Low back pain is the number one reason people visit a doctor. As with neck pain, low back pain can be caused from trauma, but more often it is the result of poor posture and conditioning. When a muscle is subjected to a short or contracted state for an extended period of time, it causes a reflex inhibition or weakening of the muscles on the opposite side of the body, called reciprocal inhibition. For example, if you sit in a chair for several hours a day, with time your hip flexors will become shortened or tight, and your gluts (on the opposite side) become weak and inhibited. Now, since your gluteal muscles are not working properly, your body will recruit synergistic muscles like the hamstrings and lower back muscles to assist the gluts in performing hip extension (which may then cause inhibition of the abdominals). In other words, you start to recruit muscles that were not intended to be used for specific actions such as walking.
Often times, low back pain is the result of “Lower Crossed Syndrome,” the combination of tight hip flexors and a tight lower back, paired with weak abdominals and weak gluteals. This combination leads to an excessive arching or rounding up your lower back (swayback), a flabby or protruding abdomen, and a flat butt due to weakness in the gluteals. This is a very dangerous combination of muscle imbalances due to the excessive stress that it places on the structures of the lower back.
Treating low back pain requires a combination of soft tissue therapy, spinal manipulation to improve proper biomechanics, and instruction in exercises that strengthen the muscles that tend to become weak, and stretch the muscles that tend to become tight.
The doctors at the Boise Spine Center are trained to treat a wide range of injuries and pain syndromes. They treat injuries of the neck and back as well as the extremities. Acute injuries such as sprains and strains, as well as chronic, degenerative conditions can be effectively treated conservatively at the Boise Spine Center. Some conditions require additional medical treatment, and the doctors at the Boise Spine Center work closely with specialists in all areas of medicine and help patients get to the right provider when a referral is indicated. Additionally, many orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons refer patients to the Boise Spine Center when surgery is not indicated or for post-operative rehabilitation.