Back Pain Products to Help My Back Pain

If you suffer lower back pain, you are not on your own. Probably nearly all adults at some point in their lives will experience this condition that interferes with their work eg there is a high incidence of lumbar pain in drivers, everyday activities, sports (eg lumbar pain in golfers) or hobbies. Lower back pain or sciatica is considered the most common cause of job-related disability and the highest contributor to absenteeism in the western world. For example, it is second to headaches as the most common neurological ailment in the United States. Generally, most occurrences of lower back pain or lumbar pain subside after a few days, although some instances may take much longer to resolve or very occasionally lead to more serious conditions.

Short-term pain (Acute) generally lasts from a few days to a few weeks, and this condition tends to be mechanical in nature, the consequence of trauma to the lower back or a condition such as arthritis. Back pain from trauma may be caused by an injury sustained through sports activity, household jobs or working in the garden.

Sometimes, sudden jarring from a minor fall, or other stress on the lower back bones and tissues could be the root cause of low lumbar pain or sciatica. Symptoms of lumbar pain may range from aching muscles to shooting or sharp stabbing pain, limited flexibility and/or range of motion, or an inability to stand straight. Sometimes, pain felt in one part of the body may stem from a disorder or injury incurred in other parts of the body. Very occasionally acute low back pain syndromes could become more serious if untreated.

Definitions of what period or duration constitutes chronic back pain vary but pain that persists for over 12 weeks would generally be described as chronic.

Often the initial cause of the back problem is not known and this condition can sometimes be progressive The good news is that the vast majority of occurrences can be treated without surgery. Back pain treatments include analgesics, to reduce inflammation, to restoring proper mobility and strength to the back, by a variety of back pain products and therapies, to strategies for the avoidance of recurrence of the injury.

Usually patients suffering lumbar pain recover fully and don’t incur continuing loss of functionality. It’s advisable to contact your GP if there is no improvement or reduction in the back pain and inflammation after 3 days There is a plethora of exercises, medication, or therapy products and gadgets available to sufferers, designed to provide either, relief, prevention or both.

Although some of these back pain products (such as Magnatherapy or aromatherapy) would be described as ‘alternative’ or pseudoscientific ie they have few empirically or scientifically proven benefits, many are developed through the application of sound medical principle and theory. It’s worthwhile asking your GP for recommendations on any therapies as well as making sure that the cause is not more serious

Back pain therapy devices PGAT devices

Inversion Tables

Inversion is a natural form of passive gravity assisted traction (PGAT) that uses the patient’s body weight in conjunction with gravity to decompress weight-bearing joints. While the patient is rotated and suspended, gravity effectively creates a traction, resulting in a customized stretch that extends the spine, from the sacroiliac to the cervical joints of the neck, increasing the space between the vertebrae, which relieves the pressure on the discs and nerve roots. By reducing this pressure there is less interference with the spinal nerves thus reducing lower lumbar pain. Inversion is considered to be an effective therapy This is typically performed on what’s called an inversion table.

The table allows you to lie on your back relaxed, in an inverted position. This position eliminates some or all gravitational compression, depending upon how far back you position your body. Inversion therapy relieves back pain, and it works even better when it’s part of a well-rounded therapy plan that addresses the specific muscle imbalances you have. But even by itself it is highly effective. A recent study done at Newcastle University found that over 70% of patients who performed inversion therapy were able to cancel their scheduled back surgeries.

CPM Mobilisers


Backlife is designed to apply a Continuous Passive Movement (CPM) to the lower back pain sufferer in a similar way to how a healthcare professional, as part of his back pain therapy, would apply in order to help relieve pressure between the vertebrae, and therefore relieve pain in the lumbar region. In order to apply CPM the user would lie on the floor bending their knees over the upper section of the machine. As the upper section moves, it gently rotates the pelvis in a circular fashion, allowing the joints to move, whilst the joints remain relaxed. The advertised benefits of Backlife for pain relief are that it reduces the stress and pressure on the lower back, restores back mobility and improves stability. In addition it reduces lumbar pain with regular use, improves posture, and reduces muscle tension.

Back in action Mobiliser

The Back in Action Mobiliser is an extremely powerful medical grade spinal joint mobilisation system, available for home or professional use for back pain relief. It’s described as usually very effective at decreasing the symptoms of long term and chronic musculo-skeletal problems. The system applies very localised pressure to the muscles either side of the spine, simulating a practitioners ‘thumbing technique,whilst mobilising the spine, flexing and extending the spine, freeing up stubborn vertebrae. In addition to this the mobilise provides a continuous passive motion (CPM) considered to be beneficial to health and aid healing The mobilise has been used to treat conditions such as: lumbago; prolapse /slipped disc, sciatica; scoliosis, arthritic hips, sacro-iliac dysfunction, whiplash injuries; fibromyalgia and many other disabling conditions. It is also comprehensively tested and endorsed by medics, so that it is probably the most commended back pain therapy care system available. Its most significant disadvantage is that it is made in small numbers and is expensive to buy however they are available to hire.


