Bending To Touch Your Toes Or Pick Something Up From The Floor Often Gives You Back Pain – Why

I Only Bent Over To Pick Up A Small Box And My Back ‘Went’!!

Forward bending – the BIG bugbear for us all….why?

We have what is termed a lumbar lordosis – which means that the lowest part of our back curves gently inwards – see picture below.


In this position the discs, ligaments, muscles and joints that allow and control movement of the spine are held in a neutral position, whereby they are not under any strain and so unlikely to be over strained or tear.


As soon as we bend forward, these tissues are put under strain and overloaded either by moving too                                      quickly or by repeating the same movement too often incorrectly or if we try to lift more weight than our spine can cope with – in all cases the tissues fail- either spraining, straining or tearing and we experience back pain.

The muscles around those tissues spasm to try to stop you moving any more and doing more damage, which can be even more painful!

The things that can lead to this tissue overloading are things like sitting hunched over a computer or desk for hours every day; gardening without considering our back position; doing sports without preparing the body first; lifting heavy weights without thinking; twisting repeatedly – in fact anything that takes our spines away from that magic ‘neutral’ position.

So what can we do?

The first thing to do is to address any joint restrictions. Muscles that tighten cause restriction in the joints of the back, which then encourages the muscles to weaken or remain tight. Chiropractic treatment by one of the Chiropractors in Southampton at the Avenue Clinic will get those joints moving again. This might be all you need to relieve your pain and it might be just a ‘one off’ episode. If you get recurrent problems though, we need to treat you a little longer because we may need to address your muscular co- ordination, endurance and strength.

Co-ordination Exercises Relieve Back Pain

Without exercise to counteract the hunched over body position, the body will become “stuck” in the position with hunched-over shoulders and a slight backwards tilt of the hips. Bad posture will cause non-specific low back pain. It can also lead to core weakness and eventually serious injury.

Endurance Exercises Train Core Muscles

A study by Professor McGill claims that the best way to train the core muscles is by increasing endurance versus strength training. Exercises performed in rehabilitation environments were the “cat-camel” movement, floor bridges, the “bird-dog” exercise and different types of crunches.

The “cat-camel” movement is performed on hands and knees. Suck in belly button and arch the back like a scared cat. Then push the middle of the back down while lifting head and posterior – arching your back up and down like a cat.

Floor bridges are performed lying face-up on the floor. The heels of the feet should be about six inches away from the posterior with knees bent. Push off heels and squeeze gluteus muscles to elevate hips off the floor.

The “bird-dog” exercise is performed on hands and knees. Extend one arm forward and the opposite leg backwards. Keep back straight and abdominal muscles tight.Bridge

These three movements, combined with crunches, build co-ordination within the core muscles. They also produce muscular endurance and increase gluteus muscle strength.

They really should not be done without consulting an expert in rehabilitation such as a chiropractor – it is important that exercises are done correctly – quality is far superior to quantity and if you try to exercise and get it wrong – you could be wasting your time or even aggravating the condition….this is what happens in a lot of exercise classes without one to one supervision.

When to Implement Strength Training

Strength training should only be started when you have developed good form and your movement patterns are correct. They should then be gradually implemented and made more functional to cope with the jobs you do.

See a chiropractor before you do any exercises though would be my advice. All the chiropractors in Southampton at the Avenue Clinic are experts in how do diagnose your particular problem and will look at you as an individual to see where you are going wrong in your day to day life and how to correct it.

You need to know that the next time you bend over, you can do so without ending up with back pain!