More than eight out of 10 of you reading this article right now will, at some point in your life, experience low back pain. Whether you get diagnosed with a bulging disc, herniated disc, scoliosis, stenosis or don’t have any diagnosis at all yet, low back pain can be debilitating, both physically and mentally.
Your lumbar spine can flex and extend front-to-back, allow you to bend side-to-side, and rotate from left-to-right. That is a lot of movement in multiple directions. While carrying out all these various movements, your lumbar spine is also responsible for stabilizing the weight of your torso and upper body. It is a demanding task but when functioning fully, the spine is more than up to the challenge.
Just like the spine must balance various tasks, our other load joints (the shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles) have similar shared responsibilities. If the function of one of our joints becomes compromised, the body redistributes those tasks elsewhere.
When the lumbar spine starts compensating for decreased function elsewhere in the body, the muscles around the spine start to adapt. Some muscles become too tight or too loose, others too strong or too weak, others still develop some combination of those traits.
As muscle function starts to change, the lumbar spine also adjusts, which is equal parts amazing and painful. Vertebrae begin to shift on top of one another, tilt to one side or the other, compress closer together, rotate out of alignment, etc. And, a lot of the time, those vertebral movements result in one of the aforementioned conditions and pain.