Back Pain and Tight Muscles
This is definitely not a diagnosis; however, lower back pain can be caused by tight muscle in the legs, hips or abdominals. I have many new clients that come to me with one of their goals being to eliminate lower back pain. If this pain is not caused by soft tissue, nerve or spinal damage (which is out of my range to treat), the first thing I look for is tightness. Many times this is the problem. After a specific and persistent stretching routine, their back pain is slowly eliminated. Besides the upper leg muscles, abdominals, and muscles in the hips attaching to the pelvis, so do all the lower back muscles. If the any of the upper leg, abdominal or hip muscles are tight, that causes constant tugging on the pelvis. If the pelvis is being tugged on, then so are all the lower back muscles which are attached to it. This tugging on the pelvis is called a pelvic tilt. If the pelvis is tilted either way of the neutral position, this can cause extreme stress on your lower back. The purpose of stretching your legs, hips, and abdominals is to release the tight muscles and get your pelvis into a neutral position at all times. What are some things that can cause tight muscles? The first and most common thing is sitting down for long periods of time. Sitting causes the abs and hip flexors to be in a shortened position. The shortening causes an anterior pelvic tilt (the pelvis tilts forward). This puts your lower back muscles into a compressed state when standing. If you have a sit-down job, stretching the hip flexors and working on strengthening the abdominals will help to release your pelvis. Running is also a common reason for back pain. Now, I am not saying you shouldn’t run (it is a great cardio workout and stress reliever), however, what you do before and after your run can help to relieve back pain. Besides impact on the spine, running will cause a lot of your leg and hip muscles to tighten up. If you are a runner, be sure to do a good warm up of active stretching (see warming up post) and an immediate post run stretch and another one before bed. It is a good idea to stretch the morning after a run as well. I will post another article about specific stretches to do to release your pelvis and help eliminate back pain. If you have any specific questions, you can email me.