Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Lower Back & the Glutes - Robbing Peter to pay Paul

The lower back is one of the most common sites of pain in the human body. As our rapidly modernizing and industrializing society shifts our daily lives towards chairs and fixated on staring at a stationary screen instead of scanning the horizon and moving through a variety of different positions athletically throughout the day, our bodies are developing problems and pains that we don't need to suffer.... especially in the lower back.

I'm not trying to say that lower back injuries don't happen. Disc bulges, disc herniations, vertebral fractures, and all sorts of other nasty things can and do happen to the human spine. But oftentimes, the lower back is a victim of a lazy neighbor - the glutes.

Through hours & hours of sitting over years & years, the glutes are placed in a stretched position and worked negligibly, leading to the atrophy that's known as "skinny jeans syndrome". [One of my patients with more "colorful" language referred to it as overdosing on "Noassital"pills.... and yes, it took me a while to figure that one out.]

When your glutes aren't working properly, your lower back is forced to pick up the slack to provide you with relatively upright posture. So the poor, overworked lower back starts to scream for relief because it's been doing a job that the glutes were supposed to be doing all along. While it might feel like the best thing to do would be to stretch out the lower back and massage it, that might just prolong the situation where the lower back is robbed of efficiency and rest because it's been paying for the inactive glute.

So if your glutes aren't as muscular as you'd like and you're suffering from lower back discomfort, one of the approaches to remedy that might be with glute activation exercises. The one I demonstrate in the video below here with the high-yield tactile cue can help your nervous system get into the habit of activating those muscles better when you lock out the apex of your deadlift, your squat, or your lunges.

In fact, for some of my patients who've been suffering from chronic lower back pain for years and who find themselves holding a seated position for hours at a time due to the nature of their work, usually on long-haul drives or longer flights, this seemingly simple exercise gets many of them walking upright with erect posture and without lower back pain & stiffness if performed right when standing up to disembark.

Give this Hard Style Lock breakdown a try and see if it makes a difference in your lower back!

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