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Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain - The back hurts but it's the butts fault

I recently read an article in The Daily Mail that suspects nearly half of the adult population in the UK are living with chronic pain - lower back pain being one of the biggest causes.

Anyone who has been to visit us in the clinic with lower back pain may have heard us use the expression ‘the back hurts, but it’s the butts fault’. Simply put, your back may well not be the cause of your pain, even though it is the site.

As soon as people experience pain in the lower back, we are quick to think that it is the 'black spot',‘something serious’, ‘in for life’, or one we hear often,‘something that should be expected with age’. 

In our clinical experience we see the majority of cases being solved easily with correction of muscular imbalances, muscle flexibility or posture. Often yielding very quick results. 

Why is the butt often at fault when assessing back pain?

The gluteal muscles are the biggest and most powerful muscles in the body. They wrap around the hip to extend and externally rotate the joint. However, they also attach into the lower back, playingan important stabilising role for a joint in the lower back called the Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ). The SIJ is where the spine attaches to the pelvis – held in position by the gluteal muscles. If these muscles become tight they will tilt the pelvis backwards instantly applying excessive pressure into the area, as well as potentially tightening the SIJ. 

The gluteal muscles commonly become weak or ‘underactive’ as a result of living in a ‘flexion-addicted society’. What do we mean by this? Next time you are on a train take a look around… we guarantee that nearly every person will be displaying flexion at most of their joints. As they sit and read a newspaper/tablet/phone with their neck bent forwards, lower back hunched forwards and the hip joint flexed, all of the muscles that create this flexion are becoming short and tight. So the opposing muscles that create extension, like the gluteal muscles do for the hip, are not being used, resulting in themweakening over time.