. I knew I had to try and figure out something, so I did what everyone else does: I went to the internet.

Google was mostly useless, check out the useless search results I got when I Googled “back pain”:

fixing lower back pain article search

Totally useless.

These were all advertisements for things:

A lawyer? Web MD? A chiropractic center? Advil? Surgery??

Unfortunately google is populated by total garbage, so that’s why I took it into my own hands and started doing research.

I first avoided a bunch of things, because I knew my pain was chronic and these likely wouldn’t do much long-term:

  • Advil / pain killers
  • Ice
  • Icy/Hot
  • Heating pads
  • Stretches

The only thing that even remotely showed positive results was stretching – but that was short lived.

Side note: (I wrote a crazy useful post on how-to get rid of lower back pain (right now) including the stretches that worked.)

Stretching only made my back feel better for a short while, but it was obvious that it wasn’t fixing the problem.

Laying down and doing some yoga or stretching out the back might feel great, but it never seemed to work long-term for me.

I tried acupuncture and although it seemed to work for a while, my symptoms quickly returned. It was obvious that something I was doing every day was clearly messed up my back over and over on a daily basis.

Around this time, after being exhausted from the lack of useful medical information out there on an insanely common health problem, I started researching.

Two Things I Did: For Fixing Lower Back Pain and Upper Back Pain After Sleeping

fixing lower back pain and upper back pain after sleeping

There were two key things that just about saved my life:

  1. Esther Gokhale’s 8 Steps to a Pain Free Back
  2. The Egoscue Method – Book: Pain Free

Here’s what they are in a nutshell:

#1 The Gokhale Method – Why do 90% of North Americans have back pain at some point, while in other countries only 5% of people have back pain?

Esther Gokhale was similar to many back pain sufferers. In college she hurt her back doing yoga poses, which required bedrest for several days.

A few years later, she did the same thing again this time requiring up to a week of bed rest.  Again, a few years later when she was pregnant with her first child she had an agonizing bout of sciatica — and after the baby was born she underwent surgery for a badly herniated disc.

After this point the doctors discouraged her from having another child, and her pain once again returned.

Right around this time is when Gokhale started studying at the Aplomb institute in France, with a teacher who studied how indigenous people move compared to those of us in industrialized nations.

Hint: it’s way different.

What she discovered is that people in traditional cultures use their bodies much differently — more effectively — and as a result suffer from a fraction of the rate of musculoskeletal pain despite working all day under heavy loads.

You know those African girls carrying baskets on their heads for miles? No back pain. No neck pain. No headaches. They use the body like how it was designed.

She found that, by the age of 50, almost 70% of western folks doing manual labor (and 40% of sedentary workers — people that sit) show signs of disc narrowing.  In some  of the populations that Gokhale studied (India, for this one), at age 50 it’s still less than 10%.

Gokhale is a woman to listen to if you want to be pain-free even in your old age. We’ll talk more about her soon.

#2 The Egoscue methodChronic Pain: The Modern Danger of Ignoring an Ancient Message

The Egoscue method became famous with celebrity endorsements like Jack Nicklaus and several NFL players — because it works!

The whole premise behind the system is that pain is a warning sign in the body that something is not right (obviously), and the reason for the rise in musculoskeletal issues is because we are living in a motion starved world.

We sit for 40+ hours a week at work, and then many of us sit for another 40+ hours a week at home.  7/10 Americans don’t move enough or exercise regularly, and we’re paying the price.

The Egoscue method revolves around one thing: motion. The body needs regular motion and activity to function properly. Do “frozen shoulders” (where you can’t lift your arm above your head) ever happen in kids? Never.

Pete Egoscue found that joint pain (including back pain, headaches, tendinitis, shin splints, foot ailments, etc) is prevalent in people whose joints are not aligned properly and are not bearing weight how they naturally should.

Note: for 99% of us, “mis-alignment” occurs from a lifetime of bad habits or lack of physical activity.

Many people will then get X-rays and  look at their bones and say “Look! My bones are out of place!” Actually your bones are an indicator of what your muscles are doing – based on muscles that are over-compensating or muscles that are weak.

Just look at any guy who only works out his chest and arms in the gym – he has the gorilla posture – concave chest, hands in front of his body, etc.  That’s a long-term muscular imbalance created by an imbalanced exercise routine.

The egoscue method has worked on every single thing I’ve tried it on – chronic knee pain, shoulder pain, headaches, lower back pain, elbow tendinitis (tennis elbow), etc.

The Amazon reviews page of the book has dozens of reviews like this, “Get this now! It works!”

Now that I gave you guys a quick intro let’s jump into specifics on each one. I know you want the goods now so you can experience relief.

Gokhale Method 101 – Pocahontas Never Had Back Pain!

A. Introduction – Why Pocahontas Never Had Back Pain

I’m gonna start with the coolest revelation of Gokhale’s work: there are many populations where people live painlessly into old age.

Yes, even while doing 10 hours a day of bending or hard manual labor.

According to Gokhale, there are women in African countries that bend in the water for 7-9 hours a day and report no back pain.

The truth is that there is a very observable difference in how certain cultures use their body compared to most of us.

How about how people today sit compared to indigenous people?

It’s tough to know what posture is proper when you’re sitting, so I’m gonna give you the introduction to the top 3 things you should know about the Gokhale method:

I’m going to emphasize three things: A. Sitting posture and B. Bending posture.

I’m assuming these three motions (mostly sitting) make up 95% of your bodily posture during an average 24 hour period, so let’s go with the 80/20 rule and get the best return for your time.

Gokhale Method –  Lesson 1 – How to Sit – Stretch sitting

The first sitting method (stretchsitting) revolves around using the back of the chair as support. The second method (stacksitting) is how to sit properly without back support.

Let’s talk about #1: Stretchsitting.

Stretchsitting is basically a way to lengthen your spine against the back of a chair, which will help prevent any further damage and help your body to heal.

A couple of the key things that you will do are A) make sure the lower back curve is present, B) keep the shoulders in their natural position (relaxed back instead of hunched forward), and C) Restore proper head position.

The cool thing is that besides fixing your back pain, stretch sitting also helps fix things like carpal tunnel syndrome or repetitive stress injuries related to the arms (like tendinitis in the elbow, wrist, etc).  Improper head and shoulder position literally squeezes the nerves (which all originate in the neck/head), and reduces oxygen flow to the brain. Scary stuff! And the fact is that many of us who sit all day have horrendous neck posture.

This was one of the reasons why I have had such bad chronic neck issues, which (if you remember), originated with chronic back pain that progressed.

But the main reason for properly aligning the back is that any time the back isn’t lined up properly, you are putting pressure on your spinal discs that can lead to herniated discs and spinal degeneration, and looks like this:

I won’t even go into detail about how many auxiliary problems are resolved by fixing posture, but if you have chronic pain, this is the place to start.

So let’s talk about stretchsitting — in other words, sitting with a lengthened spine in your chair. It feels extremely good, and if you’re at work you can practice this all day.

Step 1: Sit Down, Placing Your Butt Far to the Back of the Chair

It’s important here to get your butt into the back of the chair.  Many people just sit down, and if you have bad posture to begin with, you’re going to round your lower back. It’s absolutely crucial that your lower back is not rounding out. 

Step 2: Use the Chair to Lengthen Your Spine

The important thing here is to relax your lower body – imagine you are pulling your body in two different directions. It’s like hanging from a pull-up bar: just left the upper and lower body relax and pull away from eachother.

Here what you are doing is using both hands and pushing up off the armrest in order to lengthen the spine – and then set it back into the chair in a lengthened position. You almost want to pretend that a “hook” is catching your spine  and keeping it stretched out on the chair.

Step 3: Attach Your Mid-Back to the Backrest (or a cushion)

So in step 2 you manually stretched out the spine, by pushing off the arm rest and letting the back stretch out — now, you are placing that (now stretched out) back against the back of the chair.

Relax for a second. You will feel this almost tingly feeling in your back – it’s a fantastic feeling of relaxation, circulation and blood flow. That’s one of the ways you know you stretched it out well.

Step 4: Release the Tension in Your Arms

Release the arms, and relax for a second. Feel the chair taking the weight of your back, and feel that spine stretch and tingle as it gets better circulation and relaxes fully.

