Five Reasons Your Low Back Hurts (Part 2)

You have a lazy butt / sleepy ass

 

Check out your glutes. They look impressive don’t they?  After all, the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in your body.

But, those glutes may be all show, and no go.

In a perfect world, your glutes initiate hip extension (moving your leg behind your body).

 

But what happens when the glutes are out to lunch? The next extensors in the chain, your low back paraspinals, have to do the work.

 

No one likes to do a lot of extra work, and your lumbar paraspinals are no exception.  They are going to start complaining.

HELP! I'm working too hard!

 

So why do glutes get inhibited?

Sitting is often the cause, although not for the reason you might think.  You’re glutes don’t fall asleep because you are resting on them all day (although lack of blood flow certainly doesn’t help).  They actually are inhibited because your hip flexors are kept in a shortened position all day as you sit.  The hip flexors become short and tight, and inhibit their functional opposite, the glutes.

 

While hip flexor (psoas, iliacus) to hip extensor (glute max) is a common pattern, there are others.

Ever get tight calves?

You massage them and stretch them and they just won’t relax?

Ever get shin splints? 

They won’t go away no matter what you do?

If you have a tight muscle that keeps getting tight no matter what you do to relax it, that’s because your brain is telling it to be tight.  You have to figure out why your brain wants to put stability in that area.

If you look at the body in terms of fascial chains it makes sense that if one area of the chain isn’t pulling its weight, another area will have to work harder.  If your glutes aren’t working, but you still want to stand up, or walk, or run, something else in that chain is going to have to pick up the slack.  It may be your calves, your shin muscles, or even your toe flexors.

 

An added bonus to getting your glutes working is that often shin splints and tight calf muscles (and even plantar fasciitis) will resolve.

Is the solution as simple as stretching your hip flexors, and doing lots of bridges?  That can help, but it may not be the exact remedy in your case.  The key is to figure out YOUR specific compensation patterns.

How the heck do you figure out these compensations?

With a really cool technique called NeuroKinetic Therapy.  With a few simple tests I can figure out which muscles are working and which ones aren’t.  And, which muscles need releasing, and which muscles need activation.  It’s very efficient and very effective.

When you clear out these compensation patterns, and the muscles are working as intended, then your low back muscles finally have a chance to relax. They are no longer doing their neighbor’s work.