Chronic back pain is a reasonably common condition. Its causes, however, can range from pre-existing injuries to poor posture and lifestyle habits.
The vertebrae in the lower back are the biggest and strongest of all. Together with the pelvis, these vertebrae are the primary load-bearing area of the human body, forming a stable base of support for the upper and lower body. Any form of stress, strain, injury, excessive weight, while standing or sitting upright is effectively borne by the lower back.
Sports injuries, workout injuries, bad form, bad posture, unhealthy lifestyles, excessive force, all have a significant impact on the lower back. If left untreated, these injuries can result in some very severe cases of intense and chronic back pain.
While massage therapy is great for easing muscular stress, pain or discomfort, physical therapies like myotherapy are one of the best ways to help alleviate chronic back pain.
What is myotherapy?
Myotherapy includes a thorough assessment of your injuries, pain, and lifestyle with a view to evaluating the cause(s) of your pain and designing a treatment plan to help alleviate your pain and reduce recurrence. The treatment itself includes trigger point therapy, soft tissue massage, muscle energy technique, joint mobilization, nutritional advice, exercise routines and monitoring, advice and education on a subject’s posture, heat and cold therapy, and ultrasound, among other things.
Based entirely on accurate physical evaluation of the condition, the success of myotherapy lies in a holistic, therapeutic approach and does not rely solely on one form of treatment. Since the lower back is such a large weight bearer for the body, and it affects and is affected by most physical impacts on the body, myotherapy stands out as one of the preferred ways to relieve chronic back pain, thanks to its integrated yet focused approach.
How does myotherapy work for chronic back pain?
A key component of myotherapy, known as Neuromuscular Therapy is the trigger of the approach. Myotherapists apply alternating levels of concentrated pressure at various spasm points across the back, with fingers/knuckles, and/or elbows, in 10 to 30-second intervals with the aim to effectively alleviate spasms. With this, the focus is to release stored lactic acid and enhance blood circulation through the muscles to avoid more storage of lactic acid.
Myotherapists possess in-depth knowledge of the human muscles and skeletal system, helping them trace the cause of your chronic back pain in most cases. Hence, a patient needs to be completely upfront and transparent in terms of any discomfort and possible causes of the pain or injury, no matter how improbable. It is important to share all X-Rays and medical reports for them to be able to trace the issue as far back as possible, if possible, to the root cause of the condition.
What happens in a myotherapy session?
During the initial examination, your myotherapist will thoroughly examine and manipulate the back, as well as test the necessary reflexes. This is to see whether the injury is myofascial, i.e., purely muscular.
If a patient is faced with a condition that is non-reversible, such as arthritis or age-related changes to spinal-discs, the myotherapist designs a pain management program to reduce discomfort and increase mobilization.
Techniques employed by the myotherapist in the manual/physical therapy component of the myotherapy consultation include:
- Soft Tissue Therapy: This includes a wide range of techniques like trigger point therapy, lymphatic drainage, and muscle energy techniques, neuromuscular techniques, and joint mobilization, among others.
- Myofascial Dry Needling: Very fine filiform needles (similar to those used in acupuncture) are inserted into certain trigger points to assist a release in chronic back pain or healing outcome.
- Myofascial Stretching: This involves incorporating several stretching methods and techniques that lengthen muscle fibres (especially short muscles) to help them increase the range of complete motion and eventually prevent further injury due to possible strain.
- Hot and Cold Therapy: This therapy includes using whirlpools, ice baths, heat and cold packs, heat lamps and wax baths.
- Electromechanical Stimulation: Soundwaves or electric currents are applied to the target area to produce a pain modifying outcome. Low-level lasers, ultrasounds, TENS, are all a part of this component.
Additionally, as previously stated, the myotherapist will incorporate an integrated approach to sorting out your chronic pain. Lifestyle, the correct kind of exercise, nutrition, and basic posture, all play a much larger role in terms of back pain. Thus, there is no single approach that will be entirely effective to cure chronic back pain. The integrated and all-round approach that myotherapy employs may well be an effective solution for your back pain.