In the last blog post, mobility, stability and flexibility were defined in the context that I will be using them.
This is important to keep in mind as they have very different applications when it comes to relieving low back pain issues.
Mobility refers to the available motion at a joint, generally taking into consideration the amount of control exerted through that range.
Stability is on the same continuum as mobility but refers more specifically to the ability to resist excess motion and maintain joint integrity under neuromuscular control.
Flexibility (which falls under the broad expanse that is mobility) for our purpose will refer to the total range of motion available at a joint, whether or not it is under neuromuscular control
Mobility, stability and flexibility on low back pain:
As stated before, most people with mechanical low back pain have decreased mobility (are hypomobile) at their hips (think of the hours you spend sitting in a flexed hip position!) and have excessive movement through their lumbar spines (hypermobile or flexible lumbar spines; think of those poor, slouched postures you sit or stand in for long periods of time!).
This becomes a problem because the body will do what it needs to do to create the movements you want it to create.
In many of these low back pain cases, this means that the hips won’t extend far back enough. The body just can’t get enough movement through the hips.
The body’s solution: find the next best place to achieve that extension in order to execute the desired movement pattern.
Unfortunately, this almost always means excessive movement through the flexible (hypermobile) lumbar spine.
What does this mean for you?
Well, if you now have too much movement going through an area that is supposed to be stable, various tissues will get irritated and injured.
For most people, this won’t happen right away.
In fact, for most people, this happens over a longer period of time because they repeat those same injury-causing faulty movements over and over again, day in-day out, week after week, month after month, year after year.
Remember repeated flexion and extension through the lumbar spine is the primary stimulus for the creation of bulging or herniated discs.
Now imagine what happens to those poor lumbar discs if you repeatedly flex then extend through the lumbar spine to make up for your loss of hip mobility…Not a very pretty picture at all!
One day, the last straw is placed on the camel’s back, and it breaks.
So how do you save the camel’s back?
Well my friends, in the next post, I’ll go over some specific strategies that you can put in place to stabilize your spine and mobilize your hips.
Just remember this equation and many of your back troubles will disappear:
Stable Spine + Mobile Hips = Healthy Back