Back pain – a victim between the thorax and the pelvis.

Back pain – a victim between the thorax and the pelvis.

Low Back pain: is often the victim between a stiff rib cage/ thorax above and tight hips or pelvis below. Read on to learn how this happens.

Another cause of back pain can be misalignment elsewhere in the body affecting how you move your lower back. See the Integrated method of Physio treatment for how we assess and treat this. 

The cause of your back pain must be fully and accurately assessed to treat it properly and prevent a recurrence. 

The joints in the lumbar spine are oriented to bend and extend (forward and back movement, and sideways), not to rotate (see image).

The thorax or rib cage rotates much like a slinky. The hip joints also rotate a lot. However, when you grip your deep buttock muscles (clench butt cheeks together or tuck tail) you limit rotation in the hips and pelvis. Likewise, when you sit at a desk for long hours and shallow breathe, the rib cage gets stiff. The thorax can also get compressed doing weights at the gym, or exercising without stretching adequately. When these areas get stiff the lumbar spine tries to compensate, but it is not anatomically designed to do so. A long period of these patterns can even cause disc injuries in the lumbar spine. Pain results… for no apparent cause.  

Movement for example walking, or even rolling over in bed can be altered by these stiff areas, resulting in low back pain. Strain on the mechanics of the lumbar spine can irritate nerves, muscles and even the discs. This type of back pain can creep up on you over months, and have no cause that you can discern.

Treatment: of the lower back is effective when a whole-body assessment is done. The cause of your back pain is accurately assessed by determining where movement has been lost and putting undue strain on your lower back.

Maintaining rotation in the areas above and below the lumbar spine is important for treating and preventing back pain.

A full assessment is carried out here at The Physio & Yoga Clinic in Crows Nest using the Integrated whole-body approach. We can identify for you where you have imbalances and correct them. 

Stretches for the thorax and hips that may help prevent low back pain:

1. Rotate the upper body (rib cage) while sitting in a chair, or lie on the floor with arms outstretched, bend the knees up high and twist bent knees from side to side. Either way stretches muscles between the ribs to restore mobility. 

2. Child’s Pose in Yoga lengthens or decompresses the thorax and lower back; crouch on the floor and sit back on heels, stretch arms out in front. Take deep breaths in this position into your back ribs.

3. Hips stretch; lie on your back, place feet flat on a wall with knees at 90 degrees. Lift one ankle and place it over the opposite knee. Then roll pelvis away from you. Feel the stretch in your buttock muscles.

There are many more stretches that can be prescribed specifically for your body.

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