Does your back feel out?
Does your back feel out? Sometimes patients come and see me who aren’t in pain as such, but feel that their backs are out of alignment and are on the verge of getting worse. Often these patients have experienced serious problems with their backs in the past, and recognise the warning signs leading up to an episode of serious back pain.
Does your back feel out?
Sometimes patients come and see me who aren’t in pain as such, but feel that their backs are out of alignment and are on the verge of getting worse. Often these patients have experienced serious problems with their backs in the past, and recognise the warning signs leading up to an episode of serious back pain.
In these situations I always perform a top to toe assessment of the body, looking for areas of reduced movement and any signs of asymmetry. One consistent finding is a difference in leg lengths, with most commonly the left leg being slightly shorter than the right. This difference is usually around 1cm , but can be as much as 2 cm. As for why the left leg is usually shorter, nobody knows, but there are some theories around the position of the liver (on the right side of the body ) being responsible.
This leg length discrepancy can be caused by a genuine difference in the length of the leg bones, but more often it is due to muscular imbalances in the hip, pelvis and low back. These muscular imbalances can tilt or rotate the pelvis, sending a twist up the spine at the same time as causing the leg length difference. I’ve written about the problem in detail in a previous blog, which you can read here.
I believe that this twisting in the pelvis, and the resultant torsion that travels up the back, are what patients are feeling when they feel like their backs are out of whack.
What can osteopathy do to help?
Certain muscles are usually involved with causing the twisting in the pelvis, and by examining them and correcting any imbalances, the torsion can often be reduced or eliminated. The usual suspects include; Iliopsoas, quadratus lumborum, and the hip and gluteal muscles.
Initial treatment will look to balance out any tightness in these muscles and will also involve releasing any areas of the spine that have stiffened due to the torsion effect.
Longer term, some muscles might need specific exercises to strengthen them and some attention might be needed to address how you are loading your body with your job or lifestyle.
The reality is that we all live our lives in an asymmetric way, for instance using our dominant hand all the time, or standing habitually with more weight on one leg than the other. Over time, these subtle differences in positioning can translate into muscular imbalances around the pelvis, and hey presto, your back is out.
If you think that your back is out, and don’t want the problem to get worse, then call to book an appointment for your problem at Osteo Studio.
In the meantime, here is an exercise that patients can try at home if they think their pelvis is out. This is an ‘at home’ version of an exercise I have consistently found useful when trying to correct pelvic twisting in my patients. As always, if this exercise causes any pain or you are unsure how to perform it, then don’t do it.
Author: Cliff Russell - Registered Osteopath