Around 25% of Australian’s suffer from back pain on any day with up to 80% experiencing back pain each year.
There are four areas that can get sore in your back: joints, discs or nerve roots (the main structural areas) or the muscles. Tight /shortened muscles in the hips ( glutes, hip flexors or quadriceps) or lower limb (hamstrings) may place extra pressure on your back. And weak glutes may be the root cause to your back issues.
OUR GLUTES help us to keep our pelvis stable when standing or walking. Each time we take a step it prevents our hip from dropping looking like we have a limp and swaying from side to side.
Often this occurs due to atrophy and weakness of this muscle. The load becomes too much for the rest of to handle and it tightens up to try and protect itself and other muscles COMPENSATE to manage the load.
The hamstrings are forever pulling down on the bottom of our hips (ischial tuberosity or bottom bone) to try and prevent your bottom from being so tight. Your lower back (lumbar spine) then tries to avoid to much pelvic tilt from it being pulled down that it tightens up to try and battle with your glutes and hamstrings pulling it down.
Eventually the muscles fatigue and send a response to the brain saying there is a “TUG OF WAR” happening around the top of your pelvis to keep it stable and all the muscles are working too hard resulting in you feeling PAIN.
Some easy assessments to see if you back has great mobility/flexibility is to try the following activities:
- Can you independently move your THORACIC spine (upper back) from your LUMBAR spine?
- Can you touch your toes WITHOUT bending your knees OR moving your back?
- Can you independently squeeze your left bottom cheek from your right bottom cheek?
- Can you do a straight leg raise past 70 degrees
Quick exercises to see if you need to focus on strength / stability
- Monster walks
- Banded crab walks
- Side plank + clams
Try these out and if you’re still having trouble after using the above exercise to focus both on strength and flexibility maybe you need a more refined assessment to see if you have lower cross body syndrome or whether some of those other structures in your back (joints/disc/nerves) are causing your pain.
Upper Ferntree Gully
We are physiotherapists located in Kilsyth and Knoxfield – helping you be better by restoring, improving & enhancing your optimal movement!