So many people I know suffer from low back pain. In fact, about 50% of the clients came to find me due to needing relief from low back pain. Some of my clients couldn't do twisting motions or hinge movements like the dead lift or getting their shoes on and off.
The common cause I find in 95% of people with low back pain is tight hip flexors. That is the muscles in the front of the lower abdomen and down into the upper thigh. Quads and Psoas are main culprits. A lot of people have chronic tension in their diaphragm as well. All of the muscles of the front of the body, when tight and short, strain the back of the body and cause pain and dysfunction there.
The hip flexors are shortened anytime we sit, and since we sit so often in our culture (at school, in the car, at a desk, on the couch, etc) those muscles become chronically short and tight overtime. When this is the case, some seemingly benign movement (slept wrong, twisted weird sweeping the floor, stepping out of the car funny) will send the low back into spasm and pain.
People who come in to have massage for low back pain are often surprised that I don't work on the low back much at all. Instead I work on the front of the body. The thing is, I am looking for and addressing the cause of the pain, and the low back muscles just aren't it, (for most people). When I do work on the front body, the relief my clients feel is immediate!
One of my more recent clients had low back pain so bad that he couldn't exercise, had a real hard time at work, and hated putting on and off clothes because it was so painful. He was skeptical at first when I told him how I would be working with him, but after our first session, he was able to get dressed with a lot more ease, and after several sessions, he was able to get back into the gym. Now, only 3 months later, he has no low back pain.
There are lots of ways to care for your body so that you don't get into a lot of pain, or if you do, you can get out of it. Massage is a great way, especially sports therapy. Stretching and strengthening are other ways. Check out this video for some good tips on self-care for low back by addressing tight hip flexors, and if you do have low back pain, consider getting massage on them as well.
As the holidays approach, and you plan your holiday travel, plan in some time for stretching and strengthening hip flexors and core muscles, and it will be the best gift you will give yourself.
Adinah Barlow has been a massage therapist since 2007 and Self-Care Coach since early 2017. She believes that when people prioritize their own well-being, everything else and everyone else in their life becomes exponentially better.