Low Back Pain

Low back pain affects almost 80% of the population at some point in their life. The economic cost of back pain is significant, estimated at almost 90 Billion dollars annually. 

The reality is that low back back is multi-factorial. There are multiple influences- there is no one size fits all solutions. For the staff at BodyWork Associates, we try to take the most reasoned approach possible based on an evidence informed approach. By evidence informed, we mean that we base what we do on both our years of clinical experience and also what the research literature tells us. 

There is abundant evidence that our targeted massage therapy (Precision Neuromuscular Therapy) is very helpful for back pain. There are three categories that are common applications.

  1. Pain. Our approach is much more than general massage; we are trying to access very small areas of tissue injury that are instrumental in the experience of pain. As the client, you may have had a very real experience of this on the table. As we slowly and carefully explore the muscles of your back, you might have the feeling we are close to something, but not quite there. Hopefully, with your feedback, we might shift our pressure millimeters in one direction or another to land on a spot that your nervous system knows is at the epicenter of your pain. Your feedback in this process is essential for us to be on target! Research literature shows these areas of tissue injury to be as small as 3 millimeters. 
  2. Fatigue. When muscles are injured, they reach their threshold of capacity sooner. In this case, your back feels tired after walking a significant distance or standing over a work surface. Targeted therapy will increase the time of your activity level before you reach the threshold of fatigue. 
  3. Weakness. This isn't talked about as much, but weakness in a muscle will show up far before pain is experienced. Muscles have one job and that is to contract. If injured, they do that one job less well. Our targeted therapy helps muscles to regain their capacity to contract (strength). Interestingly, if your weakness is due to muscle injury, exercise is likely to make the problem worse, not better. Exercise is by nature overloading a muscle; overloading an injured muscle will only exacerbate symptoms. In the best case scenario, our work will make exercise possible, ensuring a full recovery.

Speaking of exercise, I met Dr. Stuart McGill when I was working for the Chicago Bulls in the late 1990's. There are very few people who know more about back pain than Dr. McGill. I found a wonderful little article about him with some very simple exercise approaches. You might find this helpful if you have back pain.  

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