The Backstretcher, also known as the Rolastretcher provides relief with a combination of massage and stretching movements, allowing the user to move and stretch different parts of the spine by moving up and down the frame. The rollers also provide pressure (acupressure) on the back muscles either side of the spine where dysfunctional trigger points (knots) often occur. It provides back pain sufferers the opportunity to complement their therapeutic treatment with a device, which is portable, The effectiveness of this device has been confirmed by scientific study by the University of Iowa’s Spine Centre.


Flexibak is back support cradle that is designed to ease lower back pain problems, reduce discomfort, and promote relief, by decompression of key joints, allowing natural movement to return to the user. Flexibak, developed by 2 leading British osteopaths, is designed to encourage the lumbar and sacroiliac joints to open up, and encourage the return of natural movement as pressure on inflamed muscles is relieved.

Back cushions and wedges and Supports Cushions

Back cushions

These are custom shaped soft cushions which are tailored to the natural shape of the user’s lower back and designed to offer support whilst maintaining an ergonomic and comfortable posture whilst sat on a chair or in the car, thus providing an element of relief for low back pain.

Seat wedges

Seat wedges provide lumbar pain relief in a natural passive manner. Sitting on a seat wedge has the effect of moving forward the pelvis which has the effect of causing the users spine to adopt a more ergonomically correct upright posture. Seat wedges maybe useful for lumbar pain suffering car drivers by angling their backs into more comfortable driving positions, or in sedentary workplace situations where the back pain sufferer may be adopting a suiting position for several hours, for example call centre workers. Ideal for everybody working in a sitting position, especially PC users. A variant of the seat wedge is the coccyx wedge which incorporates a cut away section to reduce or avoid pressure on the sacrum or coccyx which could be causing lower back pain or tail bone pain.

Back Braces

These aim to constrict the affected area of low back pain low afflicted area, these strap-on body braces help reduce lower back pain and help to correct poor posture.

TENS units

TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) is the application of electric current produced by a device to stimulate the nerves for therapeutic purposes. In this case we are referring to portable stimulators used to help with back pain. The unit is usually connected to the skin using two or more electrodes or semi adhesive pads. Although the first units developed in the US for testing tolerance of chronic back pain sufferers to electrical stimulation in preparation for surgically invasive implants, many patients reported deriving relief from the TENS itself. A number of companies began manufacturing TENS units after the commercial success of the Meditronic device became known TENS is regarded as a non-invasive, safe nerve stimulation intended to reduce pain, both acute and chronic. Controversy does exist over its effectiveness in treating of chronic back pain. In 2007 a feature in the Pain Journal concluded that ENS was effective for chronic musculoskeletal pain whereas the journal Neurology advised against recommending TENS for chronic lower back pain,but other neurologists in the same journal suggested that in some patients TENS is useful. TENS units available from high street retailers Baxolve offers immediate relief for lower back pain through a combination of TENS therapy and lumbar support in one easy to use convenient belt.

Heat and cold back pain products

There is little empirical evidence that the application of hot and cold compresses actually effectively relieve back pain conditions, although the use of hot and cold compresses may provide relief by helping to reduce the lower back pain, spasms, and inflammation, in turn allowing for improved mobility for some back pain sufferers. Immediately after the trauma, the sufferer would apply a cold compress (generally ice packs or refrigerant gel) to the affected area of the lower back pain, maybe after a strain, for up to about 20 minutes a few time a day, for a couple of days to help reduce tissue inflammation. After a couple of days the back pain sufferer would then apply heat to the affected area, using a variety of methods such as heat pads, heat lamps etc for short durations. This has the effect of dilating the blood vessels which increase blood flow to the affected tissues, and encouraging the healing process. It also has the effect of relaxing the muscles similar to having a warm bath after exertion. As with any back pain treatment it’s advisable to consult your GP before commencing a treatment.

Magnet therapy

Magnet therapy can be described as an alternative or pseudoscientific method of back pain treatment, using magnetic fields on the body to promote back pain relief and healing, with a perceived, though not understood positive effect on blood oxygen content. There is no scientific basis to conclude that small, static magnets can relieve pain It has its origins in Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM) dating back some 2000 years, centered around ‘Chi’or ‘energy flows’ around the body and instrumental in health and wellbeing, with magnetic wave therapy having associations with acupuncture or and acupressure. Although it is regarded with an element of scepticism due to seemingly physical and biological implausibility, in Eastern countries, therapeutic magnets are licensed as medical devices, and it does appear to be gaining some recognition within the US medical community, with an example of affirmative research of published in the MDBR Journal of Rheumatology. The downside to this is the difficulty associated with establishing true blind testing of magnets and associated ‘placebo or Hawthorne’ effects within test groups. By all means have a look at what’s available but remain sceptical.


