The following is the transcript of Dr. Bresser’s presentation on low back pain on LIVE with Kelly and Michael:
Height is one of those issues, because with height there is more pressure on your back. But let me show you why everyone is having problems with their back, and it all comes down to how our back is structured. We have (here) bones, which are your vertebrae; in between those we have these cushions, these pads, called your discs and coming out the sides you have nerve roots and as you get older there is continued pressure on those discs. They push back on those nerve roots and that causes pain. And so all the jarring that we have, day-in, day-out, the walking around on heels [referring to high-heeled shoes] that we do, that causes problems with our back and over time it causes pain. It’s a big issue.
But there are some things that you can try to do to reduce the chances you are going to have back pain. The first one is to try to maintain a healthy weight, because the more weight you have, the more you have here [holds hands in front of his abdomen]…it increases the curve in your back and that causes pain.
Being active, using your body…We spend all of our day sitting and that can cause a big problem. Let me show you what the issue is with sitting, because that is the one that people have control over. Some tips in terms of sitting…[after admonishing Michael for playfully leaning back in a tilting chair] you want to be upright, you want a cushion right here behind your back and (the key thing) you want to put both of your feet flat on the floor. What you want to see is…you want your legs to be at a 90 degree angle like that [positioning the host’s seat-height as per his recommendations] which is just perfect.
[He then has Kelly and Michael – who have a greater than 12-inch height difference – switch/trade chairs]
Look what happens here – and this is the way half of America spends their day. His legs are wrong, her legs are dangling…this is really, really bad for your back.
This [low back pain] is something that everyone is going to go through – most adults are going to get back pain. The first question is, “Do you have to see your doctor right away?”
You don’t have to see your doctor right away unless you are having weakness in your legs, pain shooting down your leg, any kind of numbness, that kinda thing. The big myth out there though is about rest. People say, “My back is hurting and I am going to get into bed and lie there,” and the studies show that you don’t do better with that; in fact you can do worse.
You want to move around. Do gentle movements. Do whatever you can that’s not causing pain and that will get you up and about faster than other approaches.
[The host then asks him about the use of handheld electronic devices, e.g. tablets and cell phones]
It’s not good. It’s not good. When you are thinking about posture, you want to have your shoulders down and back, you want your weight spread evenly over your legs and you want your head up and looking forward. With your devices, you’re not doing that. You see kids (and adults) walking the street like this [he hunches forward and walks as if looking closely at a cell phone] and that is the worst thing for their back. We need to find a way around it.