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Stop ignoring

your back
Extract from the book En finir avec le mal de dos
by Franois Stvignon

.1

Thank you

On behalf of the whole Percko team we would like to thank you for your
participation in this incredible adventure. It is thanks to you that we are
able to deliver the first batch of Percko products. None of this would have
been possible without you!
To show you our appreciation we have made this e-book so that your
back can regain its former strength. We decided to start the e-book with
an explanation on the pain mechanism because people usually do not fully
understand how it works. Then we went from theory straight to action by
offering eight exercises you can do at home that will change the way you
perceive your body. To conclude the e-book we have assembled a list of useful advices that should be applied everyday in order to take care of your body!
Finally we would like to give special thanks to Francois Stevignon, author
of the book En finir avec le mal de dos on which our e-book was based.
M.Stevignon had faith in us from the start and helped us in the development
of our product, MANY THANKS!

For further information please go to www.methode-stevignon.com

It is important to be very careful when tackling the subject of pain. Pain


is a symptom that should not be overlooked because it is a warning mechanism
in case of a problem. Some of these problems might be linked to specific
deceases and we cannot take the risk not to treat them. That is why persistent
pain must lead to a medical appointment.

.2

Getting rid of misconceptions

I have back pain because my muscles are not strong enough.


Sports are not the solution to everything, the lack of strong muscles is not
the cause.
I have back pain... because I carry too much stuff.
If you lead a normal life and do not carry loads every day, the weights you
carry are not an explanation.
I experience back pain (or other types of pain)... because I did
a wrong movement.
Pulling a muscle is often an illusion: it is the normal reaction of an unsupported spinal column because problems already exist.
I have back pain... because I arch my back too much.
That is the simplified explanation that is often given. But with time we realize that often the opposite is true, positions that are not arched enough are
the reason for the pain that we feel when we are normally arched.
I have back pain... because I wear high heels.
It is true that wearing high heels can lead to a more pronounced curvature.
But as we learned earlier the curvature is not the reason for pain...
Everything hurts... because of arthrosis.
Arthrosis is a pathology that can increase pain. It is diagnosed with x-rays
of the affected joints. Deciding that the pain you experience is linked to this
reason or that one, is risking to forget to ask ourselves other questions, the
right ones...

.3

Understanding the pain

The point here is to understand how pain works: how it appears, how it
moves, how it manifests itself.
It is only through pain that we know of infinity (Madame de Stael.)

.3.1

The paradoxes of pain

To sum up, here are four paradoxes of pain:


The paradox of muscular contraction: pain appears even though the
muscles were not stimulated. For example when we fall asleep with the
head tilted downward we will wake up with a torticollis (neck pain due
to muscle spasm) even though the muscles werent active.
The feeling paradox: we dont always feel pain when we hurt ourselves.
For example if we stay in a crouched position for a long time it will
hurt when we straighten the knees even though we regained our normal
position. What feels good in the short term, for example adopting an
antalgic posture has actually a harmful impact and pain will be felt in
the long term because it imbalances the body. So compensating back
pain with a (dislocation) is obviously not a solution.
The time paradox: pain does not always occur at the moment of the
injury.
The place paradox: the area where we feel the pain is not necessarily
the cause for the pain.

.3.2

What can be done to stop the pain?

The answer can be summed up in one sentence: end the suffering of the
nerve roots by adopting a normal or medium position of the vertebrae as
often as possible. Of course it is easier said than done, it is very complicated
to implement it in everyday life. Indeed, we must find the positions then find
alternatives and integrate them... I will show you that actually it is not that
complicated.
What you have to understand is that often a bad position is not felt, and
because there is no pain at the moment of the injury, the position can be
repeated for days and cause chronic pain. It is easy to find the source of
sharp pain, however repeated and non painful injuries are more difficult to
detect... But that is the goal of this publication!
One trait is common to all wrong postures, they are all passive. It means
that the muscles are not active. Lets take the computer as an example: when
it is in our lap we tilt our head down towards the screen. We make no efforts
to do so, because gravity does all of the work for us!
The first thing you must remember is that the moments when you do
nothing are potentially the most dangerous.

