HEALTH Strength and Conditioning — 21 January 2014
How to Help with Lower Back Pain

There are many things that can cause back pain.  From doing your daily job, if it happens to be labor intensive may put strain on your back, or wrenching it the right way can throw it out.  Back pain is major issue for a lot of people.  You can get upper back pain, mid back pain and lower back pain, which is more common than not.

A lot of us continue to do what we do even when we are in pain.  This is problem #1.  We think “oh its just a little pain, it will go away eventually.”  And this might be so, but what if working through the pain is actually causing more damage.  When you “throw your back out”, which many of us have done, there was some movement that cause the tipping point for your back, and caused damage to occur.  When this happens, your back “locks up” so no more damage will occur.  It tightens up the muscles.  Stretching out a tight muscle feels good, but depending on how you are stretching it can cause more damage.  Think about when you get a cut.  The skin needs to fuse back together to heal itself.  If you’re constantly moving the area where you got cut – it is going to take longer and longer to heal because it does not have time to rest and heal properly.  Same concept with your back; it’s “cut” so to speak and needs time to heal correctly.  Your back is tightening up for a reason – to help itself heal.

Little known fact – your lumbar spine is built for STABILITY not mobility.


To help prevent lower back pain, you want to be mobile below (hips) and above (thoracic spine).

Another thing that can cause more damage than being helpful is pain meds, anti inflammatory, and muscle relaxants.  This can make you think you are no longer in pain – and then you can do the things that were originally causing you pain.  Your back needs time to heal – be careful when taking these kinds of medications.

Moving incorrectly during your daily life can also cause lower back pain.  Now a day’s most of us spend our days sitting in a desk.  Today’s society has made life pretty easy for us.  The terms “use it or lose it comes to mind.”  To help reduce lower back pain you need to get back your full range of motion (ROM).  You can do this by addressing the factors that are limiting your mobility in the first place and then practicing and repeating good movements.  Doing this will help you do this automatically and help you regain your mobility.

Your posture also has a lot to do with back pain.  Today many of us a hunched forward when we are sitting at our desks, driving our cars, or watching tv.  When your hunched forward like that, you are out of alignment.  Think about when you have new tires put on your car.  You have them aligned so they do not wear unevenly.  If you back is out of alignment, you can cause problems there.  To help with the muscle imbalance and posture you can start by stretching your glutes, hamstrings and abdominals.  This will help strengthen your hip flexors and lower back muscles helping with your posture.

Check out this great article on relieving back pain at CageFitness.com.

Having poor Deep Core Stabalizer Muscles (the ones that draw in your belly), also contribute to back pain issues.  Also known as the Transverse Abdominis or TVA, these muscles also help stabilize your spine.  These muscles act as a girdle.  When you see people working out at the gym, what are they wearing to save their back? A Back belt – you have muscles to do this for you but it does not function properly for many people.  Performing advanced core exercises can be damaging to the spine if the TVA muscles are not working properly.  Working on this muscle will help with you back pain issues.backpain

The Multifidus muscle is the deepest core stabilizer muscle.  It is responsible for segmental stability.  It spans between 2-4 vertebrae at a time, helping keep them in line with the vertebrae above and below them.  It makes sure that they are sitting in the right place.  When this muscle contracts it locks the spine together to prevent damage.  This muscle also contracts to help stabilize the spine before movement occurs.  In people with lower back pain, the contraction is delayed or doesn’t happen at all.  There are particular exercises you can do that will help strengthen this area.  You have to have a good foundation with your deep core stabilizer muscles and multifidus muscles before building a strong stable core.

Having a strong core is vital to preventing lower back pain.  Your core is essentially your “center of power” (Bruce Lee).  The core is used in a variety of sports; golf, MMA, hockey, running etc.  Anything you do requires some core muscle strength.  Your cores ability to resist movement and transfer power is what produces those amazing movements.  If your core is not powerful, it will hinder the power behind a punch, a golf swing etc.  The stronger your core, the less likely you are to get injured.

Lower back pain, as you can see comes from a variety of different things. 

To help prevent this don’t do anything that will cause more damage than harm, Learn proper movement patterns, address posture issues, work on your core!  Doing even some of things will help lesson your lower back pain, or even eliminate it over time.

Dan Faggella

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