Step 5: (How to Tell if You Straightened Properly)

If your lower back feels stretched out a bit — you’re doing it right. Note: it may feel weird at first – Just give it time, you will be thanking sweet baby Jesus you discovered this technique.

If you aren’t sure whether you successfully stretched out your lower back, put your hand on your back just above the point of contact with the chair. You should feel a roll of skin there that the chair has pushed up. That’s what you want.

Step 6: Roll Your Shoulders Back

Many of us naturally hunch our shoulders forward and poke our necks out when seated — it’s naturally what happens when you slouch your lower back (instead of keeping the lower back arch).

Hunched shoulders and a head that sticks out lead to a whole host of issues: nerve issues throughout the arm, wrist, and hand (carpal tunnel syndrome anyone?), pins and needles in the arms and shoulders while sleeping, as well as potentially headaches due to reduced oxygen flow from the brain (see this video).

The basic movement is this: take one shoulder and hunch it forward as far as it will go, then slowly lift it towards your ear, and gently guide it backward (don’t push it), then let it fall. It should now be noticeably closer to the back than it was before. This will restore good arm circulation and free up anything that is being pinched or otherwise affected by improper alignment. As you can tell, modern humans are a piece of work…

Step 7: Lengthen The Back of Your Neck (Finished!)

Here’s the last step!

Remember what I said are the two biggest things that most people that sit a lot mess up? A. Letting the lower back lose it’s curve and  B. Letting the head stick out.

Both of these lead to big time chronic dysfunctions down the road.

Here’s the final step on ensuring that your head position is correct, which is very important for those of you who have upper back pain (that burning between the shoulder blades).

Gokhale gives 4 or 5 recommendations for lengthening the neck:

  • A. Imagine a helium balloon inside your head — release any tension in your neck, and imagine it pulling your head up into the air.
  • B. Grab a clump of your hair at the base of your skull, and gentle pull your head back and up (see image above)
  • C. Grasp the base of your skull with both hands and gently pull upward while lowering your shoulders
  • D. Place an object on your head (like a towel — or imagine it), and push up against it

That’s it for stretchsitting!  

This is one of the two techniques I use every day when I work. Usually after an hour of sitting the back pain sets in and I have to be really conscious of my posture — that’s when I walk through the steps in stretchsitting (It seems like a lot, but it takes less than a minute when you get good).

Every single time I use this, it works. It’s a total godsend. 

Common Questions and Mistakes: If You Have Upper Back Pain after Sleeping and For Fixing Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain relief

I feel overly stretched”

If you feel overly stretched, gently pull away from the chair a bit and let your back slide down the chair a bit.

“I don’t feel the stretch in my spine”

If you don’t feel the stretch in your spine after you’ve completed all the steps, check for the roll of flesh above the chair (see step 7).

If you do have that fold of skin, then you are stretchsitting — sometimes it takes people time to feel it because they are used to being tight throughout the day.

“It’s uncomfortable where my back touches the chair.”

Sometimes I drape a sweater over the back of my chair so it’s a little bit of padding to put my back up against. Either your chair is not very padded, or you’re too skinny. If your case is the latter, you need to lay on the cheeseburgers.

“My chair sucks”

Some of those big office “CEO chairs” have a back much higher than the person sitting in them. It’s virtually impossible to stretchsit in those, so stay tuned for lesson 2 which is stacksitting.

Stretchsitting Was One of the 4 Techniques I Used to Fix my Back Pain: The Other 3/4 are Below

If you’re like me, the vast majority of your back pain comes while sitting (or sleeping).  The main two things I use on a daily basis (that result in virtually no pain) are the technique I described in this post (stretchsitting) and another technique known as stacksitting.

I also use two other things:

Grab the Free Back Pain Report

BAck Pain Report 3D Cover Png

Get the Free Back Pain Report!

Images: Back Moxibustion, Mont St. Michel, Flowers,

Have You Read My New Book Yet?

  Read more about this in my book Master The Day. You’ll learn the nine daily success habits I learned interviewing people that lost 100+ pounds and kept it off in a healthy way – by changing their habits. Plus, you’ll get a free $100 bonus video course if you show me your receipt. You can get the audiobook here too.

