I frequently see people who are suffering from lower back pain. It’s a common injury that most people suffer from at some point. Sometimes it’s the first time they have had this kind of pain, but often I see people who ‘throw their back out’ several times a year.
Unfortunately, as a society, pain in the lower back is become more and more common because of the way we live. But what most people don’t understand is that pain in the lower back is not usually attributable to weak back muscles. People will often try to strengthen their muscles to prevent back injury. Although it helps to have strong back muscles, it probably won’t fix your back pain.
In order to understand lower back pain, it’s important to understand how the lower back should function. The lower back is not meant to move a whole lot, but is meant to be stable. It’s supposed to be a primary stabilizer. It’s our hips and mid-back that should be the primary movers in order to function properly. However, because we sit at desks, sit in cars and sit on couches for most of the day, it makes the lower back a primary mover. Those positions force our lower back to move and work a lot more than it’s designed to, fatiguing and straining them.
The real source of lower back pain is weak muscles in the hip, pelvis or hip flexors. Because these muscles are not being used the way they were meant to, they become weak and even damaged. This puts extra stress on the lower back, causing it to be overworked, which is when the back usually becomes injured.
A common example of lower back pain often starts with the glute muscles. They are attached to the hip and pelvis. When they get weak or build up with scar tissue, the range of motion of the hips begins to decrease. Once this happens, the back has to take over, which results in the spine doing more work than it’s supposed to.
This also explains why it’s usually not a significant activity that initiates the back pain. It’s usually caused by something as simple as bending over to pick up an object. It wasn’t that specific motion that caused the pain, it was months or years of your lower back being overworked that caused it.
When I treat patients with lower back pain, the key is getting everything around the lower back strong and healthy. Essentially, this will allow the lower back to take a break. Once it doesn’t have to work so hard, it is able to heal and begin functioning properly again.
When I first see someone with lower back pain, many times I am able to make a significant difference in his or her pain in the first treatment. I take the approach of treating the areas first, then retraining the body to use the hips as the primary movers which reduces stress to the low back. This will prevent it from happening again.
If you have lower back pain and would like a free consultation, please give us a call at 949-916-9742.