Posts Tagged ‘Lumbar Spine’

What You Should Know About Low Back Pain – Take Control!

Low back pain is becoming a common problem is today?s society. The statistics for such claims are staggering. Close to 40 percent of all workplace absences are do to back pain. From 1997 to 2001 the workers compensation board received over 90,000 claims for back pain injuries. That was over 25% of all the claims that were made during that time. Although many back pain claims are made due spinal disc damage, osteoporosis, arthritis or infection it is often that the pain is not caused by any of these factors. There may be something that you can do on your own to try and relieve your discomfort.

Weak lengthen muscles coupled with chronically tight muscles (muscle imbalances) can pull the body?s bones out of alignment causing inflammation, compensation and even nerve pain. Back pain and especially low back pain diagnosis? (spinal disc damage, osteoporosis, arthritis and infection) are often the effects of an unhealthy spine. An unhealthy spine is one that has limited mobility due to miss-alignment which is often caused by chronically tight muscles. When the spine is unable to function with proper mobility it will begin to degenerate.

How does one keep a healthy spine? Here are some areas of focus that can help you to avoid spinal degeneration and or back pain.

The spine is supported by a group muscles often referred to as the muscles of the ?CORE?. Strengthening these muscles will give the spine a strong base of support. Focus on the inner abdominal and other core muscles by performing stabilization exercises and functional exercises. Always maintain a strong posture and keep your abdominals braced throughout these exercises.

When low back pain occurs, people often make the mistake of focusing solely on stretching the low back. There are two common factors that play a large role in today?s low back pain complaints.

Cause #1 – Forward head and rounded shoulders

In today?s working world a large number of us sit in front of a computer with a forward head and rounded shoulders as we type on our key boards and focus on our monitors. For every inch that your head is forward it will add 8-10 pounds of strain to your low back. This constant forward posture fatigues, weakens and lengthens the muscle of the low back. Fix your computer posture by sitting with your shoulders down and back and push your chin toward the back of your head to correct your neck (cervical spine) posture. In addition work on stretching your chest muscles and SCM (front neck muscles). Hold stretches for 20 to 30 seconds for 2 sets on each side. These are the two tight muscle groups that cause computer posture. To take things a step farther strengthen the (cervical flexors) rear neck muscles and (rhomboid muscles) upper middle back muscles.
Cause #2 ? Tight hip flexors

The seated position that many of us are in throughout the day also plays a large role in many low back pain complaints. The Illiopsoas muscle group located in the front of the hip often referred to as the hip flexors is in a shortened position when we are seated. This muscle is connected to the femur (thigh bone) and the lumbar spine. After sitting for a long length of time the muscles will remain shortened when you stand up. This will cause the muscles to pull the lumbar spine toward the front of your body. The end result is over extension of the lumbar spine (arching low back). Discomfort! The quadriceps muscles (front thigh) and hamstring muscles (rear thigh) also can play a part in this discomfort if they are tight.

Stretch the hip flexors (psoas muscle group), front thigh muscles (quadriceps muscle group), and rear thigh muscles (hamstring muscle group). Hold stretches for 20 to 30 seconds for 2 sets on each side. To take things a step further strengthen the gluteal muscles (buttocks).

Before taking part in any fitness or wellness program it is recommended that you receive clearance from a physician. If these strengthening and stretching techniques do not work it is suggested that you seek the assistance of qualified fitness professional and a chiropractor. Be sure to ask around to find the best available in your area. If you would like more information about this article and article subjects similar to this one, please e-mail me at or visit us at .By Craig LePage, CSCS, NASM-CPT, President of

Craig is the President of Fitness Programs Plus and a website that offers printable fitness programs, audio interviews/clips, video clips and a wealth of other information to the fitness enthusiast. Craig is a well respected professional of the fitness industry who has authored his own fitness and nutrition system as well as co-authoring the golf exercise book (Play Better, Longer ? Golf).  Additional work includes writing for a number of newspapers, magazines and websites. Craig has been dedicated to helping people reach their fitness goals for almost 15 years.