Monday, September 14, 2009

Weak Back - Muscle Imbalance

When someone mentions muscle, most people often tend to think of Pecs(chest), Biceps(arms), or Abs. What you'll notice here is that these muscles are the ones we can see, I call them the vanity muscles. People, especially newbies to exercising, tend to over-train these muscles which causes the physical problems for the body

The muscles that we can see in the mirror tend to be overly developed and the antagonist(opposite) muscles in the back(the ones we can't see) tend to be weak and underdeveloped. This is usually a result of just over exercise of the vanity muscles, or even slouching forward over a computer at work.

Examples of muscles that are underdeveloped, are the hamstrings, muscles in the upper(trapz) and lower back(erector spinae), triceps. What occurs is that the developed muscles become tight and start pulling the body forward.

If someone just focuses on just working out on their pecs, and neglect their back(trapezes), then the the shoulders will start to pull forward, your chest begins to sink down, giving you a nice hunchback or slouch. The traps and other back muscles struggle to regain their proper posture. The muscles start competing against themselves like a tug of war, which ulitmately leads to pain and tightness in the back.

The picture above is an exaggeration of what can occur, but I wanted to depict the point I was trying to get across. Postural Kyphosis is very common and is usually caused by slouching in both young and old patients. Its very easy to treat this condition in younger patients by correcting muscular imbalances. In older patients, the condition is called HyperKyphosis and can cause vertebral fractures.

Underdeveloped leg and pelvic muscles can also lead to back pain. Specifically underdeveloped hamstrings will lead to pain. If they're not stretched, loosened, or normal(developed), exercise/activity/daily routine that requires the use of the hamstrings will they will require other muscles like your lower back muscles to assist and put strain on them.

1 comment:

Anah said...

This article is a good piece of information. Never knew that underdeveloped hamstring can cause low back pain. I do not suffer from back pain but have a slight bulg just below my neck. how do i correct that?

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