Keys to a Pain-Free Youthful Back
Oh! My aching back! This cry has echoed down the corridors of time for countless centuries, ever since humans learned to walk on their own two feet. This unique accomplishment—achieved only by human beings among all the varied forms of mammals on Earth—has given us the mobility and dexterity to cope with any environment found on this planet. It has enabled us to rule the other creatures, to conquer the Earth and now to set out into outer space to explore other worlds. As with everything in all Nature, however, there is a price to pay for these accomplishments. Humans are still learning how to stand erect! From babyhood on, every human being repeats the slow learning process—crawler, toddler, walker, runner—and all through life must pay attention to their posture, or suffer with painful backache and its many related ills. The Spine Is Your Vital Key to Health. Universal native folklore equates the backbone with courage, an intuitive tribute to erect posture and the key role of the spine in physical fitness. However, physical fitness is more than muscular power: It is the superior condition of the human body and its frame. A teacher for the day can be a guiding light for a lifetime! Bragg Books are silent health teachers—never tiring, ready night or day to help you help yourself to health! Our books are written with love and a deep desire to guide you to a healthy lifestyle.
– Patricia Bragg
Keep Your Precious Body and Heart Funcioning at Peak Efficiency
Despite its importance, most of us rarely consider the care of this machine—our body—until illness strikes. By care, we don't mean coddling. Instead, we mean those sensible practices and precautions which keep us in shape for the vigorous daily routine that strenuous modern living requires. Most people are fortunate to be born healthy, but far too often take this priceless gift of health for granted. Unfortunately, Mother Nature does not always let them get way with this carefree attitude. You can ruin a good car by neglect or abuse, and you can do the same with your heart and body!
The universally accepted #1 fruit, the apple, is popular across America and around the world. Early American settlers, the Pilgrims, brought apples to America in the early 1600's and became Johnny Appleseeders, starting apple orchards that eventually spread throughout America.
When your body is fit and every muscle or organ is functioning properly, that body becomes a powerhouse of vim and vigor. Physical fitness means more than just plain health and the absence of illness: It means no hidden liabilities and no silent, painless illness working away like termites at the organic framework of the human house. Remember, the spine is the ridgepole of your body, which is your earthly home and temple.
Role of Spine in Human Body: Let us briefly summarize the key role of the spine in almost every function of the human body. It is the pivot of the skeleton, the framework of bones giving the body its shape. Anchored to the spine are layers of large and small muscles and ligaments of the back and abdomen, essential in holding the body erect and the vital organs in place (even these organs themselves are supported by the spine). In four-legged (quadrupedal) creatures, vital organs are suspended downward from a curved spinal column. However, in the two-legged (bipedal) human, they must be held up against the pull of gravity by an erect spinal column. In the center of that column, descending directly from the base of the brain and protected by the bony vertebrae, is the spinal cord, the control center of extensive, intricate networks of motor and sensory nerves that radiate to all parts of the body (see page 33).
For these basic anatomical and physiological reasons, (which we will discuss in detail during the course of this book,) we believe that many ailments can be traced to an abnormal spine. For example, prolonged habits of incorrect posture—as well as accidents, sudden movement, jolt or strain—can cause a vertebra to shift slightly out of alignment (subluxation) and to press against a nerve passing out from the spinal cord through an opening at that level. Such an impingement is an open invitation to trouble in the organ or body part that is serviced by that partially pinched nerve (see pages 29-31).
Misuse Causes Injury Over Time
According to Dr. Thomas G. Gutheil, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, There are many reasons for an aching back, a number of which have to do with lifestyle changes, fitness, and the modern environment. Not only does the back carry the body, but it also carries many of the psychological tensions that humans get weighted down with. In my psychiatric training, I learned to look at the posture and body position for clues to a person's mental state: the stooped back whose owner seemed bowed by the weight of depression, the shoulders drawn in and tight, and the head retracted like a turtle's in anticipation of a blow that comes only in the patient's imagination, and the other many posture giveaway signs. Sheila Reid, rehabilitation services coordinator at the Spine Institute of New England, observes, "The single event that people think caused their back injury is often not the problem. Instead, it's almost a cumulative trauma."
We go through years of back and health misuse, and then there is the one fall, or the box or child you pick up that breaks the proverbial camel's back. The ratio of nerves sending messages about our backs, in comparison to the nerves on our fingertips, is much less than a hundred to one! Therefore, we are receiving fewer warning pain signals from our backs.
Sad facts: most people tend to ignore their back until it starts crying out to them, calling for help to be relieved of pain and discomfort! Researchers estimate that a whopping four out of five Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, back pain is second only to the common cold as a reason for visiting a doctor. Annually, nearly 31 million Americans experience back pain, at a skyrocketing cost of $20 billion for medical treatments and disability payments, some on permanent disability! Our modern machines are taking the place of manual labor, and have significantly deteriorated the physical body over the last 60 years. However, Spine Motion can help alleviate almost any back pain you may encounter and help keep it from decreasing your quality of life.
Bragg Originates Spine Motion Exercises
In order to alleviate back problems that arise from structural spine problems, my father Paul C. Bragg originated the Spine Motion Exercises given in this book. These exercises were introduced over 70 years ago. Public and press reception were so enthusiastic that claims made by those who used these exercises sounded extravagant. Only a small part of the amazing results reported would have to be true to establish the principle of Spine Motion as the valuable force that it is. As remarkable as the results attained by you and others following these Spine Motion Exercises may be, we do not want anyone to regard this as evidence that these exercises can supplant all other health measures. They cannot, nor are they intended to do so. You must follow a well-rounded healthy lifestyle program, including proper nutrition, adequate rest and other forms of exercise, all of which we will discuss in this book. Spine Motion Exercises are also not to be considered a cure for any condition, illness or disease. In fact, nature has no cures, in the generally accepted sense of the word. The human body is self-healing and self-repairing when we work with Nature, not against her. If we feel sick and miserable, we have brought this condition upon ourselves by failing to obey natural laws.
"The use of Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is a wonderful health aid and the #1 food I recommend in helping to maintain the body's vital acid-alkaline balance. Everyone should read the Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar book." – Gabriel Cousens, M.D.
Author of Conscious Eating and Spiritual Nutrition
Back Fitness Program Table of Contents