Why We Need Strong Buttocks to Prevent and Fix Back Pain
The gluteals (buttocks muscles) are a very important muscle group; they serve many functions in the stability of the lower back and pelvis. However, nowadays we spend more time sitting on our buttocks than actually using it.
In fact, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, on average we are sitting at least 4 hours a day (usually watching television) and spending only 30 minutes doing some form of physical activity. That’s a total of 13 hours of watching TV per week!
One in three workers spend at least three-quarters of their time sitting. Office workers sit up to 23 hours per week compared to less than 4 for labourers.
Is it no wonder we see many people with back pain coming into our clinic. If we are all sitting for most of our day our bottoms are probably asleep!
To help you understand a little more, there are 3 layers of buttocks muscles. The smallest (Gluteus Minimus), medium (Gluteus Medius) and biggest (Gluteus Maximus).
The three muscles are all intertwined and yet have different roles to play, overall they help support and stabilise your pelvis, hips and of course your spine.
Without proper use of these muscles we tend to be more inclined to injuries such as back pain, pelvic pain, hip pain and much more.
When we conduct our Full Body Assessment, we look at the entire human body and how one area affects another. One very common thing we see is poor gluteal strength and activation. This can be caused by many things such as previous injury, but the biggest contributing factor is our lifestyle.
In today’s society, we are sitting more then ever and when we are seated; our glutes (particularly Gluteus Maximus) is on constant stretch and not being used. This results in poor gluteal activation which leads to weakness and eventually injury.
If there is weakness throughout the gluteal muscles, we lose significant support for the lower back, pelvis and hips, causing increased loading on passive support structures such as bones and ligaments. Increased loading of these structures is the major cause for spinal injury. One such example is picking up a heavy object off the floor with poor technique. When you do this there is more compressive loading on your back and you are more likely to experience back pain.
One of our main focuses is to improve the strength of our glutes to prevent an injury. If you already have back pain, done worry it is never to late to strengthen your bottom, in fact it will be a major part of your rehabilitation.
Strong glutes should be the main focus for many people, but as always, you should be properly assessed by a qualified health professional such as a Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist or Sports Doctor for a tailored and specific strengthening program.
By Nick Adkins