80% of all Americans will suffer back pain at some point in the lives and it is the #1 reason people visit their doctor. So why are so many people suffering from back pain and why can’t we stop it? The truth is we are treating the wrong part of the body. Rarely is low back pain a back issue. I have listed the 5 of the worst mistakes in treating low back pain and I will discuss why after each bullet point.
The 5 worst low back treatments are:
1– Strength training your back and/or stomach. The idea here is the pain is due to muscle weakness and if we can make the muscles stronger in the stomach and back, we can stop the pain. The truth is, your back pain is coming from the front side of your body. The front of your thighs, inner thigh, and hip flexors cause more low back pain then anything else. In fact, just ignoring it or only doing short-term fixes can lead to bulging discs, herniated discs, or pinched nerves.
2– Sitting for long periods of time or doing nothing. Most people sit a lot during their day whether at work or relaxing at home. The body in a seated position shortens the front of thigh, inner thighs, and hip flexors. These muscles, when shortened, will pull the pelvis forward causing a pinch in the low back setting off pain that can drop you to your knees. As in mistake #1, doing nothing can lead to more serious injuries.
3– Traditional Stretching. Stretching as we were taught in school and athletics is actually strength training disguised as stretching. We hold the stretches too long , pull too hard, and try to stretch too many muscles at one time. When the body is in pain, your brain will anticipate pain every time you move in a direction that could possibly hurt. That anticipation of pain will cause the muscles to contract as the brain is trying to protect you. Holding a stretch for more than 5 seconds and forcing the muscle to lengthen will put the brain in the fight or flight mode. This will cause the muscles to contract and increase the pain.
4- Massage therapy– Massage therapist are taught to target the site of pain. If your therapist is only working on your back trying to push out the knots, like in #3, your brain will fight back. No one can cause your muscles to release unless you allow it. Deep tissue massage can cause your brain to fight back because if the pressure is too much, your brain will fight back leaving you with only short-term relief.
5– Injections, braces, or surgery. Injections for low back pain is only useful if you are trying to only stop the pain. The doctor is not fixing anything. For example, what if you went to the dentist with a toothache and the dentist only gave you a shot to numb your mouth. Did they fix the pain and will it come back? The same is true for the rest of your body. Braces are to stabilize an area that is broken or torn. Low back pain is neither. Some people think a brace is for support, but the truth is, if the front of your body causes the pain, what good is a brace? Surgery is design to fix an area that has been damaged from past movements or behaviors. For example, the bulging disc may cause some pain, but what caused the bulging disc. If you surgically fix that one and not find the cause, won’t it bulge somewhere else?
The problem with all these treatments is that they are not addressing the cause of the low back pain. There is a specialized stretch to stretch the upper quad(front of thigh) and it is not standing on 1 foot and pulling your heel up to your hip. There is a specialized stretch for stretching the inner thighs and it is not doing a split or working an abductor machine at the gym. Once you can understand the mechanics of your body, it will become clear that working on the low back for low back pain is worthless.
In my next post I will tell you the 3 best stretches to stop your back pain in 3-5 days and why they outperform everything else that is suppose to solve your problem. Every day I meet people that are frustrated and tired of the letdowns from back pain cures that just don’t work. These stretches have work for people from 21 to 95 years of age and can easily be done at home or your office. I suffered for 6 months with severe low back pain and once I figured this out, my pain went away and hasn’t come back in 15 years. You can do the same. I have many clients that have testimonials on my website at http://www.MuscleRepairShop.com