Biomechanically Fit | Low Back Pain

Biomechanically Fit

Creating Smart Fitness Solutions

Low Back Pain

Many people suffer from low back pain for numerous reasons but note that not everyone has too.  In general, most cases are caused by structural deviations in the posture. 


These deviations can be a cause of:

  •  Repetitive movements
  •  Side dominance
  •  Improper training programs
  •  Poor seated posture
  •  Injuries
  •  Surgeries   

 

By becoming proactive and learning the correct posture through first; static postural assessments and second movement screens, you can teach yourself and clients the proper posture to reduce pain. 


Before performing a postural assessment lets discuss the different pelvic alignments that one can have.  The pelvis controls the whole body and if it's out of alignment, the body will generally have issues which could cause pain. 

The pelvis has three positions which include; anterior, posterior and neutral. 


Anterior Pelvic Tilt

An anterior pelvic tilt occurs when the hip flexor muscles are pulled downward and the erector spinae muscles are pulled upward.  This is also called lower cross syndrome.  When the muscles are pulled in these directions the pelvis tilts downward and compresses the lumbar spine. 


Posterior Pelvic Tilt

A posterior pelvic tilt occurs when the rectus abdominis is pull upward and the hamstrings are pulled downward.  When the muscles are pulled in these directions the pelvis tilts upward and compress the lumbar spine. 


Neutral Pelvis

A neutral pelvis is when all muscles; hip flexors, erector spinea, rectus abdominis and hamstrings are all at optimal lengths and tension.  When the pelvis is optimally aligned and all muscles are functioning correctly there should be fewer chances for low back pain. 


Now that we have discussed the different positions of the pelvis, lets look how to perform the wall test. 

The main assessment we will look at is the wall test.  The wall test can be used to assessment more than one part of the body but we will only be looking at the pelvis. 

You will probably notice your hand will easily slide under your lower back. 


Now make these corrections

  • Bring feet to a neutral position
  • Spread toes
  • Rotate pelvis until you can only slide your 2nd knuckle through
  • Keep shoulders back and head 0-1 inch from the wall


You will notice this new position feels very awkward but this is the neutral posture.  Once you’re in this position you may feel that your weight is forward on the balls of your feet.  You may also feel a strain in your abdominals, glutes and upper back.  


Exercise Programming

In order for the pelvis to be in optimal alignment all the muscles surrounding the pelvis must be restored to their proper resting lengths (force coupling relationships).  If you or your client displays either an anterior or posterior pelvic tilt, there are a general set of guidelines to follow in order to achieve optimal muscle tension. 


Anterior Pelvic Tilt

If this type of pelvic tilt is displayed the hip flexor and erector spinae muscle groups will need to be stretched and the rectus abdominis and hamstrings/gluteal muscle groups will need to be strengthened.

There are many ways to accomplish this goal but for our purposes I will go through one exercise for each.


Stretching:

Hip Flexor:  Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Erector Spinae:  Knees to Chest


Strengthening:

Rectus Abdominis:  Pelvic Tilts

Hamstrings/Glutes:  Shoulder Bridge


Posterior Pelvic Tilt

If this type of pelvic tilt is displayed the rectus abdominis and hamstrings/gluteal muscle groups will need to be stretched and the hip flexor and erector spinae muscle groups will need to be strengthened.

There are many ways to accomplish this goal but for our purposes I will go through one exercise for each.


Stretching:

Rectus Abdominis:  Overhead Chest Stretch

Hamstrings/Glutes:  Table Top Stretch


Strengthening:

Hip Flexor:  Knee Marches

Erector Spinae:  Low Back Extensions


(Please Note)

Before stretching and strengthening these muscle groups, you may want to perform some type of myofasical release.  Myofasical release will inhibit the antagonist muscles which will allow the antagonist muscles to be strengthened. 



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