RACHEL HATCHER is a Sports Therapist and lead coach at Swansea Water Polo Club. Rachel is owner of The Hub, a Sports Therapy Clinic in The Phoenix Centre, Townhill.



As a Sports Therapist I am specifi-cally concerned with helping people in the prevention of injury and rehabilitation when injury has occurred. I aim to get my patients back to optimum levels of function and fitness, regardless of age and ability. It’s about long-term solutions and not quick fixes.

One complaint that I hear more often than others is lower back pain. Symptoms of this type of back pain can include, dull aches, difficulty moving, muscle spasms, local soreness upon touch and occasional shooting pains in the lower back.

Lower back pain, in many cases, can be due to a muscle imbalance. Most people have a muscular imbalance so somewhere and it is often not until we are in pain that we are forced to deal with it.

Our muscles work together to allow us to carry out our daily activities without us even having to think about how they work.

Let’s work with the basic theory that muscle group’s work in pairs. For example, many people have a weak core groups; the abdominal (tummy) muscles.

Now in order for us to continue with our daily activities our body adjusts and recruits other muscle groups as a way of overcompensating, If our abdominals are weak it is most likely that our hip flexors (the muscles at the front of your hip) and gluteal (bottom) muscles have to work extra hard to compensate.

Why is this so important and how does this link to lower back pain?

If your gluteal muscles have to work really hard they can become really tight and restricted, they are now working twice as hard. You still require some flexibility in your movement so something has to give, so your lower back muscles are now forced to stretch in order to balance you out.

This constant stretch to the lower back muscle can cause low dull ache you can feel especially after a demanding day.

So what can you do?

It is best to be properly assessed in order to determine where the muscle imbalance occurs.

In most cases the area of weakness has to be improved. For example, weak abdominal muscles can be strength-ened with exercises that gradually rebuild strength.

Reduce the tension and improve flexibility in the area of tightness with massage and stretching. For example in the gluteal and hip flexor muscle groups.

When experiencing pain treat the area with heat – applying a hot compress for approximately 10 minutes,

3 times a day usually helps.

The Hub Sports Therapy, The Phoenix Centre, Unit 5, Powys Avenue, Townhill, Swansea SA1 6PH

Tel: 07734 625602 Email: info@thehubsportstherapy.com Web: www.thehubsportstherapy.com

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