Oh, My Aching Back!

Posted: June 4, 2008 in Sports Medicine
Tags: , , ,

Many people are plagued by low back pain (LBP). It ranges from severe pain and disability to general achiness and stiffness. Many (not all) of today’s problems can be linked to one simple fact—we sit too much! In fact, technology has created a society that you don’t even have to move to be part of. This leads to muscle and joint stiffness, decreased flexibility, poor posture and deconditioning. In particular the hip flexors, hamstrings, calves and chest get tight while the upper and lower back get rounded. This creates muscle imbalances and causes specific muscles to be “turned off” via reciprocal inhibition. Then, when and if we decide to do something, ouch! Pain develops. Sometimes the pain can be linked to a specific incident, but many times it gradually occurs with no seemingly apparent reason. The latter is where the compensatory effects of posture and deconditioning (becoming more cmmon in todays society) come into play. For example, when you sit a lot the hip flexors are in a shortened position and over time will get tight. Upon standing the hip extends. If the hip flexor is tight the hip won’t be able to extend through its full range and can place more stress on the lumbar spine as it tries to extend more to make up for the lack of motion its supposed to get in the hip. This not only occurs with standing but with every step you take. Over time this can increase the wear and tear on the spine and be setting you up for back pain, in addition to a number of other problems. There is good news. Many of the problems associated with LBP can be significantly reduced and prevented with the help of a knowledgeable professional. Understanding “functional” anatomy and biomechanics allows the professional to evaluate, identify altered movement patterns, weakness and inflexibity in order to develop a custom program that will get you moving in the right direction.  Personally, one of my favorite books on low back is Stuart McGills Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance.

Get Strong!Stay Strong!







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