Common causes for lower back pain

PDF LINK: Common causes for lower back pain

As a massage therapist one of the most common complains I get from my clients is lower back pain.

(BEFORE their massage, smart ass!)

This PDF shows the muscles, stretches, and an explanation of WHY they hurt your lower back when they are tight. Even I forget to do these often enough!

Psoas Major:

If the psoas is too tight (often from too much sitting) it contracts and pulls the lumbar spine forward causing pain in the lower back. The psoas stays contracted because of postural habits and trauma. The way we stand, walk and sit can distort the psoas. Sitting through most of the day at the office or elsewhere causes the muscle to shorten.

Gluteus Maximus:

The gluteus maximus is often involved in low back pain and people often think that their low back pain is due to their lower back being weak or tight. Frequently it originates from glutes being too tight or weak by pulling on the lower back muscles, or not supporting them. (Piriformis pain sometimes acts like gluteus maximus pain. The piriformis lies immediately under the gluteus maximus and near the sciatic nerve so if that muscle gets really tight, it will cause that pain in the glutes to creep down to a pain in the leg as well.)

The ITB (iliotibial band) attaches from the outside of the knee to the outside of the hip. When the ITB is tight, it can pull the hip sideways which then pulls your lower back, placing additional strain on it.


The reason tight hamstrings are associated with back pain is because they stop the hips from flexing during forward bending. That forces the lower back to bend beyond its strong middle range. During office chair sitting, the hamstring muscles are inactive, and are held at a shortened length. This is one of the causes of tight hamstrings.

Heather Karr, LMT

Common causes for lower back pain

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