Low back pain in Western society is very common. Studies suggest up to 90% of Americans will have an attack of back pain and 26.4% have had back pain in the past 3 months. Koreans have a lifetime chance of around 60% and 15% chance of having back pain in the past year. Why the difference? Squatting may be one of the most important things for your back pain and your health, and American toilets don’t let us do it.
Western toilets became common the late 19th century. Prior to that, most people would squat to eliminate, over time sitting became a sign of being “civilized”. With that change came a decrease in communicable disease like cholera but also brought new diseases like appendicitis, hemorrhoids, and back pain.
One of the best treatments for preventing back pain is proper exercise. Exercise should focus on flexibility and strength training. A full squat requires full hip flexibility and great hip, pelvic, and core strength to perform properly. Asian or squat toilets require the user to perform a full squat to eliminate. Now, if the average person uses the bathroom 4-7 times a day, that is an opportunity to do a great exercise for your back and health 4-7 times a day. Further benefits may include decreased constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, appendicitis, and possibly colon cancer.
You can take advantage of a squatting toilet without spending $1000 to install one in your house. I recommend two products: Squatty Potty for a beginner and a Squat Platform for an advanced full squatter.
Valley Sports & Spine Clinic
Giving you Back your Life
Dr. Ethan Colliver