In Part 1 of a new miniseries on lower back pain, Coach D and Trent dive into the causes, treatment, and prevention of back pain, the most common form of pain reported by patients and trainees. First, however, they lay down the foundation for understanding back pain: the anatomy and function of the spine and the musculature and connective tissue of the trunk.
Simply put, the spine functions in two ways. First, it rotates, twists, and flexes to allow us to move and perform everyday functions and interact with our world. Generally these movements are performed with light weights, if any, and they constitute the majority of our use of the spine. Secondly, the spine can act as a rigid lever to allow us to transmit force from the powerful muscle groups in our posterior chain (the hips) through our hands; think about a lineman driving his opponent off the line of scrimmage, or a powerlifter performing a low bar back squat. In this case, with the help of the spinal erectors and other musculature of the back, the spine extends and becomes rigid while enduring a combination of compressive and tension force, depending on the movement. In real life training and athletics, many movements involve a combination of these two functions, but the distinction is useful when understanding the spine.
Articles Referenced During the Episode
- Back Pain and Back Strength by Mark Repute
- The Vertebral Column (Spine) on Wikipedia
- In the spine or in the brain? Recent advances in pain neuroscience applied in the intervention for low back pain by Nijs et al (no link)
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