80% of all Americans will face back pain in their lifetime. I have heard this number many times and yet there seems to be no good treatment to stop back pain. There are many gadgets such as back braces, special chairs, strength training exercises, and even cars that come with lumbar support to help people live with back pain. The question is, “Why must you just live with back pain?” In this article, I will talk about the three areas of your body that causes most back pain and some simple stretches that have helped my clients stop their back pain once and for all.

Let us begin with what is causing the back pain. You see, the gadgets mentioned above only treat the symptom and not the true cause. In healthcare, our training focuses on solving the symptom, and for most patients, once the pain has stopped, they think the problem has gone away. The truth is the pain can go away and you still have a problem that will show up later as a bulging disc or pinched nerve.
Since humans stand up on two legs, our ability to stand up without falling requires a massive balancing act of our entire body every time we stand. When standing, our body is balancing side-to-side and front-to-back, 100% of the time we stand. This means that the muscles in our calves and feet become important for balancing. If your feet and ankles are stiff, which they are for most people, your risk of falling is much higher. I will talk more about the feet and ankles in a future article. In this article, I will focus on the thighs and their relationship to your back.
There are three key areas that affect your lower back. The pain will always be in your back and not in any of the three areas. That is why no one ever looks in these areas first to solve your problem. When you visit a doctor with back pain, at first, they may suggest the gadgets I mentioned above, then on to physical therapy, and finally an MRI or x-ray. It is true that in some cases, the MRI or x-ray may show vertebrae close together, pinching a nerve or disc. However, the MRI or x-ray is only showing the result of something happening, not what is causing it to happen.
The question to ask is, what caused the vertebrae to move. The bones will not move without a muscle to force it to move unless you have had a trauma to your back. So, if the bone cannot move on its own, then which muscle caused it to move. The obvious choice is to look at muscles close by and that is usually the first mistake.
The Causes
The pelvis is a large bone that has the spine attaching from the top and the legs out the bottom. The pelvis is a solid bone, but it can move forward and backward depending on which muscles you engage in. The muscles that move the pelvis the most are in the thighs of the human body.
Area 1- The front of the thighs(quads)- In a seated position, the 4 quad muscles are in a shortened state. If held there too long, they can pull the pelvis forward when you stand up giving you a swayback look. You see this in older people or office workers. Doing squats in a gym or lifting things, even correctly, can do the same. As the quads pull the pelvis forward it creates a pinch in the lower back leading to low back stiffness when you stand after sitting, lying, or even standing for long periods of time. This is the most common one of the three.
Area 2- The inner thighs- These are the cousins to the quads and have a similar effect from the same things as the quads. The only difference is where the pain shows up. With the quads, the pain is usually towards the outer areas of the low back, whereas the inner thighs cause back pain in the center of the low back. There is a simple test you can do to determine which one is most likely. After sitting, or laying, for while or standing for while you feel low back pain or stiffness, notice where the pain is located. If the pain stops once you sit back down, then the problem is mostly in your inner thighs or quads.
Area 3- Back of thighs (hamstrings)- If while sitting, you feel a need to stand up because your back is tightening up or painful, it is probably your 3 hamstring muscles, which include your calves too. When sitting you are extending your hamstrings. When you stand, you remove the tension and that stops the pain.

How to Stop the Problem
Traditional stretching will not help you. Traditional is based on forcing your muscle to release and your brain will not let that happen, especially if it is painful. Your brain is designed to keep you alive and pain-free. Therefore, the pain you feel, the more the brain contracts the muscle to make it stop. This is called strength training and it is what most people when they try to stretch. When stretching a muscle, it is not about the pressure but letting go, emotionally, from the brain. You must relax, take the time to feel the muscle releasing. And breathe through the stretch. You can learn more about this at The Muscle Repair Shop
Area 1- Quads- Stretching the upper part of the quads is key. Doing a typical quad stretch from the gym or PT will not help you. You must lay on your side, grab the upper ankle, and pull the knee behind your torso for just 5 seconds as you breathe out, releasing the muscle. Repeat this 10 times. Do both legs.
Area 2- Inner thighs- Sitting in a hardbacked chair, cross one leg over the other, placing your ankle on the opposite knee. Notice if the knee is laying flat. If not, that could be causing your back pain. Gently massage the muscles in the inner thigh from the hip to the knee. Next place your hand on your knee, using the hand as a weight, and focus on letting go of the inner thigh muscles from the hip. Do both legs.
Area 3- Hamstrings- Get a yoga strap, rope, or anything that is not stretchy to stretch your hamstrings. Sitting on the floor and reaching forward to stretch your hamstrings or lying on your back pulling your leg towards you with your hands will not work. You have 3 hamstrings and neither of these allows you to stretch your inner or outer hamstrings. Start by lying on your back and place one foot flat on the floor with your knee pointing up. Place the strap around the arch of the opposite foot, keeping the knee straight, us your hands to walk up the strap. Do not use your thighs to lift your leg as you will negate the stretch. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times. Next, rotate your foot inward and repeat the stretch. This time you are stretching the inside hamstring. Finally, rotate the foot outward and repeat the stretch to stretch the outside hamstring. The hamstrings, with the 4 calf muscles, aid you in rotating your body, not just bending over and touching your toes. Do both legs. You can see these stretches at https://www.youtube.com/musclerepairshop.
The mistake most people make when stretching is not understanding the emotional side of the muscles. Healthcare professionals and trainers make this mistake every day. The brain becomes the most important part of stretching. If your brain does not believe you can move a specific way without hurting yourself, it becomes impossible to get your body to move without hurting it. Therefore, stretching is about teaching your brain that your body can move in the intended position. Once you understand that, stretching becomes very relaxing. Think about a dog or cat, every day they stretch several times a day. No special equipment, clothes, or location. You must do the same. If it is relaxing, stretching becomes something you look forward to every day. If not, your body will grow stiff and old quicker than it needs to, and you suffer in the end. For more information, you can contact me at The Muscle Repair Shop

Author's Bio: 

Butch Phelps is a muscle therapist licensed in massage therapy and has a B.S. in Aging Sciences. He has helped hundreds of fo people of all ages stop their nagging aches and pains for 15 years. His easy to follow Stretch n' Release technique makes it easy to stop the pain that has been slowing you down in days versus weeks to months.