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The FIRST Place People Go Wrong With Low Back Pain

low back pain

The internet is an interesting place, as much as I like to give it a hard time for a lot of the wacky information that goes on there (which there is plenty of) it also gives me an opportunity to see where fitness pros, strength coaches, and even physical therapists get derailed in thought processes. This is especially true when I had a recent engagement with a gentleman about the subject of low back pain. It was clear RIGHT from the start we had some foundational issues in understanding low back pain and the topic at hand. The back and forth was so interesting that I thought it was worth sharing.

It began when I shared a recent post about how we train the glutes smart and more effectively especially when it comes to helping low back pain (you can read it HERE). That seemingly was enough to get this gentleman rather upset…

low back pain

Now, I have been writing articles online about training since 2001 (true story!) and even back then with community boards online I learned how not to lose my cool when someone seemed upset by something I shared. I also don’t write this to embarrass anyone (which is why the name is hidden) rather to help other people understand where popular social media narratives tend to go very wrong, especially about low back pain.

My original post never said the way we perform glute training will solve all low back pain. Unfortunately, it was clear he didn’t even read the post. However, what the post was about was for those that want and need better pelvic control and strength, the way that many people approach training their glutes wasn’t very effective or efficient for helping low back pain. Right off the bat we have an example of a straw man argument which is to say he is starting off making an accusation of something I never said, which was glute training solves low back pain,, particularly, the way WE do glute training.

He is correct, there are many causes of low back pain, in fact that was just scratching the surface in what he said as you can see a much more extensive list below…

low back pain

You can see knowing this that there would be no reason that I would be making the statement that glute training fixes all low back pain. Of course this gentleman had his own agenda (not sure exactly what it was but I think you will see), but the internet is FULL of this straw man arguments. We just did a post about core training that also spoke to this very fact (you can read that HERE).

The internet is REALLY bad about discussions of low back pain because it is a complex subject that is hard to fit into a very short and exciting post to get your attention. For one, we have to distinguish between acute and chronic low back pain.

low back pain

You see acute pain is that little tweak you just had a the gym or while doing something around the house. Generally, the great majority of these cases remedy themselves with maybe doing exercise that doesn’t aggravate and doing some modalities (like massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, and so forth). In all honesty, the research generally shows, as long as what you do doesn’t cause pain or great discomfort, pretty much any form of exercise can help acute low back pain.

What most of our discussions should be about is chronic low back pain. Even though it seems like a rather small number of people, however, studies have shown almost 30% of American adults have chronic low back pain. That is of course a HUGE number and due to the both psychological and physical factors that influence chronic pain, this is a lot more challenging for a lot of people.

That takes us to the next and related point the gentleman discussing this topic misunderstood that is key to appreciating how we can approach chronic low back pain.

low back pain

Most people are shocked to hear 90% of all people that experience low back pain have what is known as non-specific low back pain (CNSLBP). What do we mean by CNSLBP? As the literature explains, “low back pain that is not attributable to a recognizable, specific pathology (e.g., infection, tumor, osteoporosis, fracture, structural deformity, and inflammatory diseases, such as ankylosing spondylitis, radicular syndrome, and cauda equina syndrome).” Basically, CNSLBP is when you don’t have a disease process, a structural issue in the spine, or soft-tissue damage causing low back pain.

This is shocking to most people and we are going to get MUCH more into this in our 6-week online Low Back Pain & Pelvic Control Masterclass (you can still sign-up HERE with our early bird), but let’s clear up the confusion as the gentleman above had. People often don’t really understand what CNSLBP means because they may find that working on core stability, or hip mobility, or motor control of the glutes, or even breath work, helped someone’s low back pain. So, isn’t that specific?

Remember, that isn’t what the term is referring to, ALL pain is real and ALL pain is created in the brain. Core stability, mobility, breath work, and so forth are all strategies that can impact a lot of the non-specific causes of low back pain. For example, if you have poor core stability you could have more shear forces occurring on the low back while you train or do activities. These forces aren’t strong enough, yet, to cause a structural problem when you look at an MRI, however, when you are under load, trying to move fast, or be strong, these forces get high enough to cause possible muscular issues, maybe a nerve to get compressed, and so forth. This doesn’t persist when you stop doing the movement, but can be painful when you do, it can over time also lead to specific pain being developed.

The good news is though that because CNSLBP is so prevalent, we have a host of strategies that we know can help symptoms of chronic low back pain and they are becoming more popular in medical circles too. As the information is getting out more and more that surgery and many medications don’t help chronic low back pain nearly as much as we thought, the medical community has also recognized other strategies…

low back pain

There is no ONE fix that works for everyone and trying to get someone with chronic low back pain to do 10 things is equally problematic. That is why we have worked to help make integrating these strategies into a single workout far more efficient and effective. This is NOT just doing a little bit of “this or that”, but rather understanding how the many parts that can help chronic low back pain can work together in a seamless manner.

If you are interested in learning how we go about doing so I hope you will join us at our upcoming 6-week online Low Back Pain & Pelvic Control Masterclass HERE and if you want to get started with some amazing resources you can get our Breath Work Course HERE and our Myofascial Integrated Movement programs HERE all 30% off this week with code “mem30”

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