Worried About Sciatica & Low Back PainLow back pain is debilitating, distracts our attention and is the number two cause (behind the common cold) for missed work. Ninety percent of us will experience low back pain at some point in our life.

Simply put, our low back, or lumbar spine, transmits the weight of our upper body onto our lower body, and needs support from surrounding musculature. Imbalance in the musculature of the low back can manifest in a variety of forms, from strained muscles to slipped discs, and every time we move, we activate the pain. By understanding the muscles of the low back and core we can better understand what is causing our low back pain.

What Causes Low Back Pain: Understanding the Muscles of the Lumbar Spine


Connects the upper part of the thighbone and inner pelvis to the lumbar spine. The principle movement of the psoas is bringing the thigh toward the chest (hip flexion). The psoas attaches not just to the bones of the spine, but also to the discs between, and exacts a huge force onto the discs when tight. Pain caused by the psoas often shows up as lower back pain, because other muscles have to overwork to support the spine. The force of a tight psoas putting pressure on the lumbar spine can cause a pinched disc.

Quadratus Lumborum (QL)

Connects the back rim of the pelvis to the spine and lowest ribs. The QL aids in arching the back (spinal extension), and bending sideways (lateral flexion). When we "throw our back out" it is commonly the QL that is strained, and hence the difficulty with standing up (spinal extension). The QL and Psoas oppose each other. A tight psoas makes the QL work that much harder.

Erector Spinae

The Erector Spinae run the length of the spine from the sacrum all the way up to the upper back. These muscles keep our spine erect and overuse occurs from sitting improperly, or strain from lifting from the back. Pain appears in the low back or higher, radiating close to the spine.

Internal Obliques & External Obliques

Oblique muscles run diagonally across the abdomen. They are the key stabilizers of our core integrity on the front and hence do much to support the lumbar spine integrity. Think of these as the struts on your car, if you are driving straight, they do little, but as you start turning and shifting, they play a huge role. If these are not activating during physical activities we run the risk of damaging our lumbar spine, or compensating with other muscles.

Rectus Abdominis and Transverse Abdominis

These are typically what we think of as our core muscles. The rectus lies on a sheet of connective tissue that connects them to the obliques on the sides, the pelvis below, and the ribs above. The transverse abdominis run beneath the obliques and provide secondary stabilization.

The connection between all these muscles acts like saran wrap to stabilize the core, and provide for proper spacing in the low back. Without their proper participation, low back pain can quickly occur.

The Road to Recovery: Building Strength and Relieving Tension

Low back pain sourced in muscle strain can be treated quickly and efficiently with rest and stretching.

For more long-term, chronic pain, when disc injury may be the cause, consult a doctor before beginning any routine. Developing strength through all parts of the core by doing daily yoga exercises to strengthen and stretch the key core muscles is necessary. A simple daily routine of lower back pain exercises will build strength and stretch by taking the lumbar spine through its full range of motion and activating the key muscles that stabilize it along the way.

First thing...Back pain is NOT normal.

Yes, it’s true...85% of the population suffers with some form of back pain.  But that just makes it prevalent...not normal.  The bones, discs, ligaments and muscles in your low back are some of the biggest in your body.  They are more than capable of doing their job without causing you  pain.

So if you are someone who thinks you will always have back pain and that’s just they way it is...eventually, you are going to have to change your mind about that.  And the sooner...the better.

To Stop Being Worried About Sciatica & Low Back Pain Here's How