Fred Busch on Lower Back pain and how to eliminate it forever
Yoga for the Elimination of Lower Back Pain
Back pain affects millions of men and women. And as the population ages, the
situation will continue to worsen. Back pain can be one of the most debilitating types
of pain because the spine holds the body together and is involved in almost every
You are probably reading this book because you-or someone you care for-has
back pain. You may have tried a number of remedies to eliminate the problem. You may
have been told that your back pain is permanent and that you will either have to live with
it or undergo surgery.
Before you undertake any cyoursecourse of treatment, you should get the
answers to some fundamental, but extremely important questions.
Why do I have back pain?
The Sacra-iliac joint in depth discussion
What is the success rate with surgical intervention?
What are the complications of surgery that might make the pain worse?
Are there other options?
With the answers to these questions, you will be armed with the information you
need to make an informed decision about your cyoursecourse of treatment. I invite you
to keep reading, because you need not be resigned to living with pain for the rest of
In this brief book you will learn that back pain is usually not permanent and
that back surgery is often not the best solution. You will also learn the most important
concept of all:
If you do not address the fundamental syourcesource of your back injury,
it will probably reoccur regardless of whether surgery or medical intervention
alleviates the pain.
Even if your case is extreme and you have lost all hope, there is an excellent
chance that the approach outlined in this book will help you to significantly reduce or
even eliminate back pain from your life.
This is not a magic cure. It will require effort from you. It will require your attention
and commitment. This very specific and carefully sequenced yoga program will become
the foundation of your recovery because it addresses the anatomical causes of back
This book is divided into two major sections. Part 1 focuses on individuals
suffering from back pain who are new to yoga and its concepts. It discusses
anatomy and the typical causes of back pain. It then shows in easy-to-follow illustrated
steps the specific yoga poses and sequences you will need to practice. Part II is
primarily directed to current yoga practitioners, though in time new students will find
it valuable as they gain experience and expertise in their practice. Experienced
practitioners will learn how to modify their practice in class to relieve back pain.
Additionally, this book will share one of my full power yoga sequences for relieving back
Sample Chapters from The Lower Back Bible by Fred Busch
Chapter One – The Healing Environment
A key contributor to relieving or eliminating back pain back pain is creating what
is called The Healing Environment. The Healing Environment for the lower back has two
major components: doing the things that help improve your strength and balance, and
avoiding the things that aggravate or injure you.
First, a warning! While many people come to Yoga for relief from lower back
pain, Yoga can make the pain worse almost as easy is it can make it better. This most
often happens when a yoga instructor is not masterful in understanding the critical
relationship between lower back pain, the hamstrings and forward bends. It is vitally
important to make intelligent, careful decisions when employing yoga to heal lower back
pain. To fail to do so could make the injury worse.
The good news is that with the simple instructions outlined in this book you can
create the perfect Healing Environment where you will never again lift objects with the
wrong body alignment or wrong posture; nor will you attempt yoga poses that are going
to strain the sacroiliac joint or exacerbate disc problems.
You will, however, learn the specific yoga poses that are going to lengthen your
hamstrings without aggravating your lower back in any way.
Chapter Two – My Personal Experience
Some years ago I was practicing a particularly vigorous style of yoga in which
heavy adjustments such as pushing on the back during seated-forward-bending are
common. As a result, my sacroiliac ligament was overstretched and my sacrum
became unstable.1 The result was lower back pain that typically presented on my left
side, but sometimes shifted to my right side. This pain was chronic and seemed like it
would never go away. I would have trouble standing and sitting in the car, and practicing
yoga had become very painful.
I had never had back pain and it took me some time to realize how pervasive
the pain was and how it impacted my ability to function. Since I was always distracted
by pain, it was very difficult to live joyfully. I understood how important it was to free
myself of this pain. Fortunately, the tools-a combination of yoga and natural healing
modalities-were readily available to me.
Already a yoga instructor for many years, with extensive expertise in healing
injuries, I turned my attention to my own back pain. After examining the fundamental
anatomical causes of back pain and back injury, I developed a Healing Sequence
for the Lower Back. This sequence eliminated my back pain, and I have used it
successfully on scores of others with differing degrees of pain.
This program can and will help you to live pain free.
Chapter Three – Why Back Pain Is Usually Lower Back Pain
It’s estimated that 65 million Americans suffer from lower back pain, the second
most common reason for medical visits. It’s also estimated that an individual with lower
back pain is likely to have one serious episode of back pain every 15 years. Why?
The answer can be found in an examination of the fundamental structure of the human
body. Humans are unique among mammals in that they are capable of efficient bipedal
locomotion. In other words, we can walk and run on two legs.
If you consider the balance and muscular coordination required in the core
of your body, you can see that this is an amazing feat. For example, you have well-
developed gluteal abductors on the sides of your hips that keep you from falling over
in mid-stride. Your thighbone or femur also slopes inward from your hip to the knee
thereby keeping your feet under your center of gravity. Apes lack these characteristics will discuss this joint and anatomy in much more detail later. For the moment it
is important to understand that an unstable joint is a joint that allows movement is a
manner that is abnormal and cannot support normal loads.
and can only walk upright awkwardly for short distances.
Nevertheless, while standing upright is uniquely wonderful, it means that the
spine must handle much greater-and entirely different-loads than do the spines of
quadrupeds. In a four-legged animal, the pelvis is tilted forward and the spine functions
more or less as an anchor for the muscles that support the organs and for body
structure. In a human being, the pelvis must be held upright so that the upper body
remains balanced over the feet. Figure ___. This requires the hamstrings-muscles in
the back of the leg-as well as a whole host of other muscles and ligaments to be much
tighter and stronger in different ways.
What does this have to do with your back pain? The vulnerable link in this chain
of muscles, ligaments and tendons that holds you upright is, as you’ve probably already
guessed, the lower back. Figure ____. The relationship between lower back pain and
the hamstring muscles will be a key theme throughout this book and will be discussed in
greater detail later.
People who suffer from ongoing or recurrent bouts of back pain often have to try a number of different forms of exercise to find the most appropriate therapy to manage their pain. For many, yoga has proven to be a safe and effective way to finally alleviate many forms of back pain or neck pain and help prevent ongoing problems.
Also see Fred Busch’s article featured in Spine-health.com
Yoga background and on Back Pain
Yoga is approximately 4,000 years old and is a scientific methodology aimed at uniting the mind, body, and spirit. This bonding that occurs through yoga is said to bring about not only physical benefits, but mental benefits as well, taking the individual to a level that could not be reached by manipulating one factor alone. This unique characteristic has prompted many back pain patients to incorporate yoga as part of their treatment program.
Main components of yoga
There are many different types of yoga, each stressing a particular theory or mindset, and each is comprised of numerous postures and areas of focus. While the actual practice of yoga is extremely extensive and detailed, in its essence yoga focuses on three main components:
- Body position/posture
- Meditation/state of mind
In general, yoga is a very safe form of exercise for most people. For those with specific back conditions, it is advisable to speak with one’s treating physician prior to starting yoga (or any exercise program). Anyone with severe or ongoing back pain should be evaluated by a health professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment program before beginning yoga.
Many conditions can cause back pain. Depending on the individual’s specific diagnosis, a yoga program can often be modified to maximize the benefits of yoga and avoid aggravating the condition. A good yoga teacher can usually provide instructions on special modifications for specific medical conditions.