Ultrasound is often used as a method of pain relief by physios and therapists in combination with other pain treatments, such as manipulation, massage, ice treatment and interferential (electrotherapy). The ultrasound device causes millions of sound waves to penetrate deep into tissue in order to promote healing of inflamed or damaged muscles, tendons and ligaments. It’s claimed that ultrasound can reduce tissue inflammation by stimulating blood flow, promote healing by stimulating soft tissue, and assist in the absorption uf analgesics, and reduce pain. Again there is conflict over the effectiveness for lower back pain treatment with both positive user testimonials offset by inconclusive meta analysis. See Physical Therapy article Jul 2001 and New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy Jul 2008


Ultralieve Pro is a mains operated or portable hand held medical grade device designed for home use to help with pain and promote healing by conducting ultrasound waves into the damaged tissue. Although the device is easy its perhaps best if the user has received ultrasound treatment previously from a physio or healthcare professional, and again it’s advisable to check with your GP or physio before using one to derive pain relief It should not be used as a replacement for conventional help with back pain but in conjunction with it in between sessions. Again there is conflict over the effectiveness to help with back pain with both positive user testimonials offset by inconclusive meta analysis.

Help My Back Pain – Therapies to Ease the Misery

Lower back pain sometimes known as Lumbago or Sciatica is a common disorder affecting some 60% of the adult population, seeking to get rid of back pain. So great is the problem, that in the UK alone, some 150 million man days are lost each year in industry, as a result of absenteeism attributed to lower back pain. Generally, the symptoms of low back pain are due to benign musculoskeletal problems often arising from strains in the lower back muscles or soft tissue, and these ease considerably within a few weeks using common sense measures to address.

To help back pain, establishing of the fundamental origin of the back pain with a GP is usually made through a combination of a medical history, physical examination, and, when necessary, diagnostic investigation, such as x-ray, MRI, or CT scan. Usually, low back or lumbar pain can be treated conventionally, with one recommendation being physical therapy which may help alleviate the symptoms, and give back pain relief. A summary of some of the more common therapies used to provide back pain relief are listed below:-

Acupuncture treatment originated in China over two thousand years ago. It is reputed that the first observations were of soldiers, wounded in battle by arrows, and how the arrow ‘punctures’ caused therapeutic effects in different parts of the victims body well away from the wound area. The general theory behind traditional acupuncture is based on patterns or meridians of energy flow through the body that are essential for health. This is referred to as Qi or Chi and sometimes Xue (blood). Disruptions of this flow are thought to be the primary causes of pain and disease. Acupuncture attempts to correct imbalances of flow, thus helping to restore the patient’s health.

How acupuncture works
Broadly, acupuncture involves stimulation of points along these energy flows through a range of techniques. Stimulation is typically performed using very fine needles that create gentle sensations. Each of these needles are inserted into specific points along these ‘energy pathways’ or “meridians”.

Can acupuncture help my back Pain
Acupuncture is considered useful in treating such conditions as lower back pain, sciatica, stiffness, and strains. In traditional acupuncture theory, pain arises due to blocked energy along ‘energy pathways’ or “meridians” of the body, which are ‘cleared’ when acupuncture needles are inserted. In modern medicine, scientific reasons have been put forward for the apparent benefits that acupuncture provides for the sufferers of lower back pain. One observation is that acupuncture stimulation causes the releases neurochemicals and hormones, regarded as producing signals that soothe the sympathetic nervous system and release natural opioids which provide back pain relief.

Alexander technique
The Alexander Technique is a method that works to change (movement) habits in our everyday activities. It is a simple and practical method for improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support and coordination. The technique teaches the use of the appropriate amount of effort for a particular activity, giving you more energy for all your activities. It is not a series of treatments or exercises, but rather a re-education of the mind and body. The Alexander Technique is a method which helps a person discover a new balance in the body by releasing unnecessary tension. It can be applied to sitting, lying down, standing, walking, lifting, and other daily activities

How Alexander Technique works
The Alexander Technique shows its students how to learn to do whatever they currently do as easily and efficiently as possible. It is concerned almost exclusively with process – how an activity is performed not what it is. Although there are no exercises, Alexander technique shows how to exercise more efficiently, with reduced risk of injury. Many, seeking back pain relief are drawn to the technique because of its reputation to help back pain or lumbago, stiff necks and shoulders, and other conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Alexander teachers are not doctors and do not diagnose diseases.

