What is low back pain? What causes that annoying ache right across the lower area of our back? Why are so many of us seemingly plagued with this unpleasant hindrance? Let’s dive into these common questions and break down the ideas that surround low back pain.
Low back pain (LBP) favours no age, gender or working population. Many people in our day and age experience that aching pain that seems to just creep up out of the blue. From our experience, unless there is a distinguishable history of injury, LBP is most commonly caused by inefficient movement patterns that we use from day to day, which eventually can put stress on areas of the spine. In saying this, not many of us, if any at all, go around thinking about each move we make. We just move! Regardless, we develop movement patterns that are easiest for the body, even if they are not the most efficient. These patterns can then be further developed into bad habits and result in pain.
We can think of the body in terms of a well-oiled machine with functional parts.
In order for a machine to continually work well as a whole, it must rely on the efficiency of the engine and each moving part. With respect to the body and how it moves, we can think of the ‘engine’ as the pelvis and muscles in our hips. The hips include the largest muscles of our body and therefore, it only makes sense that these are the ones initiating or driving our movements. The rest of our body, or functioning parts, should supplement the big movements from the hips. If a well-oiled machine has moving parts that function out of turn, the result may be a breakdown over time. Similarly, when we use areas of the body other than the pelvis and hips to drive our big movements, we can experience pain over time.
If our hips are unable to move freely and efficiently, due to restrictions in mobility, we must first address this. If we have the mobility, we must then learn how to properly use it by practicing the correct movement patterns.
Although many cases of LBP can be caused by movement inefficiencies in the hips, it would be unwise to say that it cannot be caused by a lack or inefficiency of movement further up the spine or anywhere down to and including the feet. It could also be caused by injury or trauma. This is why it is important to seek professional guidance in order to get to the root cause of what may be irritating the back.