Blog posts tagged with 'back pain remedies'




                         Figure 1                                         Figure 2

Standing up correctly from the seated position is one of the most important things I tell patients they can do to spare their backs. It is also one of the easiest. Most people use their low backs to assist them in getting up from the seated position. This is wrong! Think about how many times you get up from sitting. Every time you use your low back to stand, you are flexing your spine and placing unnecessary stress onto it. Here is the easy solution:  before you get up from sitting, scoot all the way to the edge of your seated surface, keep your back straight, and get up using your legs, as in FIGURE 2. This may feel strange at first, but should become second nature after a few days. One tip to get started:  use your arms to assist your legs in the process (FIGURE 2). Place your hands into fists and use them to push up off the seated surface, while using your legs. Do not place your fists on your legs. Again, at no time will you flex the low back or use it to assist you in the standing process.

            Be sure to not bend your spine—keeping it neutral, as you sit down, too. Simply reverse this standing process, and use the same technique to sit down properly. 

STRETCH EVERY 20-30 MINUTES- Sunday, February 7, 2016



                       FIGURE 1 – REACH                     FIGURE 1A – SQUEEZE

Stretching every 20-30 minutes combats the effects of excessive sitting. It helps avoid the physiological effects of excessive sitting and the associated spinal memory. To perform the appropriate stretch, stand up and reach toward the ceiling (FIGURE 1). Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. During exhalation, stretch higher toward the ceiling.  Next, with your palms pointed up, bring your arms down to the side of your body. Then, pretend you are holding a pencil between your shoulder blades and squeeze them together to prevent the pencil from falling. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. During this exhalation, hold the contraction of your shoulder blades together for 10 seconds (FIGURE 1A).  Relax. You have successfully completed the basic stretch needed to combat the effects of prolonged sitting. The entire stretch break will not take more than 30 seconds, yet its benefit will last exponentially longer. Repeat this stretch every 20-30 minutes, or as needed. 



1.     “I’m too young, and in too good of shape, to get back pain.” Each time I speak to people about back pain, I get the same reaction. People aged 45 and older pay attention to what I say. The people aged 44 and younger couldn’t care less. Why? Because most people believe back pain only affects the elderly or out-of-shape population. This belief cannot be further from the truth. Low back pain is the number one reason people aged 45 and younger seek health care services. The spine is the most frequently injured part of the body in most workman’s comp cases. The discs in between each vertebra, that cushion your spine and provide movement, can start to degenerate before you hit puberty.

Now, close your eyes and think of ten people. It doesn’t matter their age, race, gender, whether they’re in shape, or out of shape, rich or poor. Eight of these ten people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Pay attention, because it doesn’t matter your age or whether you’re in good shape. You are at risk for back pain.

2.      “My back pain will just go away on its own.” Patients entering my clinic frequently come in with the mindset that something very serious is happening to them because they’ve had lingering back pain that won’t go away. Why? Because the majority of people believe their back pain will go away on its own. And, if it doesn’t, it must not be back pain. It must be something more serious. Right? Wrong. Low back pain is typically not self-limiting--it won’t just stop on its own. In fact, almost 50% of people that have back pain will still have pain after one year. And if you’ve already had back pain, you have a 40% chance of getting back pain again within the same year. On a side note, 90% of back pain is usually just a simple backache. Less than two percent of back pain is from a serious spinal problem. Get your back pain fixed. It’s probably not going away.

3.      “I know what caused my back pain.” Patients ask me all the time, “What did I do to cause my back pain?” And I’ll say, “Probably what you’re doing now.” Of course, the patient will look at me confused because he/she is just sitting. So why do I say this? Because the majority of back pain (approximately 86%) is caused by repetitive misuse, or doing things the wrong way for a long time. It’s likely your back pain was caused by you performing the same tasks the wrong way for a long time. Think of the spine as a long row of dominoes. Each time you perform a task the wrong way, you knock down one of those dominoes until they all fall down. When this last domino falls, your back “goes out.” It didn’t “go out” because you bent down to put on your shoes last night. Your back went out because you’ve bent down to put on your shoes the wrong way for five years. Your back “went out” because you’ve sat for eight consecutive hours at your job every day. Your back “went out” because you’ve picked up children improperly at a day care every day. Get the point? It’s imperative that you learn the proper way to perform daily tasks and activities so you don’t play dominoes with your spine.

WGN-TV MIDDAY NEWS SEGMENT- Friday, April 5, 2013


Dr. Zumstein recently appeared on WGN-TV in Chicago to promote his book and teach Chicago viewers his three favorite steps to preventing back and neck pain. We hope you enjoy this clip: