This month we are spotlighting low back pain. Just about everyone has it at some point. You can blame it on poor posture, weak core muscles, sedentary lifestyle..whatever you want, but it doesn’t have to dominate your life. Today we will discuss how massage therapy and other modalities can help restore and support your low back for a pain-free life.
Anatomy and Muscles of the Low Back
The lower back is a complex and important part of the body. Forming the top of the pelvic girdle it supports and strengthens the upper torso, hips and legs. It is balanced by the core muscles in the front and often becomes tight and inflexible as a result of these core muscles being weak. Spanning from the last of the false ribs to the iliac crests, the low back is made up of several muscles:
- Multifidus-small muscles along spine that strengthen and support vertebrae in order to reduce friction and joint degeneration
- Erector Spinae Group– made up of iliocostalis, longissimus and spinalis, these muscles primarily work to extend the spine, but also have some rotational and lateral flexion actions
- Core Muscles– transverse abdominus, internal and external abdominal obliques circle the low back and abdomen and these muscles are responsible for flexion and rotation of the spine and abdomen
- Psoas-this muscle attaches the low back to the lower pelvis and is responsible for hip flexion
- Quadratus Lumborum-this large muscle of the lower back is responsible for lateral flexion, extension of the spine and plays a role in respiration
Techniques for Addressing Low Back Pain
Your therapist may use one or more techniques along with traditional Swedish Massage to help you with low back pain. Often a series of session using these techniques will be needed to restore your low back to optimal functioning.
- Myofascial Release: modality that uses sustained pressure to correct fascial imbalances within the body
- Muscle Energy Technique: Muscle Energy Technique is a massage modality that uses the body’s own force to restore muscle length and fuction
- Neuromuscular Therapy: Neuromuscular Therapy is a system of assessing and correcting imbalances in the body through lifestyle changes and myofascial trigger point work
- Friction: by working on the origin and insertion of the muscles, your therapist can help to release and lengthen the muscles in the tight low back
Essential Oils for Low Back Pain
Essential oils applied to the skin with a carrier oil or added to an Epsom salt bath can be very effective for relieving low back pain. Below is a list of several oils that can help with back pain relief:
- Lavender: general relaxation oil for muscles
- Peppermint: anti-inflammatory and cooling relief for low back pain
- Basil: stimulates blood flow and soothes spasms
- Wintergreen: helps with muscle cramps and arthritis
Additional Resources for Low Back Pain
In addition to massage therapy, you may find relief in other complimentary medicine modalities.
- Acupuncture: working with an acupuncturist is a safe and effective way to relieve low back pain caused by muscle or nerve involvement
- Chiropractic Care: through the process of adjustments, your chiropractor can help to realign the boney and ligamentous structures of the body to promote better posture
- Osteopathic Medicine: Osteopaths use gentle manipulations to restore soft tissue and boney imbalances (be sure to ask if they do manipulations when making your appointment)
- Nutrition: Weight and diet (inflammation) can play a role in low back pain
- Yoga: poses such as Downward Facing Dog, Cat-Cow and Forward Bend are simple asanas to get your body moving and restore flexibility and function to your lower back
With Summer around the corner many of us are starting to increase our time outdoors. Whether it is hiking and biking or gardening, new activities can spell low back pain. But don’t worry, the skilled therapists at Heidi Ella Wellness and Massage can help. For the month of June we are offering a Personalized Self Care Coaching for a Pain Free Back. Learn how to extend the benefits of your massage with effective, self-care practices customized to your particular needs. Your therapist will teach you simple approaches you can implement right away to help reduce pain and discomfort so you can enjoy all the activities summer has to offer.
During the month of June, you can enjoy this personalized self care coaching for FREE with your next massage! Book
your 60 Minute Massage with Self Care Coaching online now.
If you already have an appointment scheduled, please call to request the special, otherwise the additional time cannot be guaranteed. You may also call to request an extension of time to a 90min or 2 hour massage. Not valid for use with gift certificates and may not be combined with any other specials.
To enhance your session, your therapist will use a custom blend of essential oils, Ancient Minerals magnesium gel and heat in order to soothe and restore sore, overworked muscles.
The process of detoxification does not have to be daunting or time consuming. In this post we will learn how to safely detoxify the body to improve your overall health and well being.
What is detoxification?
To begin, detoxification is the process of cleansing the body. You will work to cleanse the blood, lymph and skin systems within the body. This process should be gentle, as too much detoxification can release stored toxins too quickly and do more harm then good. It should also be a simple process that works to restore the body systems holistically. Quick fix diets and aggressive cleanses can deplete you and leave more building to do after the initial cleanse than is necessary.
When to Detox:
Many people find Spring as a good time to start a detox/cleanse. You may already be in cleaning mode preparing to shed Winter clutter and prepare for Summer. Why not extend that to your body, as well?
Detoxes can help to remedy:
- Poor circulation
- Joint Pain
- Allergic Responses
Methods of Detoxification:
- Gentle Juice Cleanses- stick to 3 day juice cleanses that are made from organic, raw juices
- Sugar Detox- removing simple carbohydrates (such as sugary treats, soda and other processed foods) and replacing them with complex carbohydrates, good fats and proteins can help the body process your food in more effective ways
- Removing Additives and Artificial Ingredients- while many things in our food supply these days are “general regarded as safe” this is no way means they are the optimal option for one to consume
- Whole Food Diet- less processed foods will be gentler on the digestive and elimination systems and keep you fuller longer
- Drink More Water- this is an easy thing to add in. Rather than drinking large cups, try for 1/2 a cup every half hour. This will keep your body hydrated throughout the day.
- Dry Brushing- used daily, dry brushing can help improve skin quality and circulation
- Mineral Baths- adding mineral salts like himalayan and epsom salts to a bath can help pull toxins from the body and improve muscle function
- Clay- kaolin and bentonite clays can be added to baths or used as masks to draw impurities out of the skin
- Switching to More Natural Products- many of the products you may be using each day contain harmful chemicals that are absorbed into the skin. Too find products that are healthier alternative please check out the Environmental Working Group’s database.
- Massage- manual therapies like Manual Lymph Drainage and stretching can help to flush toxins out of the body and encourage proper circulation
- Acupuncture- your acupuncturist can help support detoxification through the use of needles and/or herbs
- Yoga- the stretching and breathing techniques utilized in yoga can help to promote proper circulation and support and nourish the organs
It is helpful to start slow and keep in mind that the body may react less than favorable to a detox plan at first. This is completely normal as it gets accustom to a lessening of the toxic load. Give your plan at least a week (except for the juice cleanses, which should be limited to 3 days) before expecting results.