Many people who live with chronic back pain find comfort and relief when extending their spine. But a certain subset of the population- mostly those who spend a lot of time standing, may suffer from too much extension; baristas, teachers, mechanics, and athletes are among the most at-risk demographic. This pain and discomfort, known as extension intolerance, can be identified by changes in your posture, including:
These two factors combine to destabilize your spine and wreak havoc, especially in the lower back. So how do we ease extension intolerance?
It is one of the most dangerous environments for your spine. The incessant sitting, poor posture and repetitive stress of office tasks puts many of us at risk for spinal misalignment, dysfunction and sets us on a course for premature spinal degeneration. The only defense your back has in this scenario is your proactivity- have you made the choice to take daily action to look out for your spine in your office work? If not, we urge you to make some small changes that can save your back a whole ot of trouble down the line.
Almost everything about adult life is conducive to tension, whether it be mental or physical. Our jobs and families often keep us too busy to focus on the activities that help us reduce tension, leaving us at the mercy of a stress-cycle that spares no one. This stress-cycle certainly does not spare our spines- everything about tension spells spinal dysfunction. But neglecting our spines because we are too busy, or because we are lazy, is certain to make your life harder than it needs to be. Here are our tips for maintaining a high-level of spinal health despite the rigors of daily life.
Core stability has been and always will be a top priority at our practice in Fremont. But a lesser known way to proactively protect your spine is to simultaneously prioritize pelvic stability. Multiple joints connect at the pelvis, including the sacroiliac, iliofemeral and pubic symphysis. These joints facilitate the movement of the lower body and are also involved in stabilizing the transference of forces between lower body and the spine; weakness in these joints translates to weakness at the base of your spine, leading to misalignment and injury. This is particularly crucial for runners: if these joints are unable to stabilize the excessive movements and shock of each stride, you will effectively be left with a topsy-turvy structure at the base of your spine. A further consideration is that runners shift all the weight of their body from foot to foot; one side of the body is supporting the weight of the entire body. Runners who lack stability in the pelvis are causing a disproportionate amount of stress to each side of their body during this transfer.
The psoas, along with the gluteus maximus and the piriformis, is one of the three primary muscles responsible for connecting the spine to the lower body. These muscles support a crucial intersection in the body and they are often implicated in lower back pain. Let’s take a look at the psoas in a little more detail. The psoas attaches the lumbar vertebrae to the femur, by way of the iliacus muscle. It creates a natural pull on the lumbar vertebrae which helps form the lordotic curve that gives your spine strength and balance; this curvature is crucial in your spine’s ability to support the weight of your upper body. The psoas is heavily activated during standing and walking, which is why a sit-heavy lifestyle is so bad for it.