Common causes for Non Specific Low Back Pain

04 Apr 2012 | Health

Non-specific low back pain is back pain that has not been attributed to a recognisable pathology (such as infection, tumour, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fracture or inflammation) van der Heijden 1991
Back pain is extremely common with 4 out of 5 adults experiencing back pain at some point in their life. As a trainer this is something that I often have to deal with and help my clients manage. Some of the common cause’s I see are:
-Weak core muscles. A lot of people have weak and unconditioned core muscles. When I talk about the core I am referring to the inner unit muscles that work together to give strength and support to the lower back. The most important muscle to activate is the transverses abdominals (TrA). The TrA is like a corset that wraps around your diaphragm, lower ribs and your lower back. When this contracts it helps to stabilise your lower back and pelvis.
-Tight Thoracic Spine. This is the middle part of your back and runs from your 8th vertebra to your 19th vertebra (T1-T12). One important role of your thoracic vertebra is to provide rotation, lateral flexion (side bending), flexion and extension of your back. If this part of your spine does not allow enough of these movements the rest of your back will compensate by taking the rest of the movement through your (lumbar spine) lower back. The vertebra in your lower back are not designed to have as much movement so when this extra movement occurs it can cause undue stress and discomfort in your low back.
-Tight Hip Flexors. If your hip flexors are tight this can throw your pelvis into an anterior tilt (forward tilt). As your pelvis tilts it throws your low back into an extended position creating more stress on your lower back.
Having tight muscles in one area can throw your whole body out of align. To help improve and manage back pain your body must be looked at as a whole unit. If your training works your body in three planes, strengthen and moves your muscles and joints over a full range of motion in a functional and integrated format then you are taking a massive step in either improving or preventing back pain. I am constantly striving to achieve and improve all these components with all my clients.