To relieve hyperactive lower back muscles one has to treat thoracic spine stiffness

October 2, 2014

Hi Guru,

For the past few years I have had hyperactive lower back muscles and weak glutes.

This causes discomfort whenever I have to lift anything, and prevents me from doing sport. Every time I try to ease myself into running or cycling my glutes seize up, I pull my hamstrings, then my back seizes up.

Any advice on how to manage or solve this issue would be extremely welcome.




October 2, 2014

Hi Ed

We see blokes and gals like you all the time – lots of differing symptoms but the key is you can’t seem to shake them off, the symptoms just transmogrify into something different.


Your issue is that you’ve got a massively overactive back muscles – they don’t just become overactive, they do this because something is telling them to act this way. The most obvious something is that your lower back is telling your brain that you’ve got too much, uncontrolled movement in your lower back and your brain needs to increase the muscle activity to protect this uncontrolled movement.

You train and try to ease back into sport but fail. The failure appears in the form of really stiff gluts (they are desperately trying to protect your back, because the muscles you are over using around your back are the “wrong” one) and you pull a hammy (this too has stiffened up in an attempt to stop your back moving too much).

When the guy ropes (gluts and hammies) have been tweaked, the tent – your back, falls down.

You need to change the cause of why your back has got too much uncontrolled movement – or actually it’s joint play/motion, not gross range of movement – you probably feel stiff as a board sometimes….that just protective muscle stiffness, not joint stiffness.

The reason is you’ve got a really painless, stiff thoracic spine. Posture is the key, cause, culprit and cure. The lack of motion here causes your lower back to compensate and move more. The problem is your can’t control this extra bit of join play, so your brain calls up the air cav to napalm the area….

Your intervention, today, has to address your thoracic spine stiffness – try the stretch for 10 minutes morning and night, on the floor. It must be pain free. You also need to have a good, long hard look at how you sit at work. Tomorrow you need to start working on stability based exercises to control the excessive joint play in your lower back and maintain the motion in your thoracic spine…..

Anything else just won’t cut it….

Guru Responded

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