5 Steps To Rid Yourself Of Back Pain

Five steps to rid yourself of low back pain
1)    massaging the triggerpoints of our iliopsoas muscle
2)    massaging the triggerpoints of our hamstrings
3)    stretching the hamstrings
4)    stretching the hip flexors and iliopsoas
5)    strengthen the lower abdominals

One of the most common complaints I receive from clients who have muscular discomfort is pain in the low back. Despite countless efforts to stretch and foam rolled the low back is all to no avail. For most, to combat this they just medicate with ibuprofen or whatever pain medication prescribed to them by the doctor which is the most counter active way to treat low back pain. Now if this sounds anything like you. You are in the majority. Low back pain is one of the most common ailments addressed by doctors.

However, in order to properly treat muscular dysfunctions that are causing low back pain, you will need to look towards some very important muscles surrounding the low back. The two most important areas will be your hamstrings, iliopsoas, and your lower abdominals. As with most muscular imbalances or muscular dysfunction, there is an area to stretch and an area to strengthen. In addition, also the need for myofascial release or self-massage to relieve knots in the muscles that may restrict the lengthening of the muscles by stretching. In the case of treating low back pain will be looking to stretch our hamstrings, strengthening our abdominals, and massaging crucial trigger points in and around these areas.

We look first to the releasing of our hamstrings and our iliopsoas muscle which lies connected between our lower vertebra and our hipbone. There are two trigger points for the iliopsoas one lies to the right or left of your belly button the second lies on your back in the same general position about an inch away from your spine and towards the center of your midsection. In relation to most clients who come in with low back discomfort, one of the first areas that I look to relieve tension will be the iliopsoas. Reason being is that the average American spends far too much time in a seated position which leaves their knees hiked up towards the stomach. This unnatural position creates tension in a tightness in the muscles associated with raising and lowering the knee such as the abductor complex and the iliopsoas. Massaging my trigger point is rather simple and can be done on your own if you have the right equipment such as Theracane or some myofascial balls. Massage each area 30 seconds at a time on both sides of your body allowing a minute break in between repeat 4 to 5 times trying to work your way deeper into the muscle.

Second, move to your hamstrings. The reason that we look to your hamstrings for low back discomfort is when these muscles become tight and taut they can actually rotate the pelvis forward causing an anterior pelvic tilt in creating lower back pain by compressing the discs. This way I find to massage the hamstrings to be so important and best tool for the job is a foam roller. When utilizing your foam roller roll slowly up and down your hamstrings searching for specific tender areas that you will take more extensive time on massaging. When finding the tender areas on your hamstrings lean your body weight onto the roller try to work deeper into the muscle and oscillating on the trigger point or tender area doing so for around 30 seconds while resting a minute in between 30 seconds intervals. If the foam roller doesn’t do the job you want to go a little deeper with a lacrosse ball or the myofascial balls utilizing the same methods of massaging tender areas applying, sustained pressure and doing so in intervals.

Once the hamstrings are relieved of the knotty trigger points we can then move into stretching and mobilizing these muscles. Always before we begin stretching do warm-up your body somewhat so that you break a small sweat. Stretching well cold can lead to injury and end up causing more harm than good. The best way to lengthen these muscles is with some simple stretches you probably learned back in gym class. Example being touching your toes or grabbing your ankles and pulling your head down to your knees while laying down or in the standing position doing so for two-minute intervals. Now we’re stretching longer because we are looking at restoring the length of the muscle. We need to activate the Golgi tendon which allows a targeted muscle to truly release and lengthen. This is different from just the usual stretching utilized in warm-ups where we are preparing our muscle for activity and only taking 30 seconds. If necessary, the application of resistance bands to increase the stretch can also be used. 

The lower abdominals play a large part in resolving the anterior pelvic tilt that may be causing your low back discomfort. In most people, we would find the lower abdominals to be significantly underutilized and weak. The lower abdominals are crucial in the stabilization of the pelvis and weak muscles cannot stabilize. Core integrity and core integration in all movements is integral to proper posture and therefore proper health. When looking to strengthen our lower abdominals while also dealing with a possible tight iliopsoas. We want to avoid any excessive crunching in favor of different plank variations or any core exercise that leave the spine in a neutral position. While strengthening of the lower abdominals is important we also need to look to stretching our iliopsoas which lies in the same area. The best and easiest stretch for iliopsoas is the kneeling hip flexor stretch. Stretching iliopsoas as in the same manner you would your hamstrings, two minutes at a time alternating each side.

Lastly, look to change your lifestyle in a way that can prevent chronic tightness across the low back and hips. When taking measures to improve our daily lives to avoid discomfort as a first look to how often and for how long you remain seated. The main cause of most physical ailments an average American is due to their long periods of sitting without standing, stretching, or strengthening. If at all possible, try to convert yourself to a standing desk. If it is not possible try at least every 30 minutes stand up from your chair and go through a series of stretches for your hamstrings, low back neck, chest and shoulders. This simple change in your everyday life can help prevent and maintain your core integrity your flexibility and keep your low back safe and comfortable.

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