Archives for lumbar

The Hip and Back Relationship

golfWhen discussing any type of back problem we also need to review the relationship that the back has with the other joints in the body, particularly the hip. Recall that the spine is designed to be flexible, but that excessive stress will lead to problems. The hip is unique in that is it designed to be a mobile joint but also depends on muscles to provide stability when needed.  Hip stability is crucial when we put weight on a single leg, such as when we walk or run. Excessive stress on the spinal joints will result in low back pain, but as you can see, the problem at the hip may the underlying cause. Continue reading “The Hip and Back Relationship” »

Lift With Your…

liftingMost people know that you are not supposed to lift with your back. However, from this knowledge the saying “lift with your knees not your back” has evolved. Unfortunately, that’s only partially correct as this information alone can cause serious consequences to our knee joints down the road if this becomes the habit. There is a better way to lift.
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Lumbar Flexion and Low Back Pain

woman bendingLow back pain can be complex and have many different contributing factors, so to give one recommendation to everyone who sufferers from it wouldn’t make much sense.  However, one large subgroup of back pain sufferers fall under what is termed “flexion-intolerant”.  In this case flexion is bending forward (just like the lady in the picture).  Too much flexion or bending at the low back can be detrimental to structure of the spinal joints and discs.  Repetitive or prolonged flexion or bending can often times be what causes an increase or “flare-up” in low back pain.  This can include repetitive lifting, sitting, or driving.

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Use This Office Checklist

office-workMany will just succumb to the fact that they sit at desk for their job, and aches and pains are destined to follow. Prolonged sitting at a desk or computer will increase the chance of pain for most people.  Possible complaints can include neck or back pain, headaches, wrist or elbow tendonitis, or carpal tunnel like symptoms. Although I treat patients for all these conditions, it is much easier to prevent them before symptoms make it difficult to work. Here is my first line of defense if you sit at a desk or computer for more than one hour combined during the day.
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The Hip Flexor Stretch

hip-and-pelvis2Adding hip flexor stretches can have a positive effect on function of the hip and pelvis, posture, and ultimately reducing pain when performed correctly.  The hip flexor is a group muscles that assist with, doing just what is says…flexing the hip.  If you sit at a desk for work, this will most likely be tight. The muscles originate and attach as high as the spine and as low as the thigh, just above the knee.  Of course most of the muscles will have attachments at the hip and pelvis itself.  Statically when they are tight or restricted they can cause a forward rocking of the pelvis.  We call this “sway back” posture.  Ultimately what this does is cause an increase curvature in our lumber spine.  Also, if the muscle group is tight the hip joint will become limited resulting in overuse of the low back muscles to compensate.

Here are the basics of how to properly stretch the hip flexor.
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Bare Essentials For A Healthy Spine Part 3- Postural Awareness

posture evolutionWhen it comes to pain, it’s easy to want look for the next big thing to help deal with it.  Folks often ask my thoughts on the new supplement they saw on TV, or the inversion table their friend told them about and if it could help with their aches and pain.  When it comes to managing things on our own, less is usually more.  In other words do as little as needed, rather than as much as possible.  By doing the minimum, but essential amount, the majority of us will be much better off.  This includes focusing daily on joint mobility, strength and stability, and postural awareness.

Part 3.  Postural Awareness
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