Is your low back stiff and sore all the time? Does it feel like it’s working too hard, or that you struggle to get it warmed up and moving? Wondering why and what you can do about it?
**If you are experiencing sharp, stabbing pain, stop reading this immediately and go make an appointment with a healthcare provider. I can not diagnose or treat injuries, and you need a Doctor, STAT**
Now that THAT’s out of the way, let’s chat.
Low back pain is such a common complaint these days, and there are lots of different reasons why you might be experiencing pain. Let’s talk about some of the more common reasons!
Reason 1 might come as no surprise to you, it’s sitting too much!
I’m writing this in September of 2020 (to future readers, if the world continues to exist after 2020). We’ve been dealing with Covid since March, and if you live on the West coast, you’ve been living with smoke for the last week or more. All that to say, we’ve probably all been sitting a whole lot more than usual. I don’t know about you, but my back is feeling this hard!
But why is sitting so hard on the back? There are a few things going on:
We’re just not moving! When we stay in the same position for extended periods of time, our bodies get stuck that way. So if you’re not moving your spine, it’s going to get stiff and stuck.
Also when we sit, our hips are flexed for long periods of time. That causes our hip flexors to get tight. When our hip flexors are tight, it can pull our low backs into an arch and if we’re already stiff and stuck, that low back arch can start feeling really uncomfortable.
Reason number 2 might seem obvious, it’s core strength!
I could write a whole separate really long blog that no one wants to read about how the core supports the spine. But I won’t. Let’s summarize, instead.
The main job of your core (that’s all the muscles that wrap around your middle) is to stabilize, support, and move your spine. If your core is weak, or doesn’t know how to support the spine, your low back can start getting wiggly. And when your low back is wiggly, it’s really easy for it to fall into that arched position again. It’s the job of your core to keep it out of that position! Add some high heels into that mix? Wooo, boy! We’re back in low back pain territory! You know how your favorite high heels make your ass look amazing? It’s because they’re forcing you to arch your back and stick your butt out. Wear high heels regularly enough, and you’ll get stuck that way!
Reason 3 may be slightly less clear. It’s weak glutes!
Yup, a weak booty makes that back hurt! Why, you ask? Let me tell you all about it!
We already talked about how sitting too much makes the hips tight. But what we didn’t talk about is how that can make your butt weak. Your glutes and your hip flexors are opposites, the hip flexors flex the hip (obviously) and the glutes extend the hip, or pull your leg behind you. If your hip flexors are stuck and tight, it’s really hard to get your hip into extension which means you’re not really using your butt all the way. And then your butt gets weak.
Okay, weak butt. But what does that have to do with back pain?
Remember that low back arch we were talking about earlier? That is your spine being stuck in extension. If your glutes are too weak to pull your leg behind you in extension, your body has to figure out a work around. And if your low back is already stuck in extension, that’s the easiest place for your body to try to move from. Basically what happens is that instead of moving your leg from your hip, your body tries to move your leg from your back! And if you’re a circus person who’s working on back extension skills like back bending, front balance, or splits, all that extension that’s missing from your hip has to go somewhere! And BAM, we’re right back to a sore, overworked low back!
Okay, sure. That makes sense. But how do you fix it?
The long short? Movement!
And if you’re looking for some specific movements to help with low back tension or glute strength, I’ve got you covered.
The Build a Better Butt Challenge starts on September 25th and it includes exercises to help you build that booty AND that help with low back and hip stiffness! The best part? It’s FREE!
Enter your name and email below to say goodbye to low back aches and hello to a stronger backbend.