Brrr! A lot of our country is experiencing some pretty cold weather! For those of us in snowy climates, ’tis the season for shoveling … and low back injuries! However, you don’t have to have a shovel in your hand to hurt your back. Many people hurt their backs reaching down to pick up a pen off the floor or grabbing something out of the bottom drawer of the fridge!
In this issue of Muscle News, we learn that all you really have to do to experience low back pain is haveTRIGGER POINTS in your Abs!
When Dr. Janet Travell first realized the importance of trigger points, it was because she noticed how frequently pain in thefront of the shoulder was actually coming from taut bands of muscle in the back of the shoulder. Thanks to her extensive research, we now know all about this mystery of Referred Pain (pain in a spot distant from the source of the problem).
Dr. George Goodheart, a brilliant and humorous chiropractor in Michigan who invented the field of Applied Kinesiology, bluntly put it this way about the mystery of pain: “Often where it is, it ain’t.”
So, if you’ve been following along with previous issues, it should come as no surprise that pain in your back could be coming from trigger points in the muscles of your front.
Take a look at the referred pain pattern above (image from Travell & Simons’ Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual). The two most common areas where back pain is experienced (the waist and the bra line) are both completely covered by the referred pain (shown in red). What is the muscle responsible for creating this pain pattern?
The Rectus Abdominis. This important muscle in the front of your body runs from your sternum down to your pubic bones and is best known for the ‘six pack’ look that happens after thinner people perform a lot of sit-ups.
Trigger points in this muscle can be a real pain in the back, so let’s perform some simple tests and self-care techniques below. If you are one of the lucky ones who gets to shovel snow each year (or even just a midnight snacker who wants to grab something out of the fridge without fear) working on the Rectus Abdominis could be a good way to prevent an injury before it happens! PASS IT ON!
*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional. Please consult your physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.