A Guide to Help Treat Lower Back Pain
Most people at some stage in their life will suffer with lower back pain. The lumbar spine is the most moveable area of the back, and is therefore the most prone to injury. When the discs become irritated, this can cause an intense sharp pain or a continuous dull aching sensation. Sometimes the pain will ease on its own, however when it doesn’t there are many effective ways to improve and reduce symptoms.
When we feel tension or pain, it’s often a cause of the soft tissues in our body. Daily activities, such as sitting at a desk for prolonged periods, causes us to lean into a “foetal” position. This causes the muscles on the front of the body to develop tension, causing a curved back, bowed head and rounding of the shoulders. This posture can cause tension in the surrounding muscles, such as the hip flexors and chest, and may cause weakness in the supporting hip muscles, such as the glutes (buttocks) and core. Eventually this will lead to poor posture and back pain.
Lower back pain is the most common reason why people visit me for sports massage and it is the most common musculoskeletal reason for hospital visits
Let’s take a look at the main culprits. When the hip flexors are tight they pull the torso forwards, especially when sitting or doing exercises like squats with poor form. This movement is called hip flexion. In order for this movement to occur the hip extensors, primarily the gluteal muscles, must relax. Prolonged sitting may cause the glutes to be in a state of relaxation for long periods, eventually leading to weakness. This will place a lot of stress on the lower back, specifically in the lumbar region, because there is no support from these huge and powerful postural muscles. The hamstrings also contribute. Short and tight hamstrings may cause a posterior tilt in the pelvis, leading to stress in the lower back, as well as postural misalignment.
There are a few ways to prevent this. Standing or going for a short walk regularly (every 20-30 minutes) when working at a desk all day may help. Stretching and opening up the chest and hip flexors (Yin yoga is great for this) and strengthening the glutes, core and back muscles may also help. This, combined with regular sports massage and yoga will improve muscle imbalances and postural abnormalities.
If you suffer with back pain get in contact with me. I can provide a course of sports therapy treatments as well as rehabilitation exercises that will help improve your posture and reduce back stiffness and pain.
Check out my hip and core home workout video to help strengthen postural muscles and reduce back pain (you’ll need resistance bands).