Lower Back Pain Part 2

Back Pain, Spine

Could your rib cage be the missing piece of your recovery?

Do you suffer with recurring lower back pain?  Have you had your lower back treated and strengthened, only to have your back pain return? If you’re finding that your back pain reoccurs after you stop treatment or after you slow down on your lower back strengthening, you may need to strengthen or control another area of the body.  That area could actually be the rib cage.

This part of the body has been neglected as it was believed in the past that it didn’t have much movement, but over the last few years it has been found that the rib cage is not a rigid cage, but actually has a lot of movement.  We are ‘(moving) away from conceptualising the thorax as a static, stiff box to being a dynamic stack of ten rings, much like a ‘slinky’ or a shock-absorbing spring.’ (Lee L J, 2013)

If we use this idea of the rib cage being a spring, then we can see that we are going to need a lot of muscle control to keep the spring moving in good alignment as our body moves.   If there is an area of muscle weakness or tightness in the rib cage, this could cause the ‘spring’ to lose its normal shape of having one ring on top of the other.  This change in shape is usually a rotation and shift to the side.  To maintain balance in the body, another area of our body will automatically counter this with a rotation and shift in the opposite direction.  These rotations and shifts are often hardly noticeable to the untrained eye, but they can cause twisting effects in our body as parts are rotated in opposite directions.

‘These consequences can result in non optimal loading of multiple different structures and regions of the body that can drive conditions as diverse as hip osteoarthritis, impingement and groin pain, pelvic girdle and lower back pain, incontinence and prolapse, Achilles tendinopathy, patellofemoral pain, shoulder impingement, lack of ‘core stability’, and headaches.’  (Lee L J 2013)

If your lower back pain is being caused by poor control of your rib cage, the positive effects of lower back treatment and strengthening may not be longlasting.

Using the principles of Diane and L J Lee’s Thoracic Ring control, it is possible to ascertain during assessment whether your back pain can be helped by retraining the muscles which control your ribs (rings) and loosening the tight areas which may be pulling your ribs out of alignment.  Come in for an assessment to find out whether the rib cage is the missing piece of your recovery.


Read L J Lee’s article here :  https://ljlee.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/LJ_Lee_InTouch_Oct2013.pdf



Lee LJ. Thoracic Ring Control: A Missing Link? MPA In Touch magazine, an official publication of Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia, a national group of the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Issue 4, 2013: 13F16.