Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums General low back pain for 8 years

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    • #70625
      AvatarMcVitty LaPointe

      Any help appreciated about this (sorry for the long post)


      For about 7/8 years i’ve had on and off low back pain. I’ve had a few occasions where everything locks up and goes into spasm but for the most part I have just carried on with my physical activity (big mistake I know). Unfortunately the last 2-3 years things have got worse. Whenever i have to stand or walk/run my low back (and upper back more recently) goes into lockdown. Interestingly I can usually work out as when the blood is pumping it feels ok. I’ve had scans and nothing unusual came up. My posture sucks and I have anterior pelvic tilt. I’m also very inflexible and so have been working on that and having regular deep tissue massage to break down all my fibrous tissue that has come on through 15 years of hard training without massage or stretching (we all make mistakes). I also feel as if my lower back is very weak now as I’ve tended to avoid doing anything that I thought could mess it. The grand up shot of this is that i’m making efforts but don’t know where to go now. The main problem is that I can’t walk or stand for extended periods (but I can go and do a bunch of chins, push-ups etc.!). Basically, it currently sucks and so I’d appreciate anyadvice. I have a feeling it’s mostly to do with my posture and pelvic tilt but it’s not possible to consouscly adjust that on a 24h basis??  


      Thanks for any advice and suggestions and I’ll happily provide more info if anyone needs it.

    • #73346
      AvatarNathan Richer

      Well, posture can be trained.  I took the Gokhale Method and it was pretty excellent BUT nothing lasts unless you make something as important as posture and pelvic tilt a 24/7 unconscious habit.  The only way to do that is to be mindful 24/7, which may require building the capability for 24/7 mindfulness also.

      The first step would be to figure out what is perfect posture and get into that position.  Then you essentially memorize it and learn over time how to recognize when you’re out of position, and what steps you can take to correct it.  Eventually it becomes second nature but yes it can take a long time and more effort than you can realize.  Still it’s pretty much the only way to ensure that you’re not screwing up your back all day in between workouts, even if your form during workouts is good enough to be painfree then…
    • #73347

      As you begin to change your positioning it will be expensive. Something you need to think about all the time. As your mobility improves and you break your old posture habits the new positioning will not be as expensive to maintain. It will become just the way you stand/walk and you won’t have to think about it so much. It will establish new habits with your improved positioning. This happens for people at different amounts of time.
      Keep working with it chipping away one piece at a time.
      Here are a couple to start with
      Torque and Trunk Stability Part 1: How to Stand
      Pro Episode #16 – The Dreaded Low Back Pump Out

      Pro Episode #4 – Spinal Fault/Tweak

      I would recommend watching the webinar
      The Big Engine: Anatomy and Function of the Lumbar Spine and Pelvis Complex

    • #73348
      AvatarMcVitty LaPointe

      Thanks for the suggestions. Those videos pretty much sum me up to a tee and I’ve got a long way to go. The levels of tightness in my psoas, hip flexors, quads and quadratus is insane and the deep tissue massage i’ve been having is so painful at times.

      Is it normal when starting to change your posture to feel fatigue in your muscles and like you’re in the wrong positions? Also, David, where would you suggest to start with the Gokhale method? A book or dvd or video links?

    • #73350
      AvatarNathan Richer

      re: fatigue in muscles

      yes definitely you could feel fatigue in muscles and in your mind.  you are waking up and firing muscles which were designed by nature to fire all day long in good posture, but due to 21st century life we end up wasting those muscles away.  also you are increasing your mindfulness to this and that can be very tough to retain full waking attention on it all the time – which will eventually move to unconscious and automatic over time.
      always remember 20% in the torso, but also very important to have 20% in the glutes especially whenever you stand.  the 20% in the glutes will help yank your pelvis down in the back, reducing anterior pelvic tilt and bringing it more to neutral.
      in the gokhale method, you’ll find a chapter on glide walking – one of the most useful things i picked up. basically you learn how to walk with your glutes.  very interesting and very applicable to other stuff like running.
      a good measure of posture is to line up straight up and down:
      ear hole
      center of shoulder
      elbow center
      hip center
      knee center
      sometimes we use a stick to practice:

      you must keep contact in the 3 points and practice with deadlift movement.

      we also use walls to practice:

      at the end he talks about using the upper hamstrings to pull your pelvis down.  this is related to glute contraction, but often we need to contract glutes to get our hams to fire.  try firing your hams by themselves while standing – it’s pretty tough!

      as for Gokhale – the DVD is excellent – i tend to like video better than static images. but reading the book gives you some other info about how gokhale came to be.  

      the parts in gokhale i question are:

      1. it is missing 20% glute contraction 
      2. they promote breathing with the upper body. i think diaphragmattic breathing is a much more desirable goal.
      3. they use the term anteversion of the pelvis which i couldn’t find any reference to except here.  they promote anteversion of the pelvis – which seems to mean anterior tilt – all the time but i think this is wrong when standing. you don’t want too much anterior tilt or else you’re gonna sway.  when you sit, tilting the pelvis forward is more desirable, and tougher because our psoas and other hip flexors have gotten weak and taut from sitting too much.

      still despite these 3 points, the rest of the content is excellent.  i would recommend taking a class if you have an instructor nearby. go to http://www.gokhalemethod.com to take a look.
    • #73359

      You may be using muscles you have not used in the past for these tasks.
      Initially it can be “expensive” to maintain better positioning because you are unlearning a habit while learning a new position/habit.  You are creating new neuro pathways for the movement/position. As you work with maintaining the changes the neuro pathways are grooving. As this continues it will just become the way you stand and you won’t need to think about it so much.
      As with breaking any habit it is hard and it takes time.

      Some episodes that hit the areas you mentioned:
      Jill Miller Smashes Your Guts! (and psoas, and tacked down viscera, and matted down abdominals…) Part 2
      Episode 301: Psoas Flossing and Biker Hips
      Episode 129: The Twin Bowstrings, the Psoas and Scalenes
      Episode 75: Your Inside Psoas Bits, World Record?
      Episode 40: USAW Oly Prep: Some New Hip Love /Psoas/Calves
      Episode 04: Silent P in Filet, Very Paleo

      Episode 142: Tight IT Band and Hip Flexor Fix: Runners?
      Episdoe 23: Runner’s Legs

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