I’ve spoken a lot of times about the muscles that cause low back pain when a person sits for long periods of time. Today I’d like to put a new twist on that topic – feeling low back pain when standing for long periods of time.
It’s actually coming from the same muscles, but for a different reason. When you sit down your psoas/iliacus contract and the iliopsoas causes you to bend at the hips. As you stay sitting down, your quadriceps, specifically your rectus femoris, are lengthened. But then you go to stand up and your rectus femoris is too long to do the job because your pelvis has rotated down in the front. So, your body responds by tying a knot in the middle/toward the outside of the rectus femoris. Now the rectus femoris is adding the downward pressure on the tip of your pelvis, which then makes your lumbar vertebrae get pulled forward and down. If you have been to my forum you have probably read the thread that explains this more thoroughly.
So, why would the same muscles cause low back pain when you’re standing? As I said, when you stand up your quadriceps have shortened in order to straighten your leg. As the rectus femoris (one of the four quadriceps) contracted it pulls on the tip of your pelvis in order to make the movement. However, when the muscle stays contracted for an extended period of time, and then you bend your knee, it puts pressure on your pelvis, and therefore your lumbar vertebrae.
On June 10th in the blog titled Knee Pain, Hip Pain, and Trigger Point Yoga I posted a video that was done by Ana Johnson, my partner in TriggerPoint Yoga. This video demonstrates how to do the Julstro self-treatment for your quadriceps, if you haven’t already seen it, I recommend it.
If you work at a job that has you standing for long periods of time, I suggest you bring a piece of PVC pipe into your office and whenever you have the opportunity, treat your quadriceps. You’ll be surprised how much it will help you.
Wishing you well,