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Low Back Pain: Back is Not Guilty

September 3, 2023

Low Back Pain: Back is Not Guilty

With mind boggling statistics like 80% of all humans experiencing low back pain during their lifetimes, and the cost of low back injury estimated at $100 Billion each year, it’s no wonder the low back, or lumbar spine, has been the subject of much accusation and maligning and is often referred to as “a bad back”.

Despite those daunting statistics, I would argue that not only is the lumbar spine “not guilty”, but it is, in fact, most often the victim.

The lumbar spine is located at “the crossroads of the body”. It lives where everything happens, but only has a limited amount of movement available to it.  Problems arise when we ask the low back to move past its limits. When we do, the joints compress and decrease the size of the “holes” where each nerve exits the spine. Nerves can get squeezed and back and sciatic pain can be the result.  In addition, the disc in-between the vertebrae can herniate.  Asking the back to move more that it should has bad consequences.

Fortunately, the back has “friends”. The upper spine and the hips have more rotation ability built into them than the back does. So if they are moving properly, they take the pressure off of the low back, and it doesn’t strain or rotate more than it should. However, when the low back is let down by its friends, it tries to help the situation by picking up the “slack”. Unfortunately to do so it must work beyond its capabilities, and that is when problems start.

It would be easy to diagnose and treat, if the hips and upper spine were the only friends capable of letting down the low back. Typically, however, limitation in virtually any other bio-mechanical segment—in any plane of motion—up and down the chain has the potential to feed damaging forces through the low back. That’s why we say the low back is at the “crossroads”.  A good physical therapist who is trained to diagnose and treat problems within the body’s bio-mechanical chain, can treat your deficiencies, heal your low back, and get you moving pain-free again.

Hopefully your lumbar spine is surrounded by good friends who feed it appropriate forces. If not, and you’re calling it “a bad back”… beware! We may team up in a defamation suit!




Hip Flexor StretchHow to do it:

  1. Half-kneeling on a soft surface
  2. Gently move hips forward and back, side to side, and rotate right and left 30 seconds each
  3. Repeat on other side
  4. 2-3 times per day




Thoracic Doorway Stretch

How to do it:

  1. Stand in doorway with leg that that has sciatica behind the other leg (stride position)
  2. Hands grab doorframe on the side opposite of forward leg
  3. Then move the forward leg knee forward and oscillate for 60 seconds






Groin Stretch

How to do it:

  1. Place one foot on chair pointing forward
  2. Other foot is perpendicular on the ground
  3. Hold onto structure
  4. Move hips gently toward chair until groin stretch felt, 60-second hold




Learn more about our next in-person, Free Back Pain & Sciatica Workshop by clicking here: https://www.thesuperiortherapy.com/backpainrelief

Read more on the causes of back pain: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325433


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