Reader Carina asked a good question on the post Prevent Back Surgery about how much space there should be in the lower back inward curve. Comments were not accepted by the Blogger software for several weeks, and I could not reply in the comments. Her question is so good, it was chosen for this Fitness Fixer post.

Carina writes:

"Hello Jolie,

"Your information is so wonderful. Thanks for this stuff it's priceless.

I have been using the wall trick during the day when my back hurts (How to Feel Change to Neutral Spine). Wow it feels great. Only thing I can't STAY and walk like this. My knees are STUCK bent (or I go back to the big arch). I'd seriously look very odd walking around with bent knees. So here are my questions

"1) How much of my hand should go through when I am standing against the wall???

When I stand at the wall and do it naturally I can stick my whole arm to my elbow behind the arch.

"2) Besides these links you provided from a previous question

Fast Fitness - Quick Relaxing Hip

and "

(Note - the above link didn't come through in Carina's comment; I don't know which it is.)

"is there anything that helps me walk in neutral spine and not looking silly?

"Thanks for caring about our backs,


Carina, great work. You have found that simply changing spinal angle (wall "trick") to reduce overarching works right away to reduce cause of pain. Next, here is how to retrain neutral spine into a normal natural stance:

1) Don't worry about "How much hand fits." It doesn't indicate amount of overarching. Lower spinal angle is what matters. Body proportions change the distance from wall - independent of spinal angle.

  • If you have too much tilt to the pelvis or you lean the upper body backward, lower spinal angle increases. To reduce an arch that is large, press the lower back closer to the wall.

  • The post Neutral Spine or Not? shows how to tell if your hip (pelvis) is tilted or straight, and/or if overarching (hyperlordosis/swayback) is coming from the upper body (leaning back). The wall maneuver shows you how to reduce the overarch. Don't press flat against the wall or you'll round like a beetle :-)

  • While standing at the wall, see if you can do a small "crunch" movement without rounding your upper body forward, to reduce the overly large arch. Movement is just from the hip and mid-torso. Hopefully, you will feel that you easily move the body without bending your knees. That should produce reduced lower back arch. Send some photos if you like and I will take a look.

2) Next, you need to make it possible and comfortable:

  • Check if you are tightening muscles. Don't tighten or clench backside or abdominal muscles. Tightening makes it harder to move to neutral - Using Abdominal Muscles is Not Tightening or Pressing Navel to Spine.

  • See the post for stretches to restore length to the areas needed - Which Stretch Stops Back Pain by Making Neutral Spine Possible?

  • Check how you are standing. Don't try to touch the back of the legs to the wall. Just heels, backside, upper back, back of head.

  • Thank you for already checking the other links and finding the relaxing-hip-stretch. I couldn't tell which other stretch you wrote, but most stretches that lengthen a tight front hip can help. One that is functional for daily bending that you need to do anyway is Hip Stretch While You Strengthen Legs.