Science

This Is Why Most Indigenous Cultures Don't Have Back Pain

The biggest difference she saw was in how these people walked, sat, and stood.

"I have a picture in my book of these two women who spend seven to nine hours everyday, bent over, gathering water chestnuts," Gokhale told npr.org. "They're quite old. But the truth is they don't have a back pain."

She even found that their spines were differently shaped. Instead of having S shaped spines like adults often do, they had J shaped spines.

"The J-shaped spine is what you see in Greek statues. It's what you see in young children. It's good design," Gokhale said.

So Gohkale decided to try and get her spine into that J shape. It took work, but she finally did it and her back pain disappeared. It wasn't easy. But why do we have differently shaped backs? Dr. Praveen Mummaneni from the University of California thinks it's how we live.

"I think the sedentary lifestyle promotes a lack of muscle tone and a lack of postural stability because the muscles get weak," says Dr. Mummaneni. "You're not going to be able to go from the S- to the J-shaped spine without having good core muscle strength. And I think that's key here."

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