Can Alexander Technique help my back pain
By becoming more aware of how the body works and learning how to “undo” bad body practices, those suffering with long term or chronic back pain are able to soothe and ease their symptoms. Pupils of Alexander technique can learn how to pupils how to liberate needless muscle tension and, freer means of movement which impose less strain and therefore back pain relief.

Bowen Therapy
The Bowen technique is a soft tissue remedial therapy, named after its innovator Tom Bowen. This therapy is not considered massage, but as a non-invasive muscle release and integration technique, but similar to massage, it releases muscular tension. Its clients describe experiences of significant relaxation after a session.

How does Bowen Therapy work
The technique involves the therapist using fingers or thumbs to move over muscle, ligament tendon and fascia in various parts of the body. The work is very subtle, relaxing and gentle involving no hard or prolonged pressure. During a session the client will lie on a therapy table or bed, although the work can be effectively carried out with the client in a chair.

Can Bowen Therapy help my back pain
The most common presentation is for back pain relief and here Bowen excels. The average number of treatments would be two or three for most therapists. There are always going to be exceptions to any rule, and certain people will need further or even on-going treatments. Sports injury is a field of remedial therapy that is becoming very aware of The Bowen Technique. The Bowen Technique is being used at high levels of sport in this country, with rugby clubs and premiership football clubs showing interest. Bowen therapists advocate that this can reduce or eliminate or help back pain and promote general health
Source: European College of Bowen

Chiropractic is a technique which focuses on the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. The principal of Chiropractic is that the key to health is the nervous system with the spine at its centre. If the spine is aligned correctly, then optimal movement can occur and the patient can achieve improved health.

A chiropractor will generally address “subluxations”- misalignments to the spinal bones responsible for reduced movement or or loss of normal posture, causing impairment to the nervous system or nerve irritation.

How does Chiropractic work
In seeking to help back pain, a chiropractor would usually examine the patient’s spine and review any patient history to determine any previous injuries, accidents, or tensions that may be impairing normal function. Sometimes the Chiropractor will order an X-ray to help determine this. A common form of Chiropractic treatment is a spinal manipulation or adjustment. This is generally carried out by hand manipulating the spinal joints affected in an attempt to increase or unlock the joints mobility.

Additional tools are sometimes used to promote healing including rehabilitative exercise, nutritional and lifestyle improvement programmes. The amount of, and frequency of the treatment required would vary according to the nature and severity of the condition.

Can Chiropractic help my back pain
A chiropractor will attempt to focus on the fundamental mechanical and neurological trouble in the spine to decrease the back pain and other symptoms caused by reduced spinal function. He will concentrate on natural health care working to encourage the body to self repair back towards improved health. Chiropractic care as a therapy for back pain in general is safe when employed skillfully and appropriately. Manipulation is regarded as relatively safe, but as with all therapeutic interventions, complications can arise, and it has known adverse effects

The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic educational system designed by Moshé Feldenkrais (1904-1984), based on physics, neurology, and bio mechanics. The Feldenkrais method is designed to improve movement repertoire, aiming to expand and refine the use of the self through awareness, in order to reduce pain or limitations in movement, and promote posture, and general well-being. The Feldenkrais Method is often regarded as falling within the field of complementary medicine, and is a means of re educating the neuromuscular system, redefining movement to increase efficiency and reduce stress

How does Feldenkrais work
Feldenkrais Method is taught in two complimentary formats – “Awareness Through Movement’ taught through classes and Functional Integration taught on a one to one basis.

In teaching ‘Awareness Through Movement’ classes, the teacher will lead the class through a sequence of movements involving standing, sitting in a chair or sitting or lying on the floor. One of the key aims is to instruct pupils how to decrease unwarranted muscular exertion and develop understanding of their whole self during movement.

In a Functional Integration lesson, a trained practitioner uses his or her hands to guide the movement of a single pupil, who may be sitting, lying or standing. The practitioner uses this “hands-on” technique to help the student experience the connections among various parts of the body (with or without movement). Through precision of touch and movement, the pupil learns how to eliminate excess effort and thus move more freely and easily. Lessons may be specific in addressing particular issues brought by the pupil, or can be more global in scope. Although the technique does not specifically aim to eliminate pain or “cure” physical complaints, such issues may inform the lesson. Issues such as chronic muscle pain may resolve themselves as the pupil may learn a more relaxed approach to his or her physical experience-a more integrated, free, and easy way to move Students are taught to become aware of their movements and of how they use themselves, thus discovering expanded movement options.

