Today I am going to talk about some important information regarding lower back pain. If you or anyone you know struggles with this, please read and share. :)
I can remember, back in early high school, when my back really started to become a problem for me. At first, we thought it was related to my menstrual cycle, however we then realized even when not menstruating, I felt the pain.
After going to the doctor, he said something along the lines of me having very slight scoliosis and also lordosis. I will explain these in an infographic below.
So, as we can see, this photo is a bit exaggerated of what most of us suffer from. Usually, I do not agree with using the word suffer but lower back pain can take over your life at some points. I remember not being able to sit at school for the full 6-8 hours because of the pain.
The main issue with this lower back pain is when it's time to fall asleep. Tossing and turning repeatedly makes it difficult for myself or anyone I am sleeping with to actually fall into a slumber.
After that doctor's visit, I was referred to a registered massage therapist in Fruitvale. Her techniques were very strong and healing. After about 2-3 years of massages (not continually), her and I both could not figure out why this pain was still occurring. One tip she gave me that really made a difference as to sleep with a large pillow, rolled up towel or blanket in between my legs. So now, I have a large body pillow on both sides of me when I am sleeping. This really takes the pressure off of my lower back but did not completely take the pain away.
I then enrolled into a Strength and Conditioning class at Okanagan College for my Human Kinetics Diploma to learn about the spine in various ways. This is where I really started to notice a difference in making my back feel better.
My professor's description was perfect. Think of your pelvis as a bowl, otherwise known as your pelvic bowl. Now, this bowl is full of water, if it is unbalanced either forward or back, the water will spill. So the aim is to keep your bowl balanced.
Now with having Lordosis, this meant my bowl as continually tipping forward, towards my feet. I would visualize the bowl, tuck my hips under and learned that this was the best posture for my body to hold.
Posture plays a significant role in any back pain. Remember being a kid when your mother would say, "Sit up straight!", well she was right. We need to fix our posture. In more scientific terms, we can refer to this pelvic bowl as anterior and posterior pelvic tilts.
We as humans, have evolved to have a neutral pelvis but through many conditions we develop an anterior or posterior tilt. Relating back to the bowl, a neutral pelvis is a balanced pelvic bowl. Try this at home. Imagine tilting your bowl, or your pelvis forward, backward and then find neutral. It may feel weird at first if your back isn't used to this position but it makes a HUGE difference.
Once discovering this, I finally found proper posture and was working out the most I ever have so focusing on strengthening my core was a number 1 priority. After all of this, I would still at times feel some pain, which lead me to embrace the world of stretching.
If I could sum up everything I learned at O.C. in this article, I would, but it is too much detail to get into and some of you would get bored. Long story short, when we want to strengthen a muscle we bring its 2 points of attachment together. When we want to stretch a muscle, we take the attachments further apart. Think about this with your core. To strengthen, we crunch, to stretch, we expand our bellies.
Why do you have lower back pain?
There are many reasons why you have accumulated this pain. It could be a spinal abnormality that was addressed above or maybe it is more muscle related. Along with the abnormalities, muscle tightness has contributed largely to this reoccurring pain. Through trial and error, and learning about the human body, I realize the pain is deeply connected to my overall hamstring tightness. I believe my tightness is from sitting often, exercising the legs often and not stretching enough.
It has been a year of consistent yoga and I have noticed a massive difference in my lower back pain and hamstring tightness. There are some photos below that include stretches to help with this. Along with hamstrings, having tight hip flexors, Quadratus Lumborum and Psoas muscles can contribute to this pain as well.
Stretching and strengthening these muscles can make a difference in your lower back pain. My best recommendation is to see your doctor, physiotherapist or massage therapist to get a proper diagnosis of what muscle imbalances you have. If you are super keen and interested in learning about your body, testing yourself out and finding the main issues, then go ahead with researching more about this topic.
Throughout the years of knowledge and experience, I can contribute my lower back pain to many different things. Each of us may be experiencing different abnormalities or imbalances. We are individual and this if an overview of my personal experience with back pain. I am going to go over some tips for helping these issues and I hope some of them can help you as well. If you have any ideas that I should include in my lifestyle, please let me know.
Tips for relieving lower back pain:
Please let me know if you have any questions or ideas for me to try, I am always open to suggestions. Thank you for supporting How To Flourish.
Enjoy your day!