3 Muscle Areas That Could Actually Be The Culprit Of Low Back Pain


If you've been experiencing low back pain but have no history of serious issues (e.g. sciatica), you may be perplexed. You may be surprised to learn that your pain could actually stem from other muscle issues. If certain muscles are too weak or too tight, they could actually exacerbate a sore back. Take a look at three muscle areas that could actually be the culprit of your back pain, and learn how to strengthen and stretch them out.

1. Weak Abdominal Muscles 

Why Does This Make My Back Sore?

Since your ab muscles are situated directly in front of your spine, they actually act as an anchor to support the spine. If you have weak abs, then your spine will become extremely sore because it will have to compensate for the lack of support. 

What Can I Do to Relieve My Back Pain?

If you are feeling up to it, practices such as Pilates and yoga are great since every pose engages the core. Plus, both focus on proper breathing patterns that encourage your abs to protect your spine. While certain exercises target the abs, virtually every sport will engage your abs in some way. When you are feeling better, you can up your exercise regimen to avoid future back pain.

If your back pain makes it too difficult to exercise, you can strengthen your abs with proper posture and spinal awareness. When you are walking, standing, or sitting, focus on keeping a neutral spine. A neutral spine simply means keeping your back aligned so that it keeps its three natural curves. You don't want to hunch over, and conversely, you don't want to let your pelvis tilt out so much that your back is concave. A good way to keep a neutral spine is to flex your abs. This can be difficult to do at first because many people just suck in their stomach in an attempt to engage those ab muscles. But you should actually breathe out and then clench your abs. Use your hand to feel your abs--they should feel stiff. Now, practice breathing normally while keeping those abs stiff. It certainly takes some practice, but if you can keep your abs engaged in your everyday activities, your low back pain may lessen.

2. Tight Hamstrings

Why Does This Make My Back Sore?

If your hamstrings are too tight, they will tilt your pelvis too far backward. A tilted pelvis throws your neutral spine out of balance and causes low back pain. Hamstrings can become tight if you're too sedentary, if you exercised too much and didn't stretch, or if you have a genetic predisposition.

What Can I Do to Relieve My Back Pain?

Again, exercises like yoga and Pilates are great remedies. Yoga is a fantastic way to target the hamstrings because poses like downward dog and forward fold really force your hamstrings to loosen up. If you are in too much pain to exercise at the moment, try sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in a pike position; let your arms reach out, and let your torso fold over your legs. You don't have to force the stretch by grabbing your ankles since gravity will help you out. 

Another way to relax those hamstrings is to apply a heating pad to warm them up. Once your legs are sufficiently warm, extend one leg while sitting, and put a ball underneath the hamstring of the extended leg (a lacrosse ball or tennis ball works really well). Use your arms and bent leg to move yourself forward and backward on the floor. The ball will massage your hamstring and hopefully loosen it up.

3. Tight Hip Flexors

Why Does This Make My Back Sore?

The hip flexors are actually a collection of many muscles that run up your leg, connect to your hip, and allow you to contract your thighs upward. Like tight hamstrings, the hip flexors can mess up your pelvis's tilt. Instead of pulling it too far backward, however, tight hip flexors pull the pelvis too far forward. And again, this misalignment can cause some low back pain.

What Can I Do to Relieve My Back Pain?

One of the best poses for tight hip flexors is pigeon pose. You should also work on strengthening the hip flexor's opposing muscles. In this case, that would be your glutes. If you make your glutes stronger, they'll counteract the pull of the hip flexors.

While it may be tempting to sit in bed when your back aches, strengthening and stretching these muscles is a good way to relieve that ache. WebMd even says that you should keep doing light activity to relieve some of the pain. However, you know your body best. If the pain is severe enough to warrant bed rest or you feel like you've pinched a nerve, you should see professional chiropractor as soon as you can. He or she will find the root issue of your pain, make an adjustment, and recommend a good strengthening/stretching regimen.

Talk to people at places like North Star Chiropractic Center for more information.


29 January 2015

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