Can Feldenkrais help my back pain
The theory behind Feldenkrais is that inefficient movement behaviour may lead to avoidable tension and movement constraint leading to back pain. The Feldenkrais technique provides for expanded movement alternatives and enhanced posture which can provide backache relief or back pain relief, whilst developing greater efficiency and freedom of movement

Massage therapy
Massage is the manipulation of superficial layers of muscle and connective tissue to improve the function and encourage relaxation, well-being, and improve posture dysfunction. It involves acting on and manipulating the body with pressure – structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving tension, motion, or vibration, done manually or with mechanical aids. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments skin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, Massage can be carried out using the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, and feet. There are over eighty different recognized massage techniques with many used to help back pain.

Massage manipulates the soft tissues of the body by rubbing, kneading, stretching and other methods for therapeutic effect. As a result, muscle and tissue is made more pliable, energising lymph circulation and promoting blood flow. Therapists will employ a range of techniques and methods during treatment sessions.

How does Massage therapy work
Massage manipulates the soft tissues of the body by rubbing, kneading, stretching and other methods for therapeutic effect. As a result, muscle and tissue is made more pliable, energising lymph circulation and promoting blood flow. Experienced therapists will employ a range of techniques and methods during treatment sessions to help back pain. There are many types of massage therapy for back pain in addition to acupressure or Bowen (see above) such as:-

Deep Tissue Massage
Used to relieve severe tension in muscle or fascia, often used where the patient suffers consistent lower back pain caused by specific muscular-skeletal conditions. It concentrates on the underlying muscles rather than those at the surface in order to help back pain.

Swedish massage
(or Classic massage in Sweden!) can be used to help back pain, by improving circulation and easing joint stiffness. Swedish massage uses five styles of strokes to massage: Sliding, kneading, tapping, friction, and vibration

Hilot is a traditional healing and massage technique originating in the Philippines that can be employed to relax stressed muscle and joint manipulation to treat muscular-skeletal conditions as a lower back pain therapy.

Trigger point therapy
Can be used to help back pain and poor posture, by helping to release muscles in spasm, employing techniques to release ‘knotted’ muscles, and freeing up circulation in the affected area.

Traditional Chinese massage
There are two types which can provide back pain relief and – Tui na (the Chinese equivalent of physiotherapy) which concentrates on pushing, stretching and kneading the muscle, and Zhi Ya which utilises techniques of pinching and pressing at acupressure points. These originate from Traditional Chinese Medicine. Although Tui Na is described as massage in the West, in TCM it is not. In TCM massage is called Anmo, which forms the basis of Japan’s Anma.

Can massage therapy help my back pain
Carried out effectively by experienced practitioners, knowledgeable of the human body and conversant with muscle imbalance massage therapy can be a useful therapy for back pain. Massage can also assist in relieving lumbar pain by reducing tension in turn alleviating poor back posture caused by muscle imbalance. Relief of mental tension and stress by using massage is also useful a useful therapy for back pain helping those within sedentary occupations involving hours of sitting in front of VDU’s. Although massage is undoubtedly useful for back pain relief it may not address the underlying condition so GP advice should be sought.

Osteopathy is a non invasive holistic drug free manual therapy that centres on total body health by treating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework, which includes the joints, muscles and spine. Its aim is to positively affect the body’s nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems, enabling an environment of self healing. Osteopaths do not simply concentrate on treating the problem area, but use manual techniques to balance all the systems of the body, to provide overall good health and wellbeing. The practice of Osteopathy was established in the late 1800s in the United States of America, by. Dr. Andrew Taylor Still with the aim of using manual ‘hands on’ drug free techniques to improve circulation and correct altered biomechanics.

How does Osteopathy work
Osteopathy employs manual therapies for the treatment of many neuromusculoskeletal pain syndromes, such as lower back pain and tension headache, alongside exercise and other rehabilitative techniques. An osteopath will utilise a range of gentle hands-on techniques such as soft tissue stretching, deep tactile pressure, and joint mobilisation or manipulation.

The key principles of osteopathy are based on all parts of the body functioning together in an integrated manner. If one part of the body is restricted, then the rest of the body must adapt and offset this, which can lead to inflammation, pain, stiffness and other health conditions. When the body is free of restrictions in movement, Osteopathic treatment helps to reduce pain stress and enhance mobility, creating an environment of self healing for the patient’s body.

