For those in the medical community who promote the idea that exercise can help resolve lower back pain, there is a general belief that one of the keys is to strengthen the lower back. For the average person, this seems like the right idea. The premise is simple, you have lower back pain because the lower back muscles are weak and therefore strengthening them will decrease the lower back pain.
This can’t be farther from the truth!
Let’s start by understanding what are the potential causes of lower back pain. When an MRI finds a herniated disc, stenosis or pinched nerve, the medical establishment generally takes the position that every thing should be tried before surgery. Surgery should be the last resort. So therapy is prescribed and some stretched and exercises are performed including strengthening of the lower back muscles. The problem with this scenario is that if the cause of the pain were a structural abnormality all the exercise in the world wouldn’t resolve the cause of the pain, only surgery would. So why waste your time? The problem with the MRI finding is that in the vast majority of cases the structural abnormality found is completely independent to the cause of pain. A study showed that over the age of 60, 90% of people with absolutely no lower back pain were found to have bulging or degenerative discs. So why should you believe that when you are having lower back pain that a bulging or degenerative disc is the cause of the pain.
The reality is that in most cases, the cause of lower back pain is the lower back muscles straining and emitting pain. The real question is why and how to stop it from happening. The theory that the muscles are weak and therefore need to be strengthened is a falacy. What typically happens is that a muscle imbalance between the front thigh, quads versus the posterior thigh, hamstrings develops. This causes the quads to shorten. Since the quads attach to the front of the pelvis, they pull the front of the pelvis down causing the back of the pelvis to rise. This creates an increased arching of the lower back. This improper posture causes the lower back muscles to shorten and lose their ability to create force and support the torso which leads to them straining and emitting pain.
Trying to strengthen the lower back muscles only causes them to shorten further and continue to strain and emit pain. The answer is to stretch the quads and strengthen the hamstrings and buttock muscles. This keeps the quads at their optimal length which maintains the position of the pelvis at its optimal length which maintains the lower back muscles at their optimal length. This allows the lower back muscles to maintain their optimal strength and support the torso with the greatest of ease preventing them from straining and emitting pain.
I know there are alot of therapists and trainers professing to know what is right and promoting strengthening of the lower back muscles. In most cases they are simply doing what they were taught to do. I evaluated what I was taught and saw from a logical perspective that it was simply invalid. I used the laws of physics and biomechanics to determine what is right and the results are unmatched. This simple understanding of what causes the lower back muscles to strain has allowed me to resolve the lower back pain of innumerable patients in just a couple of visits. You can do the same. The key is to get the right understanding.
This premise along with so many others can be found in my new book, The Pain Cure Rx: The Yass Method Of Diagnosing and Resolving Chronic Pain published by Hay House Publishing and being released June 2, 2015. My PBS special can be seen on most PBS stations from June 1st thru the 14th. I hope you will watch it and see just how different my view of how to diagnose and treat pain is from the existing medical model that has left so many in pain.