Lower back pain is the second most common reason Americans visit their family physician and it is the most common reason for medical leave!
How does this happen?
Muscle systems work together in creating ALL movement. The most common lower back injuries are actually from overworking them which you would think the opposite since they are in a stretched position while seated, which most people do a lot of!
See the average person sits for many hours throughout the day, normally as a requirement of their occupation. What happens with sitting for long periods of time is that the muscles of the low back are sitting in a stretched position for all that time while the hip flexors are short, not working, just short. This becomes more important as we discuss the health in elasticity of muscles. More importantly however the glutes, while seated, are in a lengthened position and then squished with your own body weight.
Now think about yourself as a mom, when you are cleaning the house and picking up items from the floor do you lunge or squat down using your legs and glutes to get it? or simply hinge from the hips causing hyper load to your low back? Do you always maintain a flat back for simple movements in the day such as loading and unloading the dishwasher? Do you keep your core engaged while driving?
Now the bigger question… do you actively pursue exercises targeted to the glutes and not the low back? This comes down to positioning of your squats, how you walk/run, and even down to the order of exercises… I’ve seen incredibly fit looking individuals that cant actively engage their glutes without their low back. This means that every movement they create is overusing the muscles of the low back, making it more susceptible and leading to injury.
So how do we fix this?
Well here I’ve given ya’ll three of my favorite stretches to do for the low back. They are also the top three enjoyed by clients for relief!!
The first two are what I call “feel-good” stretches. They are stretches that actually stretch the low back, BUT they don’t fix the problem because the problem is not in the low back when is comes habitual causes but in the hip flexors and lack of glute activation. Since glute activation can vary greatly from person to person, this stretch is universally safe and effective for stretching the problem child of the hip flexors!