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Can Tight Muscles Really Lead to Back Pain? Here's What I see In My Lower Back Pain Patients

Can Tight Muscles Really Lead to Back Pain? Here's What I see In My Lower Back Pain Patients

Dr. Michael Derry, DPT, PT, OCS Jacksonville, Florida
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In those struggling with back pain, I often see tight muscles as something we consistently talk about and address when treating their pain. But, I also know many patients that have tight muscles and little to no pain. So, the answer is that it really depends!

The muscles that I often see tight in those with back pain include the hip flexors or lower lumbar extensors.

How Can Tight Muscles Cause Back Pain?

Tight muscles such as the hip flexors and lumbar extensors can lead to increase in lumbar lordosis and increased strain in the back over time. Those with tight muscles often don't know how tight they actually care. They feel this stiffness in their back and often hips, but aren't sure why or how to address it.

Lumbar Extensors
Lumbar and Spine Extensors
Hip Flexors
Hip Flexors

Feeling worse in the morning is another common complaint of my patients. At first, this is not much of an issue. But over time, having stiff and tight muscles in your back can lead to discomfort, as these tightened areas may limit mobility and put extra strain on surrounding tissues. Regular stretching, mobility exercise and strengthening exercises can be beneficial in relieving muscle stiffness and consequently, reducing back pain.

You can even be proactive about your spine health and consult a movement expert like a physical therapist.

Physical Therapy Is Your Key To Alleviate Pain From Tight Muscles and Future Back Issues!

When it comes to managing back pain, physical therapy often plays a crucial role in alleviating discomfort caused by tight muscles and preventing further back issues.

Now, you may have tried it before or know someone who had a bad experience but just give it another shot! Every therapist is different and you need to find one you trust.

Just like your dentist takes care of your teeth, your therapist takes care of your body! 

Therapy can help break this cycle by stretching and strengthening the affected muscles, thereby reducing pain and improving mobility.

3 Tips to Utilize Therapy to Reduce Tight Muscles

  • Find a good therapist near you
  • Make sure you are open with them about your pain points
  • Do your exercises! 

Whether you are dealing with morning stiffness or just overall feeling of tight muscles physical therapy is a convenient, risk free way to address your tight muscles and future back issues.

Honestly, it's essential to embrace therapy as a proactive approach to maintain back health and prevent pain from becoming a persistent issue.

Whether it's acute spasm or chronic pain, integrating therapy into your routine can help you build a resilient spine.

What Treatment Methods Can Help Someone with Back Pain From Tight Muscles?

Common treatment methods tight muscles and back pain include:

  1. Physical Therapy
  2. Massage Therapy
  3. Assisted Stretching
  4. Yoga

As you can see, a range of therapy options can alleviate pain and address the underlying issues of tight muscles and stiffness.

I did not mention heat for good reason! As a temporary solution, it doesn't fix the issue. Learning how to manage and improve tight muscles is the best option.

In conclusion, addressing back pain from tight muscles requires a nuanced approach. Embrace physical therapy proactively—stretch, strengthen, and find a trusted therapist. Break the cycle of discomfort, prioritize long-term health over temporary fixes. Your resilient spine journey begins with commitment to comprehensive care.

Dr. Michael Derry is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and board certified in orthopedics. He is very passionate about treating lower back pain and helping people build their resiliency. He has spent time assisting at universities as well as managing large clinics before starting his own practice in Jacksonville, FL.

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