Back pain treatment options range from pain medications to steroid injections to surgery. While these treatments are often useful, they do not address the root of the dysfunction leading to pain syndromes related to the spine and other joints. Osteopath Guy Voyer, DO realized this and began to develop the ELDOA method of exercise. Over the past few decades, ELDOA has evolved into a revolutionary workout model that has empowered many people to reduce back pain with exercise, and in some cases avoid surgical intervention.
Guy Voyer, DO developed the ELDOA method in hopes of enabling his patients to take action and heal their pain in a lasting manner, using the body’s own actions to influence healing.
How Does ELDOA Help to Relieve Back Pain?
If you follow my blog, you already know that ELDOA consists of a series of postural exercises designed to target specific joints and connective tissues throughout the body. ELDOA is great for enhancing spinal health, correcting bad posture (e.g., text neck), and promoting general health and healing. So, how does it work exactly? One of the pathways by which ELDOA seems to be having its effect is through normalizing the proprioceptive awareness around the spinal segments being targeted by the exercises. In other words, ELDOA helps improve the proprioception of the spine.
Wait, What Is Proprioception of the Spine?
Let’s back up a bit. Proprioception refers to the body’s unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli (e.g., nerves) within the body itself. It is the “sixth sense” that enables you to move through space with coordination. Spinal proprioception, then, refers to the body’s unconscious sense of the many different parts of the spine, including the movement of these parts as well as their relative positions.
Why Is Spinal Proprioception So Important?
The central nervous system (CNS) holds a postural map (provided by proprioceptive information from the ligaments) that dictates the “normal” position of every joint in the spinal column. A faulty postural map (due to an impaired ligament or ligaments) can cause the CNS to hold a joint in an inappropriate position. One or more malpositioned spinal joints can lead to chronic back or neck pain, further impairment, and the various consequences of bad posture. In these cases, it is necessary to “reset” the ligament’s proprioceptive sense by consciously coordinating a posture, and then challenging your body’s ability to maintain that posture. (Hint: This is where ELDOA comes in!) This type of postural exercise allows the ligament to be re-integrated into the proprioceptive system, thus reorienting the joint’s posture.
Remember: The spine is a highly coordinated and complex system of structural components (bones), tensive components (ligaments, fascia, and the annulus fibrosus), mechanical components (the musculature), and nerves. It contains about 50 articular joints comprising the surface of two bones each. Each individual joint’s position creates a relative influence on the rest, and their global posture is key for the coordination of global movement—as well as the structural and mechanical integrity of the entire nervous, musculoskeletal, and visceral system. In short, spinal proprioception is essential to every aspect of your body’s health and function.
ELDOA exercises were developed to allow conscious control over the entire spine. The series of exercises contain a variety which are able to work on every joint of the spine individually while controlling the position of the rest in unison—thus giving the proprioceptive system the opportunity to integrate lesioned components.
Ready to Reduce Back Pain with Exercise?
If you’re looking to reduce back pain with exercise, join us for ELDOA classes here in St. Louis!
Are you a fitness professional looking to expand your service or simply learn more about this revolutionary form of exercise? Learn about upcoming ELDOA Teacher Certification workshops.