Lower-back pain is one of the most common complaints in adults; in fact, up to 80% will experience some sort of back pain during their lifetime. This figure includes athletes, who regularly suffer from lower-back pain. There are a whole host of myths out there that claim to help prevent such problems, but we can tell you differently!
• Myth 1: Strengthening torso muscles – abs and low-back muscles – will prevent back pain.
Studies have shown that this is not actually the case, although it would seem to be logical. Findings have revealed that isometric endurance is more beneficial to preventing lower-back pain; this is being able to maintain moderate levels of force of the back muscles for extended periods of time without tiring.
• Myth 2: Always perform sit-ups with bent knees
The position of knees during sit-ups has not been found to have any particular effect on the lower-back muscles. Out of the 12 exercises that have been studied; including bent-leg sit-ups, straight-leg raises and dynamic cross-knee curl-ups, there was no apparent effect on the lower-back.
• Myth 3: A leg-length discrepancy will increase the risk of having problems with the lower-back.
It is understandable to think that having one leg shorter than the other will put strain on your back. However, research has shown that those with equal legs are just as likely to suffer from back problems and that there is no real connection between leg-length discrepancy and lumbar scoliosis and only vaguely connected with sacral tilt.
• Myth 4: Athletes who suffer from tight hamstrings are more likely to experience lower-back pain.
Once again, this is an understandable misconception as hamstrings are attached to low, posterior points on both sides of the hips. When tight, the hamstrings can then cause posterior pelvic tilt. Studies have found, however, that there is no proven association between the two and that lower-back pain could be compensatory rather than a direct result of tight hamstrings.