Today, lower back pain has become synonymous with baseline existence. It is something we must simply look forward to having in our chair-sitting, back bending, and stress-inducing lives. In many cases, it’s merely a case of poor movement and not being mindful. Something as simple as bending over, done improperly can cause lower back pain. So, what then, is the cause of lower back pain from bending over? More importantly, how do we avoid lower back pain from bending over and how can Physical Therapy help?
The cause of lower back pain is diverse and multifactorial. We hear buzzwords like “herniated disc” or “muscle strain,” but there is something fundamental that is missing from our normal movement patterns that seem to be underlying this resultant condition.
Our hips and our lower back are intimately related; that is, they are two unique parts of skeletal anatomy that are joined by the pelvis. Our hip joints have an incredible range of motion. As a result, we’ve evolved big, bulky muscle groups to help keep them stable, including the infamous gluteus maximus, primary mover in hip extension, and gluteus medius and minimus, primary movers in hip abduction. We run into trouble when one part tries to do the work the other has been so adequately designed to do.
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Why does my lower back hurt when I bend over?
Primarily, we tend to use our low back to achieve flexion and extension patterns like in sitting and standing, or bending down to the floor to pick something up, instead of using our hips! This phenomenon is called lumbopelvic association, or associated movement. That is, our hip and low back are moving together when they should be working independently of one another. This is one way we get lower back pain from bending over.
As a good visual, drop a pen on the floor in front of you. Now, pick that pen up. Was your back straight? Did you feel your glutes working? My guess is you’re all back, but that’s OK! All hope is not lost and there is ample time to retrain your body and even more so your brain, to achieve healthy, functional movement patterns that spare the low back and utilize the glutes for what they were designed to do. In the case of lower back pain from bending over, think movement. Not simply movement for movement’s sake, but the RIGHT movement; all parts working together to achieve a goal, not for one another.
If you think you’re lower back pain is being caused by poor movement, Physical Therapy can go a long way to help correct old habits. As always, if you’re in the New York City area, you can always visit our Physical Therapists in Brooklyn, NY. Just give us a call or start by filling out the form below.