Back Pain – Friend or Foe?

Back Pain – Friend or Foe?

Back Pain affects many of us at some time or another doesn’t it? It can be at times debilitating, always inconvenient as it restricts us from doing the things we love – walking, gardening or running.

There are many structures that can be involved in Back Pain  – discs, joints, muscles, nerves and ligaments. Symptoms can range from local pain (pain in once place) to referred pain (pain going to another place) such as into the bottom or down to the leg, feelings of numbness and tingling or feelings of weakness.

So, we know that our Backs often become strained or injured but the question we have to ask is Why? Is it actually the fault of the Spine? The answer to that question surprisingly is….very rarely! The Spine is usually the victim and for far too long we have not been blaming the real foe….ourselves!! We use our bodies in very repetitive ways, take ‘chances’ with our backs by not taking care in the way we sit, lift and walk! 

The main victim is the overworked Lumbar Spine. The Lumbar Spine has a unique ability to compensate for restricted motion that occurs in areas above it (Thoracic Spine) and below it (Hips). The motions of the Lumbar Spine are as follows:

  • Flexion 40-60 degrees
  • Extension 20-35 degrees
  • Rotation 3-18 degrees
  • Side-bending 15-20 degrees

We are always told that bending and rotating at the same time as we lift something off the floor in a No No! It can cause injury to our low back!  The Lumbar Spine actually has very little ability to rotate. The vast amount of our rotation actually comes from Thoracic Spine and the Hips

If there is restriction in rotation in either the Hips or Thoracic Spine where does the extra motion come from? That’s right. The Lumbar Spine! So this rotational restriction, in either the Thoracic Spine or the Hips, will cause the Lumbar Spine to attempt to compensate for this loss of motion outside of its normal limits. This is until something gives up…..as a result we are left in a tremendous amount of Low Back Pain!

So, don’t think your back has let you down? Our day to day poor use of the spine can be the real foe! For far too long the Lumbar Spine has been blamed when in fact the vast majority of times…..it’s actually the victim!

Look after your back. It’s your friend!

For advice about what you can do to help yourself, please CONTACT ME

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back pain friend or foe

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