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Why Does My Back Hurt?

Article by Kim Meyer Pelltier, PT, CST

Back pain is one of the most common and costly physical problems experienced by so many. In my long career as a physical therapist and healer back pain is the diagnosis I have seen most frequently. I have come to understand that there are many underlying causes for the pain which can run from mild to excruciating. The pain can be local or radiate into the legs and feet and at it’s worst can affect function of the feet and other parts of the body.

It is unfortunate that so many will immediately see their MD’s who will prescribe pain killers and rest alone. These may decrease the symptoms but will not get to the root of the problem. It is like taking the leaves of a dandelion out of the ground but leaving the roots. You know the dandelion will grow back. Often people will be told they have arthritis, that they have protruding discs or that they have bad posture. All of these may contribute to low back pain but unto themselves need not cause recurrent problems and decreasing abilities to participate in the normal activities of lifting, recreating, walking, etc. There is the chicken and the egg phenomena involved when there are postural and/or disc problems with the back.

So many of my clients will say that they have “bad posture”. They blame themselves for not standing up straight, for sitting poorly, for not having the
perfect military posture. Well I am here to say that military posture is NOT the correct posture. I can almost hear a collective breath of “thank God” as you read this. Posture is not stagnant but dynamic. Our posture changes through the years dictated by traumatic physical events such as car accidents, falls, surgeries, strains and sprains and repetitive motion. We hold around these injuries even though they have technically healed. This holding causes a change in posture and the body accommodates to the change by changing something else. For example, I have seen women who have had abdominal surgeries and have internal scarring causing the body to flex forward. In order to accommodate for this change the back bends back causing a sway back and putting pressure on vertebrae and discs. She was told to “stand up straight” and decrease her sway back. This is impossible without gently releasing the scar tissue and fascial tensions in the abdomen.

Surgical scarring can also affect the sacrum and pull the spine into painful positions and putting pressure into vertebrae and discs. When you change
the structure by releasing the fascial tensions and holding patterns you change the posture and the spinal dysfunction.  I have seen many of these clients receive injections, surgeries, prolonged chiropractic and physical therapy with all treatment bombarded into the low back when, in fact, other parts of the body need to addressed before the low back pain can be healed. The cost in copays, deductibles and time lost from life takes a big
toll. Back pain should be healed and not fixed.

A holistic approach to evaluation and treatment of low back pain can get to the root of the problem. Treatment should empower you to understand your own body. Gentle techniques including craniosacral therapy, visceral mobilization, gentle stretching and strengthening can be fabulous to assist the body to begin to heal and change the old patterns of holding that can be the reason for having low back pain. Arthritis, disc protrusion and bad posture may not be the culprits in having back pain!


Contact: Kim 860.208.1535
Email: Healpt@yahoo.com

For more information please visit her website http://www.pelletierphysicaltherapy.com/