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Less Low Back Pain is only a Stand up & a Stretch Away

3/17/15 2:05 PM

Do you....

Consider yourself a healthy person? 

Know that even if you get the recommended amount of aerobic exercises (30 minutes per day), by sitting at your desk the majority of the day you can still be considered to lead a sedentary lifestyle? 

Prolonged sitting contributes to shortened or tight muscles....

Sitting for the majority of the day can have a great effect on the health and function of your spine. Have you made the connection that sitting can cause low back pain? 

In the sitting position, your chest is closer to your knees, which only means one thing… all of the muscles in between are shortened or tight. When your muscles are too tight, your body can not move naturally. With prolonged sitting, the muscles at the front of the leg, specifically the hip flexors (illiopsoas group) become very tight. 

If you refer to the image below, you can see that sections of the muscle originates on the lumbar vertebrae and attaches to the top of your femur (the long bone of your thigh).



Tight hip flexors can change the way your body moves, especially your spine! These tight muscles can also change the way bones are positioned in the body. A common change is called an Anterior Pelvic Tilt. 

What is an Anterior Pelvic Tilt?

This is caused when these tight muscles pull on the pelvis (hip bones) and causes it to rotate forward, exaggerating the curvature of your lower back. Not only does this excessive rotation of your pelvis cause discomfort, it can lead to more trouble down the road, effecting the discs and nerves that run between your vertebrae.

It is also very common that people who experience back pain have tight hamstrings. The hamstrings are big muscles that are on the back of your thigh. They are made up of two separate muscles that mainly move the leg backwards at the hip and bend the knee . When we are sitting, our knees are usually bent, placing our hamstrings in a shortened position. When we move from the seated position to standing, our hamstrings and hip flexors have to lengthen (and they do not want to because they are tight) which causes discomfort. Again, having tight hamstrings can place stress on the pelvis and low back because when you have tight hamstrings your hips do not move properly...when your hips do not move properly, your spine has to compensate for the lack of movement. 

Does your chair provide you with good lumbar support? If not consider purchasing a lumbar roll. Do-It-Yourself'er? Roll up a bath towel and place it in the curvature of your low back. Having good lumbar support will influence better posture throughout your whole spine! 



Now that your posture is improved to help decrease low back pain, learn how to LOOK UP! 4 Quick Ways to Correct Your Posture to help decrease neck pain.


Written by Christine Whitney.

Christine Whitney is a licensed physical therapist and contributing author.

Topics: Posture, hip pain, Low back pain