Alex works in a big home-improvement shop. His job involves restocking building materials and moving large orders for customers. This means that he does a significant amount of heavy lifting in his job as well as driving a forklift. For the last few months he has been having some low back tightness and pain extending down his right leg. At first, he brushed the problem off as something that comes with the job and he assumed it would be temporary. However, the issue has persisted. Finally his wife got in touch with me and booked him an appointment.
When he came to me he was concerned that the problem was getting more severe and may affect his ability to work. He hadn't discussed this with his wife as he didn't want to worry her. But as all wives know, when a man has something wrong we don't need them to tell us. He told me that he had avoided going to the doctors as he's concerned that he will need far more serious treatment such as back surgery.
So I explained what I do and what my focus is….to make him move more freely. I am not a pain expert. I do not state that I can take away any body's pain. But if someone is moving soundly then chances are the pain will be relieved as a consequence.
After a couple of treatments, what we came to realise is that one of the key stabilising muscles of the low back, the quadratus lumborum was in spasm. These muscles are ones that are frequently injured from occupational overwork. After all, these muscles are not designed for power-lifting activities. They also respond poorly to being held in a static position for long periods such as sitting. And so, a simple exercise to help release this spasm and he was moving more freely within a few days. Oh and yes… the pain was gone too.
What was the exercise I gave him?