Sometimes the best thing you can do is relax
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Back pain is not a fun experience it is especially unpleasant when it hangs around and or keeps coming back.
How people react to their chronic back pain in a lot of ways will drive how they will be treated in practice. This is because we know and the science tells us that certain approaches work for certain groups of people dependent on whether they are afraid of movement, moving too much, too little and in a different way to how they should.
So today we are talking about the over compensators and how do you know if you are one and what we do to fix it.
The overcompensator will be a gentleman or lady most likely in their 30’s or 40’s but can be of any age and they have had a couple of bouts of really bad low back pain. You have probably been told you have the back of an 80 year old (even though I can bet you, you don’t) and you probably also been told you can’t do X ever again. You’ve seen a bunch of different chiros, physio, your GP and almost everyone else under the sun. To top it all off you’ve been taught the core exercises are a good thing so you have done every abdominal crunch and everyone of their variants and you brace the core when ever you have to do something.
But the back pain keeps coming back…..
Sounds like you or someone you know?
Well you might just fit snugly into this group of back pain suffers.
If you do, our advice to you is simple
Yes, sometimes the best advise is the simplest. What seems to happen with this wonderful group of well meaning folk is that all the advice of core strength and bracing has been taken on too well or you fear that if you don’t brace everything will just fall apart. So now you are over compensating/bracing
In short over bracing or over compensating will actually increase the amount of load on the spine and will fatigue out the muscles that are there to keep you stable, fit and well. Your are designed to move and move often and freely and the amount of core activity should really depend on what you are trying to do, for example if I’m bending over to pick up a cup, the amount of bracing you’ll need to do compared to if you’re doing a 250kg deadlift.
Think you might be an overcompensator….
Try this simple test:
Sit in a chair breath in and out and slump, relax your back and let your lower back bend. If you cant do this you may need to be trained to turn these muscles off a little bit more. It might just be the simplest way you can take control and stop letting back pain control your life.
To find out more or for some more advice regarding back, neck or other musculoskeletal injuries feel free to call Your Health Sport and Spine.
Because your health matters
Alex Fielding, Chiropractor
M.Chiroprac, D.Physiotherapy(candidate), ICSSP