Back Pain

Back pain

WHAT IS BACK PAIN?

Back pain results from a combination of reasons based around poor or sustained posture, a lack of regular exercise, stress, illness, or sports injury. In the back there are a combination of muscles, ligaments, discs, nerves and blood vessels and any one of these structures can become strained or overloaded, resulting in lower back pain.

Sometimes discomfort may develop immediately after lifting something heavy, or after an awkward twisting movement, equally pain can appear for no apparent reason. The back can often react like a sprained ankle after a quick unexpected movement. This will then have a reflex action where muscles respond by contracting quickly to protect you. The muscles then become painful because there is reduced blood flow, and toxins such as lactic acid build up resulting in swelling, and often restricted and painful movement. Like the ankle, all of these structures can heal with treatment, usually over a period of 6-12 weeks. Occasionally after a period of treatment some symptoms can remain, stiffness, tightness, weakness and discomfort requiring further treatment.

Other types of back pain include nerve root pain, often called sciatica. This type of back pain is less common and by definition means that a nerve coming out from the spinal cord is irritated or compressed by a joint or disc. Varying levels of discomfort are felt along the course of the nerve, often down the leg and sometimes as far as the calf and foot. Symptoms such as numbness, pins and needles and weakness can be felt.

90% of back pain is in the soft tissues!

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT BACK PAIN?

A regular Swedish Massage will relax, increase awareness and reduce stress – wonderful and excellent prevention:

  • warm up before you start any activity
  • check your posture – relax! Don’t hunch your shoulders or slouch
  • work at the right height – BREATHE – it’s easy to forget!
  • take frequent breaks – a quick stretch and shake
  • change activity or at least position when you can – even a few minutes will make a difference
  • don’t bend too far – it’s best to squat or kneel to reach low things
  • lift carefully – bend from the hips and knees. Hold heavy items close to you
  • reduce weight – if you have pounds to lose
  • learn how to look after your back with stretching and general exercise.

If you feel pain in you back – even if it doesn’t seem too bad – get it treated as soon as possible

BACK PAIN AND REMEDIAL & SPORTS MASSAGE

  • to reduce pain and encourage relaxation so that you operate at a lower level of excitement
  • to relieve tension in back muscles that are then likely to distort structure with far reaching effects on health
  • to balance muscles that are causing problems and to detect and remove trigger points that may be preventing the body from healing itself
  • to improve overall body functioning especially circulation to chronically inflamed areas thus speeding up repair
  • to cause a release of the body’s own painkillers.

BACK PAIN & ADVANCED REMEDIAL MASSAGE

Therapists use muscle energy techniques and specific release techniques to restore structure.

BACK PAIN & MANIPULATIVE THERAPY

Manipulative Therapists use palpatory techniques to discover what is causing an imbalance leading to back pain. They use a variety of techniques, some may cause clicking sounds others are more like stretching and specially applied movements. The Therapist will check your whole structure looking for the cause of the problem. The Therapist will also use some Advanced Remedial Massage Techniques. By improving the back many other conditions often disappear or reduce. The pain of osteoporosis or arthritis may well be eased as muscle spasm is reduced. Anyone who has experienced angina knows that muscle spasm is very painful!!

BACK PAIN & AROMATHERAPY

  • to balance relax and re-energise with oils such as chamomile and geranium
  • reduce muscle spasm with anti-spasmodic oils like ginger
  • to reduce tension with calming oils such as sandalwood
  • to reduce inflammation with anti-inflammatory oils such as lavender
  • to improve circulation to all joints with warming oils such as rosemary
  • to reduce pain with oils such as lemon, eucalyptus – natural painkillers
  • to help in repair with oils such as mandarin.

BACK PAIN & REFLEXOLOGY

  • to balance, relax and re-energise,
  • to work the spine reflexes to reduce muscle spasm,
  • to reduce tension in the pelvic girdle,
  • to improve circulation to all joints especially arthritic ones,
  • to improve nutrition bringing the body’s healing agents to damaged areas,
  • to improved elimination in inflamed areas and generally,
  • to reduce pain – certain points on the feet are specific to sciatica.

Research: Back Pain

Massage Therapy reduced anxiety, lowered back pain and sleep disturbance. It also improved mood.

Hernandez-Reif, Field, Diter, Swerdlow & Diego 1998

CASE STUDIES

THERAPY OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR THIS CONDITION AT BROOKS-CARTER CLINIC