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Back pain, specifically low back pain, is the #1 pain complaint in the world. Back pain is the most common complaint that family physicians hear aside from the common cold. Why is back pain so prevalent?
Your brain would rather you be in pain than dead. When you get a pain signal, it’s not your body annoying you or trying to stop you from living a full life. Pain is a sign that you’re in danger, or at least – that your brain thinks you’re in danger.
One of your body’s primary jobs is to assess threats that could shorten or end your life, and one of the most dangerous scenarios we can encounter is a loss of communication between the brain and body. The brain communicates with the body via the spinal cord, or central nervous system (CNS). Aka, your SPINE.
Any potential threat to your spine will get rushed to the front of the line for priority consideration by your brain. And what is your brain’s job at that point? To get your attention. What gets your attention more than anything else? PAIN.
But just because you have back pain doesn’t mean anything is actually “wrong” with your spine. Your brain has simply detected that there is a danger somewhere to your spine and CNS.
That danger could be as far away as the bottom of your foot or the ball of your big toe, or as close as to the spine as the gluteus medius muscle, which may not be activating anymore.
Eventually, it can’t compensate anymore and that’s usually when you get a pain signal.
You have more nociceptors (threat detectors) in your low back than anywhere else in your body. No wonder low back pain is so prevalent! But just because those nociceptors are abundant there doesn’t mean that area is the problem.
Most people, when they experience low back or hip pain, dig into their back muscles or their glutes, have a massage therapist get in there and try to loosen things up or sit on a ball or foam roller hoping to ease the tightness and pain in that region.
But going to your low back or glute tissue expecting long term relief is like blaming the firemen trying to put out a fire. If you aim the firehose at the firemen instead of the burning building, the very people trying to save your life won’t be able to help you anymore and you likely won’t have a house to come back to.
In the case of low back pain, you can’t blame your low back or hip muscles; instead, you need to find the root cause and figure out why your pelvis, hip or spine became unstable and stabilize it. When you do that you won’t need your low back and glute muscles to tighten up to stabilize your spine, and the pain signal will go away.
Like a tree that needs strong stable roots in order to stand free and tall (and able to bend in the wind instead of break) your spine needs strong rooted legs that the pelvis can sit atop, and from there the spine can flow and move with freedom, unthreatened.
* Disclaimer: The contents of this blog and accompanying YouTube channel are for informational purposes only and do not render medical or psychological advice, opinion, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided through this website is expressly the opinions of each author and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. This is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a medical or psychological problem, you should consult your appropriate health care provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Links on this website are provided only as an informational resource, and it should not be implied that we recommend, endorse or approve of any of the content at the linked sites, nor are we responsible for their availability, accuracy or content.
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