Back pain is such a broad term and can cover so many parts of the back, not only physically but emotionally as well. In my experience when clients present to me in the clinic with back pain its lower back or lumbar pain. Often it has been something that started as a niggle and over years has become a chronic pain condition.
These niggles are often very treatable and respond well to massage therapy. And ultimately when treated early, the chronic conditions do not have a chance to manifest.
What’s Lifestyle got to Do With It?
Modern lifestyle is the major contributor to lumbar pain. We sit for extended periods of time, whether it’s at a desk (yep, while writing this I was sitting down – my own worst enemy), in the car or even relaxing watching television. This causes a pelvic tilt that disengages our TVA muscle, this is like our natural corset stabilising our movements. When we refer to our “core” or “core strength” this muscle makes up part of those core muscles.
So daily, these muscles become weaker physically and the neuromuscular connection (your brain kind of forgets it’s there and doesn’t automatically activate it) also becomes weak. This causes instability in all our movements.
BDon't just think the elderly get back pain, it can happen at any point in your life.
The Effect of Muscle Shortening On Your Back
When a muscle is chronically shortened the brain starts to recognise the shortened length as its natural resting length. This decreases flexibility and suppleness in muscles which in turn leads to injury.
So, with weak abdominal muscles, short hamstrings and hip flexors can leave the lumbar spine in a vulnerable position for soft tissue injury and the larger muscles that support the lumbar must work harder causing them to fatigue more quickly. The glute muscles become weak and “switched off” in a similar situation to that of the TVA muscle. Again, this leaves the lumbar spine prone to injury.
So How Does Massage Help?
There is no quick fix with any type of back pain. However, with some regular remedial massage treatments for your back pain, you will be able to eliminate or significantly reduce pain and prevent further or recurrent injury.
Massage for your back pain will help soften and lengthen the tight muscles in the area where your pain is located and increased blood flow will help soothe pain and assist in healing the soft tissue.
With more supple muscles the body will perform better and suffer fewer side effects from repetitive movements or static positions.
Massage also helps balance the pelvic girdle. Again, due to repetitive movements, the hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors along with other muscles all shorten differently from left to right.
For example, getting out of the car or driving a manual car are repetitive movements that use the muscles of the legs and hips differently left to right.
There are some great “Muscle Energy Techniques” or resistive stretching that I incorporate into my clients back pain massage sessions to get good a balance in the pelvic girdle. These sessions also relieve pain and help release muscles that are hard to access via massage or stretching.
A general treatment plan usually consists of 4 consecutive massage treatments over 4 weeks and depending on your “starting point”, treatments are then dropped back to more of a maintenance phase. Sometimes fortnightly for a month or two and then ultimately once a month.
Want to Know More About Massage for Your Back Pain?
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