34 comments… add one

  1. Hey there, I love your tips.
    I sit at a computer all day for work and I really haven’t been sitting right at all.
    I’m trying your stretchsitting technique, but I’m not sure that it’s working. All of the computer chairs have high backs so I’m not able to hook my back to the top of the chair. I’m not really feeling that tingling sensation.
    I want to start fixing myself up though because I find if I do pushups or even turn my head to one side while moving my shoulder, sometimes something happens in my shoulder blade (like it catches on something?) and I’m stuck with severe pain in one side of my neck thru my shoulder blade and slightly into my arm for at least a day.
    I was told I wasn’t doing pushups right, but I know I’m doing them bang on now and I’m still easily hurting myself. Which leads me to think my back isn’t in the greatest shape. You seem to be on the right track, so any advice you can send my way is greatly appreciated.

    1. Hey Matt,

      Here’s an easy alternative. Take a towel and roll it up until it’s about 3 inches – 6 inches thick. Then put it behind your lower back as you sit all day. This will ensure that you maintain that lower back curve.

      The neck/shoulder blade thing sounds a lot like frozen shoulder.

      So when you do pushups, are you feeling clicking in your shoulder? Many people (myself included) have those forward slumped shoulders from sitting on a computer all day. And then when we go to do a pushup, the shoulders are doing more work than they are supposed to.

      The short fix for this is to pull your shoulder blades back – feel them meet and pull back, and then do your pushup. The same is true if you do any benchpressing or pressing movements in the gym.

      Hope that helps! It’s tough to “diagnose” from just a paragraph, but shoot me an email at Alexander / at / modernhealthmonk.com and I’d be happy to talk more.


      P.S. Another article for your neck/shoulders (a must read) I wrote here: http://modernhealthmonk.com/neck-pain-and-shoulder-pain-upper-crossed-syndrome/

  2. What’s best way to sleep?
    The best mattress on market to sleep on and best pillows.

    1. Hi Louis,

      I don’t personally know – but here’s what I’ve found – the firmer, the better. I used to have one of those memory foam mattresses and it was way too soft – I always was getting neck and back pain. When I went on a little trip for a few weeks I was sleeping on really hard mattresses and my back felt a lot better. I suspect it just maintains the proper back alignment better.

      Hope that helps.

      – Alex

      1. There is an expensive pillow you can get that is worth EVERY penny. It’s called “I love my pillow” and it helps me sleep without back pain so often!

        1. Love it !

  3. Hey Alex,
    It’s the middle of the night and I am on the net trying to find relief for this pain that got me out of bed and what you are saying really resonates with me. I’ve been through PT but nothing is long lasting because I don’t have a good home program. I am looking at the two books you recommend and wondering if you have something that puts it all together – like a compilation of your blogs?! 😉
    Any help is appreciated and thank you for putting this info out there.

    1. Hi Lynn,

      Actually yes, I have it all together one in PDF download. Check it out here: http://modernhealthmonk.com/monks-courtyard-subscribed/

      (Go to the bottom and you can download the PDF)

      Also: for IMMEDIATE back pain relief, read this article (it actually works… I guarantee it): http://modernhealthmonk.com/fixing-lower-back-pain

      Let me know how it goes!

      – Alex

      1. Thank you! And I will let you know how it goes!

        1. Already getting relief using the methods above! Working on proper alignment sitting, standing, bending, etc.. Thank you.

          1. Hey Lynn,

            Awesome, that’s fantastic 🙂 I’m glad your back is feeling better!

            Keep me posted if you have any trouble, or email me if you have any questions.


  4. Hi Alex, I recently started subscribing to your blog. Thanks for the great tips. I have chronic back pain due to which I am confined to bedrest for long periods thus gaining weight. Are there any exercise routines I can follow to ensure flexibility of my body, make my back stronger and lose weight in the process.

