Back Facts: The Back was Made to Move


In this series, Matt Penman, Head Osteopath at Central Osteopaths presents ideas and dispels myths about the human spine.

For many years popular wisdom has gone ‘sit up straight, bend your knees, don’t bend your back’, as if any rounding, twisting, or extending was harmful. Have you heard that?

When I was a teenager I went on a manual handling course that explicitly told me that every time I moved my back I was wearing it out – as if the human body functions the same way as a car tyre, or a pair of shoes (Tip: it doesn’t!).

This same message is still being propagated by many that really should know better, and I know that it certainly is in the popular consciousness that the back should be ‘protected’ by keeping it straight and rigid.

I cannot state clearly firmly, or with enough passion, how untrue this is!

It is true that most back injuries do occur when someone is bending or twisting – but this does not make these positions the cause – more the straw that broke the camel’s back…

So if you spend all day trying to sit bolt upright – as well as being needlessly exhausting – it also means the body becomes so accustomed to this position that any deviations become hard work, weakened, or even painful.

Lack of movement leads to stiffness and weakness. If you want to be able to touch your toes without pain, you are not going to achieve this by sitting and moving with a stiff, rigid back.

For those of you interested in moving and living better, Central Osteopaths is offering 10% of all appointments when you quote FB10 and book on 0800 6444 201

Matt Penman

Blog compiled by by Matt Penman M.Ost, Head Osteopath at Central Osteopaths


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