Many people have forgotten how to use their hips effectively because as a society we spend more time sitting than we do moving around. Think of any activity you do daily, such as typing, cooking, or playing a sport. If you were to take time off from doing one of those activities, you’d feel “rusty” or not as good at it as you were before you took time off.
Moving your body is no different. The less we use our hips, the more we will lose the awareness of how to use them. Once this occurs the body will automatically start relying on your lower back. Over time, the lower back will become overused, resulting in pain. The pictures below demonstrate a common example of how people overuse their lower backs while picking up objects.
Your feet are your foundation while standing. They communicate with your brain to let you know where you’re at in space. For your feet to effectively communicate with your brain, the weight of your body needs to be evenly distributed across three points of contact. These points of contact are the center of the heel, the ball of your big toe, and the ball of your pinky toe (Fig. 1: Foot).
When people have flat feet, most of their body weight is distributed over only two points of contact: the ball of the big toe and the inside of the heel. This alignment causes a chain reaction of faulty mechanics throughout the body (Fig. 2: Chain Reaction)—the arch collapses, the ankle and knees fall inward, and the upper body leans to the outside. This adjustment allows for the person to stay upright, but it also forces their lower back muscles to do extra work. If this faulty pattern is continually used, the lower back will eventually become overused, resulting in lower back pain.
Getting orthotics is a great short-term option to help alleviate back pain caused by flat feet, but orthotics will not fix the problem forever. The best solution is to develop an awareness of how to use the muscles of your feet. Remember, your feet muscles hold the arch.
If you believe having flat feet is causing your lower back pain, start doing the exercises in this video:
I hope this article helped you understand what is causing your lower back pain. If you need further guidance, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Dr. Clayton Schuelke