Last week, I did some pool-side first aid at a water polo game I was spectating, to resolve a low back pain problem.
The injury wasn't caused by water polo, but treading water was making it worse, and stretching wasn't helping. In fact, his low back was locked-up because of very tight hip flexors.
After some simple active release techniques, he certainly wasn't pain-free but was able to get in the pool and be a little more mobile through the lower back.
I mentioned that the initial injury wasn't due to water polo. It was actually because of an uncomfortable chair!
Hip flexors are the group of muscles that attach the front of your spine to the top of your legs. They're the muscles responsible for bending our hips forward (like sitting on a chair), and for stabilising the low back.
There are 2 ways that an uncomfortable chair can cause injury to your hip flexors:
1. The chair is unstable – the hip flexors are already contracted while you're sitting, causing instability in the low back adds extra strain to the muscles.
2. The chair forces a narrow angle between your back and legs – the narrower the angle, the tighter your hip flexors have to contract to allow you to fit.
The best way to prevent back pain from these types of chairs is to just get rid of it! If you can't do that, though, stand up and move around every 20min to give your hip flexors a chance to stretch and relax.
Another thing you could try is the superman stretch, to stretch and release the hip flexors, while strengthening the agonist spinal muscles:
For more information on back pain, email me directly via the contact page. For specific information on an injury you have, or for treatment, contact one of my clinics directly. You can find that information here.
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Dr Mitch Clark