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Lower Back Pain Can Be A Result Of Muscle Entanglement, Knotting and Shortening

It’s worthwhile to understand that these muscles will entangle and knot up in the same way that wires do!s


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Dr Joel Yong

4 months ago | 4 min read
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It’s worthwhile to understand that these muscles will entangle and knot up in the same way that wires do!

What are the chances that someone hasn’t seen a mess of tangled wires before?

They don’t have to be certified electricians or IT guys working on the tangle of cables that run rampant in just about every server room…

Heck, the wires that we have at home can happily get tangled up on their own. The wires on my headphones will happily get themselves all tangled up — even when they’re not in contact with any other wires at all.

It’s the second law of thermodynamics at work right there, and a good mass of wires, when left on their own, will eventually tangle up on their own as they seek out a new state of disorder that we know as entropy. It’s not surprising to see how knots can form on their own, either.

Hence we do have doohickeys lying around, such as duct tape and cable ties, which help to prevent entanglement by keeping them wires bound to a specific position. Such as in the image above.

So you may wonder… how does this apply to our health?

We do have many long muscles and tissues running throughout our body.

The iliotibial (IT) band, for instance, is a large mass of fibres that run from our hip down to our knee. It is said that:

The IT band stabilizes the knee both in extension and in partial flexion, and is therefore used constantly during walking and running. When a person is leaning forwards with a slightly flexed knee, the tract is the knee’s main support against gravity.

So we need to use it for knee stabilisation when we’re walking or running…

This means that people who do engage in lots of walking or running do have to take care of it properly.

Because if it isn’t taken care of properly, one might develop IT band syndrome, which may result in symptoms of knee pain.

And where there is pain, we’d be cautious at overworking it. Meaning we’d end up doing less work than we’re actually supposed to be doing.

One of the problems that we’d find in IT band syndrome?

Knots, of course.

All that repeated activity on the IT band is going to result in a ton of movement and activity that can promote knotting. If wires can knot on their own without much movement… How much more likely is it to knot a string that undergoes far more movement?

And that opens up a whole new can of worms.

Because the knots in the IT band fibres can result in a shortening of those fibres — the same way that a string’s length will be shortened when we’re tying more knots on it.

That shortened IT band will proceed to either create pain and inflammation at one extremity (the knee) or the other extremity (the hip).

So not only may we experience knee pain, but we may experience hip issues, too.

If we’re leading lives in the sitting position most of the time — at our desks, in the car, when dining…

Muscles that hinge the body forward at the hips get tight, shortened and weak and muscles that want to take the body back into a neutral position of upright extension become tight and weak from overworking, overtrying and essentially, failing at their job.

We’ve got 4 major muscles that get affected:

All these muscles are fibres, too…

And some can end up getting knotted, which further complicates the issue.

Because the American Chiropractic Association does estimate that 80% of the population will experience some form of back pain or another during their lifetime.

I’m also writing this because I’m susceptible to that issue.

I fractured my left foot before, and I’ve got a muscular imbalance that also does affect my hips — the left side is considerably weaker and tighter than the right.

Foam rolling is a useful tool — I find that my quadratus lumborum (QL) muscle is extremely tight, and I’ve got quite a few knots running up and down my IT band.

It applies deep myofascial pressure onto the knots to help to loosen them up, but the rolling of those knots (in fact, applying finger pressure on those knots can be painful as crap).

But frequent stretching is also necessary. Even if we do feel that it’s too trivial or unimportant to stretch — money making may be more of a pressing priority for some of us.

Otherwise we’d end up with all these annoying symptoms of back pain. It may be milder for some, but terribly debilitating for others.

After foam rolling some knots on my QL over the weekend, the knots remain and the spots are tender to touch… Feels like massive bruising without the reddish blue telltale signs though!

In our busy lifestyles, stretching is highly important but understated.

Even more so if we want to keep ourselves physically fit and active, no?

And in that way, we could be able to alleviate some of the back pain that is bothering us.

I do make use of a foam roller to help. Always brings about a world of pain when I use it, though it does help to bring some much needed relief after.

Deep tissue massages by experienced chiropractors can also be quite helpful in reaching some of the knots that we can’t hit on our own.

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Dr Joel Yong

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Educator | Biochemical Scientist

Deconstructing the interconnectedness between health and business. Join my mailing list at http://thethinkingscientist.substack.com or book a one-on-one consultation session with me at https://app.ddichat.com/experts/thethinkingscientist.


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