Before I became a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), I used to wonder how it was that tiny, petite people could possibly experience low back pain.
After all, it’s been drilled into us for years that being overweight contributes to low back pain; and medical doctors always seemed to think that weight loss was the key to reducing low back pain.
Does Size Matter?
This being the case, I could never understand how smaller or slim people could claim to have low back pain unless they were injured.
But size is not a factor as to whether or not you will have low back pain. Size is only a factor in regards to exacerbating the pain problem or worsening it.
Patterns of Low Back Pain
Because I am an LMT, and because I have always communicated with and carefully observed my clients; I began to notice certain things about bodies. I began to see patterns of pain, and understand how they can be established in a body.
These pain patterns are based on imbalances as well as other factors, and these imbalances cause certain distinctions or structural differences in bodies. I’ve even noticed that there is the predominance of one pattern over another between the races.
Distinct Structural Differences
I used the word “discriminate” to describe the distinction I’m going to talk about today because I am referring to a difference in structure, thus a distinct difference in low back pain.
As I explain these distinctions, I want you to understand that these are the predominant structural patterns. There are always going to be exceptions to the rule, so it’s possible that these particular patterns may not fit you.
Standard Racial Differences
The majority of Caucasian people I work on, particularly if they were or are athletic, tend to have varying degrees of backward or posterior rotated hips. This causes a very boney structure, especially in the hips and low back.
People with this pattern tend to have kyphotic or forward rolled shoulders. Their feet roll outward (supinate) when they walk. Their shoes will wear more on the outside. This causes them to have low back pain that is centrally located.
The majority of African Americans, on the other hand, tend to be the opposite. They tend to have ankles that roll inward (pronate), due to a weak arch. This causes the development of low back pain and knee pain on the inner knees due to duck feet or knocked knees.
Their hips roll forward, and a Lordosis (excessive curvature) of the low back is the result. This causes the butt to be pushed outward and upward, giving a pronounced or protruding “bootae.”
While this look seems to have become extremely popular due to rapper videos with strippers; forward or anterior pelvic tilt causes low back pain to spread across the entire width of the low back.
Additionally, women with this type of structure suffer more low back pain during and after pregnancy.
The Hazards of Attachments
Women (and men) who get exaggerated “enhancements” in the gluts, will amplify this problem and make their own low back pain worse. Even if they aren’t experiencing a pain problem already at the time, which would be odd; they will definitely have a problem later.
Women who surgically alter themselves, or use Botox to achieve this look will suffer greatly, not only because of the structural strain but scar tissue as well.
Whether it’s butt implants or breast implants, botox, wrinkle removal of the creases around the eyes and mouth; plastic surgery results in pain. Again, you may not feel the effects immediately.
Since people predominantly do this for ego edification, they might dismiss the probability. However, eventually, there will be a pain based result. Any time you are cut, not only muscle is affected, but fascia as well.
Likewise, scar tissue will affect both and if you factor in just aging alone, there will be a lot of pain. I have noticed a high trend in these types of alterations among Latin females, most of which are already highly prone to a pain type pattern prior to any surgical alterations.
Alternate Racial Differences
In Latin people, I noticed these pattern differences are at a paradox between the sexes. The males will tend to have a posterior pelvic tilt, and the females will have an anterior pelvic tilt.
Of the few Asian people I’ve worked on, they seem to be a puzzle of opposites and a combination of these two structural patterns. It is something I want to study more.
Does Size Matter?
Low back pain is not based upon one’s size. However, larger people will tend to have more pain-related problems overall. It’s not just a low back pain problem.
Larger people have more flesh. They tend to be more sedentary, and as a result of little to no movement; their muscles will harden due to lack of use. It’s just like a vehicle that is not taken care of. Eventually, the wax will fade and as the vehicle ages, signs of rust will become evident.
In a car, if the vehicle is not properly maintained with proper lubricants, the gears will freeze up and lock, and stop the engine from functioning. It is the same with the body. There must be fluidity.
In a larger person, fluidity is slowed down due to a sedentary lifestyle. The same applies to smaller or older people who do not move as well. The hardening affects anyone who does not move much.
However, in a larger person, the heart is pumping harder to move the blood because every extra pound adds about 7 new miles of blood vessels that the heart has to pump the blood through.
If the person is sedentary and the muscles and fascia are hardening, this effectively damns up the river of blood flowing in and around the muscle tissues. This same thing applies to large muscular people because enlarging the muscle does not make it healthy.
It still has to be fluid, and if that muscle tissue is hard, (and it usually is) it is the same as an overweight, sedentary person with excess flesh. The heart is still having to work overtime to pump the blood through all the excess miles of tissues that have been enlarged and hardened.
Does Pain Discriminate?
Pain does discriminate. Where low back pain hits your body can be based on several factors and variables, and amazingly, race or nationality seems to be one of them. Where do you fit into these patterns?