Chronic low back pain is one of the most common causes of job-related disabilities and a major contributor to people missing work. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), about 80 percent of adults will experience low back pain, also known as lumbar pain. Chronic back pain is an epidemic in our society. NINDS recently did a study and found that a quarter of adults reported experiencing low back pain during the past 3 months.
Treatment Options For Chronic Back Pain
Many options are available for treatment: massage, physical therapy, chiropractic care, and, if necessary, surgery. All of these address different aspects as well as pros and cons for how to treat low back pain.
Advanced corrective bodywork can be a powerful tool in treating back pain. In addition, advanced corrective bodywork is especially helpful in relieving chronic low back pain.
What Causes the Chronic Low Back Pain?
What’s important to realize with all forms of musculoskeletal pain is that where it hurts is almost never the problem. And where the problem is almost never hurts until the therapist works on it. What does this mean?
Chronic Low back pain, i.e. lumbar pain, is caused by poor posture with the muscles in the front of our body being short and tight. This overstretches the weaker muscles in the back of the body causing the problem.
Our society today tends to do way too much sitting which shortens our abdominal muscles. Crunches in your workout tend to make them even tighter. This leads to our upper back being overstretched producing upper back and neck pain, which we will discuss in another article in the future. But with low back pain, it’s our deep hip flexors that are the problem.
What Are Psoas And Illiacus Muscles?
These muscles are the psoas (so as) and illiacus. The psoas attaches to your low back vertebrae and the illiacus attaches to the inside of your hip bones. They both then go down and attach to the top of your thigh bone. Their main job is to bring our knees up when walking, running, and sitting down. When we are in a sitting position, they are in a shortened position. Over time they become chronically short due to all our sitting.
What does that have to do with low back pain and lumbar pain? When you stand up with chronically tight hip flexors, they don’t pull your thigh up. The psoas pulls your low back forward and the illiacus tilts the front of your hips down. This effectively gives you the low back of an 8-month pregnant woman. This is the cause of most of the low back or lumbar pain in our society.
When this happens, the low back muscles stop functioning as well as they should. In response, our bodies recruit our gluteal (butt) and hamstring muscles to help hold us up. These are our hip extensor muscles that pull the thighs backward. Unfortunately, they don’t tend to function as well as they should because our hip flexors are too strong. It’s our gluteal muscles that are the major source of low back or lumbar pain. Surprisingly, the low back has very little to do with lumbar pain as far as the muscles go. However, the lumbar vertebrae can have a huge impact on lumbar pain, which is why chiropractic care is often needed for relief in acute low back pain.
3 Components to Treating Low Back Pain
How can we put all this together to treat low back pain, specifically lumbar pain? Phil Gore of Advanced Corrective Bodywork has over 8 years of experience specializing in treating patients back pain. Most massage therapists shy away from this work because it’s challenging, uncomfortable, and quite often, they just don’t know how to do it.
Phil’s plan includes 3 components. First, he will address the tight hip flexors (the cause of the problem) to lengthen and relax them which will take the pressure off the low back. Second, he will address the glutes and hamstrings because these are the muscles that are sending the pain to the low back. Specific work on specific spots on these muscles is needed. General deep tissue just won’t cut it. Third, Phil will discuss stretches and exercises you can do that will help to continue lengthening the short hip flexors and strengthening the weak hip extensors.
If you have low back pain or lumbar pain, stop living in chronic pain and call Advanced Corrective Bodywork or book a massage, to begin making positive changes in your everyday life. Stop the chronic pain!