.4

Incorporate the eco-positions

.4.1

The back straight as an S

Ah! All of those lessons we were given as kids, because we did not keep our
backs straight. This nagging sentence our parents used to say: Keep your
back straight! It springs to mind regularly. And what they always added to
this expression, was that we had to keep it as straight as the letter I.
A fatal mistake!
Our back is absolutely not straight like an I, it is more like an S.
Observe :

Our back has natural curvatures that are foundational. We must definitely respect them so that the articulations of our vertebral column do not
suffer and stay in a medium position as often as possible, although it is of
course normal to bend and extend from time to time. Being upright is respecting our natural curvatures.

Tips you should test


To find the natural upright position try to imagine that a puppeteer has
attached strings to the top of your head. From time to time he gently pulls
on them to help you regain a natural position...

.4.2

Being aware of your bodys position is key to reaching the perfect posture

Therefore it is when we are active that it is easier to find the perfect position.
All we have to do is think about it to straighten naturally. A thought,
someones comment, the reflection of our position on a surface, it is as simple
as that. Observe the effect of cameras on a group of people: as soon as
someone wants to take a group photo everyone straightens instinctively!

.4.3

Dangerous positions

If you feel pain in the upper or lower half of your body it is either your cervical or lumbar articulations that are being injured.
It goes without saying that the frequency and duration of these positions
will have consequences on your body. So for example a wrong position repeated every day, even for fifteen minutes, will eventually cause injury. The
risk starts in the repetition of a wrong position, even for a brief period of time.
Positions that are harmful for the cervical vertebrae:
Watching TV from the side in relation to the screen.
Doing an activity during which we look down (games on tablet or smartphone, reading, knitting, puzzles, etc).
Lying down on the couch with the head on the armrest.
Reading in bed with the back against the wall and the head looking
down at the book.

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Watching TV in bed with the head elevated by two pillows.
Sleeping flat on the belly.
Positions that are harmful for the lumbar vertebrae:
Sitting in a couch or bed with the legs extended in front of you (for
example feet placed on a coffee table).
Sitting in a chair with a round back.
Sitting in a couch or armchair that are too deep.
Sitting cross-legged on a flat surface (bed, floor) using a computer for
example.
Thanks to this list you can find out at a glance what are the worst positions for you.

.5

Eight exercises to better understand your


back

To understand it, you must first listen to your body... a difficult task! Proprioception is our bodys awareness of itself. Awareness of its balance, of the
tonicity of its muscles, etc... If you had a mirror constantly in front of you,
you would take the right position more often. Proprioception allows you to
see yourself, to perceive yourself, to be aware of your posture in order to be
able to take the right position naturally. The methods we offer will allow
you to develop sensitivity to the functioning of your body, primarily the motor skills. Regular practice of these methods will increase your efficiency in
everything you do.
The final goal of the proprioceptive progression is to master balance on
one leg for 30 seconds while at the same time carrying a weight of 2 kg on the
head, all of that while flexing and extending the vertebral column by doing
lateral inclinations and rotations. In order to feel each movement they must
be done slowly.

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.5.1

The warriors rest


This exercise is done while lying down on your back.
Breathe deeply so that you become aware of the curvatures of your vertebral column.
Emphasize the curvatures of the column (lumbar and
cervical) then diminish them by flexing and extending
(one minute).
While still lying down stretch the right arm and leg
in the bodys axis, then change sides (one minute each
side).
Lie on your back, feet on the ground, lean your bent
knees on one side then the other (one minute each side).

.5.2

The thoughtful balance


Stand up straight with your weight on your right foot and the
right knee slightly bent. Raise your left foot by 5cm (about
the same height as when you walk). Fix a point in front
of you, the two legs must not touch each other. Remain in
balance for 30 seconds not more. It is recommended to raise
the difficulty of the exercise not the length. Then we move
on to the next foot.

