The myths about back pain and exercise, What is spinal hygiene?

This blog is the 3rd of a 4-week blog series all about exercise and back pain.  Now that you recognize that there are many myths about back pain and you understand what triggers your pain we can explore the concept of spinal hygiene. This information is based on the work of Dr. Stuart McGill.  If you suffer from back pain and would like help call Vintage Fitness (416-951-7978) to set up an assessment or if you would like to do a self -assessment I would recommend Dr McGill’s book “The back mechanic”.

Week One:  The myths about back pain and exercise
Week Two: Learning your back-pain triggers
Week Three: What is spinal hygiene?
Week Four: The best core exercises to support your back

What is spinal hygiene?

Spinal hygiene is simply caring for your spine with the same diligence that you care for your teeth.  We stand and sit in positions every day that cause further harm to our spines and will make it difficult for your chronic pain to improve if they are not corrected. One way to think about it is that you start the day with X number of back health credits- what can you do during your day to keep your credits?  These postures and exercises are from chapter 8 in Dr Stuart McGill’s book “back mechanic”.

1. Sitting posture

  • Do you have rounded shoulders when you sit?
  • Do you keep a natural curve in your lower back?
  • Do you get up every 20 minutes?

2. Sitting to standing: many people flex their back too much when standing up

  • Does your back hurt when you stand up?
  • Do you spread your knees wide and place the feet underneath you?

3. Improving back position in everyday activates

Brushing your teeth

Tying your shoes

Standing waiting in line

Stay tuned: next week’s blog shows you the best core exercise to support your back

Good Luck!


Vintage Fitness

Click to Call    416-951-7978

Vintage Fitness is an in home personal training company in Toronto, Canada.  We specialize in energizing the lives of people over 50 with exercise.