In some cases, Osteopaths can complement the GP’s advice on back pain by for example, by easing the pain caused by joint and muscle stiffness, by improving joint mobility and the flow of blood to the joints, to supplement maybe a pain killer prescription issued by the GP

Can osteopathy help my Back Pain
Osteopathy is recognised by the British Medical Association as ‘a discrete clinical discipline’ which can compliment mainstream medicine, and trials demonstrate its effectiveness in treating back pain, with GP’s often referring patients to osteopaths for private treatment. Osteopathic technique is believed to be effective in providing back pain relief by:-

Reducing of herniated or bulging discs and correcting any internal displacement of disc fragments
Inhibiting nerve impulses
Releasing adhesions around prolapsed discs
Calming tenses muscles aggravated by sudden stretching
Providing respite for muscle spasm
Providing advice on exercises for the lower back, posture, safe lifting, workplace or workstation ergonomics, stress, and diet

“Physiotherapy helps restore movement and function to as near as possible when someone is affected by injury, illness or by developmental or other disability. It uses physical approaches to promote, maintain and restore physical, psychological and social wellbeing, taking account of variations in health status. Physiotherapy is science based, committed to extending, applying, evaluating and reviewing the evidence that underpins and informs its practice and delivery. The exercise of clinical judgement and informed interpretation is at its core” Ref: The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Lower back pain can be treated by Orthopaedic physical therapists who diagnose, manage, and treat disorders and injuries of the musculoskeletal system including rehabilitation after surgery. Orthopaedic therapists are trained in the treatment of back pain and spinal conditions, joint and spine mobilisation or manipulation and therapeutic exercise, in order to enable backache relief.

How does Physiotherapy work
Physical movement is seen as a key important therapy in treating lower back pain. Physiotherapy can be described as a drug-free technique or therapy employing a range of procedures, such as joint manipulation and mobilisation, physical stretches and exercise routines, massage therapy, ice and heat therapy, ultrasound, and breathing exercises. Although a GP may refer a lower back pain sufferer to a physiotherapist, a patient can go directly to the latter, although in some instances, the physio may require a formal GP referral.

Can Physiotherapy help my back pain
Physiotherapy can identify several factors as potentially leading to incidences of lower back pain, including trauma or injury, arthritis, poor posture, muscular strains and weaknesses, ligament strains, sciatic conditions, and disc trouble.. Dependent upon the root cause of lumbar pain, a physio can treat these issues with a number of procedures. These could include posture and ergonomics guidance, advice and remedial movement courses, where, manipulation, stabilisation training, stretching and exercise routines to give backache relief.

Pilates is a holistic exercise technique, intended to stretch, strengthen and condition the body to balance, engaging both mind and body, through an anatomical comprehension of the body’s muscular-skeletal systems. Through a comprehensive exercise or programme, the patient or student can concentrate on focus area whilst carrying out for the client. Classes will focus on specific areas individually whilst carrying out routine that incorporates into an environment where optimum muscular- skeletal function and mobility can be restored

How does Pilates work
Pilates is carried out through slow controlled exercise, usually on an exercise mat, or sometimes on specific apparatus, either in classes or one to one. It’s a system of exercises that take the body and mind and body through sequence of proscribed movements. These controlled movements integrate the concept of Dynamic Tension (self-resistance) which is the act of exercising muscle against muscle Pilates is taught one on one or in a class.

Can Pilates help my Back Pain
Pilates theory is that imbalance in strength and flexibility of the body may cause back pain. Pilates attempts to build strength and flexibility to help restore mobility and avert further back injury. Pilates claims to improve posture, muscle tone, mobility, and flexibility in the spine, alleviate backache and pains, and reduce stress. It is considered therapy for back pain for some medical conditions affecting the back but those suffering from Osteogenesis imperfecta, Osteoporosis, Paget’s Disease, Osteomalacia should seek medical consultation. Whilst there have been recent concerns expressed over the effectiveness and safety of Pilates especially relating to strengthening the core muscles, it’s accepted that it can be useful for some people in some instances for back pain relief.

‘Rolfing Structural Integration’ is the trademarked name for the system of hands-on connective tissue manipulation and movement education aimed at releasing stress patterns, and helping the client move and function with greater freedom, and effortlessly maintain a more upright posture. Rolfing seeks to realign and balance the body so that the head, shoulders, chest, pelvis, and legs work in improved vertical configuration

How does Rolfing work
The concept of Rolfing is that injuries, poor movement function and muscle taughtness through stress cause the myofascia (connective tissue) to stiffen, inhibiting free and relaxed movement. By applying deep pressure and other massage techniques to ease tightened myofascia, therby allowing greater flexibility and balance between muscles, tendons and bones. Practitioners of Rolfing teach awareness of those habits restricting movement and how to transform these patterns

Can Rolfing help my Back Pain
By reducing tension, softening the myofacsia, and restoring natural balance and body use, Rolfing practitioners believe the release from the above techniques can relieve back pain caused by muscle tension and help the back to realign itself, promoting improved back health and giving backache relief. Rolfing practitioners address lower back pain, including disk herniation usually by focussing on relaxing, releasing, and manipulating the muscle tissue, and forming space between the intervertebral disks.

