If you’ve suffered from back pain, you’re not alone. To find out why we’re experiencing back pain in massive numbers, why our current treatments are failing us, and how can solve our back issues for good, we interviewed Dr. Todd Sinett, NYC-based chiropractor and author of 3 Weeks to a Better Back (October 2015).
Fitness Republic: We were unpleasantly surprised to read in your book that 20% of the population is currently suffering from back pain and that a whopping 85% of people will suffer from it at some point. Those are huge numbers! What is going on?
Dr. Todd Sinett: This is because most doctors are only looking at your back, so they are likely missing the real source of your pain. While back pain can be structural, often the root cause is not actually your back, but rather is caused by an imbalance elsewhere in the body, such as with your digestion or emotions.
Fitness Republic: What are patients and their doctors doing wrong in the treatment of back pain? Why haven't we gotten a handle on this more effectively?
Dr. Todd Sinett: Most doctors and patients expect that their back pain is indicative of a problem in the back, but if you have received treatment and are still suffering, it is likely because your pain is not actually coming from your back. The correct strategy for most means targeting a combination of structural, digestive, and emotional issues. “The Sinett Solution” is a three-pronged, three-week simple approach to get rid of back pain by targeting the points of the body and mind that you have been ignoring.
Fitness Republic: Is back pain more of a problem than it was, say, 50 or 100 years ago, in your opinion? Or have people always had back pain?
Dr. Todd Sinett: I would say that back pain absolutely has increased in the past 50 to 100 years. Fifty to 100 years ago people weren’t hunched over computers and smartphones all day. People were out doing different types of manual labor, and were also eating more wholesome foods. Back pain is mostly a compilation of small imbalances that compound over time, so our modern habits and postures are adding up to this epidemic of back pain.
Fitness Republic: You speak about the structural, nutritional and emotional causes of back pain. Are people surprised to find out that their back problems stem not just from sitting poorly in front of the computer or an injury, but also from food and emotional stressors?
Dr. Todd Sinett: Yes – someone’s belief about back pain is often the barrier to finding a permanent solution. But they aren’t to blame because as a society, we are made to believe that back pain is a natural progression of life and that everyone will and should learn to deal with it. Most back pain sufferers mistakenly think that the pain they’re experiencing is a “back issue.” Oftentimes, however, back pain isn’t being caused by a structural issue, but rather the everyday choices we make, such as the food we consume and the amount we exercise we do. Instead of tapping into the root cause of the problem to solve back pain, many people look for quick fixes or temporary solutions, like medication. What they don’t realize, which is revealed in 3 Weeks to a Better Back is that relieving back pain could be as easy as changing your diet, de-stressing, or taking time to stretch.
Fitness Republic: Can you speak about the role healthy eating plays in creating a healthier body and back?
Dr. Todd Sinett: One of the key overlooked causes of back pain is diet. As our muscular and digestive systems are completely interconnected, poor digestive function will elevate your inflammatory factor, thus creating more back pain. Simply put – we are what we eat. So if you experience back pain, as well as any type of irregularity, a simple change in diet could be the secret solution to ease your inflammatory response and reduce and eliminate that pain.
Fitness Republic: Of course back pain causes pain in our backs, but does it also impact other parts of our body? Might we have problems with our back and not even realize it and think it's something else going on?
Dr. Todd Sinett: Yes. The pain from your back is not necessarily caused by structural pain within your back. Emotional and nutritional factors can be the root cause of your pain – whether from the foods you are eating and your diet, to the stress and tension you experience during the day. While stretches and exercises can be helpful, especially for any structural issues, getting rid of back pain can actually be remedied through lifestyle changes.
Just about any type of pain could be coming from your back! As your spine protects your spinal cord, it is quite vital to your nervous system. The many nerves that are attached to your spine supply your organs and muscles, so an imbalance in your neck can create headaches. Conversely, an imbalance in other parts of your body can impact your back. For example, an imbalance in your feet can create imbalance and subsequent pain in your lower back. Your entire body is interrelated, so the back and spine contribute significantly to how your overall body functions.
Fitness Republic: Is carrying around extra body weight a major cause of back problems? Will people find losing weight a huge help in their treatment of their back pain?
Dr. Todd Sinett: Being overweight contributes to back problems, specifically structural imbalance. The more you weigh, the more your bones and, naturally your spine, must bear. However, being overweight brings about other factors for back pain related to one’s unhealthy eating habits and the toxic foods and choices that are triggering inflammation. And these eating habits may be the source of emotional issues as well, such as depression, etc., which is how we can see these 3-prongs are all related. While extra pounds do cause structural pain, it's what is happening inside your stomach or head that can more likely be causing your pain.
Fitness Republic: Can you talk about what "The Sinett Solution" is and how you use it with your patients? What can people expect from following the advice in 3 Weeks to a Better Back?
Dr. Todd Sinett: “The Sinett Solution” is my simple, three-pronged approach that works to eliminate back pain by targeting aspects of the body and mind that you have been ignoring. It guides people through the proper steps for a self-diagnosis to lead you to a personalized approach to treat your particular type of back pain and needs. 3 Weeks to a Better Back is a revolutionary approach to treating back pain. Over the course of 21 days, I walk readers through a self-diagnosis process to help them uncover the underlying reason of their personal back pain. Rather than just focusing on physical or structural issues, 3 Weeks to a Better Back takes your nutritional habits and emotional state into account, as these play a significant role in the root cause of back pain.
For more information about Dr. Sinett, please visit www.drsinett.com. His new book, 3 Weeks to a Better Back, is out October 2015.