What are Common Causes of Lower Back Pain and Tightness?
It is important to discern the underlying causes of lower back pain. As a Remedial Massage therapist I am constantly looking into WHY the pain and/ or tightness is there in the first place as well as the symptoms you are currently experiencing.
Your lower back is a complex set of joints, nerves, fascia and muscles that all work together to create stability and movement of the body. To avoid pain and tightness it is important to have a balance between mobility and strength in the area as well as having the areas above and below it functioning properly. Your lower back is influenced by your posture, thoracic spine, pelvis and hips. If one or more of these areas isn't functioning properly, you get a break down in the kinetic chain which is where pain, tightness and injury can occur.
The key is to work out which link/s in the chain aren't functioning properly and creating a plan of attack to improve their function.
There are many common causes of lower back pain. Often there are several pieces of the puzzle that need to be addressed to decrease pain and tightness. Some of the common causes can be:
Core stability is a HUGE part of lower back pain. If you do not have the strength in your gluts, abdominals and other muscles that stabilise your lower pack it puts additional pressure through the joints which can cause tightness, stiffness, pain and/or injury to the area.
Often there is an underlying joint pathology associated with lower back pain. What can happen is one or more joints in the area become stiff and stop doing their job properly. This causes other muscles in the areas to overcompensate and have to move more than usual. In turn, this can irritate these muscles causing pain. Amongst other causes, muscle and joint stiffness can come from long periods of time sitting, having had a previous injury and guarding the area, stiffness in your upper back, sport and/or gym.
Poor posture is a huge cause of lower back pain that we see in our massage clinic. Sitting in poor posture for long periods of time put excessive stress on your lower back's muscles, joints and nerves. Additionally if you are standing you’re your pelvis tucked under and your hips excessively forward this changed the distribution of the body's weight through the joints of the spine. Dependent on your posture this can places additional stress on some joints and muscles and cause others to switch off and not do their job. Having someone like a remedial massage therapist identity whether or not you need to make a change to you posture is essential to reduce the risk of lower back pain and treat the initial cause of the problem.
Over use, gym and everyday life jobs!
Progressive overload plays a huge role in lower back pain. Often we dive back into sport or a heavy day of house jobs underestimating the affect it will have on our lower back. Our lower back relies on a group of core stabiliser muscles to support it. If these aren't strong and you jump in to a heavy load of training, excessive lifting (at home or in the gym!) these muscles fatigue and so you lower back is susceptible to pain, tightness or injury. Being mindful of getting back into training slowly, using good lifting techniques and taking regular breaks is essential to avoid lower back pain.
Have you head of the phrase that 'sitting is the new smoking?' 1 in 6 people complain of lower back pain and lower back pain is the 3rd highest burden on the health system. With sitting in poor posture being one of the MAJOR causes of lower back pain, it is easy to understand why sitting is being called the new smoking! Making sure you understand what good seated posture looks like as well as taking regular breaks to get up and move about is essential to avoid lower back pain.
Lower Back Pathologies including Nerve, Disc and/Facet Related Conditions
There is a group of conditions that can cause your lower back pain. If these are not addressed they can cause you significant pain, have long term affects and need significant treatment. There are a certain set of characteristics that these types of conditions present with. Having a remedial massage therapist who understands what to look for and who can refer you on when necessary is essential to ensure you get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
Poor biomechanical function
Lower backs can be a 'barometer' for other areas of the body. If your hips, pelvis, knees, ankles or thoracic spine aren't movement properly this can place additional stress on the lower back and cause dysfunction. Often tightness and/or weakness in one or more area can change the way you move as well as the way load is distributed through your spine causing pain and/or dysfunction.
This treatment uses deep tissue massage, acupressure, cupping and muscle and tendon realignment to bring the whole body back into alignment