While it is easy to see how lifting a heavy object in an awkward way can cause a bad back, it’s more difficult to understand how a simple bend, twist or turn can cause you so much pain. And yes, this can happen just by leaning forwards to pick up your shoes or brush your teeth!
If other causes of your recurring back pain have been ruled out, the problem may be down to poor local joint control. And this is due to inadequate or even non-existent muscle activation of the deep core stability muscles. These small muscles are located next to the joint to control excessive slides and glides. When they’re not working optimally, the joint can slide too far and cause strain to the supportive ligaments. It hurts. A lot!
Go to any exercise class or talk to any fitness professional and you will no doubt hear about the importance of core strength. And rightly so – because core strength determines your body’s ability to control and support your spine through deep muscles.
Your spine is a notoriously unstable area, especially your lower back. Your lumbar spine is made up of five vertebrae that are stacked on top of a triangular bone (the sacrum) that’s wedged inside your pelvis. These vertebrae give you the ability to twist, bend and arch your back. But to keep that spine stable you need the constant muscular support or core strength.
Your deep core muscles are the major structures that support, control and facilitate movement in your lower back and pelvis. They are extremely energy efficient and designed to work around the clock. But when you suffer from back pain, these core stability muscles turn off, leaving your spine prone to further injury and recurring episodes of pain.
High risk factors of back pain may include:
- Sudden movement
- Lifting a heavy load
- Twisting or stretching the back
- Coughing or sneezing
- Poor posture
You may also be at risk of recurring back pain if you suffer or have previously suffered from any of the following conditions:
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Core Stability Deficiency
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Pinched Nerve
- Piriformis Syndrome
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sacroiliac Joint Pain
- Spinal Stenosis
- Spondylosis (Spine Arthritis)
- Stress Fracture
Whatever the cause of your recurring back pain, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan. You don’t have to succumb to having a “bad back”.