Many of us suffer chronic back pain or become accustomed to frequent bouts of pain when there is no need to. We live in a culture where back pain is expected to be a condition that we will all suffer. Statistics show that 80% of people will suffer back pain as an adult and it is costing the NHS £1.3 million every day. Out of the 30 million people who suffer back pain each year, 10 million will experience it for more than 12 months and 6 million will suffer for more than 6 months. In simple terms back pain is a big deal for the UK and is lowering the quality of life for millions through the loss of earnings, incapacitation and the wearing down of chronic pain.
For many it has become the ‘back pain downward spiral’ where the only prognosis is the rush toward back surgery. It’s almost as if the path is set from the first visit to the GP to the inevitable rendezvous with the surgeon’s knife. Our friends tell us that their new pain killers are the strongest available on prescription, as if they are some sort of status symbol. Others take the alternative route and spend their hard-earned cash on sessions with Osteopaths and Chiropractors. However, the pain always comes back.
A little bit of reading on this topic tells us it’s inevitable we will suffer back pain because evolution has somehow got it wrong. Books and articles say we were designed to walk on all fours and evolution hasn’t caught up yet, and in a couple of million years we will be free of chronic back pain once again. So, there it is, a condition that we must suffer for lots of reasons that we can’t really do anything about. Or is that true?
There are varying degrees of the causes of back pain, some from birth, trauma or wear and tear through lifestyle. But does that mean we are helpless and destined to a life time of back pain?
From a remedial massage point of view there are four factors to consider with back pain:
The cause of back pain is rarely simple, although it usually takes a “last straw” event that starts the agony or incapacitation. The back is a lot stronger than we think, it takes knocks and shocks on a daily basis. These knocks and shocks are stored up like the proverbial glass, and once it’s full the problems are felt. There is also a psychological, and therefore stress, anxiety and depression can be a major influence to the reoccurrence of pain. Quite often the client may not know the cause, or assume it was something else. Some clients have come for treatment because of a sporting injury, but the major contributing cause was either lifestyle or other factors. Other causes may be the body’s defensive system when recovering from trauma or surgery. Pregnancy can cause postural issues that only present as back pain years later.
The initial assessment can take about 20 minutes and will:
- Review all the contributing factors, including history and lifestyle
- Carry out a walking gait test
- Test levels and alignment of specific points on the body
- Carry out tests to major antagonistic muscles to check their balance
Remedial massage will apply advanced soft tissue techniques to the areas identified as needing treatment by the assessment. The treatment will consist of one of more from a range of massage techniques, including:
- Traditional massage
- Soft tissue release (STR)
- Trigger point (TP) therapy
- Myofascial release
- Muscle energy techniques (METs)
From the knowledge of the cause and the result of the assessment it is essential to minimise the risk of pain returning or manage the condition to minimise its impact on the client’s lifestyle.
This is achieved by:
- Modifying lifestyle to remove the cause or contributing factors
- Strengthening weak muscles or rebalancing muscles
- Exercise to maintain and sustain healing
At The Massage Spa we offer a free 12 point postural analysis. If you have given birth, work at a desk, do repetitive work or play sport, then this postural assessment could save you years of chronic pain.
Call 01494 793 474 today and book your free no obligation 12-point postural assessment.