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Pain in the Ass?

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You might be neglecting your Posterior Chain

by: Peter Fuller (December 2013)

How Neuromuscular therapy and Bowen therapy may resolve your Posterior Chain issues?

Posterior Chain – How do posterior chain muscles come into play?
Let us define the terms:  Which muscles comprise the fabled “superior posterior.” While definitions differ, hip extension is typically seen as a primary function of the Posterior Chain. (AKA. p-chain)

Main functions and muscles include:

  • Transversospinalis Group (spine support)
    • Multifidi
    • Rotatores
    • Semispinalis Capitis
  • Erector Spinae Group (back and spinal extension)
    • Spinalis
    • Longissiumus
    • Iliocostalis
  • Serratus Posterior Superior / Serratus Posterior Inferior (support ribs/trunk/back)
  • Intertransversarii (facilitate the movement of the spine as a whole)
  • Interspinalis (support extension of vertebral column)
  • Ligamentum Nuchae (serves to sustain the weight of the head)
  • Supraspinous Ligament (helps maintain the upright position of the head)
  • Thoracolumbar Aponeurosis (covers and supports the deep muscles of the back)
  • Quadratus Lumborum (supports: vertebral column, 12th rib, Ilium [hips])
  • Gluteal Muscles (hip extensors, femoral rotation)
  • Hamstring Muscles (hip extension, knee flexion)
  • Gastrocnemius or Calf (plantar flexes ankle, knee flexion)
  • External Obliques (back and spine support, in tandem with anterior core)

What causes Posterior Chain problems?

Many a people have had the nagging pain in the “tuchas” (AKA. derriere; bum; hinny; buns; buttocks).  It is difficult to say for certain what caused the pain to develop in each situation, as each case is unique.

Let us review the ACTIONS

The Quadratus Lumborum can perform four actions:

  1. Lateral flexion of vertebral column, with ipslateral contraction
  2. Extension of lumbar vertebral column, with bilateral contraction
  3. Fixes the 12th rib during forced expiration
  4. Elevates ilium, with ipslateral contraction

Ipslateral Contraction = On the same side, as opposed to contralateral.
Contralateral contraction = Taking place or originating in a corresponding part on an opposite side.

Case Study

White twenty-one (21) year old male presents with Low-Back pain and tight Gluteal muscles.  States he jumped up and believes he landed wrong, because when he landed, he felt a pain which has gradually become worse and worse over the past 12 months.

What we do to help?

We review the Etiology and Anatomy.  After a Consultation, Postural Evaluation, and Range of Motion Assessment it is determined…the problem may be originating from the Quadratus Lumborum.  The Quadratus Lumborum is sometimes known as the “hip hiker” because its capacity to laterally tilt (elevate) the hip. In this case, perhaps the jump and landing may have caused some subsequent pull on the Gluteal muscles and put Pressure around the Sacrum, around the Sacroiliac Joint, and even cause a false sense of Sciatica pain.

As a skilled massage therapist we may suggest we help loosen the muscles, improve blood flow, take pressure off of the nerves, allowing the body to rest, heal and restore the function and structure of the body.

With focused applied massage techniques, sore/tight/tonic/toxic/achy/restricted muscles (ligaments and tendons) can be softened and calmed.  Massage will also increase blood flow to the area, thus providing more nutrients and allowing faster restoration of healthy, mobile muscle tissue.  This is why an ever increasing number of athletes at all levels are employing the services of massage therapists.

Along with the manual therapy we try to assist by recommending specific Stretching and Foam Rolling exercises which others in similar situations have stated have helped them. (as it relates to your specific ability and needs)

 We are here to help you be your BEST!  Thank you for your time.


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Bowen Technique Massage Article CondensedMASSAGE Magazine, by Vicki Mechner

Issue # 106 (Nov/Dec 2003) pp. 102-107

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