The lower back is one part of the body that especially susceptible to pain. The pain can be acute and present itself in the form of a herniated disc, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, or fractures of the vertebrae. These are serious medical conditions and can impact your quality of life.
However, a majority of chronic lower back issues do not stem from these horrible conditions, rather from tight or weak muscles that are tied to the lower back. By identifying the cause of your discomfort, and working with me, a personal trainer in Glasgow, i can help stop pain in its tracks.
When thinking about the low back you probably zoom into the location distress. However, the back is complicated, and it is likely the cause of your pain did not begin there. Below are the most common reasons for chronic low back discomfort and strategies to relieve the pain.
Some of your body’s strongest muscles run through your hips connecting your femur (upper leg) to your lower spine. These muscles are activated a large portion of the day when walking, sitting up, or exercising. When they aren’t being used they are in a flexed position as you sit in the car or at your computer. This is a double whammy for the muscle, and without proper care, can lead to very tight hip flexors. Tight hip flexors cause your pelvis to take on a forward tilt creating a slight arch in your lower back. Walking around with this arch – or lordosis in the spine as its clincally named – creates extra pressure on your low back leading to pain.
Stretch! Working with your personal trainer or myself to properly stretch these muscles can release your current pain and prevent future tightness and pain. One of the best stretches for this muscle is the Psoas Stretch, along with foam rolling and trigger point release.
Tight gluteus and piriformis : (bum muscles)
Everyone wants to look good from behind with tight glutes and hips. But what we are talking about here is much different and could be the source of your low back pain. Your glutes and pirifomis (the muscle found underneath the glutes, closest to the pelvis) work to give you that “push” you need when running, walking, squatting, etc.
If these muscles become tight or fatigued you are creating a tilt in your pelvis. Regardless if the tilt is forward or backward there is excess stress on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the low back leading to pain and often a cause in siatic nerve pain.
Stretch and strengthen! Work with your personal trainer to create a balanced routine that strengthens your glutes and piriformis through exercises such as bridge raises or lateral leg movements. Balance the strength with stretched such as a pigeon pose or even using a tennis ball to massage the impacted muscles. Not sure how? drop me an email.
Weak Core :
The opposing muscles to your low back are your abdominals. These muscles are vital to the strength and comfort of your entire core, which includes your low back. When these muscles are compromised they lack the ability to hold things in place, namely the pelvis in a neutral position. As you have learned above this is the root cause of most low back pain. Typically when the abdominals are weak the pelvis tips forward leading to pain in your back.
Strengthen! It is important to incorporate a variety of abdominal exercises to strengthen the core without just tightening the hip flexor muscles discusses previously (leg raises and situps anyone??). Brodie, one of Glasgow’s best personal trainers will be able to guide you safely through these exercises. One of the more effective core strengthening exercises is the plank; however, be mindful of your alignment, keeping your back straight and abs pulled in or your may cause more stress on your low back.