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Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain

One of the most common complaints I’ve heard throughout the years as a massage therapist and a yoga instructor is recurrent pain in the low back.  Keeping two muscle groups healthy and lengthened will help prevent this discomfort and will address the pain if it starts.  Just a few simple yet powerful yoga poses and stretches are all you need.

When a massage client has low back pain, I immediately look at their quadratus lumborum muscle and potentially their psoas muscle.  These two muscles connect to the spine in a similar way although their function is different.  The quadratus lumborum (QL) stabilizes the pelvis to the ribcage and acts as a hip hiker, or side bender.  The psoas muscle is a hip flexor and externally rotates the thigh.  These muscles are so close together that when one is tight, the other is often in contraction.  In addition, if the core is weak, both the QL and the psoas are vulnerable because these muscles are part of the core.  So keeping core awareness (I like to say, from nipples to the knees) will keep the low back strong and pliable.  PLEASE don’t be overwhelmed by all of this technical information.  Our bodies are incredible “machines” and the more knowledge we have, the more likely we can heal ourselves.  Seriously, you don’t need to know the names of every muscle, just read below for the effective stretches you can start doing to help that dreaded low back pain.

When a massage client has low back pain, I immediately look at their quadratus lumborum muscle and potentially their psoas muscle.  These two muscles connect to the spine in a similar way although their function is different.  The quadratus lumborum (QL) stabilizes the pelvis to the ribcage and acts as a hip hiker, or side bender.  The psoas muscle is a hip flexor and externally rotates the thigh.  These muscles are so close together that when one is tight, the other is often in contraction.  In addition, if the core is weak, both the QL and the psoas are vulnerable because these muscles are part of the core.  So keeping core awareness (I like to say, from nipples to the knees) will keep the low back strong and pliable.  PLEASE don’t be overwhelmed by all of this technical information.  Our bodies are incredible “machines” and the more knowledge we have, the more likely we can heal ourselves.  Seriously, you don’t need to know the names of every muscle, just read below for the effective stretches you can start doing to help that dreaded low back pain 

Let’s start with the QL.  Start seated with the right leg extended.  Take your left foot to your right inner thigh.  Bend your right leg as much as you need to in order to bring your right elbow to the inside of the right thigh, just above the knee.  If you have loose hamstrings, the leg might be completely lengthened.  No biggie.  Next, fold forward slightly and anchor your elbow, press it gently to the thigh and turn your torso to the left.  Raise your right arm overhead.  This will lengthen the left side from pelvis to ribcage.  Now, reach your right arm up to the sky and over towards your flexed right toes.  You will feel a deep stretch along the left side flank, or your QL.  Switch sides.

 

 

In closing, keeping a pliable and lengthened  quadratus lumborum and psoas muscle will help ward off the dreaded low back pain.  While practicing yoga, it’s essential to have a strong core awareness.  Just dropping the tailbone, lifting the pelvis and pulling belly button into spine will be a great assist in keeping these muscles from tightening up!

Suzanne Aronoff is a licensed massage therapist in the state of Florida and a certified yoga instructor.  She has been a massage therapist since 1992 and is committed to helping individuals take charge of their health and their bodies.  She believes that by moving the body, we can ward off chronic pain and disease.

For more information or to purchase our great yoga props, please visit:

www.cleveryoga.com

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