Few of us are likely to travel to space anytime soon, but many probably will deal with back and neck pain at some point in their lives. That gives them something in common with astronauts, according to a recent piece in Spine journal. An abstract stated that the study involved imaging six different NASA astronauts before and after a flight,
Among other things, the report looked at height changes in the subjects' intervertebral discs, perhaps connected to their time spent in space. Within a year of their missions in space, the source said, these NASA crew are subject to their highest risk of disc hernias. This group is also more than four times more likely to develop one of these than "the general and military aviator populations."
Speaking to CNN, the study's lead author Dr. Douglas Chang acknowledged stronger core-focused exercises as a possible remedy to this health concern. However, astronauts have some obvious challenges when it comes to these usually simple exercises that don't occur as often on Earth.
"A lot of yoga depends on the effects of gravity, like downward dog, where a stretch through the hamstring, calf muscles, back of the neck and shoulders are possible because of gravity," Chang said. "When you remove that, you may not have the same benefit."
You may not face the same stress as a NASA scientist, but you can still subject your lower back to dangerous strain. Even if you spend all of your time on the ground, it can be a good idea to research exercises and other ways to mitigate pain in everyday life for less pain. Consult with a chiropractor to figure out what the best treatment is for your specific problems.