Ahhh my aching back! We all know someone with back pain and have probably experienced it ourselves at some point. According to the British Occupational Health Research Foundation back pain:
o Affects 40% of the population
o Causes the loss of 50 million working days
o Costs about £5 billion (or £200 for every employee) in sickness absence costs.
Source: Clinical Standards Advisory Group
Causes of low back pain
A big factor in most cases of back pain is soft tissue damage. The muscles, ligaments and fascia can be adversely affected by sudden injury or trauma, chronic repetitive misuse or habitual poor posture. As these more subtle “soft tissue issues” cannot be diagnosed via X rays or MRI’s they often escape the medics’ attention leading to unnecessary long standing pain that can in most cases easily be resolved.
The role of trigger points
Studies suggest that trigger points (contraction “knots” in soft tissue) are a component of up to 93% of the pain seen in pain clinics and the sole cause of such pain as much as 85% of the time. The key factor about trigger points is that they typically cause pain in a site distant to where the trigger point is located. Pain in the low back can come from trigger points in unusual places such as the buttocks, stomach muscles or even the calves!
The fascia is connective tissue that encases every structure of the body like a 3- dimensional body stocking. If there is a pull or a snare somewhere in this powerful fabric, it causes greater tightening in other areas causing pain and decreased mobility.
Massage techniques including soft tissue release, trigger point therapy and myofascial work can not only provide relief from lower back pain, but can effectively resolve the underlying issues. As a massage therapist, there is nothing more rewarding than feeling you are helping someone out of this pain.