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Posted on 04-18-2017

Referred to as the largest, powerful group of muscles in our body, the vast majority of the population hasn’t heard the term “posterior chain.” Even worse, it doesn’t function properly in many people. The posterior chain includes all of the muscles and connective tissue that start at the base of your skull and run all the way down the back of your body to the soles of your feet. This includes both sides of the spine, lower back, rear end, backs of your thighs, calves, and the soles of your feet. The posterior chain holds everything else together in your body and is what pulls your body back from the force of gravity. You know the fetal position we so often adopt? It’s there to untangle us from it.

There’s A Reason Mom Said to “Stand Up Straight”

When the posterior chain is functioning properly, it provides you with support, strength and endurance, which results in a body shape that is lean and athletic. However, a weak posterior chain generally results in lower back pain, which has become more common in recent years. Why? We’re sitting in cars, staring in front of computer screens, using our handheld devices constantly, and in general sitting for longer periods of time than in previous decades. This results in poor posture, which weakens the posterior chain. The longer we sit in certain positions, it can cause muscles in the posterior chain to switch off. If you have a weak posterior chain, the chance is much greater that at some point in your life you will experience back pain, headaches, or “pinched nerves,” particularly as you age.

Exercise Isn’t Always the Answer

A lot of times, people will exercise in order to reduce or eliminate back pain. This is great in theory, however people often make mistakes while doing so which just exacerbates the problems. The three most common exercise mistakes people make are:

Long-distance running: If you don’t integrate the correct resistance training along with a running regimen, you run the risk of forcing your posterior chain to return to the fetal position because the natural running stance involves your shoulders and hips being forward.

Yoga: Unfortunately, most people focus on how far they can stretch versus maintaining the correct form for each pose. Stretching their lower back may feel good, however this only keeps the posterior chain long, and still weak.

Improper Weight Training: Many beginner weight-trainers will squat or deadlift with too much weight, which strains the back or causes an injury.

However, if you take the time to invest in working with your chiropractor he or she will make sure your form is correct and you’re using the correct amount of weight while lifting, you can greatly reduce the chance of injury along with strengthening your posterior chain.

Do you suffer from chronic or periodic lower back pain? Call Reiss Chiropractic to schedule a consultation to see decide what the best way is to treat the pain and strengthen your posterior chain.  At our office we focus on helping you to make lifestyle changes in sitting, standing and sleeping that will make you more aware of your posterior chain.  Your body will thank you.


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