The Hidden Secret to Fixing Back Pain: Part Five
Mike Uhrlaub with another episode of Power Your Life. It is so great to be back with you guys again. Yesterday morning I stepped on the scale and found I’ve lost some weight. This is something I’ve been working on for a little while now. I let it get away from me earlier in the summer so I rededicated myself. Focusing on my diet, workouts, and really just working on trying to get my body weight down to where I feel comfortable. It’s a constant battle but it’s something you need to pay attention to every single day. It never ends.
Just realize this is going to be a part of life going forward. That’s why diets don’t work; you do it for little period of time then go back to your old ways; and of course, you put weight back on. Weight loss is really a dedication to a new lifestyle and a new way of living. I’m proud to say that I am down 10 pounds over the last two months. I have to tell you; it feels really good to be here and be able to get back into some of my smaller clothes. I had some jeans I haven’t worn in quite a while and now I’m able to get into them. I’m going have to buy some new clothes too because some of the stuff I have is too big for me now. I’ve gone down a notch on my belt and it’s just really cool.
The Hidden Secret to Back Pain
Why am I telling you this? Why am I sharing this with you? What does this have to do with back pain and the hidden secret to back pain?
We’ve been talking all this time about the psoas….What does losing weight have to do with the psoas?
Believe it or not, the psoas is related to your weight loss. Maybe you thought I was done talking about the psoas…. Think again! This muscle is so incredibly important!
As I’ve discussed, the psoas is linked to your fight or flight response. When you are facing danger, you’re going to either curl up in a ball or get ready to run. The psoas is closely related to basic physical and emotional reactions that a chronically shortened or tightened psoas will send a signal to your body saying you’re in danger. After that happens, your body’s sympathetic nervous system activates your natural survival response leading to adrenal gland activity. Over time, it can actually start to deplete your immune system as long your body thinks it’s in danger. That tight psoas or tight hip sends a signal to your brain claiming the body’s in danger. This creates a feedback loop from the hips to the mind and then the body to constantly stay in the survival state as long as the psoas is tight.
The Psoas Link
Really think this through. When your body is in a flexed position, like in a curled-up position or sitting in a chair, for long periods of time your psoas is going to tighten and shorten. It’s also going to trigger the mind to respond to the body as if it was in danger. That happens by the psoas being chronically shortened. This is the feedback loop I was just telling you about… makes the brain think, “oh, the psoas is tightened down so it must be trying to pull me into a fetal position. The body must be in danger.” It triggers that entire sympathetic nervous system response. By sitting all day, it causes those hips to tighten, which then makes the body think it’s going into a fetal position. The brain then associates this with survival and guess what, that fight or flight response is kicked in.
Now the adrenal glands are going to try and help control our stress response. They do this with the different hormones produced; such as cortisol.
High adrenal gland activity helps the body prepare for trouble by storing fat.
The other thing that starts to happen with increased stress and hormone levels is your insulin levels will increase. When insulin levels start to increase, your body is going to start to store body fat.
Now, all the extra calories or anything you take in due to the stress is going to go straight to your midsection, abdomen, and thighs. It’s no wonder these are problem areas for a lot of us.
This happens whether the threat is real or not. For most of us, everyday stressors we face, don’t require a true fight or flight response, but your body doesn’t know that. When you’re in a sitting position, it is going to trigger the fight or flight because of the chronic shortening and tightening of the psoas. Sitting will cause you to gain weight around the midsection and it’s not just because you’re inactive. It’s important to know it’s because of the subconscious activation of the fight or flight response and those adrenal glands.
A Tight Psoas Doesn’t Just Make You Store Body Fat…
Here’s the kicker. A tight psoas doesn’t just make you store body fat, it starts to make you look fat too. What do I mean by that? Have you ever seen somebody with a potbelly? Even a skinny person can have one. You see the potbelly sticking out because of poor posture from tight psoas. Someone who has a tight psoas can have a potbelly which makes them look fat. You can tell if it is the psoas doing it because when you push on their belly it’s hard. Body fat is soft and flushy feeling, but a potbelly is hard.
What’s going on here? I wanted to show you it’s all because of the tight psoas and how it pulls on the back/hips. Previously we’ve talked about how the psoas comes off of the lumbar spine on both sides, travels through the stomach, pelvis, then attaches to the legs and femur.
When happens when a person is sitting and the psoas becomes shortened; you go to stand up and it’ll pull forward on that spine. This increases the curvature; what we call a lumbar lordosis. It makes it curve inward more because the psoas is pulling on that. When that curves in, your pelvis tips forward in what we call an anterior pelvic tilt. Now you have the front abdominal muscles and lower abdominal muscles, which are actually attaching to the front part of your pelvis. Once your pelvis tips forward in that anterior tilt, it stretches out those lower abdominal muscles. Muscles that get stretched out lose their strength and ability to function. It’s just like muscles that get too tight.
The Importance of Balance
If a muscle is not at its proper length in order to contract. It’s either too stretched out or too contracted shortened up and it loses its ability to function like it should.
Previously we talked about the key to all functions in the body; balance. The loss of strength in lower abdominals combined with the tilting of that pelvis forward is what gives a person that Potbelly look. Then what can happen is the abdominal organs can start to shift forward too.
As the psoas is pulling forward, it’s creating that curvature, lordosis, and lumbar spine. The pelvis tips forward, the lower abdominals get stretched out. Then the stomach content starts shifting forward. Altogether, this creates that potbelly appearance. It’s then directly linked to a lot of back pain issues too because as it pulls forward, guess what, it jams up the fossette joints and back creating a lot of pain.
The psoas is so critical to many other areas of your body as well.
Not only can it effect how you gain/lose weight, it can affect the way that you look.
We’re going to talk about how the psoas can affect your energy levels next time. It’s directly linked to many of the emotions within the body and just the overall energy level you have on a day to day basis.
If you feel you just don’t have the energy, it could be due to your psoas. But we’re going to get more into that next time.
If you haven’t gotten a copy of my new eBook, The Five Best Kept Secrets to Fast Backpain Relief, simply get yours by emailing me at Mike@flex-pt.com or shoot me a Facebook message on messenger. We’ll make sure we get that to you.
I’d like to leave you with a quote from Wilford Peterson-
“forgiveness works the miracle of change”.
Until next time. Power Your Life and keep moving forward.