Is back pain a cultural thing?

80% of Americans will report back pain at one time or another in their life, while other cultures can suffer lower reported incidents of back pain.  What is interesting about this is that these other cultures have less access to tools and have more laborious working conditions.  So how does this happen?

If we look at cultures that require a lot of “stoop” work, being bent over most of the day, we see a difference in their posture versus people performing labor in ours. If you look at these examples below you will see a difference.

What you will notice is how flat these workers backs are compared to an American laborer.

This crescent shape in back of the American laborer, increases the stress and strain on the back.  This increases the risk of injury.

The cause of this is a lack of hip hinging and using the spine to flex.  The cultures that report less back pain, typically do a better job of hip hinging and maintain a flat back when bending over. The lack of hip hinging is often caused by tight hamstrings and weakness in the glute muscles.

If you want to protect your back and improve hip hinge, stretch your hamstrings and strengthen your glute muscles.  Check out these exercise to help reduce back pain.  Please consult a medical provider before starting any stretching or strengthening program.