I should probably explain what I mean by the title really so we shall need to start with a little anatomy lesson (woohoo, a little more excitement please!)...
(Take a look at my past blog "Back to Basics" for more info about your lower back)
Yes! There IS more to consider when looking at the lower back than what is inside this red circle!
There are a lot more muscles, joints, ligaments and organs to consider that might be having an impact 360degrees around the lower back!
Now there are Osteopaths out there who know a lot more about the digestive/ excretion/ reproductive organs and how they can impact the back than I do - in simple terms, if there are problems with these organs then they can cause...
"Referred pain": Pain felt in a part of the body other than it's original source.
This is part of the reason why we might ask some seemingly off base questions during the case history, we need to look out for any warning signs regarding whether there are any serious problems.
Let's take a look at my TOP 3 joint and muscular structures to consider when thinking about the front of the back though shall we?
(I specified because there are ligaments, organs and nerves to think about but we'd be here for a while if we went through everything!)
#1 THE CORE Now this one may seem obvious (hopefully) but it's worth putting it in here because it encircles the whole of the front of the body. Well, strictly speaking it's actually more of a cylinder around the abdomen made up of many different muscles. >>
This is a very important one as having a good core is vital for posture and support of not just the lower back but the rest of your body. It is your IN-BUILT BACK BRACE.
In order to help you develop your core, Osteopaths can show you exercises or pilates classes can also be very beneficial.
#2 THE PSOAS
As you can see, this muscle attaches from the front of the lumbar spine to the hip. Therefore it would make sense that if it's tight, it will have an impact on the lower back.
This is especially true in anyone that is bending the back or lifting the hips a lot as this will tighten the psoas. Helping to relax the psoas can improve the flexibility and mobility of the back.
<< There are various stretches that focus on loosening the psoas but my favourite is a lunge.
#3 THE PUBIC SYMPHYSIS
Now there are those that might argue that this isn't technically part of the "front" of the back as it's more to do with the pelvis but we consider the pelvic joints at the back so why not the front? This joint is especially problematic when it comes to pregnancy or hypermobility as this joint tends to move around far more than it should or get stuck in the wrong place.
There are a lots of muscles and ligaments that attach around this joint - core muscles included! It is also part of the pelvic circle so it would make sense that, even if it's not the cause of a problem, it could be a maintaining factor. Osteopaths can work on the joint by manipulating it directly or working on the surrounding musculature.
So there you have it - there is more to the back than you might think - it is all connected after all!