If you have lower back pain then you’d be forgiven for blaming (as it were) your back and spine; after all, that’s the bit that hurts…
However, it could be excessively tight glute muscles – the ones in your hips and buttocks – that are causing the problem by affecting your pelvis and your posture.
Your pelvis should be in a balanced, neutral position, but if it’s tilted too far back, you’ll have an excessively flat, straight back. If it’s too far forward, you’ll have an excessively curved back (sometimes known as swayback). Both of these postures can put excessive strain on the muscles, tendons and bones in your lower back.
A fine balance
Your skeleton and your muscles are a system of pulleys and levers, always in a state of tension with each other. Ideally, everything’s balanced and equal, but if there’s any sort of imbalance (such as one caused by one set of muscles being too tight), then this puts stress on the other parts of the body.
If a muscle is contracted for too long, it becomes tight. Sitting for too long contracts and tightens the hip flexors and weakens the glutes. Depending on your exact posture, excessive sitting can also tighten the glutes, as can overexertion without stretching afterwards.
Your lower back
Another problem is caused by tight hip flexors and too tight glutes, which is that they can end up taking on some of the work your abdominal and spinal muscles – your core muscles – should be doing. Once this core weakens as a result, then you’ll experience aching and pain; your lumbar muscles and connective tissue will also be more prone to injury because they’re not being “held together” strongly enough.
What can you do?
The solution’s pretty simple. You can start stretching exercises, have massages and do some resistance training. Stretching loosens tight muscles, as does a firm sports massage (you need a proper pummelling…). Resistance training makes the muscles stronger and stretching and massage makes them longer
If you’re deskbound, then starting an exercise and massage routine will help you to prevent lower back pain. If you’re already suffering, then make sure you see your doctor before you start, just in case your aches are caused by something else.
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