Lower Back Pain

Tight Hamstrings and Lower Back Pain

Tight Hamstrings and Lower Back Pain

If you are suffering from lower back pain the first thing you need to do is a bit of detective work to help work out what is causing it. The first port of call is your health professional. Your doctor will be able to advise you on whether your lower back pain is caused by an underlying problem. You would be well advised to seek the help also of an Osteopath, look for one locally on the General Osteopathic Council website where you will find registered practitioners for your area listed.

One of the causes for lower back pain can be tight hamstrings. If the hamstrings are overly tight then they shorten the posterior sling, tilting the pelvis backwards at the hip joints and deactivating the gluteus maximus – the power house of your body. This can cause all sorts of problems, probably the most troublesome of which is lower back pain.

When I see a new patient I do a quick check to see what their glutes and hamstrings are up to. Usually I find hamstrings are busy doing the work of the glutes! Very friendly of them, but no use to you whatsoever, you need your glutes to be working efficiently. Often even when patients are specifically exercising the glutes it will be the hamstrings which are doing the work and getting tighter and tighter, which will just exacerbate a low back problem.

Stretching the hamstrings and learning how to exercise your glutes efficiently will help. Lie on the floor with one knee bent and the foot on the floor. Hook your hands around the knee of the other leg and then raise that leg  into the air. Gently pull the raised leg into flexion and until you can feel the pull in the hamstrings and hold for a minute or so. Repeat with the other leg. You should do this daily.

It may take some time to release off tight hamstrings, massage can help enormously in this process, helping to break down fibrous tissue and restore suppleness.

Treating Chronic Low Back Pain With Remedial Massage

Treating Chronic Low Back Pain With Remedial Massage

This week I have seen a number of patients with chronic low back pain. The thing which they are most concerned with is whether their low back pain can be managed with massage and exercise.

If your low back pain has passed from the acute stage and into chronic it is more difficult but not  impossible to treat. We start with an assessment of your condition. Depending on the circumstances of your particular situation. Whether your GP has already referred you for an x-ray or MRI scan and what the results were. What type of work you do and whether you can make any adjustments to that. How much exercise you do and how it affects your condition.

Often patients are just confused as to what is the best course of action to take, they have lost faith in their body and its ability to perform the tasks they ask of it everyday.

As a remedial massage therapist in Ely, my task is to help you back to feeling confident that you can do most of the things you need to do on a daily basis. Progressing gradually through a course of detective work and putting in place a treatment plan for remedial massage treatment and then a system for managing your body and keeping it in working order, we will get you back on your feet again.  I believe massage is a wonderful therapy, your muscles make up a huge proportion of your body. They deserve to be looked after and if you look after them they will serve you well.

Avoiding Muscular and Low Back Injury

Avoiding Muscular and Low Back Injury

One of the most important things I believe, in keeping yourself fit and healthy is to actually try and avoid muscular injury in the first place. If you are a sportsperson or even just wanting to lead a fairly active life, you should be doing your utmost to avoid getting injured in the first place. This is because rehabilitating an injury is so much harder than avoiding one  and an injured muscle is much more likely to get injured again in the future.

How then do you prevent injury? Well, firstly prepare. If you are taking up a new sport or going back to one you enjoy after a break. Even doing a weekend of heavy gardening. Spend some time getting into shape – or better still, make sure you are always in good shape. A fit body will perform better at all tasks.

Keep your core muscles strong, keep your legs strong and flexible, make sure your glutes work properly – your massage therapist can help you with all these things. A good remedial massage therapist can tell you if your glutes fire properly and what to do if they don’t. Your glutes are the powerhouse of your body. Your stability and strength in movement come from your glutes, it is important that they work properly. I have encountered people actually exercising their glutes but it being a complete waste of time because only their hamstrings were doing the work – and this is not rare! Lots of you don’t actually use your glutes to power you.

Having remedial massage will help to identify where your problems are, it can uncover things which you didn’t even know were a problem and things which are going to cause you mobility issues as you get older. A remedial massage therapist can offer advice on strengthening and stretching, which exercises to do and which muscles are weak. The bonus is you will also get trouble spots ironed out and you will feel very good afterwards. Deep soft tissue massage of the type offered by remedial massage therapists will help to ease out muscular pain and tension and leave you feeling like you have a new body.

How to Ease Lower Back Muscle Pain with Deep Soft Tissue Massage

How to Ease Lower Back Pain with Deep Soft Tissue Massage

Deep Soft Tissue Massage is a phrase that gets bandied about quite a bit these days, along with trigger point release. So what does it actually mean and will it help your ease your lower back pain?

What deep soft tissue therapy is, is really just a gradual process of relaxing tense, tight, overworked muscle fibres using different types of massage techniques to encourage the muscles to ‘open up’ and allow work on the deeper muscles. The massage therapist will use more pressure than would be used for say a Swedish massage but the techniques can often be similar. If the massage hurts you then you should tell the therapist to ease off! A good therapist knows that they should always work within your tolerance levels – but it is up to you to help establish where those levels lie. Generally it is posible to gauge to some degree when you are working too strongly, but not always and working too deeply just causes the muscle to resist which is not productive.

Irritated muscles gather ‘ trigger points ‘ which you will recognise as knotty areas in your muscles, they develop in specific places which your therapist will know. They also cause specific symptoms so working to ease them out of the muscles is very beneficial. A muscle with trigger points is a muscle which is not firing on all cylinders! Deep soft tissue work applied during remedial massage will help to remove these little nuisances and get the muscle back to prime working condition.

Lower back pain can come from trigger points in a number of muscles, here in my practice in Ely, Cambs I help people get over episodes of lower back pain by identifying where their problems are, treating the cause and giving advice on how to avoid a recurrence of the problem. Lower back pain need not be a permanent feature of your life.

Sciatica

Treament and stretches for sciatica pain

Even fit people suffer from low back pain. If you are a runner you may still have the muscular problems associated with the pain of sciatica, Especially if you run to counterbalance a fairly sedentary working life.

Many people consider they are doing everything right because they are at least exercising regularly but if I ask patients who come to my practice in Ely Cambs for massage whether they stretch regularly and effectively the response is usually a wry grin.

It’s great to put in place massage to help with the recovery of your muscles, at least monthly but more if time and money allows. Without stretching too you are doing yourself a disservice. The hip rotator muscles work very hard whilst you are pounding the streets,this can lead to problems with the piriformis and commonly the tensor fascia lata. tightness in both these muscles leads to deep hip pain. Trigger points in the piriformis are very common and problems with this muscle are very often associated with sciatic pain.

Even if you don’t run, using the legs uses these same muscles so walking a distance which is unusual for you and then returning to sitting for long periods can also cause sciatic pain. I would also add here that it is beneficial to keep your weight within a healthy range. Extra stresses and strains placed on muscles by carrying more load than they are meant to will eventually cause problems even when doing normal day to day activities.

A good set of stretches for runners can be found at www.runnersworld.co.uk/quicklinks/stretching