The human body is a complex system of systems stacked upon each other, each relying on the other. It is important to know that when one area of the body is in pain, the surrounding parts are also likely to develop a problem. This means when one body part is in pain, it is very likely that its surrounding areas are also experiencing a problem.
In this article, let us talk about lower back pain. What exactly causes it?
There are many reasons why your back is prone to pain. Back pain happens when there is a problem in your spinal joints, muscles, discs or nerves. Sometimes, the issue may start with a simple muscle tightness which then radiates to spinal problem.
The back is suppose to stay steady while the hips remain mobile. But when a person experiences lower back pain due to poor hip flexor muscles, they also suffer from tightness resulting to less movements and unstable spine. This means when dealing with a problem such as back pain, we need to think of it as an integrated system.
To prevent the back from flexing or extending and keep it steady, the hips should be mobile enough to withstand our movements. If the hips are mobile and flexible, the spine will stop wobbling from trying to carry your weight and it will remain stable.
Why is mobility and flexibility important in preventing pain? Let us first define what mobility and flexibility means and how important they are to our health.
Mobility usually happens because of the existence of your joints. It is the area where two bones meet and it is the space where surrounding tissues, muscles, tendons and ligaments are out of the way. Think of mobility as the range of unhibited motion happening in the joint. When a person has a good mobility, he or she can perform any movement without restrictions.
Flexibility on the other hand is the range of motion in a joint or the distance and direction that the joint can move. It directly correlates with range of motion and mobility, but does not directly correlate with balance, strength and coordination.
In contrast, mobility requires coordination, balance and strength to perform a certain movement. Flexibility on the other hand may not require the same factors as mobility does. This means a person who is flexible does not automatically mean that he or she has great mobility.
Knowing which area in the body that needs the right approach is a massive step towards getting out of pain and improving movement. When there are tight muscles, there are also weak muscles. One big mistake people make when trying to alleviate back pain is that they immediately address the weakness of their back by trying to slowly incorporate strength training.
While building muscle strength is important in preventing pain, the back will never be fully restored to its optimal health when its lack of motion (caused by tightness of the muscle, in this case tight hip flexors) is not addressed.
The key to addressing back pain is to identify the tight areas first and apply corrective strategies next. After these steps are taken, you can now work on strengthening the muscles to prevent the pain from coming back.
Many therapist will work on your mobility first for one reason only – the joints are restricted (at the thoracic spine) it will be difficult to stretch the muscles. This can be easily identified by a chiropractor or a massage therapist.
When back pain has already progressed, it is important to see a practitioner and join a treatment program. Although there are many remedies to back pain, your case might already require mobility drills and extensive muscle stretching.