(HawaiiNewsNow) - This morning, we're kicking off the back pain series with a look at lumbar back pain, pain occurring in the lowest part of the spine. In any given week, the number one thing people complaining of back pain is an excessive anterior tilt, forward tilting, of the hip bone. When we've been standing or carrying heavy objects for long periods of time, instead of maintaining a good posture of slightly bent knees and neutral hip position, many of us tend to sink into what initially feels like a more restful posture. We lock out our knees, over arch our lower back. This generally takes pressure off our muscles, allowing them to rest, while the bones of the legs, hip and spine take over and hold us up. The problem here is that excessive anterior, or front, tilting pelvis strains lower back muscles by leaving them contracted for long periods of time and overly arching the lower back. This is what leads us to lower back strain and even sets us up for pulled hamstrings. (when the back of the hip is tilted up and the front of the hip is tilted down in this posture, it pulls at the hamstring attachments in the pelvis, artificially tightening and lengthening them.) The other thing this does is to stretch out and weaken the abdomen while tightening the hip flexors (muscles in the front of the legs). With all this going on, the bottom line is, we're creating all manner of imbalances around the base of the spine. Imbalances in our joints generally lead to pain & discomfort. This is particularly true here.
So what do we do about it? The key to regaining proper hip tilt and mitigating this kind of back pain is going to be stretching out the tight spots and strengthening the weak ones. Key areas, those tight hip flexors on the front of the legs and the weak, overly stretched abdominals.
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