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3 Unexpected Factors for Low Back Pain 

Low back pain, lumbar radiculopathy, pelvic floor pain, piriformis syndrome, etc the list goes on when it comes to low back pain diagnosis.   When you first learn about these diagnoses its very overwhelming and you’re not sure what to do. Having specific diagnosis can be great cause it may lead to more accurate representation of your issues.  However, regardless of diagnoses there are common factors we often see in our clinic that often stop patients from progressing further in their recovery.     

Here are 3 unexpected factors that you may have not thought about. 

 

1. You’re doing A LOT of stretching 

Now, before I go any further I want to reiterate that stretching is not necessarily a bad thing.  The problem may arise when the individual ONLY performs stretching. 

Stretching often feels good to do.  The brain recognizes change in length in the muscle, it sends an inhibitory signal and you get some form of ‘feel good’ feeling.   However, if you have been stretching, get temporary relief and go back to the same low back pain pattern WITHOUT progress there can be a reason.  

The brain is interesting in the sense that when it detects tension, it’s acts similar to a smoke detector.  A smoke detector detects smoke no matter what but it doesn’t know HOW the smoke was created (IE- smoke from cooking or the walls are burning down).   You need to further investigate to see what happened. It’s no different in the body. 

So, you detect tension/tightness/whatever you want to call it.   It doesn’t mean that the brain understands WHY you feel ‘tight’. What is often believed is, its feel tight = something needs to be stretched.   

As a quick analogy, imagine a rubber band which has elastic qualities to it.  When does a rubber band have ‘tension’? It’s when it gets stretched!  

In short, know that muscles can be sensed as ‘tight’ due to multiple reasons.  Not just when the muscle is short. It’s important to know when to further investigate what is happening.  Don’t worry, if you have been stretching a lot and you realized it doesn’t help you at least you now know that stretching doesn’t work so you can find different solutions that may work for you! 

 

2. The ‘PERFECT’ Posture 

“STAND TALL!” 

“HEAD UP!  CHEST UP!” 

“SQUEEZE YOUR SHOULDER BLADES!” 

 

Posture is one of the more confusing topics out there.  Have you ever been told to stand straight and chest wide and open?  This is not necessarily a bad idea but our goal (my goals for you) in posture is not be so forceful and happen more naturally. 

Have you worked so hard on posture because that’s what we were told to do to help with your lower back?  But it seems like you’re not necessarily progressing? You might be keeping everything tight to avoid further injury but you don’t necessarily feel ‘looser’? 

Working on posture is a good idea.  However, I believe the way we are approaching it can be different once we have a better understanding of how the brain works to keep us humans upright against gravity.   I believe it’s not about ‘squeeze your shoulder blades’, ‘stand tall’, etc.  

Posture is not just about weakness but it can also be related to: 

  • How the brain ability to sense each joints spatial relationship each other and gravity 
  • Current psychological behavior (sad, happy, confident, scared, nervous) 
  • Medical History 

 

3. How you are breathing 

 

Ever notice that your back gets worse during the time of stress?  Or when you are trying to sleep? Or when you are just sitting around doing nothing and then the back just starts to get tense which is annoying? 

How you breathe can be a good sign how your current state is.  Being aware that you are just breathing into your stomach, neck or chest tends to tell us how we breathe when we are in a state of stress/threat.   Notice where your air is NOT filling. For example, you don’t breathe into your rib cage, the sides of your ribs, your back, your stomach, etc. Just by understanding that, you may see what you may be missing.  

And one more common thing I see with breathing.   Many of us do not exhale enough.  

These are things that will be discussed individually in our Low Back Pain Workshop that is held in Tenafly, NJ in our September.   If you feel like you are: 

  • Tired of these nagging and annoying low back pain 
  • Looking for a long-term solution and not the short-term solution 
  • Want to get back to activities that you couldn’t do before even though you’ve been getting care 
  • You’ve been told by your doctor to take pain killers and injections even though you know there is more. 
  • If you have to rely on others to help you. 
  • You are not satisfied by the advice you are given from other healthcare practitioners. 
  • You do not want to be like the 80% of people in America who suffer repeatedly for low back pain.  

 

Reserve your seat HERE 

 

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