Back pain can be debilitating, so what can you do to help relieve the pain? If your back pain is due to a disc problem then you may need specialist care or possibly an operation, but for most people back pain presents due to poor posture or imbalances in muscle strength and flexibility.
Many of us spend too many hours seated, hunched over a computer or perform repetitive movements whilst not being aware of maintaining correct posture. These activities lead to some muscle groups becoming short and/or strong and others becoming long and/or weak. When this occurs our bodies are not able to move correctly leading to an excessive loading of the discs in the spine and the supporting muscles leading to spasms.
Muscle imbalances change posture so if you can identify which muscles are affecting your posture you can then start to develop flexibility and range of motion to help relieve the pain.
A. Ideal posture: Ear, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, Ankle all in-line.
Upper back rounded – Hip pushed forward & tilted down.
Short/Strong- hip flexors, lower back, chest.
Long/Weak – hamstrings, abdominals, traps.
C. Flat back:
Little/no arch in lower back, Hip tilted back, Shoulder forward.
Short/Strong- hamstrings, abdominals, chest.
Long/Weak – hip flexors, lower back, traps.
D. Sway back:
Hips pushed forward & tilted up.
Short/Strong- hamstrings, chest.
Long/Weak – hip flexors, abdominals, traps.
So you can see from the diagram that the position of your pelvis determines the way your spine is positioned. If your spine is not in a neutral position like in diagram A then you will likely start to feel discomfort in the discs of the spine due to excess loading or the muscles around the spine as they have to work harder than normal.
Do you spend hours seated? Most people do and tend to end up with posture C or D. When seated the hamstrings are shortened and generally most people do not maintain good posture and end up with the shoulders being rounded. Try to avoid sitting for hours, get up once an hour and move about to help maintain good flexibility. Identify your current posture and introduce some stretches regularly throughout the day to correct your flexibility imbalances.
Flexibility can help to improve posture but you will probably need to perform exercises that also strengthen muscle groups that have become weak through lack of use. The muscles in the trunk of the body commonly referred to as the core will help support the spine and often are weak in those who have back pain. Exercises targeting the transverse abdominus (TVA) can be helpful when trying to strengthen the lower back but don’t forget to target the other muscle groups that have become weak or long, ensure you have a balanced routine.
Workoutkit like Medicine balls, Stability balls & Bosu could be helpful for reducing back pain.