    1. Hi Preeti,

      Did you check out this article yet? http://modernhealthmonk.com/fixing-lower-back-pain/


  5. “People in pre-modern times (even in the USA) often had perfectly upright posture. Notice the near-perfectly straight backs and heads that are not sticking out”

    all the people in those old photos are posing for the photograph, or at least they know the photography is being taken. the examples in the modern photos arent posing so its not really a good comparison and definitely not if you basing your whole theory on them. i really doubt that guy in the dickie bow sat exactly like that all day

  6. I am glad I stumbled upon this! I always thought I had good posture, but reading this has I think helped me keep in mind more when Im sitting. At first it is uncomfortable as your instinct is to just slouch forward and rest my head on my hand but I know this can’t be good. I moved to a new office in October and since then have been having that terrible upper back pain. It is easy to find information for low back pain but upper back pain is much more difficult, and personally I think it hurts more. I have been to PT, taken several different muscle relaxers, tried 3 different chairs, done acupunture and deep tissue masssage and even been to a chiropractor. While all of these helped very slightly I am still in incredible pain everyday, and sometimes it does bother me at night. I am really hoping some of your tips will help me, tired of wasting money on this issue and having it affect my life while not at work, not to mention the dread it has caused in regard to coming to work. Aside from posture have you come across any other things that have made an improvement, and for stretching how often do you think it should be done each day? I feel like I should do it more but I do not want to overstretche.

  7. I can’t wait to start trying this out. My back pain started a year ago and has been every single day since. Prior to this I nevrr experienced back pain in my life. Mine is never lower back, but mid and upper back. My spine burns more and more the longer I sit down or use my arms. Do u have any other ideas for upper back pain? Thanks

    1. Hi Melanie,

      Try this article too: http://modernhealthmonk.com/neck-and-shoulder-pain/

      – Alex

    2. Hi,

      I have the same problem. I have pain every day in my middle back area just below shoulder blades around the ribs and sometimes when it gets bad also in between shoulder blades. I can’t sit anywhere for a long time. Did you find a solution?

  8. Hi,
    I’m 27 and have been suffering with chronic low back pain since I was 14.

    Being a taller guy (6’3″) I find that most work stations and car seats are not designed for us. My neck posture is horrible because I am forced to look down at my desk who is designed for somebody average height.

    My chair pretty much has to be on the floor so I can get my knees under the desk to sit. This completely screws up my posture. Any advice for us tall people that have to fit into this average sized world?

    Its not just sitting that kills me… standing too – especially over a work bench or cooking in a restaurant… I had to quit my sandblasting job and a job at a book store too all before my 21st birthday. Come to think of it, the best my back has been was when I was making $12/hr installing storm sewer pipes. I pretty much just ran all day up and down out of a ditch and lifted heavy heavy construction equipment. Sometimes I think about quitting my nice gig at an engineering firm to go back to that if it would make me feel better.

    Exercise seems to give me some relief, but its very temporary and sometimes it just makes it worse. I try to do hot yoga and functional HIIT as much as possible to keep me limber, but if I miss a day, its very difficult to get moving again. For fun, I am an avid skiier and mountain biker. Both of these activities seem to help me some, when I am able to participate. I used to do chiropractic at a few different places, I have an inversion table which helps me a lot too, but all of this is not enough alone. I decided to move to Colorado to seek some MMJ options which help some, but its not a cure-all… it really helps me with the sleeping part and the associated depression that accompanies my pain.

    Usually I’m in so much pain just walking down the sidewalk… I resort to eating lots of ibuprofen and using breathing exercises to get me through the intense pain waves. (I kicked my nasty addiction created by the traditional opiate drug treatment, so I won’t be doing that anymore.)

    I was told that I could probably benefit from surgurey about 10 years ago, but I was advised that I should hold out as long as possible.

    What else can I try? Am I trying too hard?

    1. Hey Matt –

      I’m the same height and have similar issues.

      Do you stand at your desk? And have you tried any type of yoga or trigger point release on the areas that bother you?

    2. I just wanted to add something here. First of all, Thanks to Alex for his awesome free information. One thing that I can add is that if your foot structure is not lined up correctly you will have pain in feet, which also goes up the line to knee and hip and lower back. My Chiropractor adjusted my feet (had a couple bones overlapping and grinding on eachother causing horrible pain) that helped so much, but still had some pain. After his suggestion of getting good arch supports (I have high arches) my feet, knees and hip pain as well as lower back is so much better! Then adding Alex’s posture suggestions, trigger point massage and exercises I can see myself pain free! Starting those today.

