I am part way through ‘Sapiens’ by Yuval Noah Harari. I am already gripped.

I have read books like Sapiens before, a history of humankind, but Harari makes it all particularly interesting, as it is not just an historical account, but biological, psychological, economic and social too.

For example, he makes the point that man’s evolution to walk upright was in part the start of our cognitive evolution.


Walking upright freed both our hands and eyes. The more that we utilised our hands and eyes, the more our dexterity and brains evolved. However, with this upside came a downside…

The skeleton of our primate ancestors had developed to hold somebody that walked on all fours and had a smaller brain and therefore head.

Harari says: ‘Humankind paid for its lofty vision and industrious hands with backaches and stiff necks.’

Women paid extra as it made childbirth really difficult. If you have ever wondered why human babies are born so small and helpless compared to other mammals it is because they have to be born early so as to get the head through the pelvis!

Here are a few tips for preventing and eliminating lower back pain.

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1. Posture

Stack your joints in order to support that large head.

2.  Neck and Upper Back Trigger Points

Working at your desk all day causes tension through muscle contractions. Over time knots can build up in the muscles causing pain both at the muscle site and also referred to other areas. For example, trigger point knots in the Trapezium can refer pain to the head and neck.

By Trigger Point massaging the Trapezium, Rhomboids and Scalenes for a few minutes, three to five times a day, the muscles remain supple and loose.

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Trigger Points in the neck, Scalenes and Trapezium

Literally ‘poke’ muscles holding for about a minute and releasing several times a day.

3. Lower Back pain

There are several muscles that attach around the lower back area and, if they become very tight, pain can be felt and be at times very debilitating and degenerative.

Hip flexors get very short and contracted by activities such as running, sitting and cycling. They attach at the lower spine and, when too tight, can cause problems and can ultimately lead to disc movement and excessive wear and tear.

back ache remedy_4Try not to always have this muscle contracted for example sitting with legs at 90 degrees.

Try sitting with knees below hips and stretch out the Psoas at your desk.

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If you dislike the ergonomic chair just make sure that you stretch out one leg, and then the other, regularly throughout the day, by pushing the foot back and dropping the knee.

Below is a great stretch to do for the PSAOS if you have time. Start slowly, breath and never rush into a position. Over time you will be able to go further into the stretch, but give yourself that time; it may take weeks of regular stretching.

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My next post will consider Hamstrings, Glutes, Piriformis, Tensor Fascia Lata and the Quadratus Lumborum. These muscles contract a great deal, especially if you do sports, and can be the cause of lower back pain when overly tight. Releasing trigger points, coupled with targeted stretches, releases muscles.

Dr. Caroline Keddie has created  Wellblocks to provide truly efficient, convenient and effective trigger point therapy. More information on her profile page.

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