So often we see patients come to our office with one form of mechanical low back pain or another. One thing that it is imperative for our patients, and really anyone who has ever had back pain for that matter, to understand is there are often complicated muscular break downs at play. In order for the joints in our low back to function as well as they can the muscles that attach to/and around our spine have to be functioning at their highest level as well. When it comes to muscles the word “function” does not only mean strength, a large part of muscles functioning properly is their elasticity, ability to fire, or mobility as a whole.
Easily one of the most common participators in mechanical low back pain is poor glut activation. As active human beings we walk every day, some of us run every day, and in that process our Gluteus Maximus has a very important job: HIP EXTENSION.
Hip extension is the act of driving our leg back in our normal gait cycle. The primary muscle involved in hip extension is our gluts. For many of us not only are our gluts weak, we have also lost the ability to fire them properly. A muscle can only be as strong as the junction of the nerve into that muscle, this serves as the “firing complex” also known as our neuromuscular junction. With poor glut activation lies a big problem and other muscles now have to pick up the slack. One of the main muscle groups taking on the extra load are the ones in your low back. There in lies the issue, we now have a large group of muscles doing a job that they normally do not do and over time we start to see a break down. Tiger Woods is a famous example of this breakdown. Now obviously with an example like Tiger Woods and most individuals there are many other factors to take into account, however, poor glut activation is a key component.
A simple test to see if you have poor glut activation is to lie face down on the floor and while keeping your right leg straight lift it off the floor towards the ceiling. During this process focus on where you feel most of your muscles engaging. If you feel most of the muscles having to work in your low back then you may be a victim of poor glut max activation.
So what to do next? If you are someone suffering from low back pain and discomfort and live in Naperville or the surrounding area CLICK HERE to have one of our experienced Chiropractors perform a functional exam and see if you could benefit from the chiropractic care and rehab at Victory Rehab.