Treating Lower Back Pain

Here are some little-known things that people need to know about treating lower back pain.

1. Address Your Posture

I think the thing that people miss the most is that in order to treat lower back pain, you have to attack the thoracic spine.

It is usually the root cause of why the low back is in dysfunction.

So managing thoracic extension; which again goes back to posture. Being in nice neutral posture if you’re sitting for periods of time you must get up. That would address the thoracic spine and then also the low back in reference to hip flexors, right.

Move Every 15 to 20 Minutes

When we talk about the muscles in the front of the pelvis being short and dominant creating low back pressure, then you have to address the t-spine and the hip flexors in order to indirectly affect the low back.

So the lumbar spine is sort of dependent on the two things above and below it right? Which is the thoracic spine and then anything that’s related to the pelvis. So posture is huge.

Making sure you’re not sitting for longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. You must have some kind of reminder system. Somebody, a sit to stand opportunity at your work for ergonomics.

Rest Your Back in a Variety of Positions

Making sure that the spine has a variety of positions it can be in when it needs to rest and recover. So if you’ve been standing for a while then you can sit. You’ve been sitting for a while you need to stand, but the biggest issue is non-movement.

So if you can move the low back, above all things, responds to walking and gentle movement better than anything else.

It’s probably the most effective treatment even for disc pathologies; which again is the primary reason people go to a physician for low back pain that is related to a disc pathology.

So if we could address that from a postural standpoint, from a sitting standpoint, and getting people up and moving, once you have a disc pathology, then what do we say we say? We say walk.

You want gentle walking. You need to be up. You need to work on posture. You need to work on core strengthening. That’s a whole other topic. Oh my gosh. Core strengthening.

All right so let’s make this part two. Okay so that was one little-known way was to deal with t-spine and hip flexor. So here’s another little-known way to deal with lower back pain which is to deal with core strengthening.

2. Core Strengthening

lower back pain
Okay so core strengthening. This is also a much more complicated topic than most people think, because when people think of the core they think of our pretty six-pack muscles; which really in essence are not as important at influencing posture and stability of the spine, right.

They just look pretty and they help us with flexing, right. So when we get up in the morning we use them, and that’s it. Then they’re sort of there as adjunct stabilizers.

Target the right muscles

So the muscles we really need to target with core are the deep muscles of the abdominal wall, which are our obliques and our transverse abdominis. Those muscles actually insert into the spine. Therefore, they have a direct relationship and impact on its health and/or dysfunction.

So we want to hit obliques, transverse abdominis. Then if you think about other core musculature, we consider the lats, we consider the glutes, and we consider the hamstring all part of the core, why? Because they all attach to either the pelvis or the spine in some fashion.

Hence creating stability for our extremities to be able to move and force produce, right.

Work the right exercises

So we can move and create our activities of daily living based on movement. We must have stable spines, and in order for that to happen we don’t like to work the core in flexion.

We’re already in flexion all day every day with sitting, or we’re driving, or we’re sitting at the dinner table eating, or we’re sitting on a couch watching movies.

All of that is already flexion based, so we like the concept of getting away from crunches and sit-ups and using either vertical ab exercises; which is any kind of pushing-pulling like with TRX, or the bands for resisted pushing or pulling come into play, or even just doing regular arm or leg weightlifting strategies without a machine, right. Because the core is then essentially responsible for the stability and the foundation of those movements.

Or you can put the core in a horizontal position. We think about planks, we think about push-ups, we think about walkouts, holds where the body is in a neutral spine position as best as we can against gravity. That also influences the primary core musculature.

Therefore we avoid flexion, we avoid overworking the rectus abdominus muscles, our pretty ones, and then we get the really deep important ones that are going to be responsible for stabilizing the spine.

So you want to be in horizontal or vertical positions, and then once you can create a good foundation from those two positions, then we add rotation to them and typically rotation will happen in a vertical position, because that is where it would be most functional like lifting something and having to move it from one place to another would require rotation.

So trying to avoid flexion to manage our core musculature I think is key, because then you are not perpetuating our current dysfunction in our society with just too much sitting, too much flexing, and we’re actually targeting the muscles that influence the spine and the stability of the spine the most effectively.

So now how does MOBO affect either the training, or the recovery, or the proper functioning, of you said glutes, hams, obliques, and lats, right? So how would you tell somebody to either prep or take care of their muscles with MOBO? Why would they need MOBO for those core muscles?

1. Prep global tissue

Well, so with MOBO you can first prep global tissue, whether you’re using the PRIMO or the ROLLO. Once you prep global tissue, that’s really just trying to bring blood flow and oxygen and heat to muscle groups that are directly influencing joint mobility.

Whether you’re talking about the joints of the spine or you’re talking about the shoulder or the hips, you want the joints to have a range of motion that is within normal limits.

Meaning it allows activities of everyday life, climbing stairs, squatting, kneeling, lifting, pushing, pulling, to be able to perform them in a safe and effective, efficient manner.

2. Target specific tissue

So globally prepping tissue is first. Then you can target tissue so if you have areas of restriction, which most commonly are pecs, glutes, hip flexors, lats, the muscles we just talked about that could influence the spine in some way.

If you can target those specifically to allow appropriate mobility to occur, especially in the spine, which we’re talking about the t-spine specifically, then you can basically move from those big groups to smaller groups.

Muscle groups, joints, that are related to those movements, so let’s just say once you start taking MOBO down to its parts using DUO in the t-spine, using DUO in the neck, using DUO in the low back, using DUO in the glutes and the hammies and the quads.

You can prep those tissues even more specifically and picking a variety of textures to do that.

If you need deeper or less aggressive mobilization, then you can sort of get into areas of tendon insertions where a lot of tension is occurring, say hip flexors for instance, and glute insertion, TFL, the pecs, the suboccipitals of the neck. Then you can sort of target those with more precision.

And also if you think about tendons being sort of avascular, right. They don’t have a good blood supply, so being able to sort of target those tissues in particular is even more helpful for translating to movement and joint mobility; which is essentially what we’re looking for.

So that you can do everyday life things and then obviously translate that into exercise, and then performance, whether you’re playing a sport or lifting weights or whatever.

And so back to the to the lower back. Being able to have range of motion, to increase blood flow, increase mobility of the hips. Yeah, so really one of the main things that I’m taking away is that if you can increase the mobility around the spine, and in that musculature giving it a better range of motion, all that kind of stuff, well then your lower back is better protected. Simply due to those muscles being able to carry the weight a little bit better then. They’re doing their job, putting less strain on the lower back.

Yes, the body is all about path of least resistance. So if you have an area that actually moves, and then you have an area that doesn’t move, the body will bypass the one that doesn’t move and go to the one that moves.

That is where we get into problems with creating segments that move too much, right. They are hyper-mobile, and what can we do about that?

Well, once there is a segment or a joint in the body that moves too much, meaning out of its normal range, then stability has to occur in order to offset the risk and minimize injury to that area. Or minimize the overworking of an area because now all of the pressures and stresses of the body go to that area of least resistance.

Hence, the pathology of a disk herniation, or an area in the lumbar spine, or the neck, where there’s too much movement occurring.

So, what can we do more efficiently and effectively? We can make things that are tight, looser, right.

We have the influence to do that, but once you have something that’s too loose, you have to go backwards in the system and that is very difficult to manage because now it revolves around strength and stability.

So if we can find that balance in the system, where the lumbar spine just becomes the stability and support, the foundation for lower body movement of the legs, then you don’t get so much stress to the spine itself because everybody’s doing their job, everybody’s got their part to play. No one structure is getting all of the movement occurring there.

Especially if you think about how much movement the lumbar spine has, it’s minimal. Compared to the hip, which basically is a ball and socket joint. It’s axis is hundreds of degrees of movement.

That is where movement should occur, and when it can’t, guess who has to do that job? The lumbar spine has to take up the slack of that, and it is not, I repeat not, designed to do that.

Therefore, if you have the lumbar spine do its job, which is foundation and stability, and then you have the hips do their jobs, which is access to movement, then the system works brilliantly. But when it is reversed, which is typically the case in our society now.

Glutes tighten up, hip flexors tighten up, quads tighten up, hammies tighten up. Then you lose access to all of those degrees of motion that should be naturally occurring in the hip. So we got a tackle hip mobility first, then spine stability. Therefore the two come together and create a balanced synergy in the system.

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