5 Reasons Why your lower back hurts
Many people suffer from low back pain, in fact lower back is the most popular request in the massage room. Back pain affects your every movement, even getting into your car can be excruciating.
My husband has suffered from low back pain for the past 6 months. Since then I have a greater understanding of how bad low back pain can get. Watching him struggle from getting off the couch to getting in the car, I know its serious pain.
5 reasons why your lower back hurts:
1. Poor posture
Does this posture look familiar? I bet it does! Sitting at a desk in front of a computer all day every day is the WORST for your back. I know its unavoidable and that most jobs require us to use computers, but there are a few things that can improve your posture.
- stretching every hour in your chair to break your poor posture
- catch yourself in the “afternoon slump” and correct your posture
- adjusting your computer screen height
- make sure that your desk is the right height
- get a desk chair with a supportive back
- stand up more often
2. Repetitive Motions
Similar to prolonged postures, numberous repetitive motions have been shown to be the major factor in disc herniation with full lumbar flexion (rounding of the low back) being the major player.
Back in the 80s and 90s hammering out as many crunches and sit ups was the way to get a six pack. Read sentence again the part where it says “back in the 80s and 90s”. Those days are OVER people! Core exercises do NOT mean crunches and situps anymore.
What are people talking about when they say “core strengthening”? Most people believe that core muscles are just your rectus abdomius and obliques (the muscles that you see on a six pack). However the core is composed of the transverse abdominus, multifidus, and pelvic floor muscles.
Transverse Abdominus acts like a weight belt, wrapping around your spine for protection and stability .
Multifidus is a deep muscle along the back of the spine very close to the midline. This muscle functions together with the transversus abdominis and pelvic floor muscles to stabilize the low back and pelvis before movement of the arms and legs occur.
Pelvic Floor muscles form a broad sling between your legs from the pubic bone in front to the base of your spine at the back. To find your pelvic floor muscles imagine that you are trying to stop yourself from passing wind and trying to stop your flow of urine mid-stream, at the same time.
How to exercise the core. The best way to learn to activate these muscles is to take Pilates. I have taken some private Pilates classes to learn how to properly contract the right muscles. Once you learn how to contract these muscles they will aid in maintaining better posture and give the foundation for more efficient leg and arm movements. Good core stability will allow for more powerful and controled limb movements.
Here is a link to core strengthening
So all those old school repetitive movements that your thought were so good for strengthening the core applied tremendous compressive loading forces on the discs of the spine. Eliminate them until you have figured out how to correctly contract your true core!
3. Muscular Imbalances
With too much sitting we can cause an anterior (forward) tilt of the pelvis. Our muscles then adjust to this new position of the pelvis and our hip flexors and quadriceps get tight and shortened. Then we stand up and our hip flexors are too tight so our low back compensates and causes an excessive arch in our low back.
Other muscles that contribute to low back pain are tight hamstrings and inefficient use of the Gluteus muscles. The problem a lot of people have with their Gluteus muscles is that they can’t get them to work at the right time. And as Torben likes say gluts are mostly ornamental on people and not functional.
4. Ignoring Back Pain
People will live with their back pain for years without doing anything about it. Why why why do so many people ignore low back pain? We are so lucky to have such a huge selection of talented health care practitioners. Get it treated. Do you exercises and be preventative!
Anatomy of low back Pain:
- degenerative disc disease
- herniated disc
- tilted pelvis or pelvis out of alignment
There are many more causes of low back pain. In order to get to the root of your back pain you need to get diagnosed by your osteopath, chiropractor or physiotherapist. Massage therapy can help reduce discomfort in your lower back by releasing muscle tension. However, you need to address why you are getting low back pain.
There is so much more I can talk about with low back pain. Please feel free to comment or ask me a question. I will post more info on exercises that are good for low back pain.