“I have a bad back” …So, Who Is To Blame?

“I have a bad back” …So, Who Is To Blame?


The prevalence of low back pain was estimated to be about 7.5% of the world’s population (577 million people) as of 2017.1 Low back pain is the leading cause of musculoskeletal disability. We often hear someone say, “I have a bad back,” but what does that mean? Their pain is typically in the lumbar spine (low back), but what is the true cause of their low back pain?


This brings us to the concept of “regional interdependence.” A term used to “outline the observations related to the relationship purported to exist between regions of the body, specifically concerning the management of musculoskeletal disorders.” Our bodies are made up of both mobile and stable segments in an alternating pattern that allows for proper loads to be distributed throughout the body.

Stable joints tend to move well in one plane, whereas mobile joints are multidirectional and can move much more freely. The lower back is a very stable segment. Above the lumbar spine is the thoracic spine (mid back), and below the lumbar spine lies the hip joint. If the adjacent mobile segments are disrupted, our body will compensate over time due to the dysfunction occurring elsewhere. For example, if you have tight hip flexors or cannot rotate through the thoracic spine properly, the lower back may have to pick up the slack to help perform the movement. Over time, if this pattern is disrupted, a vicious cycle will occur, and pain will follow.


At DRVN Physical Therapy & Wellness, our Doctors of Physical Therapy are SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment) certified based upon the principles mentioned above. The SFMA is a clinical assessment used for individuals experiencing pain. The assessment focuses on finding faulty movement patterns to determine the root cause of the symptoms. If there is an underlying mobility restriction in a joint that is supposed to be “mobile,” we can address it. On the other hand, if there is a lack of stability or motor control, there is a lack of communication between the brain and the muscles surrounding the joint. Unlike your car, where you can trade it in when it is breaking down or not working properly, the reality is that we only have one body. Be an advocate for yourself so you can live pain-free and, most importantly, do what you love to do!

Movement focused. Results DRVN. 


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Please find a list of conditions we treat by visiting our Physical Therapy page



  1. The global burden of low back pain. International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). https://www.iasp-pain.org/resources/fact-sheets/the-global-burden-of-low-back-pain/. Published October 12, 2021.

Written by: Dr. Ryan Butz, PT, DPT, CPT, TPI, SFMA

Dr. Butz is a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy with over seven years of patient care experience in outpatient orthopedics & sports performance/recovery. Dr. Butz has a background in personal training through the National Strength & Conditioning Association and is certified through Titleist Performance Institute (TPI). Dr. Butz holds multiple degrees in the fields of performance & physical rehabilitation with an emphasis on athletic populations. He provides evidence-based treatments for his patients while incorporating expertise in human movement and performance to help athletes of all ages compete at the highest levels in their sport. He believes in the importance of implementing manual therapy along with therapeutic corrective exercise techniques to help his patients recover faster. He enjoys playing golf, exercising, and staying active within his community. 

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