Most people will experience back pain in their lives, and about half of working Americans experience back pain every year. A third of Americans older than 55 have chronic back or neck pain. it’s a real problem in modern society – one I’ve grappled with as well.
Yet somehow, back pain is rare among indigenous cultures – people we picture has having hard, strenuous lives compared to ours.
Esther Gokhale, an acupuncturist who practices in Palo Alto, California, thinks she’s found the reason why. She was compelled to study indigenous people to understand why it is that modern living caused back pain and indigenous living didn’t. So she traveled to some of the most remote locations on Earth to find an answer.
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.”