Vibrant Health Now.com

Vibrant Health Now Home


Back Pain Home

Back Pain Articles

Back Pain Relief Ebook Image
Back Pain Relief Ebook


Free Newsletter

Subscribe to our
Vibrant Health Newsletter
for health, fitness, and nutrition Tips.

First Name:

E-mail Address:


Contact Us

Resources










The Skinny on Muscle Imbalances - Restoring Order As A Means Of Eliminating Back Pain

There are many causes of back pain. Injury, illness, herniated disks and poor posture are just a few.

Muscle imbalances are one of the lesser side effects of improper use, posture, strain and injury, and are commonly the cause of the aches and pains associated with back pain. Unfortunately, most doctors don't diagnose muscle imbalances until it is too late.

Muscle Imbalances Defined

So what exactly is a muscle imbalance? A muscle imbalance is exactly as it sounds, an 'imbalance' or inequality that exists within the muscles. It occurs when two or more muscles in the body that oppose each other are disproportionate.

An example of a common muscle imbalance occurs in the muscles of the quadriceps and hamstrings. Most people work hard to strengthen the front part of their leg but often skimp when it comes to exercising the hamstring. A muscle imbalance in this area of the leg can result in a 'popping' sound in the knee. It can also result in back pain.

The single most common muscle imbalance leading to back pain is disproportionate abdomen to back ratio. Think of it this way... it's like a teeter totter that isn't balanced because one end is shorter than the other. It will still work but not optimally.

Not exercising the abdomen can lead to severe back pain because the abdomen supports the back.

Biology of Muscles

It will help your understanding a bit if you have an idea of how muscles work. Muscles are fibrous tissues that connect to bones in the body, supporting the function of movement. To facilitate movement muscles contract and then relax. So a muscle gets shorter and then longer in response to movement. A muscle imbalance may result in too much or too little contracting or relaxing. Or, some muscles may get too strong while others aren't strong enough and can reduce a persons' stability.

Factors Contributing to Muscle Imbalances

One of the primary causes of muscle imbalances is poor posture. If you sit for too long in a bad position or continually stand with bad posture, your muscles adapt to your posture but in a bad way resulting in imbalances.

Muscle imbalances can also result when you overuse a muscle. If you are right handed for example and use a pull lever on the job, and only pull with the right hand, the right hand/arm will be stronger than the left which presents an imbalance.

The Benefits of Exercise

The good news is that exercise can help reduce and even eliminate muscle imbalances. (If not careful however, improper training can also lead to muscle imbalances).

You can exercise weaker muscles to catch them up to stronger ones and work to correct imbalances and maintain overall stability. You can assess whether or not opposing muscles are out of balance by testing your lifting strength. Try lifting your maximum on one side and then the other.

For example, if you can lift a 10 pound weight during a bicep curl on the left side, but a 30 pound weight on the right, you have a muscle imbalance. You should enlist the assistance of a trainer when testing muscle imbalances. By working with a trainer, you can develop a fitness program that not only addresses muscle imbalances but improves overall tone and strength. Usually a combination of strength training and physical therapy or chiropractic therapy can be used to correct muscle imbalances.

Prevention

Prevention is critical when it comes to muscle imbalances and back pain. One of the best things you can to correct and prevent future injury is seek out the help of a professional trainer. A trainer can perform a physical evaluation and test the relative muscle strength you have on each side of the body. You can then work together to develop a strength training program that provides overall strength and eliminates potential problem areas.

About The Author

Steve Preston, President of Fast Fitness has been training and counseling clients for 15 years. He offers personal fitness training, metabolic testing and customized fitness and nutrition plans. His new guide *The Better Back Guide: 6 Weeks to Improving Strength and Reducing Pain Without Surgery* teaches people how to reduce, eliminate and prevent chronic back pain using a six week program. You can read more about his guide and his other fitness guides and services at: http://www.fast-fitness.net. Learn More about Back Pain at: http://www.backpainworkout.com

Related Articles:

  • Physicians, Chiropractors and Physical Therapist Agree on a New Treatment for Low Back Pain - One of the most prevalent and difficult health conditions to treat in the physical medicine is low back pain. The difficulty in treating low back pain comes from the fact that there are numerous ca ...
  • Questions to ask your doctor if you suffer from back pain. - Questions to ask your doctor (and why)Q...What's causing my pain and why can't I have any further treatment...Because chronic long term pain isn't normal there is nearly always a reaso ...
  • Nothing Seems To Get Rid Of My Nagging Back Pain… What Now? - Tired of struggling and need relief from back pain? You are not alone… millions and millions of people suffer from back all over the world and nearly all of them are like you, looking for something th ...
  • So Your Lower Back Hurts??? - Low back pain is one of the most common ailments people suffer from and approximately 8 out of 10 people will deal with back pain at some point in their life. That’s a lot of people… are you one of ...
  • Stabilizing the Core to Eliminate Low-Back Pain - Stabilizing the Core to Eliminate Low-Back PainBy Rich Lauro MAT, MES, PRSThis is the first article of a series of articles to follow. In this article I will be addressing one of the m ...
  • For a Complete list of Articles with summaries Click Here
  • © Copyright VibrantHealthNow.com 2004-2006. All rights reserved.