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Lower Back Pain

When it comes to lower back pain there’s a trap for young players and it is that with lower back pain you’ve got to keep in mind that the cause of the pain is probably not at the site of the pain.

Most people just want to stretch and heat up the spot where it hurts. If they can get someone else to rub it, then so much the better.

Most likely your doctor will only recommend one stretch; lie on your bed and bring your knees up to your chest. This is a useful exercise and may bring some pain relief, but it doesn’t do much for the muscles that are contributing more to your back pain than tight back muscles.

A lot of therapists will give out exercises to stretch back muscles – like doing the cat and dog exercise. These are useful exercises but still don’t get to the cause of the problem. The therapist will also want to give you the heat treatment and a rub down but doing that at the spot where it hurts doesn’t get to the cause of the problem either. You just come away with a warm feeling under your singlet.

If you’ve got lower back pain you’ve got to start doing back pain stretches that loosen off your hamstring and buttock muscles. When these muscles get tight they tilt the pelvis back, turning the natural ‘S’ shaped curve of the spine into a C’ shape. You sit at your desk in the slump dog position. You can’t sit up straight when sitting on the floor.

Coupled with that it’s frequently the case that muscles on one side are tighter than those on the other side, so the pelvis rotates as well.

The effect of this misalignment of the pelvis is to take the bones of the spinal column out of alignment too. When this happens, muscles, tendons and ligaments in your back are stretched beyond their pain threshold.

The vertebrae start to rub on each other producing bone inflammation – arthritis. The nucleus of the disc gets squeezed out. It may even herniate. If that happens, every time you sneeze and cough it feels someone is ramming a red hot poker into your back.

The X-ray will tell you what’s happened, but it won’t tell you what’s caused what’s happened. You can draw cold comfort from the recommendations of the experts. They think back pain happens out of the blue, or by lifting the shopping onto the back seat of your car.

At work they’ll say the chair did it.

What you’ve got is a personally-generated, lifestyle related musculo-skeletal dysfunction caused by weak and tight muscles. You don’t get that from the chair or the groceries.

You need both a general and a specific strength and flexibility training program.

As far as back pain stretches go you’ve got to loosen off hamstring and buttock muscles, in fact all the muscles that tilt and rotate your pelvis. Square up your pelvis and the bones above it will start to go back into alignment. The pain will go away.

There are three key lower back stretches that I recommend. If you click on the Lower Back Stretches tag at the Global Back Care website you can get the free eBook in which these exercises are outlined. Of course there are a lot more than three that I’d advise you to do, but these are must-do exercises.

Start doing them while watching TV. You could get some relief in a few days. Based on my experience there’s a good chance that if you have a systematic lower back stretching program you could be feeling one heck of a lot better within 6 – 8 weeks.

But it all stands to reason. Treat the cause of the problem and the pain will take care of itself.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and remember, it’s a big ask expecting to get better by having someone do something to you; sooner or later you have to do something to yourself.

John Miller