Do you suffer from chronic back pain that has been tormenting you for years, months, or weeks on end? Whether upper, middle, or lower back pain, it can be quite debilitating, and you can even stop believing that it can go away. Does the pain make you more passive in life and prevent you from enjoying your favourite activities?
Have you tried pretty much every therapy you heard of for relief from painful spasms and the results were only temporary at best? If any of this sounds familiar then Rolfing® Structural Integration is what you need. As a chronic back pain veteran myself I say this with confidence, because Rolfing helped me to recover from my long term lower back pain after 4 years of trying many different modalities and getting nowhere. I can offer the subtle, effective manipulation of Rolfing for those who don’t like their backs being “clicked”, which effects lasting soft-tissue change, as well as the quick results of Osteopathic Spinal Manipulation.
Read on to find out more about:
- Why so many people get back pain
- Relieving back pain with Osteopathic Spinal Manipulation
- Remaining pain-free with Rolfing
- Back pain treatment with Luke
- Home exercises for a strong & pain-free back
Why do so many people get back pain?
The human spine is an interesting experiment of nature. We are the only species on this planet which is upright 24/7 and can use their hands to manipulate the world around.
This adaptation has huge advantages for us, but not for the spine, which lost half of its support system, a huge price to pay.
The spinal discs that would normally happily hang between the 4 paws are now squeezed by the force of gravity, causing them to dry out, pinch nerves and cause chronic pain.
Relieving pain with Osteopathic Spinal Manipulation
Osteopathic Spinal Manipulation is a set of specific techniques practised by Osteopaths and Chiropractors that are effective at restoring mobility and alleviating pain and discomfort originating at the spinal and costal (rib) joints. These techniques are standard in the osteopathic and chiropractic environment and are also known as “clicking” or “adjusting”. National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidelines recommend spinal manipulation, from a suitably qualified practitioner, as one of the measures to help with back pain.
Remaining pain-free with Rolfing
Sufferers of chronic back pain need to bring the body into balance to prevent a recurrence of symptoms. The long-term solution adopted by Rolfing practitioners is to work with the distribution of the connective tissue (fascia), so that the spine is well supported by the muscular structures of the body. As a consequence, the discs are less squashed and the nerve impingement – the source of the pain – disappears.
To help ensure that the results are sustainable and the pain doesn’t come back next week, each Rolfing session makes space to retrain and engrain new habits of movement and perception. This is another way in which Rolfing differs from osteopathy or chiropractics, which do not have such a strong educational component.
Treatments with Luke
Luke Gregorczyk is qualified in Rolfing® Structural Integration as well as in Osteopathic Spinal Manipulation, and a course of treatment with him combines the benefits of both methods. Osteopathy provides a ‘quick fix’ to acute pain and Rolfing addresses the underlying cause, giving clients a long-term solution that changes unhelpful habits.
My clients come to me thinking their body is like a beaten up old banger… and my aim is for them to leave realising they’re driving a Ferrari!
Being free of chronic back pain is a wonderful feeling, you no longer have to watch every move you make in fear of pain. You no longer have to withdraw from many of your favourite activities. Suddenly you can engage back in life just as fully as you used to, which does wonders for your confidence and well-being.
And because Rolfing® has helped you to improve your movement habits you may find that your coordination and posture has also changed for the better. I say this with confidence because it was exactly how my back pain symptoms got resolved and what I felt afterwards.
If you want to discuss how I can help you with your own upper, middle or lower back pain issues, please contact me.
Exercises to make your back strong and pain-free
Back pain is, in 99% of cases, a neurological problem, usually developed as a result of degenerating discs, which decrease in volume, causing the vertebral spaces to shrink and impinge on the nerve root. The good news is that in most instances back pain resolves by itself within a few weeks. Unfortunately if it happened once, it’s likely to happen again, and of course there are cases, like my own one, where the pain can linger for years on end and extra help is needed.
My back problem started sometime in 2002. Initially it was an occasional pain seizure that would go away by itself within a week. From 2010, however, the pain became much more frequent, and eventually developed into a constant feature of my life. At one point it was so bad that I lost the feeling in my right foot and standing on the right leg became impossible. My path to recovery was bumpy and circuitous. I tried massage, osteopathy, chiropractic, reiki, and acupuncture, all of which helped, but only for a short while. The breakthrough came when I discovered the 4 pillars of health: Rolfing, movement practise, mindfulness meditation, and an alkaline diet. Experimenting with these 4 “ingredients” of wellness started my return to health, and today I can say I am, and have been pain free since 2016. The exercises I want to share with you are the boiled-down essence of long and hard explorations to find an optimal movement protocol for making my back strong and pain-free – and they do work. What’s important to remember though is that as well as exercising daily, I also had regular Rolfing treatments, meditation sessions and my diet changed completely. Had I removed any of these 4 pillars my recovery would have been much less likely.
Words of caution: Before you start with the protocol, make sure that you have yourself checked. Going to a doctor, having an MRI, and being certain of what exactly the problem is with your back is the beginning of the healing process. Some conditions, where for example there is a referred pain, loss of sensation and motor function in a lower limb, require immediate medical attention and no exercise will help. This protocol is designed for those of us with minor & moderate disc degeneration and nerve impingement that doesn’t require surgical intervention.
Good to know minimum anatomy: To be sure that you are helping yourself, before you start, know exactly which movements alleviate and which exacerbate your pain. In that way you will be able to be more cautious with particular exercises. The general rule of thumb is this: if it hurts when bending forward it’s an anterior disc problem, when the pain occurs when bending backwards, it’s the central canal, the lateral processes and the foramen that are in trouble. Once you know the nature of your pain, you have to be more careful when either flexing or extending, but it should not stop you from doing the entire exercise routine.
The spirit of the practise: For the best chance of full recovery, you will need a four-pillar approach: Rolfing, Movement, Meditation and Diet. They are absolutely essential for your success, as each uniquely contributes towards your health: Rolfing helps you to improve your alignment, movement practise grows strong support for the spinal column, mindfulness meditation works with pain perception, and an alkaline diet reduces tissue inflammation. This programme focuses on the Movement Practise; follow the links to find out about the other 3 pillars of health.
How often and how long for should you exercise: For the routine to work, you need to exercise every day – yes, every day, for at least 10 weeks in a row. It’s best to do your practise in the morning because then your hormones, especially cortisol, are at an optimal level. The whole routine should take between 5 and 10 minutes, so it’s not a big ask given the benefit!
Make your Back Strong & Pain Free – exercise protocol for daily back rehab routine:
Exercise 1: Up & Down Cat
Exercise 2: Lateral Cat
Exercise 3: Drum Roller
Exercise 4: Hedgehog & Cobra
Exercise 5: Belly Boat
Exercise 6: Pelvic Float
Exercise 7: Scrunch & Gondola
Exercise 8: Twists