Photo: woods wheatcroft photography

Mind your back in the spring!!

Muscles of the iliac and anterior femoral regi...I wonder how many of you consider your back or front when you begin preparing your garden for planting?? Many people are sedentary over the winter, then when spring comes immediately start spending long days in the garden. Although people generally think back injuries occur from heavy lifting, they may also occur from sustained positions, repetitive activities, or excessive force.

Gardening often involves rototilling, bending over to weed as well as plant.

Rototilling can be very hard on the body, often involving a lot of jerking affecting the shoulders, neck, and low back. Injury may depend upon the condition of the ground that is being tilled and the type of machine that is used. We seldom remember the importance of the abdominal muscles. When you are rototilling and trying to brace yourself against the machine that is throwing your body back and forth, it is the contraction of the abdominal muscles that stabilize the muscles of your back. Under the abdominals are a very important muscle group called the Iliopsoas. One muscle group called the Psoas major and minor attaches to the side of each spine segment from the lower thoracic T12 to the end of the lumbar spine L5. It joins with the Iliacus which sits in the concavity of the hip bone and together they form the Iliopsoas and attach at the top of the femur or leg bone. This muscle group is active with any knee to chest activity such as squatting, hiking, and biking and may become tight or short with prolonged sitting.

Often we don’t think of the front when we injure the back, but the iliopsoas lies deep within the abdominal and pelvic cavity which is just on the other side of the back muscles. When this muscle becomes tight or goes into spasm it rarely hurts in front; people usually have back pain. Often the muscle tightness is a localized area pulling one or two lumbar segments or the sacrum into rotation. This rotation will limit our ability to bend forward or backward fully without pain. If the sacrum is involved people often have pain with moving from sitting to standing or from bending over then standing back up.

For questions regarding pain with moving forward or standing back up, contact Mary Boyd, MS, PT at 290.5575. Mary is a member of the Sandpoint Wellness Council and owner of Mountain View Physical Therapy.

Photo from Wikipedia


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