Lower back injuries are about the most common complaint I hear, and the spring/summer season seems to increase the injuries as people start to garden, clean out garages, pack up cars for vacations and get things down from attics. We find ourselves in awkward positions on ladders, crouching in crawl spaces, trying to reach high shelves, and tend to use and overexert muscles that were not meant for that job. We hired the wrong muscle for the job, and it locks up or becomes strained causing us great discomfort, pain, and/or limited range of motion for a few weeks.
Most of us walk around chronically ready for this injury, and the extra reach, leaning over to pull out a weed, leaning over to wash dishes, picking up a heavy box or bag using your lower back muscles (unsupported forward flexion) is the proverbial straw that breaks the camels back.
WHY?This injury is most commonly caused by tight hip flexors that pull on and overstretch the glut and hip girdle muscles. This results in weaker glut and hip muscles. When you go to call on those muscles, they are unable to engage, and the weaker neighboring muscles jump in to help (low back) and that is the definition of having your kicker play on the defensive line – wrong job. Sometimes, people have a nuisance ache in the low back for years and then one wrong movement sends it into injury mode. I see this more and more with the increased hours of sitting in front of computers, increased driving and increased looking down at technology – headinphonitis.
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWSBad news is that it doesn’t look like we are going to eliminate technology anytime soon. Good news is we can offset the poor posture and related injuries by stretching our hip flexors, strengthening our core, gluts and hip girdle muscles and being mindful of the way we move especially in forward flexion.
WHAT TO DO?TIPS to reduce low back injury
- Stand and stretch every 20-30 minutes if working in a seated position
- Take breaks while driving
- Avoid letting your feet rotate out when seated, especially the left when driving
- Intentionally tighten your gluts when standing for long periods of time (waiting in a check out line) to take the pressure off your lower back
STRETCH AND STRENGTHENFlexor Stretch – Runners LungeCore Exercise – PlankGlut Exercise – Banded Glut Bridge
Including the above into your regular routine can stave off back injuries and help keep you moving well. Detailed videos can be found on our new YouTube channel or on our member website. Check in frequently as we add more great videos to help you stay healthy!Search “embodyFitness” on YouTube or follow the link below. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuuezoJSmZwRSzg0RHYzeRA