Prevention of lumbar back pain

In upcoming posts, we will be showing some intermediate causes that can gradually lead to problems such as:

  • discopathy
  • intervertebral disc herniation (including protrusion, prolapsia, extrusion, sequestration)
  • sciatica
  • femoral sciatica
  • painful tension of the spinal muscles.

By showing the causes, we will immediately suggest practical tips and exercises for prevention

Here is the first of them:

Improve the flexibility of the sciatic and knee muscles

Working while sitting or standing in a stooped position promotes low stretchability of the sciatic-shin muscle group (composed of the semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris muscles) – sometimes colloquially and somewhat misleadingly called the “biceps”. The reason is that in this position they are shortened. What consequences can this have ?

When we look at the structure of these muscles, we see that they run from the pelvis (specifically from the ischial tuberosity) to the tibia and fibula (in simplified form). Their increased tension will cause the pelvis to rotate backwards (i.e. decrease anterior tilt) and thus create forces towards decreasing (flattening) the lumbar lordosis. A flattened lumbar section will be less able to absorb forces, which promotes faster wear and tear of many important structures (we will write about the details in subsequent posts). The test of the flexibility of these muscles is whether we can reach the floor with our toes without bending our knees. If these muscles are very tense and shortened, frequent lifting by bending the trunk may even more easily cause damage to the intervertebral disc (commonly called a disc), which will facilitate its damage, i.e. discopathy, and this may already be a direct cause of pain in the lumbar spine.

Moreover, the sciatic nerve runs in close proximity to the biceps femoris muscle. We often observe that sciatica runs much stronger and lasts longer in people with severely limited flexibility of the sciatic and knee muscles.

So if you work in a sitting or standing position with an incline, it is good to stretch your sciatic and knee muscles regularly. Stretching exercises are good to do after a particular workout (e.g. running, cycling or walking, or simply do a warm-up such as walking with a high knee lift and walking with a knee bend (heel towards the buttock).

Exercise description:

  • From the starting position move to the final position
  • Number of repetitions: 15
  • Then hold the end position for 30 seconds
  • Number of series: 1 on each side
  • Perform the exercise slowly