Let’s talk about back pain. Most people who come to our studio have had it and it’s a big reason why they go to our yoga classes. And according to a 2009 study done by The Work Foundation, 1 out of 8 Canadians reported having a chronic back problem.
But how do you fix that pain with your FEET?
Let’s say you’ve already gone to get an x-ray or MRI and the specialist couldn’t identify a problem. Let’s say you’ve already consulted with a chiropractor about your back pain and they gave you a physiotherapist’s number. You did physiotherapy for months but it had no effect…or maybe even a negative one. Let’s say you even went as far as to go to a personal trainer because you thought, ‘Maybe I’ve just got to add muscle. Maybe I’m too weak.’ (Hmm, you’re getting somewhere but not close enough.)
None of these people can get it right yet they all seem to be experts on the human body.
So why can’t they get it right?
They’re experts on the human body, but not your body.
You know your body better than anyone. You’ve lived with it since day 1. You know what effect every type of food will have on you. You know how different types of exercises make you feel. You know how one single movement affects a completely different area in your body.
So why are you going to the doctor? To get the same generic solution he or she gives to everyone with that injury/problem/nuisance/trauma?
Here’s a secret: I don’t know the last time I’ve gone to the doctor…
AND I’M PRETTY HEALTHY!
The thing is, most people and even doctors, chiropractors, personal trainers, etc. forget about how one part of your body can drastically affect another. You never consciously think about it. But you should start doing so right now.
This isn’t to say that the cause of your back pain stems from your feet. It is just ONE possibility. We’ll be covering so many more possibilities in the months to come, don’t you worry.
But for now, let’s talk about why your feet are relevant to your back.
Let’s look at the human body from an architectural point of view.
What building do you imagine comparing your body to? My city is Toronto so I’m going to say the Aura Tower at Yonge and College because the CN Tower just isn’t as cool anymore.
Every tall building, just like every human body has the same core elements. These elements allow for the building to function properly.
- It is made out of certain materials
- It has elevators (and hence, lots of floors)
- It is closed with windows (and other things)
- It has to withstand a considerable amount of weight
- It usually has electricity going through the whole thing
- It has a base
Hopefully you’ll understand the comparison between these elements of a building and elements of the human body. I’m the Aura building so I also have shining lights that come out at night to dazzle everyone who’s watching.
But we’re going to focus on the last element I mentioned: the base.
The base = your feet
So can we agree that the middle of the building is your back?
Yes, we can agree.
What can affect the middle of the building?
A tornado, a fire, a thousand fairly large men, the other floors, etc.
Literally anything can affect the middle of the building. But as I mentioned, let’s look at the base.
What happens to the middle of the building if the base starts to wear out? Well, nothing initially of course. Nothing big. But eventually, it will all come falling down.
Original source here
BUT A BUILDING…DOESN’T EVEN MOVE!
A building is much less complicated to map out. We’ve got so many architects of buildings. But how many architects do we have of the human body?
Our body is much more complicated than a building. The base is two feet and they don’t stay in one place. They can be used to:
- Kick someone in the face!
So imagine how much more precise the architecture of the human body has to be. How much more complex.
Let’s try a challenge. It’ll be fun! All you need is a paperclip. (Who needs those anymore? Everything is digital.) Got your paperclip? Good. Now clip it to your baby toe and try to walk around. Just for one minute. Give yourself a break from the screen.
Can you imagine walking around with it for 5 minutes? 40 minutes? A week? A few months?
You probably gave up before a minute went by. It’s not very comfortable is it?
Try sitting with it clipped to you for the rest of the day.
HAHAHAHA, There’s NO WAY I’m going to do that! – You say
Well, you’re sitting every day with your back pain and not doing anything about it. So that’s equally as ridiculous in my books.
And this challenge was just simulating an injury. Keep it up long enough and you will start to feel yourself leaning more towards one side. When you have pain in one area, you try to alleviate that pain by altering the way your body normally moves. But you’re not dealing with the problem. You’re just trying to avoid it. In turn, this is what happens:
Pain from feet –> Up The Legs –> Up Through The Spine –> Up To The Neck
This is because your body is interconnected. Especially through the Nervous system.
Image Source: Google
Your nerves go all the way from your head to your feet. So throughout the years if you’ve sustained injuries in one area and have been too lazy to deal with them, guess what? Other parts of your body are going to be pretty mad at you.
You like to call it “aging”. You think that so much is hurting in your body because you’re getting older. Ridiculous! Have you never heard of 80 year olds in swimming competitions? People over 50 are doing bike marathons. 90 year olds have fun going on runs. It’s not because of aging that you feel so stiff and in pain. It’s because you are not taking care of your body and you think that it’s natural to be in pain at the age you are in.
But there’s nothing natural about it.
So the right terminology is “laziness” or “ignorance”. But now you know, so if you don’t do anything about it, only the former applies.
How to Fix the Damage
Earlier on in the article I mentioned adding muscle. If that’s what you were thinking too, you’re absolutely correct.
I wrote down a great quote that famous Martial Artist Ilan Rosenberg said in an interview we had years ago: “When you injure the joint and want to restore it, make the muscles around it strong and flexible. And the joint will be like brand new.”
Absolutely. In focusing on strength and flexibility, yoga practice does just this.
And your feet, though small, can do A LOT. Here’s what you can do with the feet. You can press the link to the video at the end to understand more clearly.
– You can curl and uncurl your toes.
– Spread your toes and then press them down all together onto the floor.
– You could stand on one foot and try to lift your big toe and then your baby toe.
– You can walk on the outer sides of your feet and then the inner sides of your feet.
– Roll back and forward on your feet.
This is just a baby list. There’s so much you can do with every part of your body which will have a direct impact on a different part of your body. We have the master list but we want YOU to figure out what the deal is with your pain. Every injury is different because every body on this planet is different.
There’s no set time when your injury will heal. No set of exact exercises you should do to strengthen your muscles around the affected area. And definitely no exact list of foods you should stick to heal yourself.
Listen to your body and it will respond back.
We all start somewhere, so why not start here: