Chronic Low Back Pain Syndrome
The causes of low back pain are numerous. These include muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia/connective tissue. Other causes incorporate problems with the joints of the spine, including joints between the bones of the spine where discs are located or the facet joints positioned behind the disc joints. Another source of low back pain is the sacrum and the sacral joints or the tail bone known as the Coccyx.
Apart from the tissues that directly cause low back pain, other parts of the body can aggravate symptoms of low back pain or make the brain think that pain is coming from the low back. This can be caused by abdominal muscles, abdominal organs and connective tissue. Problems relating to the pelvis, including its organs and connective tissue, as well as the hip joints and associated soft tissue can all aggravate low back pain.
Low back pain often involves tension and altered length in the muscles of the lower back. This has the added effect of altering the speed and intensity of contraction of the deeper muscles, whilst the longer more superficial muscles become tense and more highly contracted. This is often why individuals experiencing low back pain move differently to those that don’t have back pain.
An increase in anxiety levels aggravates low back pain by effecting how the diaphragm functions. This can lead to an altered breathing pattern or hyperventilation. Anxiety causes muscles to become tense and more stimulated. Anxiety can also lead to an increase hyperventilation. This will increase the amount of oxygen in the blood, whilst diminishing the amount of carbon dioxide. Consequently, this has an effect on blood calcium levels leading to an increase in muscular tension, nerve excitability and muscle spasms.
The diaphragm plays a key role in hyperventilation, since chronic breathing pattern disorders interfere with key stabilising muscles such as transversus abdominus, the diaphragm and the pelvic floor muscles.
Fascia contains a rich supply of blood vessels as well as nerve endings. Fascia is a connective tissue that holds and binds the inside of your body together. Due to the nerve and blood supply of fascia, this connective tissue can change its own tension independently to that of muscle. The fascia of the low back extends from the pelvis to the neck.
Those who suffer from hypermobility have an increased risk of developing back pain and will more commonly develop breathing pattern disorders. The fascia of hypermobile people lacks the stability required to support structures like the diaphragm or pelvic floor.