Str-Str-Stretch it out! Final installment of low back pain; Hamstrings!Read More
After a minor hiatus due to trying to work during the Easter holiday while trying to spend time with family resulting in forgetting my computer at my parent's house for the week, I now present Gospel #3! As low back continues to be on the rise in our society, I want you guys to know why and how to alleviate this unrelenting epidemic. In review, we have talked about Iliopsoas and Quadratus Lumborum being major contributors to dysfunction, we continue the trend with muscle group #3: Glutes! Everybody knows about gluteus maximus, that big booty muscle, but do you realize that there are actually 3 glute muscles that all act on the hips/pelvis that affect your posture! Here are the glutes in all their glory; gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus.
So why do we care about these guys and how they affect our bodies? They act on the pelvis and the femur for glute max by way of hip extension, like a straight leg raise to the back, and hip abduction, or leg lift directly to the side; for glute med, again is abduction of the hip and prevention of hip adduction, which is when you squeeze your thighs together; and glute min, again is hip abduction along with internal rotation of the hip. Ok so now we know what they do, how does that affect your low back? If your glutes are constantly shut off from hunching forward, slouching in your chair, or essentially just not using them your posture becomes reliant on the hamstrings. You are leaned forward from the entire combo of shortened Iliopsoas, lack of QL and lack of glutes that you end up putting your whole upper body tilted forward and overworking the hamstrings to keep you upright! So moral of the story, get that booty in shape to improve posture and give those hamstrings a rest! To strengthen and work these guys out think about the actions we went over and apply it to what you know about exercising. Hip extension and abduction exercises are the ones to focus on with things like table top fire hydrants (left) and hip extensions (right) to really focus on this muscle group. I hope this info helps you guys be more informed about your body, how it works, and what to work on when you're hurting! Feel free to respond, email, or call with any questions (all the info is on the contact page)! Get out there and (t)werk that booty!
Gospel #2, the QL, and Superman!Read More
First of the 4 gospels for low back pain is Iliopsoas, and it's first on the list for a reason! The Iliopsoas can actually be broken down into two muscles, the Iliacus and the Psoas Major. They are often associated with each other because they have similar actions on the body along with attaching at the same spot on the femur; the lesser trochanter. Both muscles are hip flexors, which means if you attempt to touch your toes by bending forward, you are using these muscles to do it!
Where the Iliacus and Psoas Major differ, is their origination points and the bones that they act on. The Psoas is the bigger, stronger muscle that connects the axial, or torso, part of your skeleton to your appendicular, or lower (in this case) limbs, while also connecting the front to the back, and the inside to the outside. The Psoas starts on the inside/front part of your vertebrae or spine and comes through your torso over the front of your pelvic bone to attach to the inner and upper part of your femur. This muscle is gigantor! It's amazing how much this muscle drives what is happening in the mid to lower part of your body. But why does it concern us when it comes to low back pain? I mean it isn't even hanging around on the back part of our bodies, so how can it affect it? This is one of the biggest questions I get when working on the Psoas, people are always a little baffled as to why I'm working on muscles through their abdomen in order to help alleviate low back pain. I know this can be hard to envision just hearing about it so look at the photo, study it, then imagine the muscle as it goes through your body.
Now that you have this envisioned, think about what you do all day and how often you use or shorten this muscle. If you have a desk job, you are constantly putting this muscle in a shortened positioned for upwards of 8 hours a day. As you slouch there in your desk chair, you continue to contribute to that muscle staying it's shortened position, which, in turn, contributes to your low back pain. It pulls your lumbar vertebrae forward and takes away that natural curve that is supposed to be in your low back. You have this big muscle pulling you forward and taking your body out of natural alignment. This changes the environment your back muscles are accustomed to which makes them freak out and yell at you that is expressed by your body as pain. Because this is such a large muscle, by working on it we are able to help alleviate that pain quickly and effectively with an ever increasing window of pain free days.
The other portion of the equation, Iliacus, is a muscle that is a synergist to the Psoas Major. This means that both muscles help each other to do the same action. Iliacus starts on the inside lip of your pelvis and runs down through the front of your body to attach onto the same place on the femur that Psoas Major attaches. This muscle can add to the shortening of your hip flexors and exacerbate low back pain and also cause front hip pain and pain just below your glutes. These fickle little buggers are an evil team that come together to give you most of your low back pain!
Now what to do with this info? After reading through all the hubbub and getting the background of the muscles and how they work, you have a better understanding of why these muscles need to be worked on! By releasing trigger points and keeping these muscles stretched and elongated, you can greatly improve the occurrence of low back pain! Madness how just working on muscles helps your body return to it's natural state without the aid of surgery/pills/general invasiveness! I hope this info helps you guys be more informed about your body, how it works, and what to work on when you're hurting! Feel free to respond, email, or call with any questions (all the info is on the contact page)! Happy fixings!