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A Misconception of Lifter's Back Pain

By Michelle Libasci 

​Since opening up EmpowerLift we have encountered a wide array of members with " lower back pain" whether it be from our athletes who compete in Olympic weightlifting & Crossfit or our boot camp and overall fitness members. After Coach Rob's glute injury last year after an Olympic weightlifting competition in 2014, we have become more aware of where "lower back pain" stems from. Roughly 80% of our members suffer from lower back pain due to a weak Gluteus Medius.
Here is a little info about it :

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints amongst exercise enthusiasts and those dabbling into it for the first time. The problem is no one looks for the source of their back pain. Most people assume no matter how light the weight they lifted was, it "must have been the weight that was just too heavy."
The reality of the problem is that one source of a lot of people's lower back pain (lumbago) is their gluteus medius. The gluteus medius is in charge of keeping your pelvis level during walking, keeping your pelvis stable as you bear weight on it, and while abducting your femur from your other leg. There are several reasons your gluteus medius could have developed a weakness. The naturally wide hipped has the disadvantage of this area being weak along with those that sit for hours on end. Another reason is having stronger quads and hamstrings rather than your gluteus medius. When exercising so many of us have a tendency to not squeeze at the top of our lifts which contracts our gluteus medius. This action is crucial in preventing the underdevelopment of this area while we strengthen the rest of our body. The domino effect is when we squat, deadlift, or run our lower lumbar will attempt to compensate when our weak side fails to abduct, placing a strain on our gluteus medius. Other signs you have a weak gluteus are, outside knee pain, medial knee pain, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis. Outside knee pain can be a result of a weak gluteus when running due to your hip dropping and consequently tightening the muscles around your upper femurs. This in turn pulls on the lateral aspect of the femur's epicondyle (outside of your knee). 
Medial knee pain can be associated with your gluteus medius when it fails to fully adduct your upper femur from your midline. A weak gluteus medius allowing internal rotation (knee Valgus) could be the reason you overpronate your step, ending in shin splints when sprinting or running. 

Trigger points

  • Medial gluteus  :

Posterior Superior iliac Spine (P.S.I.S) AKA the "dimples" above the buttocks - Pain associated with it is along the rear belt line into the lumar.

  • Middle Gluteus Medius 

The iliac crest aka hip crest- Pain associated is in the upper glute and posterior thigh. 

  • Lateral Gluteus Medius

Sacrum aka Tailbone - The pain, never being able to pinpoint the right area stems from the lateral aspect ( outer portion) of your sacrum. 

Happy Glute Strengthening from us at EMPOWERLIFT!! 

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