Lower back lockdown?
Are you battling with a tight or what some call “locked” lower back? Currently many people find them selves at home without the correct ergonomics that they could find at work as well as lack of inactivity.
Lower back issues are on the rise during this lockdown period the globe is experiencing.
We will be looking at the anatomy of the lumber spine, what could cause it lock up, posture and ergonomics tips and what to do to assist this problem.
Lumber spine anatomy
The lumber spine sits towards the lower end of the spine and is typically known as the lower back or trunk region. The lumbar spine comprises of 5 vertebrae, intervertebral discs, nerve, ligaments, blood vessels and muscles. Whilst the lumbar spine is very strong and resilient it is subject to high degrees of stress. This in turn may cause many issues not just to the lower back but could refer to the buttocks, legs and even the feet. This is all dependent on which structure is being injured in the lower back.
Functions of the lumbar spine
Provide support and stability to the upper body – the vertebrae in conjunction with the muscles and ligaments provide a support to structures above it.
Provides movement in the trunk – these include side-to-side movements, extension and flexion, and rotation. Majority of the movement comes from the lower two vertebrae (L4, L5).
Provides protection to the spinal cord and nerve – the vertebrae form a casing around the spinal cord and nerves descending down into the legs.
Assist in control lower body movement – nerves that excite the lumbar spine provide for movement in the legs and feet.
What causes the lower back to lock?
Many people will feel the back “lock-up” quite suddenly, however the damage could have been done weeks or months prior to the lock-up. Below are some reasons for the lumbar spine to “lock-up”.
Sedentary lifestyle is one of the major reasons why backs tend to lock up. The body was made to move and enjoys activity. It doesn’t have to be an intense gym routine, it could be a walk, Pilates, swimming etc.
Poor ergonomics and posture
This is one of the major causes of non-specific lower backpain in office workers.
It is termed non-specific as it usually results in number of structures (muscles, disc, nerve etc.) being irritated at the same time.
Common postural issues included – slumped over position at the desk, sitting on the edge of the chair so that the chair doesn’t support your lower back.
Computer height isn’t adjusted to your chair height, sitting at an angle to your computer etc. Many companies also don’t have ergonomic work stations to help combat lower back issues.
Another factor playing a part is the amount of time spent at the desk, too often we will spend 3-4 hours without our moving.
Lifting heavy objects
We all have things that need to be lifted or moved and don’t have anyone to help. Have you ever though of what this does to your lower back.
Remember that the lower back can only take a certain amount of loading. Picking up a pen form the floor with straight legs should be okay, however picking up a heavy box would surely aggravate the lower back. This is where your legs come in handy.
Lifting heavy objects should be done with legs bent or wait for someone to assist you.
What to do when you’ve hurt your back?
We are always happy to answer your call for advice, sometimes all you need is just a hot bean bag to alleviate the spasm. However, sometimes more than just a hot bean bag is required.
Here are some basic things that could assist with that lower back pain.
Rest- as much as biokinetics advocate movement is life, sometimes you just need to stop what your doing and rest for the day. Remember that inflammation has set in and is telling you something is wrong.
Rest for the day, place a heat pack on and if it hasn’t eased up the next day seek further intervention.
Stretch it out – here are some firm favorites of mine when it comes to lower back spasms.
- Trunk rotation
- Crucifix stretch
Ask your biokineticist how we can help with general lower back pain to more sever issues such as slipped discs, fusions, strains etc.