My Back Went Out on Me. What Happened? (Part 1 of 2)

When someone “throws out their back”, it could mean any number of things has taken place. They may have pulled a muscle or strained a ligament. In some cases of arthritis, they may have “pinched” a nerve along one of the jagged surfaces of a bone in the spine.

Some people “throw out their back” more often than others, so let’s take a look at some of the contributory factors. This way, you can see if you may have any red flags and take action to prevent this from happening to you.

Here are the top four factors that are common among patients in my own chiropractic practice who tend to “throw out” their backs most often (along with some preventable measures):

Rotational Movements. When people throw out their lower or midback, they usually say they were doing some rotational movement at the time. Specifically, front-loading the lower back vertebrae and then twisting as they come back toward a neutral position.

Giving one last round of goodbye hugs to young grandchildren, shoveling snow, cleaning the garage and taking out the trash are all examples of activities that cause us to have much rotational movement in our mid and lower back.

2 Tips: Before doing these activities, make sure your chin is retracted just like a soldier at attention. Not tucking your chin down but locking it back. When you do this, it’s pretty much impossible to have bad mid and lower back posture.

Another tip is to find your belly button and trace around the other side to your lower back. This should be at the level of L3 which is the middle of your lower back. If you can, try to pinch the skin from the top-to-bottom. Now pretend that you are golfing with an iron from the fairway. When you go down to lift something, you should be able to maintain that skin pinch. If your skin stretches and you do not maintain that “skin pinch”, this means that you’re front loading your spine and transferring your weight to discs. Over time, this can lead to cracking and bulging of the discs which are the cushions between your individual vertebrae.

This concludes part 1 of 2 of this video series.

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