Lower Back Pain Sufferers Need This
You wakeup every morning and rub your eyes as you lie lazily in bed. The alarm chirps at you once more and you slowly swing your legs out of bed. You reach up and stretch while your back screams in agony at the sudden movement. You try and stand up and your back goes full DEFCON 1, slamming you back down into your bed in pain. Sound familiar?
Chronic low back pain plagues millions and millions of people every year. In fact it’s a good possibility that many of you’ have experienced some sort of low back malady fairly recently in the last year or so. Am I right?
Of course, I am but what can you do about it is the real question.
What Causes Low Back Pain
Low back pain is a very common and familiar sort of pain; however, it is one of the most mystifying problems to plague our existence. The truth is most doctors fail to pinpoint exactly why or how most people get low back pain. Although the biggest culprit that bears it’s ugly head time and time again is muscular weakness and lack of endurance.
The lower back is comprised of many different muscle groups that are layered and overlapped to high heaven. You have the deep layers of muscles surrounding the spiny protrusions along your spine called the interspinales and the intertransversarii, which serve to provide very localized support. You have the multidifidus which acts to extend, flex and rotate the back in small movements, and then you have the large strips of spinal erectors which serve as a prime mover and support structure for the entire lower back, kind of like the big cables supporting a suspension bridge.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of muscles within the back. So you have a lot of different problems that can occur when one of these muscles is weaker than the rest or lacks the appropriate muscle tone to provide support and control for the spine. Not to mention the problems that can occur if the other side of the body, with the abdominals, obliques and pelvic floor isn’t operating properly to help support the anterior side of the body. Muscle weakness in any of these areas will increase the likelihood of pain in the lower back.
The next primary concern for those of you dealing with low back pain is the mobility of the hips, knees and ankles. About 90% of the clientele that most coaches see nowadays are suffering from a lack of proper mobility in these areas. They can’t perform a lunge proficiently; they can’t reach down to tie their shoes without stooping severely at the lumbar spine and ask them to squat down into an ass-to-the-grass squat, yeah not happening. Heaven help them should they get stranded out in the woods and have to perform their royal duties outside.
Without enough mobility in these key areas causes are lower back to have to work harder at its job –to support the load of the body, which is a constant chore. Even when you’re lying on your back your lower back musculature is turned on to a certain degree, especially if you’re tight in all the wrong places. The lower back muscles rarely get much of a break.
Combine weakness with poor mobility and badaboombadabing you’ve got back pain. Don’t deal with these two issues and you’ve got chronic back pain.
Learning the Hard Way
Now some of us, including myself have to learn things the hard way, as you can see from the x-rays on the right. This is a picture of my lower back, where I sustained an injury while in the military. The injury was caused during physical training; however, the majority of the damage can be attributed to that little bit of sedentary activity that now plagues the majority of the world. As an officer stuck in the operations cell, sitting at a computer screen for hours and hours on end was about as much movement as a young officer can get (you’ve been warned if you are thinking of signing up for the glory and cool toys you’ll play with as an officer –doesn’t happen, you’re admin buddy). At any rate, all that sitting caused my mobility to suffer and despite all the hard bouts of training that I did on a daily basis it still wasn’t enough to counteract the prolonged hours and hours of sitting.
Not to mention the fact that my focus was on strength and building muscle and not so much on maintaining freedom of maneuver. Turns out the latter would have been more appropriate and saved me years of problems in the future.
To help save your low back from injury or rehabilitate a bad bout of back pain, use these three things to help solve your ailments and keep low back pain at bay.
-Get your back strong with some big, heavy lifts –but do them right! Deadlifts people, deadlifts.
-Don’t skimp out on the smaller exercises like back extensions, planks and anti-rotational exercises. Use these to develop endurance and help support the smaller structures of the back.
-Mobility, mobility, mobility – said three times, because it’s three times more important than you realize. The only way you’ll finally realize it is when you don’t have enough of it. Add these into your program immediately to help develop the ability to move through full range of motions. If you’re tight in certain areas of the body, obviously you have something to work on.
Recognize that low back pain occurs in each and every one of us at one time or another. For some it’s a rare occurrence, but for some others like myself it’s a daily battle. Some days it’s fine, other days it’s a battle just to walk around. But for those who train and do something about their problems there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Low back pain can be debilitating, but if you’re actively focusing on improving your lower back strength, endurance and mobility you’re bound to have more good days than bad.
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