In almost every occasion out of 70 percent of the population suffering from muscle and joint disorders, back pain tops the list. Most of the back pain complaints have been associated with muscle or ligament strain due to sudden awkward or heavy lifting, bulging discs — which cushions the bones of your spine, arthritis that affects the spine, osteoporosis (spine bones become porous and brittle) and many other causes that lead to the back pain as a result of organ dysfunction or disease.
But what if someone has not experienced the above instances? What could it be then? Before you say ‘it is just back pain’ it might be possible because of your weak buttock muscles — the glutes.
One of the root causes of pain in the back is a single-to-gross muscle insufficiency. When muscles do not do their job properly, others will play their role, leading to strain and the weak muscles may fail to stabilise joints — causing a chain reaction of pain.
The back, hips and stomach function in unison to hold the body upright and facilitate movement.
Therefore, a problem in one often corresponds to a problem in another area. If you have back or hip pain, identify and resolve muscle insufficiencies as a result of weak buttock muscles (glutes).
How then are they a problem when Weak?
The glutes are everything. They support your core and take part in stabilising the hip during walking.
When these muscles malfunction or weaken, they would not support your pelvis in the right position or stabilise the hip while walking. As a result, the wrong muscles will be ‘activated’ and over-contract to compensate for the lack of strength of the glutes.
This compensation changes your walking pattern and you start limping, experiencing pain, muscle spasms and even nerve pain.
What weakens the glutes?
In spite of having many causes of weak glutes such as nerve impingement from the back, muscle tightness and inflammation of your nerves.
A sedentary lifestyle has become a major culprit nowadays.
Many jobs now involve a lot of sitting all day long and even after work we go home while seated — driving or being driven. Little do we know that the glutes become more dormant than they should be.
Sitting tightens thigh muscles while stretching your glutes. This is also exacerbated if you sit on a wallet at the back of your pocket or with crossed legs.
What’s the solution then?
Consult a skilled and experienced physical therapist for a thorough assessment and treatment and advice on proper ergonomics, do’s and don’ts as well as open kinetic chain exercises that will help you progress with your daily workout.
The writer is Physical Therapist, Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Health Centre.