What causes low back pain?
Updated: Sep 12, 2021
Low back pain is a warning sign that should not be ignored. Unfortunately most doctors are only trained in Western Medicine which does not understand the connection between muscle tension and degenerative diseases. This is a shame because most degenerative diseases could be prevented if clients would be send to a manual therapist and chiropractor before too much damage has been done. Other causes can be obesity, heavy lifting or too strenuous work that causes too much strain on muscles and joints, as well as accidents or auto immune diseases.
But lets stay with what I see as the Number One cause for low back pain and other degenerative conditions. As mentioned tension on the joints, that causes them to loose cartilage and buffer fluid or in the case of the spine injure or reduce the disc body of a vertebra, is the Number One reason for pain.
What happens if a muscle is tight?
Let's have a short anatomical overview. Muscles cause joint movement by contracting or lengthening. The end of a muscle that connects to the bone is called a tendon. Skin that connects different tissues and lines every organ is called fascia. The fascia that connects single muscle strands with each other and also lines the entire muscle is called myofascia. Myofascia in it’s normal state is elastic and structured to allow for maximum performance of the muscle. A stressed and traumatized fascia changes it’s structure from orderly to chaotic and with such loses it’s elasticity. This tightness causes the muscle to be restricted and it loses it’s ability to stretch or shorten. Muscles cause joint movement by lengthening or contracting. If the muscles that move a joint tighten; the joint loses range of motion or as we call it stiffens up. It also compresses the joint space. Over time the loss of joint space, be it the buffer fluid in your regular joints or the discs between your vertebrae, rub on each other and lose cartilage or compress the disc so it “pancakes” or bulges to one side. A bulging disc in turn can press on the spinal nerve and cause all kinds of subsequent problems.
The solution for most joint deterioration is in relaxing and returning the muscles and it's fascia to it’s normal, healthy state, in order to prevent deterioration or stop it’s progression.
Culprit and Victim Muscles
I like to compare the relationship between muscles as a tug of war. One side loses, I call that muscle the "Victim Muscle" and one side wins, I call that the “Culprit Muscle”. The victim muscle is whining and complaining about being overstretched and in danger of tearing, the culprit muscle is totally happy to keep pulling in it’s contracted state and couldn’t care less about the problems it causes the victim. But it is no malice on the side of the culprit or as I like to nickname it the “bully”, because the bully itself is adapting to it’s continuous state of permanent contraction with shortening
and losing it’s ability to lengthen thus putting stress on the victim.
So actually both are victims to their environment. Daily posture, work load and exhaustion as well as weight puts the muscles into the position to which they learned to adjust.
The Hip Flexor and it's role in Low Back Pain
To the right you see the hip flexor. It assists in lifting the entire leg and past the 90 degree leg flexion it solely carries the leg. As you can see this is a huge muscle attached to five vertebrae and the hip bone. When it becomes shortened, it pulls the lower spine together and pulls the hip up. This muscle is a gigantic factor in low back AS WELL AS hip deterioration. But yet, has any doctor or physical therapist ever told you about it?
Most people haven’t heard about the importance of the hip flexor, also called Ilio Psoas.
That’s where Medical Massage, stretching and home exercises come into play.
Do you have low back pain? Come and check out the Medical Massage Clinic.
Clinical trials about the connection between a tight iliopsoas and back pain:
Disclaimer, because I am not a doctor, I can not diagnose you. If in doubt, please see your doctor. If you feel this article might explain your symptoms you, please book an intake session so I can determine if your symptoms fall into my scope of practice. Even though the majority of my clients state that they were relieved of their pain after my treatment, I cannot state that I heal people. I don't claim any scientific evidence but rather anecdotal and empirical evidence as well as muscle knowledge 101 logic.
Fighting Pain since 2016
Back Pain need not be a Life Sentence