A Link Between Back Pain & Butt Size?

We see clients on a daily basis who are told they need to lose weight to eliminate their pain. That bulging disc at L4-L5? Yep…it’s because you’re fat. Perhaps you’ve been told that your knee pain is because you’ve had about a dozen-too-many doughnuts. And, other have heard that losing 30 pounds will take care of all that ails you

Image: ABCnews.com

Image: ABCnews.com

Recently, one Tennessee woman was told that her back pain was because of her “ghetto booty.”

No, I’m not kidding.

Yes, I wish I was.

As if being told by a physician that you have a “ghetto booty” isn’t physically and racially offensive enough, the doctor then apologized, saying that he was simply trying to make a “technical conversation” less technical. So, not only did he insult her about her weight and the size of her butt while making a racial slur, he then basically insulted her intelligence. Nice bedside manner, Doc.

He claimed he was trying to explain lumbar lordosis, or an over-exaggerated curvature of the lumbar spine. To top it all off, he told her there was “no cure,” but he could give her something for the pain.



What. A. Joke.

There are several things that I have a problem with here.

First of all, I believe the whole “you hurt because you’re fat” explanation is a bunch of garbage. If you’re told that your herniated disc is because of excess weight, does that mean that the discs that aren’t herniated directly above or below that disc weigh less? Or, if the right knee hurts but not the left, is your right knee fatter than your left knee? And, I can guarantee you that someone reading this post did lose the suggested weight, but sadly, didn’t lose their pain. And, what about all those “skinny” people whose backs are killing them, or those folks who weight more than you and are pain free?

Secondly, there is a cure for lumbar lordosis. Let’s make this really simple: Muscles tell your bones what to do. If I wave at my neighbor across the street, it’s because my hand and arm muscles are moving my hand and arm bones. Whether I’m swinging a golf club, standing up from a seated position, or rolling over when asleep, my muscles are telling my bones what to do. If you have lordosis, it simply means that the muscles of your lumbar spine have moved the bones of the lumbar spine into too much extension. If you think that’s too simple of an explanation, let’s take a few seconds to test my theory…

Assuming you’re reading this while seated, I want you to increase the arch in your low back like you’re sitting up tall. That’s what lumbar lordosis is. Now, let’s do the opposite. Let your low back relax, letting it round toward the back of your chair. You’re now in spinal flexion, and you just “cured” your lumbar lordosis. Magical! I wonder if that doctor wants to rethink his “no cure” statement…

Third, having lumbar lordosis does not mean your butt will protrude more. While the lumbar spine and pelvis often times work in conjunction with each other, that doesn’t happen all the time. The lumbar spine and pelvis can, and at times should, work independently of each other. In the test I just had you do, you most likely changed your low back position by rocking your pelvis back and forth. For most of you, the increased extension in your back came from tilting your pelvis anterior, or pointing your bellybutton down to the ground. To get into lumbar flexion, or rounding in your lumbar spine, you tucked your bellybutton up toward your chin, tilting your pelvis posterior. For most of you, the two were working together, however, the key word there is “most.” I’ve worked with countless clients who had lumbar lordosis AND a posterior pelvic position. The spine was traveling one direction, while the pelvis was traveling another. The excessive lumbar extension did not mean that their butt protruded more. In fact, it was the exact opposite.

This doctor makes a gross generalization that lordosis and an anterior tilt go hand-in-hand, but it’s just not true. The body is capable of anything.

This whole story makes me sad. I’m sad for this woman who was insulted and left without hope about her pain. I’m sad for the physician who forgot how incredibly cool the body is and about its amazing ability to heal itself when we give it a chance to do so. And, I’m sad for others out there who are told there’s “no cure” for their current condition. It’s simply not true.

Your body can heal. Your body can change.

I don’t care if you have a big butt or no butt at all. I don’t care if you’re 50 pounds overweight, or struggle to keep weight on.

Your body is a pretty cool piece of machinery. It has a divine design that simply can’t be ignored. When we return your body back to its designed position, your pain will be eliminated regardless of how much you weigh.

QUESTION: What have you been told is the cause of your current condition? Do you believe it?