One of the most common reasons people come to see me for biomechanics coaching is because they have lower back pain. After I explain to them I don’t treat pain and they are happy with that, we can start working on improving how they move. In most cases the pain eases or goes away completely.
Here are some reasons for people having back pain:
Reduced movement in the thoracic spine
A function of the thoracic spine (mid back) is rotation. When there is not enough rotation in this area of your back. This can be due to many things such as not enough movement, too much movement, impact, sports injury, etc. The body tries to compensate by finding an alternative way to move. This can result in the lower back trying to make up from the lack of movement further up the chain.
To find out how to help improve the movement in your thoracic spine please check out my blog on the subject here.
Tight sciatic nerve
The sciatic nerve starts in your lower back and travels through your pelvis and down your legs. Examples of what can cause a tight sciatic nerve can be sitting for long periods or doing a repetitive movement. You can read more here.
When the sciatic nerve is tight it can create pain and this can happen in the back. Reducing the tension in the sciatic nerve can sometimes reduce low grade back pain.
Muscle spasm in the pelvis
We no longer move in the way or as much as our bodies are designed for so similar to the tight sciatic nerve, muscle spasm in the pelvis can be a cause of back pain. There are muscles in the lower back that connect to the pelvis therefore there is a link between the lower back and pelvis. When the pelvis isn’t moving optimally the lower back may have to compensate leading to pain when it happens too much. One of the pelvis muscles that can affect the back is the piriformis. You can read more about it here.
Shoulder (pec minor)
Because movement in one part of the body can impact movement in another part we can never discount that something going on in the shoulder affecting the lower back. I recently had a client who reported that when she starts to feel her lower back one of the exercises she does that appears to help is to relax a muscle called the pec minor that attaches the shoulder to the ribs. This muscle can often go into spasm when we spend too long in a fixed position, often with rounded shoulders.
As you can see back pain can be caused by many things and only focusing on the place where you feel the pain doesn’t always relieve the pain. I never treat pain but I have seen that when I help a client improve their movement in general they sometimes experience less discomfort or pain in their lower back.