The real reason your low back has pain!
Are you not having any luck releasing tightness in your low back? The real reason might be just above it, in the thoracic spine.
Recall that you have 7 cervical vertebrae in your neck, 12 thoracic vertebrae in your mid back, and 5 lumbar vertebrae in your low back. With that in mind, let’s now have a quick review of biomechanics by looking at this picture:
Image courtesy of Squat University
Notice that the joints highlighted alternate “mobility” and “stability” in an every-other-joint flowing pattern. One joint is stable, so that the next joint down can be mobile, and then the next joint down is stable, etc. etc. This is an ideal world, and all is happiness and butterflies and unicorns. 🙂
However, what happens if one joint screws up the flow? For instance, let’s say the thoracic section gets artificially “stable” because you sit all day in a chair and your body has slowly over time been caving forward into the letter “C”. The middle of your back isn’t generally sore, and it seems like it feels okay, so how do you know if it has become the silent problem maker?
Here’s one quick way of knowing: When you lean over, this is what your back looks like.
It is not relegated to 50ish something triathletes and endurance male athletes like my client Gary above. It strikes all ages. Here is a sixteen year old client of mine, Madi. Her back gets so tight sometimes she told me she can’t breathe.
Breathing is pretty important!
Twist to loosen up
What is one technique that you can use to break loose the tightness lurking (sometimes unbeknownst to you) in the middle of your back? Here is a video I made after kiteboarding a couple summers ago, showing you a basic twist.
Now, if that is too simple or your hand hits the floor right away, you need this next video: the MEGA twist.
I have a 22 year old client Allison who likes to workout, but primarily sings opera. Her voice coach was forever telling her to “pull her shoulders back” and she also had back pain. I tried the kiteboarding version of the twist, but she is super flexible, and needed the MEGA twist.
Here is the video to show you how to do that. It is really very simple!
Finally, please neutralize from your twist after each side with a little pelvic tilts or cat/cow from yoga. Something to set your body back on the straight path again so you don’t stay twisted.
Let us know if this tip helped you or if you have tried twisting to help low back soreness in the comments below.