Tongue tie: Link to low back pain and core strength
Low back connection
In our previous blog, we talked about the connection between the tongue and neck pain. We are going to continue our discussion on how the tongue is connected to the lower body, particularly low back pain. There is a physical connection from your tongue to your big toe: It is called your deep front fascial line in Anatomy Trains. That literally means your tongue is connected to your big toe! The picture illustrates how that is indeed true.
Both the hip flexors and quadratus lumborum (QL) are a part of this deep front midline. These two muscles are often tight in those suffering from low back pain or pelvic imbalances. When people point to where their back pain is located (see photo), the QL muscle is often the culprit.
A demonstration of this tongue-low back connection is revealed when checking standing hip height on a client with tongue resting on floor of the mouth first. Then, ask the client to suction the entire tongue to the roof of the mouth and re-check hip height and it can change! This connection between the tongue and hip flexors/QL is how this change can occur.
Uneven hip height due to muscle or fascial tightness pulling on the pelvic bones (crest of hip) is one of the most common causes of back pain. When I started learning more about the importance of the tongue and the fascial lines and connections, I started connecting the dots. Low back pain that has not responded to more localized soft tissue and structural techniques could be an indication of a tongue tie or tightness. This is also why babies with tongue tie often are very tight in their low back and pelvis/hip region.
When our tongues sit on the floor of our mouth for most of the time, it can become weak. Our tongues are typically not a muscle we think about exercising when we hit the gym. However, if you strengthen your tongue, you can lift heavier weights! Try it: lift heavy dumbbells one in each hand and walk across the room, then suction your entire tongue to the roof of your mouth and lift the same weights. You will find it easier, and the weights feel lighter the second time, it is wild! Your tongue is part of your midline or “core” musculature as visualized in the deep front fascia picture. Therefore, strengthening the tongue can strengthen your core which can make your entire body stronger and more resilient. Add the tongue position on the roof of the mouth while performing your workout routine and watch your strength improve!
At Be Still Physical Therapy we combine both fascial and craniosacral techniques called the Gillespie approach when addressing low back pain. It offers a more whole-body approach to localized pain. When localized soft issue techniques are not resolving low back pain, often the origin is either above or below the site of pain. Click the book online link below to book a session.