Rid Yourself of Back Pain: A New Gottesman Library Lecture Tells Us How

| September 24, 2014

The little pains we feel along our spines creep over us so slowly we often hardly notice until they become much worse. Over time, however, the soreness we get from extended hours of study begins to add up; a small ache develops into a larger posture problem, and if we’re not careful, causes persistent back pain. But are aching backs an unavoidable evil that befalls all graduate students, or is there something you can do to avoid those gnawing pains?

To help answer this persistent question, Gottesman Library hosted a “Neurodynamic Lunch Hour” entirely focused on back and muscle pain. Neurodynamics, which is the study of how the body works in action, has a lot to offer us in the way of understanding our bodies, allowing us to prevent everyday wear and tension from building. Hosted by Ted Dimon, the brown bag session held on Sept. 23 focused on how to prevent back pain by becoming more attentive to our bodies, breaking the cycle that results in chronic back and musculoskeletal problems.

Beginning the lecture, Dimon talked to us about the structure of the spine, and what makes for a healthy one, while avoiding all technical jargon. “We think of posture as not really relevant to education, but it’s extremely important to education. The back can really be healthy if you know how it works.”

Being “mindful” of how we use our spines regularly takes a bit of practice, of course, especially for people who sit throughout the day for extended periods of time.

Lecturer Ted Dimon explains how to avoid back pain

Rather than explain the most efficient and safe ways to use our back muscles, Diamond critiqued our movements instead, showing us how to get up and sit down in fluid motions that won’t torque the spine,
how to safely pick up heavy objects from the ground, and how to sit at our desks in a balanced way, while taking lots of much-needed breaks. For my own part, like others in the room, I was told to stop writing blog posts while lying down and eating crackers, but such minor corrections in posture may have to wait until next time.

Check back again soon for more about the Neurodynamic Lunch Hour series, which is being sponsored by the Spirituality Mind Body Institute and Gottesman Libraries. Next week’s lecture will be held on September 30th and will look at exercises that can help maintain length in the spine and back muscles.