Ever thought to yourself:
“I wake up just fine, but the moment I start walking around or doing work, everything tightens up and my lower back starts to hurt”
Or, ” I felt fine just yesterday. I’m not sure what happened, I literally can’t walk today’.
How do I know this?
Just Kidding lol
I know this because I’ve been in your shoes. Those flare-ups came uninvited whenever they felt like it. It drove me nuts…
One day the lower left side of my back would hurt so bad I couldn’t bend or do anything, the next day my right hip spasms with excruciating shooting pain down my leg, a few days after my neck is feeling weird and is locked.
It was a never ending cycle of pain.
What I didn’t realize back then was the fact that it wasn’t about what I needed to do more of (exercises, stretches, therapies…). It was more about what I didn’t know I was doing (that I had to stop doing).
What you don’t do is just as important, if not more, as
what you do do.
There is a reason the pain changes in intensity and you feel better at certain times, but worse at others. And if you want to find out the cause, you gotta do some investigational work.
I’m going to share with you a small part of the process I take my clients through to uncover the causes of lower back pain.
The second part of the process is very specific to the individual, but this first part should be enough to at least pinpoint the activities that are triggering your lower back pain or piriformis pain.
And I also created a FREE assessment guide you’ll need to download and print out to do this exercise with me. It’s right below the video.
Let’s get to work! Oh, and this assessment process works for any type of pain: piriformis syndrome, hip pain, and lower back pain.
If you can’t watch the video, I’ve summarized the main points below it.
The Causes of Chronic Lower Back Pain
How To Assess Your Lower Back Pain (left or right side)
Before I keep going. I’m going to link to another post where I spoke specifically about lower back pain on the left side, and how to treat it. Click the link to get to that other post. The link will open in a new window so you can go back to this one when you’re done.
How To Assess The Causes of Lower Back Pain
For most people, sitting can be a pain trigger. If so, find out how long can you sit before the pain starts. Do you get lower back pain on the right or left side? Does the pain increase in intensity?
Assess Your Posture
Sitting can be a major pain trigger mainly because our society has been trained to sit 90% of the time. We’re driving, sitting at work, sitting on the couch, sitting to watch tv-shows. This repetitive movement pattern (of flexion at the hips and spine) create chronically tight hips, and very tight back muscles…this translates into muscle imbalances, pain and a big change in posture.
Assess Repetitive movement Patters Affecting Tissue
Repetitive movement patterns overload the joints and can trigger muscle spasms as well. Let’s take a simple example of washing the dishes…
When I’m washing the dishes, I can’t help but look down. If I don’t pay enough attention to my posture, my shoulders will follow my eyes (rounded shoulders) and my back will get into flexion (bending at the spine). The problem with this is when it becomes repetitive. Overtime this creates tissue damage. (joint, discs micro tears, and muscle imbalances).
This even happens in sports. A lot of athletes injure themselves because of repetitive movement patterns (rowing as an example promotes flexion), and these athletes train their body to balance and counter act muscle tightness (chest, shoulders).
So which activities or movements are you doing too much of?
And which of these movements are more likely to trigger pain? Bending? Standing? Twisting?
Stress and Mental Wellbeing
Most people IGNORED this and get stuck in finding the physical causes of the pain. Please understand that there is no separation between your mind and your body. If you pick up any neuroscience book, you’ll learn how the brain and the body are connected. The musculoskeletal system is primarily affected by stress.
This explains why so any people feel better, experience absolutely no pain (as it happened with me), when they go on vacation.
And when we’re talking about stress, I’m not talking about big stressful events that have a low probability, I’m talking about little things that happen throughout the day. Things like thinking about bills, getting tuck in traffic, being stressed at work
Your Current Fitness Routine
If your current exercises are giving you pain. You absolutely need to re-assess them. Exercises aren’t bad but it’s important to gradually add challenge and resistance to the body.
If you’re doing too much too soon, and if you’re not doing the exercises with proper form, this can negatively impact your recovery.
You need to follow a corrective exercise plan that progressively add challenge to help you build strength slowly without overloading your joints or muscles.
If you’re not sure how to get started or if such program even exist… I’m happy to say that such program does exist finally. The Back Pain Bootcamp will help you specifically build strength, correct muscular imbalances and exercise safely without the need for a phyio or trainer to be with you every day…
Click here to read more about the Back Pain Bootcamp