You probably don’t know what your quadratus lumborum is, and you’ll be much happier if that remains the case.
Lower back pain is the largest cause of work related absence in the industrialised world. 80% of people in the UK will complain of back pain at some time, with 49% of the population reporting pain lasting 24 hours or more.(source) 5 weeks ago, I became a part of those statistics.
There’s still some debate about exactly what happened, but what I do know is that I did a seated box jump in the gym 35 days ago and that was the last proper exercise I did. The pain was instant, and we finished the session with some gentle mobility work before I went home for an early night with a hot water bottle, expecting to wake up fixed. I woke up paralysed. For two days it was taking me 30 minutes to get out of bed and in to the kitchen to get food. I was moving from mattress to front room floor, where I’d lie for as long as I could before having to crawl back to bed. It was only on the third day I was mobile enough to get downstairs to the drugs waiting in my letterbox which thankfully got me back to work a few days later. Since then I’ve been stretching and rolling when the pain allows and in the last ten days I’ve managed a couple of short runs, but paid for it with soreness the following day.
The diagnosis is blurred. Initially it was suggested my QL (quadratus lumborum muscle) had gone in to spasm. This is the muscle that runs down the lower spine, connected from the lowest rib to the pelvis and if it spasms then everything is going to be painful! My physio suggested however that it may be a slipped disc, or more accurately a lumbar disc herniation. Having done lots of reading I’m convinced it could have been either…but also could very conceivably have been both!
One thing that everyone agreed on though is that a key cause of whatever went wrong is the fact that my job has become increasingly sedentary, spending more and more time sat at my desk and not moving for hours on end. The same was true at home, although I was running and training lots as soon as the trainers were off I would be sat again, ending the evening with an hour or two on the sofa.
So I’m going to do a post in the next few days about how to minimise the damage you’re doing if, like me, you have an office job. I’d love your input, if you’ve had back issues or have any advice on how to get moving in the work place let me know.
Work station review is something not many employees think about asking for. It should mandatory. A decent chair and exact height of keyboard and screen. Allowing breaks for you to stretch and loosen up would be of major benefit. Say every 20mins. At lunch time take your trainers and go for a power walk. Stretching is very much underestimated and if you do a bit you need to do loads more. Yoga and core,glute strengthening exercises would be of major benefit considering you have a sedentary job like so many of my clients.
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