Principles of better musculo-skeletal function

Over the last couple of months I've put together a new website, designed to promote the sales of good books on musculo-skeletal dysfunction. You won't do yourself any harm by going there and having a sniff around


A few weeks ago I received a note from out of the Esther asking if I could help someone in Adelaide (home of the Festival of Arts) with a crook back.

Here in Canberra (Australia's national capital) we run the crook back clinic two nights a week - where you can spend an hour doing some of the key stretches that we all need to do to keep our backs and necks in good shape. Certainly it keeps my back and neck in good shape, which as you can read in "How to Fix Up a Crook Back"  was really crook a couple of years ago.

None of this stuff is rocket science. A lot of the best exercises I do and prescribe having come from people I've met who have said 'Have you seen this one?' A lot come from China. You can bet on most exercises that come from China and have been around for 2000 years

Anyway to cut a long story short here's the reply to the letter which started off by the writer saying she thought that sitting down was the cause of her crook back.


Yep, you're right. Sitting down is the killer and here's why.

If you were to sit down at work, on the floor with your legs straight out you probably wouldn't get a crook lower back and sore shoulders because the muscles of the calves and hamstrings would stay their normal length. However, after sitting down in a chair for more than 20 years, the pelvis is dragged backwards by ever tightening calf, hamstring and buttock muscles.

Other tight muscles around your buttocks twist the pelvis or drags one side lower than the other. The bones of your vertebrae immediately above the pelvis become the meat in a very painful sandwich. They become twisted, pull on ligaments, tendons and muscles (hence the pain) and force disks 'out'. If the disks pinch the spinal column it hurts like hell. If they hit the sciatic nerve you get sciatica.

The hollow in lumbar spine disappears. The nice 'S' shaped curve of the back has become a 'C' shape.

So, here's what I suggest you do.

If you don't have a Crookback clinic close by, I suggest you join a yoga class and go three times a week.

Make sure when you're sitting at your desk your chair is as close to the desk as you can get it. That way you'll be encouraged to situp straight with a hollow in your lumbar spine. Once you lose the hollow you're buggered!

Buy my ebook, How to Fix up a Crook Back and make sure you do the following exercises religiously.

Buy Pete Egoscue's books, the Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion and Pain Free They're great books and will provide you with an explanation of what's gone wrong.

SIX PRINCIPLES of better musculo-skeletal function

The problem has a cause and it can be fixed - find the cause and treat it.

  1. Big problems come from small problems that weren't attended to. If it's a big problem now, it probably started off as a little problem that wasn't recognised or dealt with early enough.
  2. The primary cause of the pain is likely to be a lack of fitness, a body lacking in the general level of strength and flexibility needed to do what may appear to be a very simple and cushy job - sitting down, tapping as keyboard, rolling as mouse and pushing a pen.
  3. The immediate cause of the pain is a body out of alignment. If you do the right strength and flexibility exercises you should be able to straighten out the problem
  4. It's a big ask expecting the body to get better by having someone do something to you: sooner or later you have to do something to yourself - in your case the right mobilising, stretching and strengthening exercises for your particular condition.
  5. Therapy - ice, heat, manipulation, massage, acupuncture, Chinese poultice ..., speeds up the rehab process but does not take the place of the strength and flexibility exercises you need to do for yourself.



Here is the king of relaxing exercises. Do this exercise for about half an hour each day. It's the best position you can get into to relieve the pain of a crook back. There are a couple of other good ones in How to Fix Up a Crook Back.

Back Rest

2. ROTATIONAL EXERCISES - to do while watching TV or reading a book.

Hip Cross Over



The cost of the luxury of a sit down job is a minute's worth of the wall sit exercise twice a day. It will loosen hamstrings and calves.

Calf Stretch




Sit Up Feet held





Reverse Frog



Join a gym. 30 minutes on an aerobic machine - stepper, bike, treadmill or climber, and 20 minutes strength training around the machines will provide you with the foundation of good health and fitness.

Bench Press

So, there you have it. There is no doubt in my mind that if you do the right exercises, most every day (and the gym exercises three times a week), you'll get yourself back into good nick within a few months. After three months you should find that it doesn't hurt to sneeze or cough; you'll be able to bend over the basin to brush your teeth; the pain will have subsided; you'll give yourself 80/100.

If it gets better quicker then that send me a medal!

If you find you're not making progress, spend longer each day doing the exercises.

Once you've bought my ebook, send me an email and I'll give you more advice on which exercises to do for longer periods of time. I found that my back took a quantum leap toward good function when I spent a couple of hours in front of TV stretching from side to side.

Well that's it folks.

Until I write again stay tuned; highly tuned.


John Miller

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The key to reducing pain is getting your bones back into better alignment.

You do that by working on improving your strength and flexibility.

The pain you're experiencing is your body's way of telling you are out of alignment.

Act now to improve your productivity and lifestyle.