Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Self Screen for Low Back Pain

Non diffuse low back pain is the bane of many people/athletes.  Wouldn't it be great if there were some markers to predict if you may be at risk?  You, my friend, are in luck.  We do know a few things now about the importance of movement and endurance.  Here are a few ways to keep yourself out of the old bent over shuffle walk that low back pain produces.

Sorenson Test.  This is essentially an isometric back extension.  These are the number, under 176 sec. low back pain in a year.  Over 196 seconds you're good to go.  Test for 240sec

Stu McGill, the biggest name it seems in low back research, suggests a side plank for 75 sec.  If you hit it, nice.  Also, front plank 90 sec.

Stu has also found that those that lack hip extension, will have severe low back pain at some point.  So don't lose that motion.

This brings us to tissue quality and length.  Keep those hip flexors loose!  Psoas and Rectus Femoris are crucial.  Google Thompson Test if you want a visual on the test.

I have found that bilateral soleus muscle tightness goes hand and hand with low back pain.  When the calves are tight it pushes you on the toes when standing.  This switches all the errector spinae muscles on and they tighten up.  Over time they just create pressure and tension on the low back.

Try standing.  Now become aware of the back.  Now shift your weight to your heels.  Feel the back muscles just switch off.  Cool stuff.

Check hip internal rotation.  Don't lose it.  Goes with extension.  Loss predicts pain.  Keep your hips moving.  I've discussed this before.

Bottom line, work on the endurance and keep the hips moving.

Here is the paper discussing the Sorenson Test.


Ku2u said...

Is it possible to have very strong glutes, yet still have weak erector spinae/low back muscles?

Kyle Uptmroe

AW said...

Thes tests sound great, I think it might be a little late for me, although I do find that adjustable beds helps me a lot at the moment. I just wish I'd known these texts beforehand! Great post.

Jason Ross said...

Yes, but it's unlikely scenario. When glutes fire, errectors working isometrically.

dave a walker said...

I am a walker, I have always suffered from tight calves and lower back pain. Thats why I gave up running.
I have had dry needling on a tight gluteus Medius and Hamstring. Walking after that felt really hard so I stretched my Calves, what difference, over the edge of a stair to stretch the upper part then downon bended knee to stretch the Achiles side.
I still get a tightnees in my lower back where it feel like the lower back is seizing up. After a marathon the other day I could feel like a tight / sharp pain at the top of the Patella. I think it is the Erector Femoris which is causing it, but cannot find a good way to stretch it. The only stretch thats seems to work is lying on stomach and holding my ankle, and then pushing my abs down to straighten my back. I can feel a stretch then, is that ok or is there a better stretch. I osrt of feel like I am chasing an illusive source of my pain. I feel I have only dealt with symptosm so far.
Dave Ingram

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