Ted talks are at the top of the list when it comes to expert advice on Science and Technology delivered in a way that everyone can understand. Here’s my Top 5 talks from medical and engineering research leaders who discuss the root causes of back pain and how to alleviate (or at least cope with) a sore, achy or damaged spine.
Dr. Mike Evans: Lower Back Pain
Ok…So, not actually a TED talk but simply the best video ever describing the causes and cures for basic back pain, and red flags that may suggest something more serious. Great place to start for understanding what causes your back to ache and more importantly, what you can do about it. Thanks Dr. Mike!
William S. Marras: Back Pain and Your Brain
A well presented primer on low back pain and the bio-mechanics of workplace body movement. Especially interesting to those of us with disc issues, is the simple explanation on disc degeneration. Dr. Williams shows us how various everyday push/pull movements (incl. body mass index) and the load forces working against the spine through computer model demonstrations.
The most intriguing part of this presentation is what Dr. Marras calls Psycho-Social factors on pain. Through exertion experiments it’s discovered that under stressed conditions (especially among introverts) the back muscles contract more, causing a greater force on the spine.
The talk gets a bit ‘techy’ at times, but the overall message still comes through – everything in your life has to be in balance, and that overall wellness will minimize loads on the spine.
Roger Frampton: Why Sitting Down Destroys You
Roger’s essential message is “prioritize your spine”, which sounds simple enough but surprisingly not many people do. He shows us the difference in spine shape between most of Western society (S-shape) and those without back pain (J-shaped). It’s interesting to note that the J-shape is our natural resting position and that Western lifestyle has contorted our spines to an S-shape. To walk and stand correctly, engage your butt muscles! Here’s another great article on how squatting is good for the spine.
Esther Gokhale: Find Your Primal Posture
“For our species the natural way to have our tail, is out behind you”. This is the central message of Ms. Gokhale’s talk. Simple and to the point. When the vertebrae stack properly, you can breath better and circulation is stimulated. She show’s us a technique called ‘stretch sitting’ preferably done with a towel between the curve of the back to elongate the spine correcting the posture to it’s primal condition. Exactly what a good Physiotherapist or Chiropractor would tell you!
Elliot Krane: The Mystery of Chronic Pain
“Pain is a Disease”. An incredible assertion. Dr. Krane explains how people suffering from a chronic condition can experience excruciating pain with the slightest touch. Some people after back surgery can fall into the category of chronic pain sufferers as after the scars have healed, they still feel the burning sensation of damaged nerves and tissues. Dr. Krane asks ‘how can the nervous system get this (sensations) so wrong?” – Neurotransmitters that react abnormally and create a ‘noisy’ environment distorting your senses…that’s how.