Thursday, August 21, 2014

Change Your Shoes for Low Back Pain

I've been playing around with the concept that most therapy is built around the idea of movement variability.  Restoring variability, restores more motion, restores more freedom and thus pain free movement.

I started thinking yesterday about how I see certain patients and many people wear the same shoes everyday, day in and day out.  Most runners own one pair of shoes till they give out.  Most people that have an office job have one or two pairs of shoes, (usually the same pair in different colors).

I have lost count of how many people have told me they had "this pain" and they decided their shoes were old, bought a new pair of shoes and "this pain" went away.

"It's gotta be the shoes man!"

Most shoes vary dramatically, small heel, big toe box, supportive arch, minimalist shoe, vibram, name your brand, they will have differences.  Perhaps these difference can be used for an advantage.  If you are someone that stands at work all day and gets any sort of pain, but I'm thinking lower back pain mostly, try taking 2-3 pairs of shoes to work and rotating which ones are worn every few hours.

Over the course of an 8 hour day, lets see if you can make 4 changes.  Just like having a pebble in your shoe would eventually change your gait, perhaps the slight variation in shoes will recruit slightly different patterns.  Enough to make some muscles that were working hard to work less and make other muscles that were under working, pick up some slack.  Change the movement variability.

Perhaps the only thing accomplished is there will be a different proprioceptive feedback from the feet to the brain and that is the only thing needed.  Perhaps nothing will happen.  But, it should be a fun experiment and with out any downside.  I've tried it with one person successfully, so lets get a bigger experiment going.

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