The name Shiatsu is derived from Japanese from shi, meaning finger, and atsu, meaning pressure) is a traditional hands-on therapy originating in Japan. There are two main Shiatsu schools; one based on western anatomical and physiological theory where it soothes an overactive sympathetic nervous system, improving circulation, relieving muscle tension and reducing stress, and the other based on a holistic system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Shiatsu is regulated as a licensed medical therapy by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (Japan), and elsewhere by various governing bodies set up by Shiatsu practitioners. Shiatsu is an evolving form, and its various styles incorporate (to differing degrees) aspects of Japanese massage traditions, Chinese Medicine practice, and “Western” anatomy and physiology.

How does Shiatsu work
Shiatsu is an uses pressure applied with thumbs, fingers and palms to the same energy flows or meridians as acupuncture and incorporates stretching. It also uses techniques such as rolling, brushing, vibrating, grasping and in one particular technique developed by Suzuki Yamamoto, pressure is applied with the feet on the persons back, legs and feet (special set up is required for the “foot” shiatsu). The principle theory is similar to that of acupuncture whereby illness is brought about as a result of blockages or imbalance in the meridians or energy lines. The Shiatsu practitioner seeks to clear or remove these blockages by applying finger, thumb, palm, or even foot pressure to the affected areas using a variety of massage techniques

Can Shiatsu help my Back Pain
Lower Back pain results for a number of reasons: Poor ergonomic posture, Physical injury, occupational (such as lifting), recreational (eg golf or gardening) related to poor muscle tone, or in Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM), blockages or imbalances in energy flows through the patients meridians.. It is likely that back pain relief for back pain for back ache or sciatic conditions can be provided by a shiatsu practitioner. Shiatsu is complementary to mainstream Western medicine, not an alternative to it. Though therapy back pain will be administered according to Oriental practice it is important that a modern Western diagnosis is obtained as well, and the practitioner will attempt to establish the origin of the condition. \through the techniques outlined above the practitioner will strive to create an environment of ‘self healing’ whereby the patients body will revert or return over time to a more healthy condition. By understanding how the condition arose the practitioner will advise on changes in posture, exercise, or physical habits which may help prevent reoccurrence of the back pain,

Yoga dates back to over 5,000 years, and originated in India as a form of a spiritual practice. In the West, Yoga as an alternative medicine has evolved from its founding philosophy into a form known as Yoga Therapy, often considered useful as a therapy for back pain. In the UK this has taken the form of a National Occupational Standard, (NOS) for the delivery of Yoga Therapy to clients with impaired health, such as back problems or compromised well being. Yoga is usually taught in classes or groups, sometimes as a lower back pain therapy
Yoga is believed to calm the nervous system, create harmony, and balance the body, mind, and spirit. It is thought by its practitioners to prevent specific diseases and maladies by keeping the energy meridians open and life energy (Prana) flowing. Over time many different branches of yoga have involved from the original meditative states to the emphasis on physical pose or position, breathing, bodily alignment, or flow of movement.

How does Yoga work
Yoga engages movement, stretching, posture and breathing to achieve overall wellbeing of body and mind. The different types of yoga often focus on specific facets such as Fitness, flexibility, meditation, rehabilitation, relaxation, and strength.Yoga engages movement, stretching, posture and breathing to achieve overall wellbeing.

Restorative yoga is often associated with healing disease, and is practiced in a very relaxed state by using supports instead of muscular tension to maintain the pose alignments. These poses help relieve the effects of chronic stress in several ways. First, the use of props provide a completely supportive environment for total relaxation. Second, each restorative sequence is designed to move the spine in all directions. Third, a well-sequenced restorative practice also includes an inverted pose, which reverses the effects of gravity. Because we stand or sit most of the day, blood and lymph fluid accumulate in the lower extremities. By changing the relationship of the legs to gravity, fluids are returned to the upper body and heart function is enhanced. Fourth, restorative yoga alternately stimulates and soothes the organs. With this movement of blood comes the enhanced exchange of oxygen and waste products across the cell membrane. Finally, yoga teaches that the body is permeated with energy. Prana, the masculine energy, residing above the diaphragm, moves upward, and controls respiration and heart rate. Apana, the feminine energy, resides below the diaphragm, moves downward, and controls the function of the abdominal organs. Restorative yoga balances these aspects of energy within the practitioner. Most yoga classes usually comprise a combination of physical exercises, breathing exercises, and meditation. These characteristics make yoga a particularly beneficial kind of exercise for certain health conditions, including back problems

Can Yoga help my Back Pain
Yoga can help back pain through the teaching balance, flexibility, strengthening muscles and promoting body awareness. By progressively structuring the complexity of movement, yoga teachers advocate that its practice can educate the back in distributing its mass more efficiently and improve back posture and balance naturally. For practitioners of yoga, an amalgamation of yoga positions reduces weakness, improves the alignment of the spine and reduces muscle tensio

Low Back Pain and Sciatica: Only Two Diagnoses – Surely Not?

