Back pain is a tricky beast. Most Americans will at some point have a problem with their backs. And for an unlucky third, treatments won’t work, and the problem will become chronic.
Believe it or not, there are a few cultures in the world where back pain hardly exists. One indigenous tribe in central India reported essentially none. And the discs in their backs showed little signs of degeneration as people aged.
Esther Gokhale, an acupuncturist who practices in Palo Alto, California, thinks she’s found the reason why. She was compelled to study indigenous people to understand why it is that modern living caused back pain and indigenous living didn’t.
To find an answer Gokhale traveled to some of the most remote locations on Earth.
The biggest difference she saw was in how these people walked, sat and stood. She have a picture in her book of two old women who spend seven to nine hours everyday, bent over, gathering water chestnuts. The unbelievable truth is they don’t have a back pain.
She even found that their spines were differently shaped. Instead of having S-shaped spines like adults often do, they had J-shaped spines.
“The J-shaped spine is what you see in Greek statues. It’s what you see in young children. It’s good design,” Gokhale said.
Gokhale claims that she took the challenge of making her spine J-shaped. And, with a lot of effort and hard work, she managed to do this and she felt no back pain anymore. She adds that achieving this was not easy.
According to Dr. Praveen Mummaneni from the University of California, we have differently shaped backs because our way of life causes lack of muscle tone and postural stability which results in weak core muscles.
Exercising and building up the core muscle strength is crucial if you want to J-shape your back.