From the moment you get up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night, how many times do you bend forward? Answer: too many! Getting out of bed marks the first forward bending activity. The morning routine, which includes bending forward to dress and bending forward over a bathroom sink, adds many more instances. We can count all the sitting you do throughout the day as well. Sitting is just a sustained forward-bending posture; therefore sitting down to eat, driving, sitting at work, sitting in class, cleaning, and watching TV add to the daily count.
What can happen if we bend forward too frequently or excessively? The force in every bending motion creates stress on one side of the soft tissues surrounding the lumbar vertebrae (in the low back). These tissues include ligaments, disc, joint capsule and muscles. If any one of them is overstretched on one side, it needs to be given adequate time and position to normalize. But, if instead it is hit just moments later with another loaded stretch, then it has a higher chance of tearing.
The end result is low back pain. Such pain can come from ligamentous sprain, inflammation, disc herniation, disc bulging, or ruptured disc, all of which arise from tearing. Since the collagen in supporting tissues diminishes with aging, bending forward presents an even higher risk.
Forward bending is involved in most of our daily activities, so…, how many times do you bend forward? How many times do you bend backward?