Many of our client’s who come to us for deep tissue massage are suffering with lower back pain. We treat approximately 80% of those by working a different area to where they are experiencing pain. This is because the muscles, tissues and ligaments in your body are all connected, so what happens in one area will have an effect in another, you can see this in the image above.
This specific situation of experiencing pain in one area, but originates from an unfamiliar place on your spinal column is what we call referred pain. We can often treat this with trigger point therapy, which we’ve explained in a previous blog. The point of this today is to help you understand why you suffer with lower back pain when the cause may be independent.
We’ll do this by giving you a few broad brush examples which will show a few situations common in our patients.
Have you ever hit your funny bone? That seeing pain that shoots from one area to another is a suitable way to demonstrate what happens in our body when we talk about referred pain. You may hit your elbow, but you end up with the pain in your wrist.
The same occurs with your spine health. If we’re specifically talking about lower back pain, a superb example is to look at the biggest muscles in your body. Your gluteals. Your butt muscles.
Because these are so big, and so powerful, if they tighten, even slightly, they can pull the smaller muscles in our lower back out of alignment. This causes us pain in our lumbar region, but the cause of this discomfort is elsewhere. This means that your treatment plan won’t be under direct pressure on the point where you’re feeling the issue.
This is a common problem in our clients because our lifestyles are conducive to our glutes tightening. Either from too much movement, or too little. Yep, it’s a bit of a Catch 22.
Too much exercise
If you move too much, such as walking a lot, then this will tighten your muscles. The compression will pull down on your lower back muscles, tendons and ligaments which are weaker and either strain these muscles or pull the small joints of your back (spinal cord) too close together. This compression means these slight bones of your vertebrae don’t move around freely.
On the flip side, when you don’t move enough, these big muscles stop moving around and seize up. This means that localised nerves get trapped in and around your discs and hip joints, resulting in you experiencing those acute shooting symptoms associated with sciatica.
People rarely realise that they’re not being physical enough either. Hairdressers often suffer with this problem.
But they’re standing all day, right?
The issue here is that they’re in a similar position for lengthy periods of time, and standing often on one leg which puts an inordinate pressure on glutes. This causes injury over a sustained period.
Guidelines on self care include moving around and ensuring that you’re not overdoing moving, or lack of.
We know, it sounds obvious, but it’s such an effective piece of advice that we’d be remiss not to mention it.
If this doesn’t help, come along for a deep tissue massage and we can get this sorted out within one or certainly a few sessions. We’ll usually give you some stretches that you can add into your recovery programme to help speed along your recovery and prevent re-occurrence.
Within your deep tissue massage we may also add in some myofascial release techniques. This is often the case if your fascia has tightened and isn’t allowing a fluid movement of muscles. To help this along, drinking enough water is also useful.
Chronic lower back pain because of hormones
This is one for the ladies amongst us who suffer with lumbar pain at certain times of their cycle. This is more because of an imbalance in hormones rather than disc management issues.
We’ve found our reflexology clients experience relief from these symptoms countless times. Reflexology develops systematically over several weeks, building up its effects cumulatively. As you become more balanced, so too do your hormones. And then they find that all of their PMT symptoms including lower back pain subside, eventually not being present at all.
Having lower back pain can take its toll on your mind because it’s inescapable. This can lead, in time, to a mental disability and physical as the pain grinds you down.
What causes lower back pain?
I think we’ve seen that there isn’t one answer, but there are several common reasons people suffer with lower backache. We’ve discussed a few things that we know support a ton of our clients without them needing to go in for surgery from healthcare professionals.
However, if you’re at the point where surgery is the only option, then you could consider spinal reflexology. This is a fantastic style of reflexology that focuses on the muscles in your spine along with the nerves that run within and around them.
Spinal reflexology works to reduce inflammation and ease the pressure. Although it sounds like a wild card interventions, we’ve seen fast and shocking results. Client’s who couldn’t walk at the start of their session, got out of a reclining chair with minimal effort one hour later.
And all of this without medications or injections.
The fine print. When should I worry about lower back pain?
We’re talking in this article about lower back pain because that is where our specialities lie. Various health conditions may also cause lower back pain including disease such as cancer and female cycles over and above what we’ve talked about above. If you are in any doubt at all, ALWAYS get checked out by your doctor first. Likewise, if you have a bone issue such as fractures or breaks, then massage will not help your medical position. And nor will reflexology. We’re more about freeing up tissue so it can heal itself, via massage and reflexology.