Tell me if this sounds familiar: You go in for an appointment for your back pain. You are given a diagnosis of having your pelvis out of alignment or a disc herniation or sciatica. You’re hooked up to a machine, ride a bike and do a few stretches before you are on your way home. And you are diligent so you do this week after week after week. But you still have back pain!

So what went wrong? Why aren’t you better yet?

Why Your Back Pain is Different

The problem is that while yes, your pelvis might be out of alignment, and yes there might be a problem with your disc or your sciatic nerve. There is likely so much more going on! Your body and your injury are entirely unique to you. No one else’s body has been through the exact same stressors, repetitive movements, previous injuries, or movement patterns as you. So the above mentioned ” diagnosis” is likely actually just a symptom of what is really going on. The body moves and functions as a unit so to understand what the real root cause it, we have to look at more than just the site of your pain. For example, here is a list of some common reasons that you might be having low back pain… that has nothing to do with your low back:

Things That Might Be Causing Your Back Pain That Have Nothing to do With Your Back!

  1. Your feet lack strength and support meaning that your arches collapse leading to your leg and hip rotating inwards, collapsing and putting unnecessary stress and strain on your low back
Lack of foot stability can cause back pain

2. Your ankles are stiff meaning that when you walk, you can’t get a full stride. Therefore your glutes slowly stop activating again leading to too much strain on your low back.

Ankle stiffness can cause back pain

3. You lack core stability ( you guessed it- too much strain of your low back!)

4. Your upper back is stiff – maybe from slouching- meaning that your low back is moving too much to help make up for it.

5. You have digestive problems meaning that there are restrictions in the tissue surrounding your organs which attach on to the spine and pull the spine out of alignment or restrict normal movement ( which equals the disc being pinched)

digestive problems can cause back pain

6. … or a million other potential compensation patterns, imbalances, restrictions, etc that could be contributing to your low back pain!

So What Should You Do About Your Back Pain?

The moral of the story – you ( and your injury!) are unique! Don’t settle for the same old back pain treatment you’ve had tens of times without success or the same old treatment that everyone else with back pain is getting. Explore and find what works for you! And remember- it’s all connected. The body is an amazing compensator and sometimes your injury isn’t what you might think.

Written by Lindsay Langlais

Certified Athletic Therapist

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