Back pain is a very common occurrence. Sometimes it is short lived and sometimes it lasts for a long time. Many times, the back pain we experience is by our own doing, both by the ways we are moving AND the times we are not moving.
Sound confusing? Let me explain.
Back pain often occurs from one of two things: 1) moving improperly, causing your back to work harder, or 2) sitting too much, causing things to get tight and stiff.
Once we start sitting in school, for homework, for commutes, for jobs, and to relax at home, our bodies begin to learn to move differently. Rather than the squatting with the good upright posture have as a toddler, you begin to avoid squatting. If you do squat, the torso leans forward rather than staying upright. This results in us not utilizing our glutes effectively and instead using our back to do too much of the work. (Contrary to popular statements found online, this does not mean that your glutes aren’t firing or don’t know how to fire, it means you have trained your body to move in a way that doesn’t require them to fire as much as they should.)
How does this impact you and your life? When you are doing different movements in the gym, especially squats and deadlifts, your body moves in a way that puts more pressure on the spinal musculature. These muscles are very small in comparison to the glutes. As you continue to overwork the muscles in the back, they fatigue, they get tight, and the result ends up being pain.
The same goes for when carrying objects in front of your body, such as an atlas stone or a box. If we don’t know how to stand up tall with good posture and utilize our glutes to hold us in a good, upright posture, we end up leaning backwards slightly in the torso, placing strain on the back.
This issue carries over to standing as well. If we aren’t in the habit of using our glutes when we are standing, we end up using leaning on our ligaments of our hips and pelvis as we activate our lower back muscles to keep us in an upright posture.
Sitting Too Much
Sitting is detrimental to a lot of things in our bodies, many of which I am not getting into here. What is relevant to this article is the impact it has on our hips and back.
When we sit for long periods, the muscles surrounding our hips get tight, the hip joint gets stiff, and the glutes end up shutting off for a period of time. Along with that, if you are short like me and your feet don’t reach the floor in many chairs, when sitting with the feet unsupported, the pelvis is pulled downward and rotates some, placing strain on the low back.
Combine these things together, and it is a recipe for disaster – especially when you are sitting for long periods of time for days, weeks, months, or years.
What To Do
Now you are asking the question, “So, what do I do about this?” Easy fix: stand more, sit less. Longer fix: retrain your body to move properly. Breaking the habits of the way your body has been moving for years can be difficult and can take a lot of time, but that is going to be the way to address the back pain from it’s source and decrease the frequency of it recurring.
Does this sound like something you are dealing with? Let’s chat! Schedule a call with me to uncover your next steps to resolve your back pain.
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