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Low back pain – where’s it coming from?

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Low back pain may not necessarily be a problem with your lower back. These are some other factors to consider in the treatment of lower back pain and stiffness – the superficial back line, hamstrings and calves.

The superficial back line [SBL] is a long strip of muscle, fascia and
ligament starting from the soles of your feet, extending all the way up
the posterior part of your body and around onto your forehead.

In development, the SBL shortens to move us from a “flexed” foetal
posture, to the counterbalancing curves of upright posture. Thus, the
overall postural function of the SBL is to support the body in full
upright extension. The movement function of the SBL is to create
extension and hyperextension, except at the level of the knees. Here,
the SBL acts to bend the knees.

Tightness in the SBL will limit forward bending. Ever noticed
stiffness when bending forward? This is because your SBL is tight! This
tightness may exist anywhere along the length of the SBL, not
necessarily the lower back. A forward bend with the knees straight will
challenge all the structures of the SBL. Therapy in any one area of the
SBL will affect motion and length anywhere along the line.

Commonly, people experience tightness in their hamstrings and calves.
Malfunction here will exaggerate or maintain excessive backward
movement. These are areas that must not be neglected in the treatment of
back pain. They are apart of the SBL and have a direct influence on the
state of the low back in particular. Releasing the hamstrings and the
calves together will at least create more freedom of motion during a
forward bend, and is likely to aid in the relief of symptoms of low back

Although we speak of the SBL, there are in fact two SBLs in the body,
one right and one left. So, when bending forward whilst keeping the
knees locked straight, you may find one arm dangles slightly lower than
the other. The “shorter” arm would indicate the tighter side. This might
explain why one might feel lower back pain to one side more than the
other because it is just one SBL that has been injured.

Of course, there are many other causes of low back pain, but your health practitioner should be assessing the SBLs on every visit as quick scan to rule out any problem to do with this anatomy train. Again we see here, that the site of the pain, is not often the site of the problem. Below are some useful ways of releasing your SBLs. Look here for more useful exercises as well. Have fun!

lower back pain

*DISCLAIMER: This discussion does not provide medical advice. The
information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and
other material contained in this discussion are for informational
purposes only. The purpose of this discussion is to promote broad
consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not
intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis
or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other
qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding
a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health
care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay
in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.

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