By far the most common complaint that walks into my treatment room is low back pain. Why is this? Well, it’s a combination of a few things, including, our propensity to not move and the amount of time we spend sitting in a day. Read below to learn more!
There are a few reasons why sitting aggravates the low back. First off- more and more in the literature we are seeing that low back pain often comes from irritated discs. Discs are the little shock absorbing pads that are in between each of the bones in your spine. Typically when we sit, we place the low back in a position of flexion (think what your low back does when you bend forward from a standing position and try to touch your toes). Guess what position tends to aggravate those discs? You got it flexion! The second reason is that when we sit for prolonged periods of time it places your hip flexors in a shortened position, which causes them to tighten up. A decrease in mobility in the hips means your low back picks up the slack and moves more than it should (hello, tight hips and an achy low back sound familiar to anyone)? The last reason is staying in ANY position for too long isn’t great for the body. Think of your muscles and joints like tiny pumps, in order to pump waste products out and good products in they require movement!
Another major cause of low back pain is overactivity of the spinal erector muscles (those big chunky muscles that run parallel to either side of your spine). Often these muscles are permanently "switched on" and we use them to stabilize instead of our deep core muscles (cough cough, low back pain after you work out every. single. time. sound familiar)?
So how do we negate this pesky low back pain? Standard chiropractic care including soft tissue therapy and joint manipulation can greatly help reduce symptoms. In addition to specific targeted rehabilitative exercises that increase your hip mobility, help you differentiate hip movement from low back movement, work on you core stability and improve your strength overall.