There is no cure for lower back pain. What prevails is common sense that takes us back to freshman physics. In this article, we will offer a simple “Freshman Physics” tip for reducing your low back pain.
Back to Freshman Physics
With two feet on the ground, any bending or rotational force descending through the torso places strain on the lower spine where it attaches to the pelvis at a point when freedom of movement through the hip joints has been fully depleted. Furthermore with two points (both legs) of contact to the ground, the full mobility of each hip is diminished due to the inability of each hip to be able to rotate in isolation; one checks the other.
To further complicate this scenario, one must appreciate that classically two-thirds body weight is situated above the pelvis. As a result, even the simple task of grabbing a pencil off the floor is potentially traumatic if done improperly due to the large amount of torque placed on the juncture of the lumbar spine and pelvis. By adding rotational torque (twisting) while forward bent, the ligamentous and discal structure that supports and allows for controlled motion is maximally challenged as it moves into a position that is was not designed to do. If there is unreliable muscular support as well, the spine is in further jeopardy.
Rotating on a Single Axis
Fortunately the excesses mechanical strain placed on the spine can be alleviated via a simple positional change. Maximal rotation best occurs around a single axis, something we fully appreciate every time we watch someone spin a top. By adapting this same concept for the lower extremities, an immense amount of torque is shifted away from the lumbar spine to the much stronger and more mobile hip joint when someone push, pulls, lifts, or twists while in a single leg stance.
Here the strongest and most powerful muscles of our body are situated around a very sturdy ball and socket joint which becomes the center of rotation as torsional and shear forces transition safely away from the spine to the hip joint (thus greatly alleviating mechanical forces on the lower spine). Not only does the hip joint serve as a more efficient resource to disperse a load, the ability to do this on a single point axis enables maximal mobility through three dimensional spaces.
It’s so Simple! Why didn’t I Think of That?
Think of turning all daily activities into a dance. While bending and twisting the torso while simultaneously spinning on one hip in similar fashion to many dance moves one can easily accomplish the desired “Freshman Physics” described above. One just need apply this concept to every task no matter how small or large the load or how repetitive the activity; all the while getting stronger hip and gluteal muscles as well.
This applies to everything from putting the dishes in the dishwasher to shoveling snow. Even try brushing your teeth on one foot and as you rotate to grab the toothpaste, the torque of your upper body is again dispersed through the hip. The more acute the spinal pain, the more you apply this concept although there is no reason not to do it continually in order to guarantee a healthier spine for a lifetime.