I too am suffering from low back pain and sciatica. I have the posture that ronaldo described in his post, a thick rounded mid back, with an S curve for my low back. My ass tends to stick out due to my posture and my lower back doesn't get the work that it should. I can never tell if its my muscles that need to be worked (I know they are weak, due to a burning sensation when bending over and certain activities) but due to my actual disc and lumbar pain, I'm very hesitant to due them.
I raced motocross for approx. 16 years (23 years of age now), and the abuse my lower back took I'm sure has contributed to lower back fatigue and stress that I feel now. However, I know my posture is very bad and a definite contributor to my problems. Like previously stated, I have anterior pelvic tilt, with extremely tight hamstrings, tight hipflexors, etc.
My hanging ab exercises, i feel show my ab strength (able to due to hanging windshield wipers, sets of 20 straight leg raises), but I feel like my actual core isn't very strong. My posture up until recently, hasn't ever displayed my true ab muscles due to always looking like I have a gut; recently, however, I've learned that when I squeeze my cheeks together, my lower back becomes straight and my core appears much tighter, (looks great, but I walk like I have a something shoved up my ass, not sure how to engage glutes while walking).
2012-2013 I had a ACL surgery and tried to begin strength training for both legs, as well as the rest of my body.
I began to squat, with what I thought was good form (straight back, not rounded, knees not past the toes) and ended up feeling a sharp pain on the come up of one my reps. I then hopped on the leg press and bam, my back shifted felt a sharp pain and days after my cheek and leg would tingle. I took time off and the pain began to subside, but was recommended to go to PT.
That did nothing for me, the traction table, the yoga stretches hurt worse, the only thing that felt good was her elbows digging into my glutes. I experience(d) sharp pains at times when sitting/standing, the mckenzie extention would absolutely kill me; I wouldn't limbo for anything. I also can't turn to the right, no twisting of my back, otherwise a deep throbbing pain will overcome me.
I salvaged through the pain and haven't had any episodes up until last week. I began hitting the weights hard, front squatting, deadlifting (trap bar preferred, unfortunately my gym doesn't have one) and was beginning to make strides. I began to really work on tightening my core, while engaging my glutes when squatting (like previously stated) but damn its hard for me. However, last sunday my dumbass was working on form in the mirror, trying to engage hamstrings and almost do a straight leg deadlift motion (with no weight) and I felt a small pull when I came up. As the days passed my back has become aggravated, the twisting pain has become more noticeable, and my back seems to have a lot of pressure when I stand up; however I'm glad my sciatica isn't as bad.
With the help I've receieved in person, I tend to find much more pin-point information on sites like these. So any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. My doctor offered to cut me open, I don't want to do that nor do i plan on doing it. The basic PT hasn't done me any good, so I scratch that out too. I also foam roll daily, hitting my spine, glutes, quads, IT bands (extremely tight sometimes, have what I found to be known as snapping hip syndrome on right side, where if its inflamed, I don't even like to lay on that side in bed)
I've never tried the reverse extentions, but have seen it, and to the eye it may help me, but I am very scared. I'm ready to be injury free and smart about what I'm doing, hitting the strides I want to. I have accumulated many injuries over the years, as well as having very strong muscles that overtake my weak muscles. Negligence and being stiff have also contributed to my problems.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you for reading.