There are many medical diagnoses attributed to low back pain and sciatica, yet how relevant are they?When it comes to conservative treatment, I would suggest that it is not really that important, as these medical diagnoses identify the source of the pain, but not necessarily the cause of it.For arguments sake, let’s say you have a herniated disc/slipped disc. While I accept that this may well be the source of your pain, it is not really going to help us if we are to set out a treatment strategy to resolve your pain, We need to find out why the disc herniated in the first place i.e. what caused the disc to herniate in the first place.Non-Specific Low Back PainIt is widely accepted throughout the health profession that nearly all low back pain suffered by the general population is non-specific low back pain (NSLBP), where no single structure can be truly identified as the source of pain.Therefore, I believe we should concentrate on a functional diagnosis as opposed to a medical one, as it is typically our functional day-to-day activities which lead to NSLBP.I believe we need only concern ourselves with two diagnoses:Flexion Dominated Pain (FDP)Extension Dominated Pain (EDP)FDP refers to pain which is aggravated by the movement of leaning forward (flexion) or any movement or posture which has a similar influence on the spine.EDP refers to pain which is aggravated by the movement of leaning backwards (extension) or any movement or posture which has a similar influence on the spine.So are you suffering with FDP or EDP?If a position such as lying on your stomach helps ease your pain (maybe place a pillow or two under your stomach, because if your pain is quite sensitive laying on your stomach alone may aggravate your pain a little) it is likely you are suffering with FDP.Alternatively, if sitting down and leaning forward to rest your forearms on your knees or maybe lying on your back and gently hugging one or both knees to your chest eases your pain, your functional diagnosis is probably EDP.NB. If your pain is still quite acutely inflamed, then it is likely that most positions and postures will increase your pain. Under these circumstances, the first thing to do is to settle the inflammation present.As always with the human body, it is not quite as black and white as this and some postures of flexion or extension can be quite subtle and not always that easy to identify straight way. Nevertheless, nearly all NSLBP can be given a functional diagnosis which will allow you to specifically treat the cause of your problem and consequently resolve the pain you are suffering with.You will also need to take note of your aggravating and easing factors, but that’s for another article…

Why Are You Living With Back Pain?

Everyone who is suffering from back pain should ask themselves why? Why are you suffering with back pain? Why are you putting up with the discomfort, sleepless nights and inability to enjoy simple activities? Now I now this seems harsh. If you are currently suffering from back pain you what help. you want it to end now? You don’t have the time or energy to waste on stupid questions.But the answer is you don’t have time not to ask yourself the question: Why Suffer? If your like most people you will take some pain pills, get some bed rest and more than likey the pain will go away in a few days. However if you do not ask yourself this question you are at a risk of having more pain in the future.The point of this question is to get you to start looking at why your getting those annoying pains in your back and legs in the first place. What we are talking about hear is Prevention! Understanding the underlying causes of your back problems and finding ways to prevent it from recurring again.To often we are quick to grab a pain pill, ease the pain enough to continue with our daily activities and ignore the reasons we get back pain. In a lot of ways it’s like an over weight person who complains about being over weight but continues to ignore the fact that he or she over eats.More and more it is important that we become advocates for our health. Finding waysto stay healthy, active and pain free is critical to our well being especially as we get older. When it come to all the problems and issues that involve back problems prevention really is the key. Here are a few preventive things we can do to reduce the danger of recurring back pain.1. Stay in shape! Keep those core muscles strong. There are numerous exercises you can do to strength core muscles. Of course if you haven’t exercised in a while get your doctor’s okay and find a trainer that can help you with the right exercises. Even daily walking can make a difference.2. Watch your weight! Just a few pounds over your ideal weight can put lots of pressure on your spinal column and cause pain especially if you are also over weight.3. Get plenty of rest! Along with exercise we also need rest.There is nothing like a good night sleep to heal what ails you.4. Know your triggers! Certain exercises, movements, sports, etc can trigger a back ache. Knowing your back pain triggers can help you avoid suffering an aching back.So back to our question: Why are you living with back pain? Understanding what causes your back problems and taking steps to prevent the pain from coming back will go a long way to insuring that you stay pain free. Of course if the pain persists be smart and see a doctor. Presistence back aches can be a sign of more serious back issues.