Back Pain

Also check out 5 Tips for Relieving Back Pain.

Unfortunately, one of my nicknames is “last resort Chris.” I seem to attract people who have tried “everything” to help their pain, especially low back pain. Then they hear about me and come to see me as a last resort so they can avoid surgery or because nobody is left to try. And you know what? With a very simple evaluation of muscle function and posture, I constantly help people INSTANTLY relieve their pain that has been there for years.

Sounds impossible I know. But that is the beauty of muscle issues. While they can cause a lot of pain, they also can be relieved sometimes instantly with the simplest of strategies. Most of which I will show you throughout blog posts here.

Poor diagnosis of muscular issues by physicians and the medical world is partially responsible for this back pain epidemic we have. Their main treatment plan right now for muscular issues is drugs and rest, both of which are proven to actually prolong the healing process!

Is that because they don’t care? No of course not. It is because they don’t know how to assess your muscular system for imbalances and therefore cannot create a treatment program based on what will actually help you and prevent future problems.

I plan on showing you things here that you can do yourself for relieving your own back pain and become stronger than you ever imagined, PAIN FREE too.


  • Doctors and physicians are not well-trained in evaluating muscular imbalances or designing programs that bring balance to the muscles in the low back.
  • The most common treatment plans of pain killers and anti-inflammatories do not heal, they actually slow the healing process.
  • We are trained to work with your diagnosis and show you how to relieve your pain with specific exercises tailored for your type of low back disorder.
  • Although most cases of back pain resolve themselves, if nothing is done to improve the supporting muscles, then the recurrence of pain is up to 12 times as high compared to those who do specific exercises for the spinal muscles and core.
  • Endurance is more important than strength in the spinal muscles.
  • Pain does not necessarily mean damage. Severe low back pain is often from trigger points in the muscles.
  • Pain caused by muscles can persist for years and even indefinitely.
  • It is possible to get rid of low back pain by balancing the muscles that support the spine.


  • Rest is best.
  • The pain will always be there and I have to learn to live with it
  • The pain is all in my head
  • An MRI or high-tech imaging test can always identify the cause of pain.
  • I will never be able to do some of my favorite activities ever again, such as hiking, swimming, running, gardening, etc.
  • An MRI is necessary to diagnose back pain.
  • It is usually one incident that causes the pain.
  • There is a standard cure for low back pain.
  • The spine is delicate and easily injured.
  • If I have a herniated disc then I need surgery.
  • My herniated disc must be causing my symptoms.

There is no such thing as magic exercises that cure back pain. The magic is in what you do daily and most importantly what you DON’T do daily.

5 Tips for Relieving Back Pain

  1. If you have been sitting for longer than 5 minutes, make sure you do some back extension movements before you lift things, i.e. boxes, kids, groceries. This will help push the discs away from the spinal cord and create space for safer movement.
  2. Prop yourself up on your elbows while lying on your stomach a few times per day to relocate the disc back to a more natural position. When we sit the discs are forced backwards towards the spinal cord and nerves and therefore can cause painful symptoms.
  3. Use a lumbar support when you sit. This will keep the natural curve going and prevent the spaces that hold nerves from narrowing.
  4. Use arm rests when you are at the desk. They now will take the weight of the arms instead of the low back. That could be 10-20 pounds!
  5. Create length throughout your spine as often as possible. You can do this simply by trying to make yourself taller/longer in just about any position you are in. Keep your abdominals active to support spinal stability and lengthen through the back of your neck.

Back Pain Lesson #1

Please note that these are not just general opinion’s on low back pain (LBP). Everything here is based on clinical evidence and facts you can find in my book, Exercise Progression for Low Back Disorders – A Professional’s Manual, over 18 years of experience dealing with low back pain, and over 12 years of working in clinics and seeing clients for low back pain. This stuff is proven to work! References have been left out so as to not fill up space, but please inquire about any facts I have stated that you would like further research on.

Today’s lesson: Low back pain does NOT  improve from exercise  faster than nature’s healing course. In other words, it will heal itself just as fast as any exercise program we have ever documented. That being said, exercise and daily activity modifications (D.A.M.’s) are essential in preventing further incidences, increasing general function,  and reducing the intensity of recurrences.  Due to the wide variety of disorders and therefore great many solutions, we will stick to general concepts here. Please feel free to contact for specific questions about your situation.

In general:

  • It’s not what you DO, it’s what you DON’T do that helps LBP. You can do all the right exercises and stretches in the world, but if you bend at your back instead of your legs and hips when you; do laundry, pick up the kids, groceries, vacuum, toilet seat, water jug, suitcase, dog, cat…get the picture? Life is the gym! I will post videos and pictures later about the proper form for daily activities. The beauty of proper form is that once you do it all the time, life becomes a workout and you hardly need to exercise unless you desire specific results for sports and cardio.
  • Don’t try to stretch yourself out of pain. It won’t work, trust me. It didn’t work for me and it hasn’t worked for any of the 1000’s of clients I’ve seen. In fact it usually makes things WORSE. Keep it simple and subtle. Don’t stretch as far as you can, rather as far as you should (it’s a fine line I know and only practice will teach you). It may feel great as you’re doing it, but inflammation in the spine can take up to 3 days to show up and therefore seem a mystery once it appears.
  • Find positions of relief and assume them as often as possible. In general, sitting, flexing, forward bends and the like are BAD for the spine. It prefers to be vertical and extended (low back). The low back is naturally extended about 35 degrees and sitting tends to flex it and add a lot of stress to all the local tissues (discs, ligaments, joints, etc.), so in general, positions such as the following are great for relief*; 1. lying on stomach propped up on elbows 2. hip flexor stretches (see below) 3. walking 4. anything vertical and weightbearing. *Exceptions are stenosis and spondylolisthesis and other unique instances which prefer flexed positions.  

Hip Flexor Stretch

Hip Flexor Stretch 2

  •  Sit-ups, crunches, and the like are ABSOLUTELY AWFUL for LBP!  Please observe how the human body works in daily life so you can be armed with knowledge the next time someone tells you to do crunches to help your LBP. I can’t remember the last time any of my clients or I needed to lay on our backs and repetitively crunch up and down. It just doesn’t happen in real life. Not to mention the huge amounts of stress it puts on the spine (here’s that flexion force again…BAD!). The key is to keep stress low in the spine and strengthen it in ways that transfer directly over to daily life, such as standing lifts and twists using the stomach and hips as the power, not the back.

Please stay tuned for the next lesson; “Exercises for the Chair Jockey” and how to reverse the effects of sitting.