Lower back pain can be debilitating and a disruptor of daily lives. It can be difficult to solve because key targets are usually overlooked. My goal is to expose two culprits that are major contributors, but often overlooked. These are just some of the causes of lower back pain:
· Tight deep abdominal muscles
· Tight leg muscles
· Trigger points
· Excessive lifting
· Herniated Disc
Lower back pain could be referred from other areas of the body, such as the legs and core muscles. This is called "Referred Pain".
Referred pain is pain that is felt in one area but has originated from another area that has pain or compromise of some sort. One example is a heart attack which refers pain to the teeth/jaw/shoulder.
When leg muscles are tight the fibers get shortened and they pull on other attached muscles, most often the lower back. Tight muscles also entrap any nerve in their pathway. They restrict blood flow, which means there will be less oxygen and nutrients to nourish and bring fast healing to affected areas. When left for a long period of time unsolved, could result in severe pain to the legs and referred pain to the lower back. This culprit is most often overlooked.
The quadratus lumborum muscle, informally called the QL, is a paired muscle of the left and right posterior abdominal wall. Although commonly referred to as back muscles, they are deep abdominal muscles that can only be accessed from the lower back and side. They are most often overlooked but can refer severe pain to the lower back. QL pain is hard to detect, however, there are simple assessments that can be done to determine if they are compromised.
Many people have unresolved lower back pain for a long time because they usually focus only on the back. Addressing the back pain alone will only afford a temporary relief if the pain is referred. Why?, because while the back issue is resolved the other compromised areas will still refer pain until addressed.
Most compromised muscles in the legs, lower back and core can usually be addressed by doing simple activities. There are several massage tools that can be used to release muscle fibers, increase blood flow to the area and help to eliminate or reduce pain. A simple DIY approach is always helpful, less invasive, cost less and very effective. Here are a few tips:
· Stretching the QL & leg muscles... see diagram
· Foam roller to release muscle fiber
· Strengthen & stretch the core muscles
· Limited bed rest & more activity
Foam Roller: This could be your best friend, it can be used daily to prevent muscle stiffness and increase blood and oxygen flow to the whole body.
NB: Lower back pain could also be a result of other health issues which should be addressed with a healthcare professional. Please consult with your healthcare provider before starting any form of exercise.