The Functional Back

Back pain self-treatment featuring the Hubble Method

The truth about squats and back pain

There’s a lot of hype right now about squats being the ultimate functional exercise. Call it the Crossfit Effect. The truth is that a squat is a great functional exercise—for some people, under the right conditions. Otherwise it is a highly dysfunctional exercise. So what should you do? A guy in the gym the other day was doing the deepest…

Can exercise decrease back pain for the obese?

A recent study in The Spine Journal points out something that research has long demonstrated: As our weight increases, our risk of back pain increases. But the really interesting part is how much exercise it takes to decrease that pain. This study of nearly 7,000 Americans confirms earlier findings. As we progress from normal weight to overweight to obese to…

Spinal fusion complication rate: 3% or 29%?

What is the actual complication rate associated with spinal fusion surgery? It depends who you ask. A recent post by orthopedic surgeon James Rickert, MD, for the health policy journal Health Affairs offers a fascinating view on why patient satisfaction scores are vitally important in elective spinal surgeries. Dr. Rickert covers two studies from 2008 and 2013. In the 2008 study of 1,000 spinal fusion…

Axel’s story

Think you’re alone on your back pain journey? You’re not. A Back Pain Conspiracy reader recently shared his experiences with me, and generously agreed to share them with The Functional Back community. I hope you find his takeaways as inspiring as I did, because it speaks to how much control we have over the factors that cause pain. Here is Axel’s…

The Back Pain Conspiracy featured at Indies Unlimited

Thanks to Indies Unlimited for featuring The Back Pain Conspiracy twice this month! If you would like to find out more about what the book is all about, check out my interview in their Book Brief feature. Just want the quick synopsis? Click here for the New Release Announcement. Both features provide quick links to buy the book from major…

Study: 5 back pain rules being ignored

A recent study in JAMA confirms a trend I noted in The Back Pain Conspiracy: Doctors are increasingly ignoring the back pain treatment guidelines they wrote themselves. What should you watch out for? Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center looked at 11 years of back pain treatment data through 2010. Then they evaluated what they found against five clinical…

The three D’s of back pain

What is the best way to learn about back pain? Talk to people who have it, and people who don’t. I recently returned from the Tucson Festival of Books at the University of Arizona, where I got to talk to authors, intellectuals, and lots of random people on the street. It was an education in the three D’s of back…

Join us for a back pain workshop Thursday, March 27

Self-Treat Your Back Pain Flare-Ups! Join us next week to learn:  Back-friendly pain relief techniques to use when your back “goes out” The ancient Chinese method of Gua Sha This is a 1 ½ hour intensive workshop, presented in cooperation with Traditional Health Works. It is limited to 4 per class, so act fast! A free progressive relaxation MP3 and an online acupressure video…

Back pain: Is concentrating on your posture enough?

When I talk to people about their back pain, they often tell me they know their posture isn’t great. They know they should concentrate on it, and assume that postural therapy is just instruction on how to do so. Is it, and is it enough? My definition of postural therapy definitely includes concentrating on good alignment techniques, but that isn’t…

Why this core Pilates technique is outdated

I am a big fan of Pilates, and use many Pilates moves in my core strength workout. It has excellent overall postural and strength benefits (just look at Madonna). But when Joseph Pilates invented Pilates during World War I, times were different. People’s lifestyles were the polar opposite of what we see today. So were their primary postural issues. Joseph…