The Whole-Back System

A guided tour of one of your body’s most complex structures.

Whole Back System

The back is more than the spinal column or a collection of parts, says Eric Goodman, DC, author of The Foundation Training Solution and creator of Foundation Training, a program designed to alleviate acute and -chronic back pain. It’s a complex, interrelated system of components that have evolved to work together seamlessly.

Of all the structures in the body, the lower back is among the most vulnerable to both over and underuse. Lifestyle choices affect this area in a variety of ways, and simply being fit and active doesn’t make you immune to back problems.

“Ironman athletes and sedentary people come to me with the exact same problems,” says Goodman. Repetitive movements — especially those requiring bending and twisting — can be particularly hard on the back, as can lifting heavy objects with an excessively rounded back and disengaged midsection.

But the real game changer, experts agree, is something you’re probably doing this very moment: sitting.

When you sit — or, more commonly, slouch — for even 20 minutes at a stretch, the delicate balance among all those components is thrown into disarray. “Pretty soon, something hurts,” he says.

“Most of us sit for a living,” says Goodman. “But few of us do it well.”

Here’s how the key players in your back, hips, and core are supposed to work — and how inactivity makes their job a lot tougher.


This article originally appeared as part of “Rebuild Your Back” in the March 2016 issue of Experience Life. To order a back issue, call 800-897-4056 (press option 3 when prompted). To get all the articles from each issue of Experience Life, subscribe online at

, CSCS, GCFP, is an Experience Life contributing editor.

Photography by Chad Holder

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