      1. Great point Lisa! The whole body is interrelated for sure, and making sure everything is loading weight properly is really important.

  9. Hi Matt-
    I was just wondering how long it took for you to feel better after beginning to practice the Egoscue Method and the Gohkale Method? I’ve been having problems with chronically tight and burning muscles in my mid-back, just below my scapula, and now it’s moving into my shoulders and neck. I’ve been practicing the techniques from the Egoscue Method for about two weeks, and although some of them feel great (like static back!), some are actually quite painful and I stopped doing them. However, having stuck with the ones I can do, I haven’t seen an improvement yet. Am I being too impatient? Thanks!

    1. Reply
  10. Hello,

    I was wondering if you have any tips for middle and upper back pain? I tried to look for it but all the information seems to be for lower back pain. Thanks.

    1. Just to add a bit more information I have a lot of tension in the middle of my back below the shoulder blades near the ribs. I have read Egoscues book and also Esther Gokhales book. I have done the Egoscue exercises and the things Esther suggests to sit better but it doesnt seem to be helping me. Or maybe I’m not doing it properly .

      1. Hello,

        Over 2 years later having tried everything. I have now found out from the pain clinic the burning pain is actually nerve pain, which makes sense to me. No idea what’s causing it though and drs don’t seem to want to find out. However I have been using a prescribed chilli cream 4 times a days on my back and its reduced my pain by up to 70 percent!! I’m amazed. Better than taking strong nerve pain drugs with serious side effects.

      2. Hi Lili,

        I’m certain that the Egoscue Method works very well for people who actually have a structural issue. However, I figured out that there actually wasn’t anything wrong with me (physically). Therefore, the exercises did not work for me. I recommend Dr. Sarno’s book, Healing Back Pain: The Mind Body Connection. I turned out that my pain was coming from an emotional angle, and I actually had to train my brain to NOT feel pain again. I would say I’m 75% better, and even on days that the pain wants to win, I can fight it.

        Again, I’m not doubting that the Egoscue Method is right for a lot of people. It just wasn’t for me, and I had to dig deeper.

        1. NK – no doubt there are myriad causes. I’m glad you found Sarno’s book and found relief!

  11. My wife did a medical mission in Sudan and saw all kinds of people with health issues there, including the women mentioned here that are working under heavy loads all day throughout their lives.

    I was quoting articles like this one to her in relation to my own back pain and plan to solve it, and she called B.S. on this point, saying that there were loads of people down there with back problems, including the women carrying heavy burdens on their head that had back pain.

    She said that they definitely had plenty of back pain, but that they weren’t necessarily good at expressing what their problem was. So, statements like “You know those African girls carrying baskets on their heads for miles? No back pain. No neck pain.” I think is probably a gross hyperbole. I’m not saying there’s bad advice in this article, but I wonder if the underlying premise could stand a little scrutiny.

    1. Hey Justin – thanks for the feedback, I’ll do more research and follow up with you.

  12. Hello Alex,

    I found your article my accident but you describe my life!!! I have 2 months with a horrible neck pain which started with a shoulder pain. For the first month I only felt that pain while I was working with my computer and while I was driving my car, for the rest of my activities I felt no pain. Now, I feel that neck pain all day. I went to the Emergency Room after an adjustment with my chiropractor because I felt really bad after that, so they took me X-rays and 2 more tests and everything was ok but I still was with that pain.
    I went to physical therapy for 3 weeks and nothing!

    I am going to try what you recommend and I will let you know.


  13. Thank you so much, Alexander, for your generous information. You have helped me so much already and I have purchased the book you recommended.

  14. This sounds fantastic, but as is it won’t work for me. I’m a court reporter, and I’m Short. I have to sit on the edge of the chair to get somewhat of a close position to my writer. Even then at times I’m still holding my arms in front of me a bit. When I’m home, I sit in the chair as you describe, but during editing, my arms are still slightly in front me on the keyboard. I feel as though I can never relax my shoulders. That also puts a strain on my neck. Any suggestions, especially for the work situation?


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