Always learning! (more info about back pain)
People often ask about what is happening in their body, and how come different bits hurt, especially their lower back and shoulders/neck. So I thought I might use this post to pass on some interesting info (I’ll keep it as simple as possible!)
Well, I have been busy attending a therapists day, revising and learning more about our wonderful human bodies, exploring the powerful effect of the fascia – the glad-wrap looking sheath around our muscles. As well as the effect 2 of our muscles have on so many aspects of our ability to move physically, as well as the more subtle energetic ways they influence our body.
Coincidentally we have been working on stretching these very muscles- the psoas and quadratus lumborum muscles, during yoga classes this term. (Always amazing how things tie in together.) So please keep doing any of the stretches and postures that you remember from class where we have been stretching our hips and groins, they will keep your body functioning and moving well.
What happens when we just sit around !
So for all of us who sit at desks or drive around for a lot of the day, this unnatural, static, sitting habit shortens our psoas muscle (which attaches at T12 on the spine, the lumbar vertebra and forward onto the front of the hip). This can then affect our trapezius muscle which runs across the top of the shoulders down the spine to T12 and across to the sides of the body, which explains why you can have pain in your shoulders that originates in your lower back and tight hips because of the overlap at T12. And vice versa.
As you often hear me say in clinic and in yoga class, “our whole body is connected, if one part is out of alignment it will undoubtedly affect other areas of the body as well”.
Which is I guess why I have been drawn to practicing and teaching modalities that address the whole body and the whole person, such as Bowen and NST, and Dru Yoga.
So students who come to yoga class with pain and restricted movement benefit greatly from a few Bowen sessions to relax and realign their muscles and energy system. And, clients who come for Bowen/NST find that doing the stretches/postures at home, and attending yoga classes and retreats helps them to improve their flexibility and strength, as well as manage their stress levels. So you have a powerful blend of very effective therapies at your disposal when you choose to use them!
Possible problems caused by psoas
Imbalances in the iliopsoas can cause backpain and stiffness, bulging or ruptured discs, migraines and headaches, abdo pain/bloating/flatulence, groin pain, nausea, constipation and diarrhoea, increased urination.
The QL or quadratus lumborum muscles attach at the 12th rib and along the lumbar spine (lower back) and onto the iliac crest (ridge on top of pelvis/hip)
These muscles allows us to bend the spine sideways, and extend backwards.
Slumping and Sticking your neck out!
Sitting for long periods weakens the muscles. This fatigue can cause decreased blood flow and adhesions in the fascia resulting in muscle spasm. Poor posture eg; round shoulders (which shifts upper body weight too far forward) places extra strain on this lower back area as it works overtime to hold the torso and neck upright.
Possible problems caused by QL
Anterior and posterior tilt of pelvis and resulting low back pain, hips uneven, sway back, neck and shoulder pain.
So hopefully you now understand a little more about why these muscles can get sore, and how looking after them with gentle stretches, yoga and Bowen/NST can help so much in keeping you moving and pain free!