“Once I get moving it seems to be okay, but when I first go to get up the pain is awful.” This is an immediate flag for me when investigating the cause of a patient’s low back pain. You don’t feel great when standing or sitting, but its much easier to maneuver around compared to shifting in bed or rising in the morning.
When I continue to examine these types of cases, what else do we find? Nearly full range of motion, pulling sensation through the central low back when bending forward, very few or no tender to touch spots through the muscles over the painful area.
There is variability, but they all have one thing in common: lack of effect from hands-on therapy. Active Release Technique already gives Cross-Up a massive advantage in treating patients, and quite frankly, it’s applicable for the majority of cases where the issue is caused by excessive tightness or muscle spasm. When I perform just a few protocols of active release on a patient with the titles complaint, though, it does absolutely nothing. Why? Because your condition is not one of tension, but rather one of excessive motion and shearing of the spine; aka Spinal Instability.
Spinal instability results from cumulative trauma – so it’s not usually a single event that instigates your pain. I frequently see this in golfers, but it also occurs in other athletes or professions that require frequent rotation (ie. tennis, baseball, yoga fanatics). As hinted at before, an unstable spine is often intolerant to flexion; therefore, bending forward or any compressive activity (sitting or overhead weights) can slow recovery.