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.5.3

Mans best friend


This exercise is done on all fours.
Alternate between the dog back (that is achieved by
bending the back forward and the cat back (achieved
by bending the back backward). This movement
matches the flexing and extending movement.
Imagine that you have a tail and move your pelvis as if
you were wagging it, do the same with your head.
Perform stretching exercises: stretch one arm and the
opposite leg in one direction then the other.

.5.4

The model, a burden on the head.


Make yourself a burden to carry on the head with a cloth
bag (which stored a nice pair of shoes for example): put
2kg of rice in it.
Place it on your head and try to balance it: without
letting it fall, stand up for 30 seconds, then walk for 30
second and finally sit down for 30 seconds. Restart the
whole exercise one more time.
Afterwards when you will remove the weight from your
head you will notice a unique sensation, as if your body
was growing.

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.5.5

The restless intellectual


Make yourself a burden to carry on the head with a
cloth bag: put 2kg of rice in it.
Cross your legs and you will notice that the higher your
knee is, the rounder your back becomes.
Extend your legs in front of you to realize the movement
of the pelvis. You will notice that the hamstrings will
pull on it and this makes your vertebral column rounder.
While sitting, put your feet backwards under a chair
and you will notice that the pelvis moves forward and
the vertebral column arches, but if you extend your legs
in front of you, the pelvis moves backwards and the
back becomes rounder. We can conclude that we cannot
stretch the hamstrings indefinitely and that the pelvis
tilts backwards.
Note that the direction you are facing has an influence
on the position.
By pulling away from the chairs back, we bend our
back forward, then round it slightly: flexing and extending. We must emphasize the extension and the gravity
pushes us to do a round back.
Alternate between tilting the chest, one arm upward the
other downward and then performing a rotation of the
head and torso to the right, then to the left.
Move the shoulders as if they were a rolling mechanism.

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.5.6

The wall support


When you are against a wall, you can feel the curves of
the vertebral column.
Alternate between bending the back forward and then
backward to realize the movement capacity of a flexing
and extending column.
By pulling away from the wall you flex and extend the
column, then slowly you do lateral inclinations and rotations, all of it while breathing normally, you will do
this exercise the same way you would do it in a seated
or lying down position.

.5.7

The heron in the dark


When you achieved balance on one foot, close your eyes. You
will notice that in the beginning blinking is enough to disturb
the balance. So when you start this exercise close your eyes for
1 second, then for 2 while succeeding to maintain the balance.
Ideally you must maintain this position for 30 seconds. Our
proprioception develops immensely when we are not using the
sight.

.5.8

Flying away
While balancing on the right foot you bend your back by
placing the left foot far behind you, the arms extended at both
sides on a horizontal plane, hands must be facing backwards.
You fly like this for 10 seconds, then you raise one hand
while lowering the other, 5 seconds on each side, you rotate
the head and the torso to the right for 5 seconds and then to
the left 5 seconds. The full movement lasts 30 seconds after
which you must change legs.

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.6

Advice to help you adopt the right posture

Now that the causes and consequences have no more secrets for you, it is
time to move on to the next stage that will facilitate your life.
In many fields we know exactly what must be done to succeed. For example: for a diet to work, all you have to do is lower the number of calories
so that you reach a negative balance between energy intake and expenditure,
it is that easy in theory. But the reason it is difficult to implement a diet is
because the transition from theory to practice is full of complications.
It is similar with good postures. We understand how it works but we just
dont always think about it. What you need is to find a way to make your
life easier. Is it perhaps possible to find ways that will allow you to apply
the instructions without thinking about them? Yes, but with some practice.

.6.1

The couch, a hidden enemy?

The main problem of the couch is that it is extremely comfortable. The


positions that you must avoid at all costs are:
Legs extended in front of you (placed on a table or a footstool).
Neck pressed against the armrest to read.
When watching TV from the side.
Slouch your back to take the shape of the couch.
To save your couch many solutions exist! What you need is a lot of pillows
that will compensate the shortcomings of the furniture.

