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Prevent Lower Back Pain

Low Back Pain is one of the most common complaints we hear at Melita Fitness and Rehab. For many people, low back pain (LBP) turns into a nuisance that hinders the ability to perform daily tasks. If you’re in this boat, you are not alone. Low back pain affects nearly 85% of adults.


So what causes LBP? The most common origins include lifting heavy objects and skeletal irregularities. Lifting a heavy object, especially with improper form, can place excess strain on the vertebral column causing muscle strains and disc herniations. Skeletal irregularities such as lordosis and scoliosis can compromise the integrity of the spine. Lordosis is defined as an exaggerated anterior pelvic tilt (Shemshaki, et al. 2013). As pictured below, there is an exaggerated curvature in the lumbar spine. The curvature places increased pressure on the posterior (back) side of the vertebrae. In addition to lordosis, scoliosis is also a common skeletal irregularity. Scoliosis is the abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. Like lordosis, there is increased pressure on one side of the vertebral column.

 What is Anterior Pelvic Tilt? | Advanced Injury Treatment Center

Normal spine (left) Lordosis (right)


Risk factors for low back pain include age, weight, smoking, physical inactivity, weak core, and tight hips ( Back Pain, 2020).


The onset of back pain typically occurs between 30-50 years of age and becomes more common in the 70s and 80s. Osteoporosis can lead to a loss of bone strength and density that impact the integrity of the discs. The intervertebral discs are the support cushions of the spine. As we age, the intervertebral discs lose their hydration and flexibility; this inhibits their ability to act as support cushions.


Being overweight can place stress on the low back. This is especially true if the weight is centered around the anterior side of the abdomen. This weight pulls the pelvis into an anterior pelvic tilt. If not remedied, this can lead to partial or full disc herniation (Back Pain, 2020).


The hip flexors are the group of muscles at the top of the thighs. Tightness and shortening of these muscles can cause the hips to over-rotate forward. This can lead to lordosis and weakness of the abdominals.


When referring to the core, most people just think about the six-pack or the rectus abdominis. The core is actually made up of many muscles including the internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis and multifidus. A weak core can contribute to low back pain. The core muscles are intended to help support the spine by taking the pressure and impact off of the lumbar vertebrae (Shiri, et al. 2021). When the core muscles are weak, the lumbar spine takes the majority of the impact.


Like most injuries and ailments, it is important to know the cause of the low back pain in order to alleviate it. At Melita Fitness and Rehab we can help to pinpoint that cause and walk you through the recovery process. Generally speaking though, most back pain can be minimized with two things: stretching and strengthening. Important muscles to target when stretching are the hip flexors, rectus abdominis, glutes, and hamstrings. This allows for proper hip and spine mobility. With strengthening, the focus should be on the transverse abdominis and multifidus. Typically, these are the weakest and hardest muscles to activate. Dead bug and heel slides are ideal exercises for activating these deep core muscles.



Maintaining an exercise routine can alleviate low back pain by promoting a healthy BMI and strong core. A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to an increase in back pain and back injuries.


Smoking and nicotine use can decrease bone density. A decrease in bone density can lead to osteoporosis and brittle bones. Studies have found that nicotine use has been associated with disc degeneration. Smoking secession is critical for preventing low back pain and associated conditions (Koes, Tulder, Thomas, 2006).


It is no secret that a large portion of the working population sits at a desk for the majority of the workday. Remaining in the seated position for prolonged periods of time can lead to tightening of the hip flexors and weakening of the core stability muscles. Having an ergonomic chair or standing desk can help relieve pain caused by prolonged sitting (Greenleaf, 2020).

Low back pain is a common but preventable aliment. Low back pain is not a condition but rather a symptom of a larger issue. With proper alignment and exercise, low back pain can be alleviated and often eliminated. Come check out all of the services Melita Fitness and Rehab offers for joint and spine health.



Back pain. (2020, August 21). Retrieved April 09, 2021, from

Greenleaf, R., MD. (2020, September 18). 10 tips for dealing with lower back pain. Retrieved April 09, 2021, from

Koes, B. W., van Tulder, M. W., & Thomas, S. (2006). Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 332(7555), 1430–1434.

Shemshaki, H., Nourian, S. M., Fereidan-Esfahani, M., Mokhtari, M., & Etemadifar, M. R. (2013). What is the source of low back pain?. Journal of craniovertebral junction & spine, 4(1), 21–24.


Shiri R, Falah-Hassani K, Heliövaara M, Solovieva S, Amiri S, Lallukka T, Burdorf A, Husgafvel-Pursiainen K, Viikari-Juntura E. Risk Factors for Low Back Pain: A Population-Based Longitudinal Study. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2019 Feb;71(2):290-299. doi: 10.1002/acr.23710. PMID: 30044543.


Written by Hannah Cochran