A healthy back has natural curvature. A straight lumbar spine is often an indicator of pain in the L4, L5, S1 region. People lacking lumbar curvature will commonly indicate pain on or near their sacrum. A straight spine involves numerous muscles in the lower body being overly tight. Gaining curvature of the lumbar spine requires lengthening numerous lower body muscles. The psoas muscle, in particular, must be lengthened to bring curvature to the lumbar spine. Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) restores curvature to the lower spine. And more importantly, AIS helps people recover from chronic back pain.
When a person is tight in the lower body, the lumbar region loses its natural curve. The psoas, gluteal (buttocks), and hamstring muscles are almost always involved in a lumbar region that lacks curvature. Many more muscles are involved, but these three are almost always a contributing factor. All three muscles can become tight from numerous hours of sitting. Unfortunately, modern society requires many of us to sit eight to ten hours a day. And this is a major reason why one third of the world population suffers from back pain.
A tightened psoas muscle cannot be massaged to normal length because there are too many points of attachment to be released manually. Chiropractic adjustments would be more effective after AIS treatment because chiropractic does not address psoas tightness in their procedure. PNF stretching uses the wrong position for psoas stretching, which can cause herniation to the discs around the L4, L5, S1 region. Active Isolated Stretching is most effective at opening the psoas muscle, which is essential for restoring the natural lumbar curve. Some therapists incorrectly advise laying and rolling on a foam roller to gain curvature in the lumbar region. This exercise does not bring long term curvature to the lumbar spine because the psoas does not get stretched while using the foam roller.
Muscles attach to bones. Tightness in the psoas, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles will put excessive strain on the pelvis and spine. This tightness will cause the lower spine to lose its natural curve and the discs around L4, L5, S1 will often become strained to the point in which they herniate, bulge, or degenerate. This abnormality in the low back discs can also be restored with AIS therapy because the cause is excessive muscle inflexibility. A herniated, slipped, or bulging disc can return inside the vertebral column when muscular pressure is discontinued. Similarly, a degenerative/herniated disc will stop pinching on the spinal nerves because removing muscular tension will remove nerve pain.
Weakness in the lower body muscles also contributes to a straight spine. Complete rehabilitation from flat back syndrome entails doing lower body strengthening exercises to maintain the natural curve in the low back. After the psoas muscle is lengthened, it needs to be strengthened. Abdominal exercises are an important part of rehabilitation, but it is important to do correct abdominal exercises. Many people perform full sit-ups as abdominal exercises. Full sit-ups are when the hands are interlocked behind the head and the person performs a full ab crunch to the point in which their elbows touch their knees. This is the wrong way to practice abdominal exercises! Full sit-ups will tighten the psoas muscle, which will decrease curvature of the lumbar spine.
A flat back is more of an indicator than a cause of lumbar back pain. Active Isolated Stretching can restore curvature to a straightened spine because one of the primary causes is inflexibility. Conventional stretching, PNF stretching, yoga, Thai massage, or any other type of stretching has failed to grasp key mistakes they are making in their procedure; which is why AIS therapy can restore lumbar curvature while other forms of stretching cannot. One-to-one AIS treatment is the kick start to gaining curvature in the lumbar region. At-home exercises are what maintain correct posture.
Anthony Ohm is an advanced practitioner of Active Isolated Stretching therapy. Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) is a form of assisted therapeutic stretching. AIS is an alternative to chiropractic, physical therapy, and surgery. It is used for chronic pain, healthy aging, neuromuscular diseases, and athletic performance. Anthony Ohm came to AIS therapy through a twenty-five year search to resolve his own chronic back pain, which involved seeing over forty specialists.
Active Isolated Stretching is highly beneficial for numerous conditions, including: herniated/bulging/degenerative disc, sciatica, neuropathy, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, kyphosis (dowager’s hump), arthritis, bursitis, chronic neck pain, frozen shoulder or shoulder pain, headaches, sports injuries, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, and many other physical issues.
Anthony Ohm is a massage therapist and personal trainer. He practices in Los Angeles, California and Honolulu, Hawaii.
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