I have posted a number of times recently on social media about the impacts of surgery and also the importance of being able to stabilise your lower back properly, and often these two can coincide. When first working with someone I will always ask them a lot of questions including things about whether they have had surgery. The reason for this is that this can often link into problems they are experiencing, even if it is somewhere else on the body.
A great way to illustrate this to individual’s is, and you can try it now, grab a fistful of the front of your shirt, t-shirt or whatever you happen to be wearing and notice how the tension pulls in all different directions. This, in effect, is what happens after you have had surgery, particularly on the abdomen or back. All of the connective tissue that has been cut through can get bound up and restricted and stop the efficient transfer of energy whilst we walk, and then we end up having to compensate to enable us to move more efficiently. But his of course itself is inefficient. Kind of catch 22.
It is very common for women who have had a c-section to go on to experience low back or hip pain, and the hip pain is often just on one side. In these instances when looking for restriction in the connective tissue it is almost always restricted on the side where the pain is. Coincidence? Hhmm.
Being able to move symmetrically, evenly, and efficiently is really important because this movement not only serves to get us from A to B but also helps flush waste out of our system and return the blood to our heart! Kind of important.
It is also unsurprising, to me at least, to discover that individual who have had abdominal surgery experience back pain. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first being the restricted connective tissue and us needing to compensate because of the restriction, and the second is due to it compromising the ability to be able to build intra abdominal pressure properly.
Intra abdominal pressure is pressure that is created when we breath in and helps takes the stress off our lower back, and creates stability for us. Now when the body has been cut into the brain associates that area with having a problem as likely after surgery that area will be painful (even if it wasn’t beforehand. So the brain will adapt in a way that puts less stress on that area so you experience less pain, pretty smart.
Following surgery unless you release the restrictions and show the brain that it is safe and painless to breathe into that area then it will continue to avoid doing so throwing off your ability to support your lower back properly. And do you think you are more or less likely to experience back pain or not if you are unable to support it efficiently? Only one answer in my mind.
So what to do if you have back pain? Find someone who can assess whether or not you have restrictions around any areas you have had surgery and also check whether you are building intra abdominal pressure properly because if you have pain the chances are that you can’t.