Back pain is a warning to change—a warning that you need to change the behavior that led to the pain. Pain isn’t a thing unto itself—it is a nervous system response to actual or potentially detrimental stimulus. The feeling of pain is meant as a signal to deal with, and get rid of, the discomfort.
Large swaths of the population move unconsciously without knowing or thinking about why they move the way they do. We develop our movement patterns both good and bad for a host of reasons. People might develop poor movement patterns for reasons such as—compensation for injury, birth issues, health problems, levels of strength, and even imitative factors where a child learns to walk by imitating someone who walks terribly.
But conditioned patterns are easily changed and most people can relieve if not alleviate much of their chronic pain by changing their posture and movement patterns. Rather than using pain as a reason to seek out medical attention we should be using it to chart a course of healing by changing the environment that led to the pain and/or injury in the first place. I meet so many people who have been in pain for years at a time, learning to put up with misery because no one could diagnose or fix what ailed them.
I’m amazed at how few people tell them to move differently. My CoreWalking program is neuromuscular re-patterning through repetition. Pretty basic pavlovian stuff- repeat any action, good or bad, and it will become habit. Most people stand up to walk at around one year old and are on their own from then on. You can change the way you walk, stand, and run at any time you would like.
My standard story when asked how I got into teaching walking is after suffering through three knee surgeries and getting back on the mat yet again, I met a teacher who asked me, “what are you doing to avoid a fourth surgery. It was a serious wake-up call because the answer was nothing. From that moment on I began to learn anatomy in a real way and pay attention to my movement patterns outside of the yoga room.
I still get injured, pulling a muscle here or there, but joint pain is a thing long past and I attribute it all to changing the conditioned movement patterns I had carried around since childhood.