Why does my back hurt? Is it tight hamstrings, hip mis-alignment, psoas constrictions (pronounced soaz) or ??

Often clients want low back massage to solve low back pain. A more effective approach is massaging the muscles at the point of inception of the pain. Back pain is often caused by the combination of more than one muscular constriction or or structural (bone) mis-alignment.  Low back pain may be due to stress on hamstrings, inner thigh, calf and other muscles in the leg from running, hiking, swimming, cycling or even from sitting in a car or at a computer!

To relieve pain in the lower back, massage therapists will often focus on muscular constriction in areas that may not have an obvious connection to the back. A knowledgeable therapist will assess each clients needs individually and provide a customized solution.

Specifically, constriction and adhesions in the hamstrings, adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus (inner thigh),  piriformis (feels like center of glut),  tensor fasciae latae (attachment to the iliac attached to the  IT band) as well as IlioTibial tract (IT Band)  are most often the cause of low back pain. The IT track/band, as it is commonly known, attaches to both the hip (Iliac, thus the I in IT band) and a bone in the calf called the tibia(the T in IT band)

The most effective massage will focus on the psoas, piriformis, adductor, outer fasciae latae at the point of insertion to the IT band and the point of attachment to the tibia.  

The aforementioned muscles in the thigh and calf both by, direct attachment and/or providing substantive structural support of muscles, tendons and ligaments in the pelvis are key to providing relief of back pain.

muscles impacting low back pain

Massage at the point of adductor attachment to the inside of the hip girdle is often described by clients as a sharp burning pain localized just along side and slightly below the "tail one" coccyx (pronounced cock-sis). Release in this area is extremely effective is reducing or eliminating low back pain.

Why do I feel fatigued? Injure more often and not feel as creative or clear headed?

Advances in medicine have increased life expectancy, but the price is shockingly steep with an unusual increase in degenerative diseases, such as arthritis, heart disease, chronic fatigue, muscular dystrophy, f ibromyalgia, obesity, ADHD, bipolar disorder, osteoporosis, depression, cancer etc. Adopting the conveniences of processed foods may free us from the drudgeries of the kitchen but it is becoming painfully obvious that although we may be living a bit longer, we are falling apart much earlier. Linus Pauling, recipient of two Nobel Prizes, stated, “You can trace every disease, every sickness, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.  The search for better health begins with an adequate and ample mineral base.” Your body has basic intelligence.  It is designed with feedback from your cells to know what’s required, and given the choice, will seek out those foods with the nutrient value you require at that moment in time. This may be a leap of faith for some, since we are not accustomed to using our senses as sharply as our ancestors, who probably would not have survived without a keen ability to determine good from bad. One of our challenges today is to f igure out exactly “how we know what we know.” Ask us about mineral testing. 

Massage in combination with healthy nutrition, fluid intake, stretching, icing, for healing muscular pain

Most people have an idea of what healthy nutritional intake involves, some prefer a diet, some everything in moderation, some starve themselves, and these days most people are working towards a balanced lifestyle that includes moderate red meat intake, lean meats, moderate amounts of dairy (if any), elimination of gluten as well as potatoes, rice, corn, root squashes (pumpkin, acorn, spagetti etc), minimization of simple sugars (including sweet fruit:  bananas, strawberries, watermellon, papaya, tomatoes, red apples) ;and the increase in complex carbs (green leafy veg such as spinach, radicchio, arugula, kale, brussel sprouts, brocolli, bok choy, etc) and fruits with low sugar (green apples, blueberries, grapefruit, blackberries, raspberries), and most importantly an incrase in fluid intake. Water in particular is extremely important to our health. Water that is warm, cold, without caffeine in it (tea or coffee contain caffeine), and drunk in large quantities, (up to 2 gallons per day if exercising daily for an hour or more) is key to being healthy, having lots of energy and feeling positive.

We recommend moderate to heavy exercise with adequate stretching. We recommend a short warm up prior to a workout, and a longer (5 minutes) cool down with gentle yet elongating stretching of the muscles used during your workout .

We also recommend regular massage (of course!), minimum of once per month and in combination with Acupuncture and Chiropractic as necessary based on your physically requirements.

Massage is important for several reasons:

Diagnostics: Massage provides a diagnostic understanding of where you need to ice, stretch, get additional massage or other health services, or take a few rest days from activity to allow your muscle group to heal.  Massage provides a diagnostic analysis of where you may have strain and not realize, until the therapist gently stretches the muscle and it feels like the muscle is on fire under just under your skin.

Blood Flow: Massage promotes circulation and increased blood flow to/from areas that are strained, injured or stresses. Increased blood flow brings oxegen to tissue which may speed up healing muscle, tendon, ligament thereby speeding up recover for athletes, people recovering from surgery or injury, and those of us with daily activities that cause some muscle and emotional stress.   Increases in blood flow to specific areas are known to be effective in treating migraines,  low back pain, tingling and numbness, frozen shoulder, etc

Lymphatic Flow: Massage also promotes lymphatic processes in the body which help flush "toxins" from the tissues. When working out we break down fat and muscle and a waste product gets trapped in the tissues. Massage facilities the increase in lymphatic processes to speed the flush of these toxins. Studies have shown that we receive the same lymphatic flush in a two hr massage as we do naturally in approximately two weeks. The flush of this waste product that is "stuck" in the muscle and myofascial tissues aids in recovery, creates a feeling of lightness or increased energy while eliminating inflammation and pain. Constricted muscles, tendons, and sometimes ligaments are elongated and relaxed. Strength is not diminished although it is recommended that you do not have a massage within 4-6 days of an event (tri-athlon, marathon etc) as your muscles may be flushing and in recovery for several days after a deep tissue therapeutic massage. 

Endocrine system stimulation: Massage has also been known to stimulate the endocrine system which has no specific physiologic benefit necessarily, yet provides relaxation and what is often called a "spa buzz". The result typically helps the client to relax, feeling as if they just had a glass of wine and a little muddled and light headed. A nap often sounds like a great idea to someone who has just finished a deep tissue massage.  Please wait to drive until you are feeling clear headed after a deep relaxing, therapeutic massage.