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Do you like reading lying on your couch?
Take a pillow and put it behind your back in the lumbar area, this will
allow to curve the back forward.
Put a pillow under the knees to bend the legs and avoid a tilt of the
pelvis linked to straight legs.

Put a pillow on the knees, which will serve as an armrest in order to


put the book on it and not bend the head down to read.

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Do you like to dine on the coffee table?
Sit on the edge of the couch so that you bend your knees. In general
make sure that your legs are not stretched in front of you.
Between every bite you must be sitting straight at a right angle and
look in front of you when you chew. This will allow you to avoid having
a round back and the head looking down at your plate.
When you watch TV, the screen must be straight and in front of you.
Mind the positioning of your pelvis. If you are arched and lean forward
then it is not harmful for the back.

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.6.2

Proper use of the bed

Like the couch the bed is a place filled with dangers. This is simply because
in bed we tend to relax and let it go. Like in the case of the couch, in bed
the essential thing to have on hand is a bunch of pillows in order to support
yourself.
Reading in bed:
Stabilize the back.
Bend the knees.
Stabilize the head.
Put a pillow on the knees so that it serves as an armrest.

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.6.3

Armchairs

One of the biggest advantages of the armchair is that it has armrests. They
will allow you to effortlessly hold your book at eye level. You can also put a
pillow on your knees as an armrest.
Watch out for commercials of seats that are allegedly with all modern
conveniences, which promote armchairs that come with footstools... using
those leads directly to a round back! As if it were not enough, cherry on the
cake we often see in these commercials people lying down on these chairs with
their legs bent on the side, their backs completely curved and in a spiral: it
is more a commercial on how not to do things!
The perfect armchair is the one you can find at your grandparents (or
parents) house, with a firm seat, an efficient lumbar support, a delicate fabric and armrests that are at the perfect height to read.
Indeed, this model is often put aside in favor of deeper and softer models
in which we sink and that appear more desirable. But it is a shame because
this kind of armchair is perfect to keep a healthy and straight back. It is
true, we are compelled to stay in a medium position thanks to its intelligent
design. It is a seat conceived to give the perfect posture to its user... but it
is of course possible to seat incorrectly in it!

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.6.4

Public transport

Public transport is a place where we often spend a lot of time. And this time
must be closely monitored because there are many risks.
On a public transport we can participate in several activities like reading
or playing games on mobile phones that require this head position:

How to fight against this position?


With applications for your phone that allow you to listen to books or
music.
By making an effort and holding the book in front of the eyes.
Stabilize the head.
With a rich inner life? there are a lot of things to meditate about in
a day and you can take advantage of this moment to spend some time
with yourself.
Public transports are also the place where we often fall asleep in a seated
position. The head tilts on one of the sides and the awakenings are usually
painful!

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A neck pillow is a must: it is fixed under the chin and offers great
comfort... Watch out though, the opening of the neck pillow is behind
the head and not in the front so that the chin is supported. This applies
to the moment when depending on the angle of the seat the head tilts
forward. If however the head tilts backwards, then the opening of the
pillow must be placed in the front to maintain the neck.

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.6.5

The car

The car is a mode of transportation that should be studied closely. It is a


place where we constantly sit. Not all cars are created equal because the
seats in some cars are well researched and optimized and other models where
the seats are just abysmal.
So what you need to do, is determine to which category your vehicle belongs
and take action accordingly.
Some tips to be comfortable:
Adjust the height of the steering wheel: the shoulders must be at the
height of the wrists when the hands are placed at 10:10 am (imagine
the steering wheel as a watch).
Adjust the inclination of the seat.
You must have pillows for the back.

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.7

Conclusion

This E-book provides you the starting point to change your bad posture
habits. By following the advices in this book, you are one step closer to
obtain a good back posture. Percko teaches you how to have a good back
posture, letting you know when you are in an incorrect posture.
It is the combination between the stimulating technology of your Percko
with your desire and persistence to achieve a better back posture that will
lead you to a better life quality. Do not worry, your Percko will arrive soon!