Back pain is a common complaint we see in our clinic. And while we're well versed in helping you reduce your symptoms with our little magic needles, we know there's a lot people can do to prevent back pain through posture and movement. That's why we enlisted our fitness friend, Hannah Wydeven, to write a series of blog posts about back pain.
Hannah is the owner of Solcana Fitness in the Seward Neighborhood of Minneapolis (where both Amy and Kim work out AND offer group acupuncture!). Hannah has been a fitness coach since 2010, and works with all types of bodies, specializing in helping womxn and queer folks gain confidence in the gym. You can check out her work at www.solcanafitness.com.
Dearest readers, thank you for jumping on board this new venture with me. I am so excited to have the opportunity to share some of my personal expertise with all of the incredible Constellation clients. In this series, Your Beautiful Back, my goal is to offer you small changes you can make that will help you manage your back pain through simple changes in your patterns, as well as some easy at-home movements.
Maybe it feels like I am making a big assumption that your back hurts, but according to National Institute of Neurological Disorders, about 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. So, even if you aren’t experiencing it now, you may at some point.
There are a lot of low-back pain triggers, everything from pregnancy to a herniated disc. However, low back pain can also be specifically caused by poor motor control or postural problems when we move. As we explore this topic, we will work through the different points around your body and how you can use thoughtful movement to get you feeling totally in control of your back.
Let’s start with the pelvis. I am kind of obsessed with the pelvis to be honest. The Pelvis is this awesome fulcrum on our body that allows us to move in multiple planes and with a huge amount of flexibility or rigidity. Because of the ability to move our pelvis so dynamically, we can get ourselves into some tricky positions that offer less support to the spinal structures of the body, and the next thing you know, boom pow, you got back pain.
So how can you think about your pelvis as a point of maximum support and keep that low back healthy while you move (or sit, or lay down, or do anything)? Try something with me: Stand up and place one hand on your low back, and one hand on your low belly. Lightly squeeze your butt and tighten your lower abdomen. This is what it feels like to be pelvic neutral, the ideal position to support your spine and keep you pain free.
Now, try loosening up your belly and letting your butt stick out, in a “duck butt” position. This is an anterior pelvic tilt. You can feel how quickly your lower back muscles turn on to protect your spine in this position. Many of us are guilty of standing, walking and moving in this position, creating enormous pressure on your low back over time.
Now, try scooping your hips forward and tucking your butt under. This is a posterior pelvic tilt. You can feel in this position you lose the natural s-shape of your spine, which could lead to pain in the lower back and weakening of the back muscles.
Many people suffer from chronic pelvic tilt, either anteriorly or posteriorly. As a result, we are walking around with unnecessary back pain, and exposing ourselves to risk of injury doing any old thing. Particularly when we exacerbate the issue by sitting, standing or moving in these risky positions.
The easiest way to tackle the issue of pelvic tilt is through increased body awareness. You have already practiced finding a neutral pelvis, so now you can practice walking, sitting, squatting, running etc. in this neutral position. In the example below, you can see the vast difference it makes to sit from standing with a neutral pelvis, versus a posterior or anterior tilt. It may seem simple, but a small change in posture and awareness can go a long way to saving your back.
I challenge you to try this week to notice your pelvic alignment when you move, does changing it affect your pain or even your general posture? It is easier to move? Next time, we will talk about bracing, and the key steps to having an iron-clad core.
Like what you read? Check out more at www.solcanafitness.com/blog. Interested in working out with us? Check out our upcoming [Em]Power Strength Series, Sep 4th - Oct 4th, 4:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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