Steve Finnemore, Massage Therapist
Could you be missing this common cause of backache?
I’ve often written about the problems which can result from over-using muscles, including strains, pulls and stiffness. However, sometimes a client’s problems can be caused by under-use and weakness of muscles. So often in these cases, as with many muscle problems, it isn’t always obvious where the problem is coming from because the pain and discomfort are not necessarily in the muscles that are causing the problem.
Probably the most common example of this is seen in clients suffering from lower back aches and pains. Often this problem has led to them changing their seating to have more lumbar support, having treatments focussed on the affected area and trying out different sleeping and driving positions. Yet still their lower back problems persist. The reason for this is that, in fact, it is often not a problem with the muscles in the back themselves, but rather a result of weak abdominal (stomach) muscles.
The abdominal muscles are core muscles which help us maintain the correct posture when upright and which also contribute to the correct positioning of the spine and pelvis. They need to be strong because they act to relieve any weight put on the spine and also help to maintain the correct curvature of the spine, thus protecting the discs during movement and lifting. The abdominals also keep the pelvis at the correct angle.
Therefore, any lack of strength or fitness in the abdominal muscles can result in the pelvis being at an incorrect angle, again increasing the likelihood of back injury.
If you have weak or unfit abdominals, you are more likely to suffer back injury as a result. Of course, it is important that the correct source of the problem is identified, as there are other causes of back problems. However, once weak abdominal muscles have been identified, steps can be taken to correct the problem. Clients are sometimes surprised to be advised abdominal exercises as part of their aftercare for a bad back, but once they know why they are usually keen to start to address the problem.
If you have any problems which keep on niggling, despite other treatment, then get in touch to discuss how my techniques could benefit you.