Ann Allan: Why Cavemen Didn’t Have Sore Backs


I have a feeling that stone age man didn’t suffer from back pain. Why would I think that? Well there were, I think, many advantages to life in a cave. Lets face it compared to what modern man has to put up with, life must have been a doddle. My reasons are:

1. The absence of social media meant that there was no sitting hunched up over a computer,  iPad or iPhone waiting for a new follower or for someone to retweet or favourite your tweet. You just stood outside your cave and surveyed the land. A few ‘ugs’ to a passer-by and all was well. No backache involved.IMG_2394 2

2. There were no supermarkets. The pain that has to be endured to carry fully laden bags of food that will be out of date before you can eat them is excruciating. Even worse if you can’t get your car parked on the pavement in front of the main door. The pain as the plastic bag wraps its way round your fingers, cutting off the blood supply. In the Stone Age all you had to do was wander out with your bow and arrow, shoot a  mammoth, drag it back to your cave, dissect it and salt the parts to see you through the winter.

3. Think about those ‘soft, mould to your body ‘ mattresses. You sink in and your body becomes really relaxed.  Result: you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. Stone Age man plonks himself down on a mammoth skin on the floor. Next morning can’t wait to get up and out in search of something to do.

4. High heels. Have you seem the heels some of us have to walk on? They look as if they wouldn’t support a fly but still we balance precariously, risking the damage we are doing to our backs. All in the name of fashion. We are martyrs to the discomfort. Our cave dwelling cousins wrapped their feet in a piece of leather or went barefoot as nature intended. As my old granny used to say if we were meant to wear shoes we’d be born wearing Jimmy Choos.

5. There were no Stone Age pubs. No lifting heavy pint glasses to down a pint of Guinness or beer. Puts a strain on the back all that heavy lifting.
6. Almost every house has a comfortable couch, usually positioned in front of a TV. Couch potatoes are those that slouch in chairs not moving for long periods. Bad posture causes bad backs. Cave dweller on the other hand soon got fed up looking at the cave walls and went for a walk.
7. Carry outs and fast food outlets can cause back pain. The extra weight attributed to eating fast foods puts pressure on the spine. I imagine the diet of our Stone Age ancestors, mostly berries and an occasional piece of meat, kept then thin and fit.

8. Have a cold, pop a pill. Have a headache, pop a pill. Thankfully  we don’t need to suffer, but medication, especially steroids can weaken bones resulting in, you guessed it, sore backs. Mrs Caveman had a good excuse when she said she had a headache, she really did.
So there it is. My belief is that  ancient man may have been better off in some ways but I think I’d rather put up with my sore back than go back to living in a cave.

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