The American Chiropractic Association estimates that approximately 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time. Additionally, they note that low back pain is one of the leading reasons for which employees miss work. (1)
While the causes of low back pain are numerous, one of the most common is sitting down. Sitting, a position in which many Americans are stuck for 8 or more hours a day, places the hip in flexion, lengthening hip extensor muscles such as the gluteus maximus and hamstrings, while holding the hip flexors in a chronically shortened position. When a person who has been sitting tries to stand, the hip shortened muscles will be pulled into a position where they are much longer than to what they are accustomed, and start screaming in pain, sending sharp nerve impulses to the brain.
One of the hip flexor muscles that may be responsible for a large amount of low back pain is the Psoas.
The Psoas are a fusiform muscle that have several origin points including the transverse processes of all 5 lumbar vertebrae, the lateral aspects of lowest thoracic vertebra (t12) through the 4th lumbar vertebra, and inserts at the lesser trochanter of the femur after fusing with tendons of the iliacus.
Sitting causes the posts to be held in a short position all day, putting tension and causing pain on the low back and hip.
To ease low back pain, try performing self myofascial release and stretching the psoas:
Self Myofascial Release: To release and relax the posts muscles, we need to apply pressure to relax the muscles and allow them to gently lengthen. This can be done by lying prone with some sort of foam or lacrosse ball pressed into the lower abdominal region. Personally, I like to lie in the supine position and press the handle of a kettle bell into the psoas.
Stretching The Psoas: Assume a half kneeling position with your knee on a padded surface. Perform this stretch near a wall or with some sort of raised surface so that the back leg can be fully forced into knee flexion. Force the pelvis downwards and slightly forwards. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and up to 2 minutes on both sides to lengthen the psoas.
The above stretching and myofascial release technique can be done every day to help lengthen the psoas and eliminate one of the leading causes of low back pain. Enjoy.
1. American Chiropractic Association. ACAToday.org. Back Pain Facts and Statistics.