Why is Low back pain so common? What can I do about it?
Our backs were designed for constant movement during the day. Before modern society, we would only sit on the ground and for durations. As we add more comfort and reduce movement in our daily life, we are training our postural muscles to become weak. The lack of movement in our backs directly results in pain and stiffness. The same concept applies to chronic injuries in sports; when we continually put our bodies into the same position, we become stiff with movements outside of our athletic stance. Maintaining joint mobility not only prevents injuries but allows for improved performance. A lack of joint mobility in the joints above and below is the biggest contributor to joint pain. A loss of hip and mid-back range of motion often results in pain because you are asking the low back to do the job of the other joints. The most effective way to combat a loss of motion, is to perform movements in the opposite direction of your restrictions. For example, most of us have tight hip flexors due to sitting for long periods, meaning we should perform stretching and movement into hip extension. To combat an increase in midback flexion (hunch back), you would perform stretching and movements into back extension. With the fact that bodies respond to activity demands by building up muscle; changing your environment to perform more daily movement is the easiest fix to increase the strength and endurance of the core stabilizing muscles.