I messed up my back!
Focus on: Low Back Pain
Many of you have complained of low back pain at some point in your life; it hurts to bend over or roll over in bed. Sometimes even standing up straight or lying in bed is painful.
Let's go over some of the low back anatomy; in the image below you will see some pink muscles in your back, buttocks, and a white area of connective tissue (fascia) holding it all together. Generally people with low back pain, complain of discomfort in the area with the white connective tissue.
As with plantar fascitis the fascia can become swollen and painful but often working directly on that tissue is not productive and instead causes more pain.
The large gluteal and thigh muscles are more often to blame for the pain. Tight hamstrings and glutes tug on the lower back fascia and cause pain. Also tight muscles in the upper back and around the spine can contribute to the low back pain.
This condition is often accompanied by weak or inactive abdominal muscles. If you compare the quantity of muscles on your anterior lumbar region to those on the posterior you will find that your abdominal muscles are much stronger than their opposing posterior muscles.
Great, now I know why it hurts, what do I do about it?
- Lay on your back and gently draw your bent knee up to your chest, using your arms to pull it.
- Pull that same knee gently across your body toward the opposite shoulder.
- Gently lower your leg and repeat with the other leg.
- Bring both knees up and gently hug them to your chest. You can rock side to side gently to give a little stretch to the other smaller muscles.
- After stretching, position yourself comfortably on your stomach and place a bag of ice (frozen water not a gel pack) over your low back. Let it sit there for about 15-20 min (no longer).
- Sometimes the tightness in the glutes or hamstrings is caused by a knot which is best resolved by a professional.
How do I prevent it happening again?
- Keep your legs and buttocks muscles loose and healthy.
- Ensure that you have strong abdominal muscles.
- Ensure that you are using your abdominal muscles when you are bending and lifting.
- Try the gut check test: before lifting anything heavy or bending forward, give yourself a quick poke in the belly. You should feel hard resistance.
- Remember strong abdominal muscles don't matter if you don't use them.
- Regular visits to your massage therapist can help to prevent these types of flare ups.
As always, if you ever have questions or concerns about body pain, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I'll do my best recommend solutions.