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 for back pain are one of the best ways to help alleviate chronic back pain. Read on to find out how does myotherapy help with chronic back troubles.
What is myotherapy for back pain?
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 help my 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 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.
Myotherapy for back pain session – Your first 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 sciatica or 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.
What are the different types of myotherapy for back pain?
Myotherapy has evolved over the years from its ancient form of physical therapy. It has been influenced by a number of techniques, like the ones covered above, and as it has gone to include many of them, three primary types of myotherapy for back pain have emerged:
- The physical approach or the direct approach remains the predominant form of myotherapy. It is the direct application of innumerable techniques to soft tissue as a way of dealing with injuries and helping with chronic tension patterns thereby improving musculoskeletal health.
- The original approach is the Eastern approach which stands in sharp contrast to contemporary medicine because it has its genesis in a different ideology. The focus here is on manipulation of the pressure points and the energy centers (or meridians) to kickstart the body’s own natural healing processes and being about a state of balance and wellbeing.
- Integration is the third approach and it is, quite literally, the combination or integration of a number of techniques covered above. This is a highly personalized and individualistic approach where the permutations vary by patient, therapist and the current state of the patient’s health.
When you go about considering which type of therapy would be best for you, understand that it takes effort and deliberation to figure out the best myotherapy for back pain. As you come to understand how does myotherapy help with back pain, you will realize that no two people respond in the same manner to the same treatment. Experiment with different therapists and treatments to find the one that works best for you.
How do I know I need myotherapy for back pain?
As you seek the answer to how does myotherapy help with chronic back issues, you are likely to realize that myotherapy for back pain works by working on the soft tissues (muscle tissue) of the body and relieving the pain within them. Pain that originates in muscle tissue or the myofascia i.e. muscle fascia is referred to as myofascial pain.
Watch out for the following symptoms of mysofascial pain in your back as they might be an indication that you could benefit from myotherapy for back pain:
- Impaired mobility of joints
- Muscular numbness
- Persistent and deep aches
- Stiffness of joints
- Tightness of muscles even when relaxed
- A constant tingling or prickling sensation which can also be described as the ‘pins and needles’ feeling
- Myofascial trigger points which are basically sore points in muscle tissues which respond with pain to simple touch
What are some self-help suggestions when it comes to myotherapy for back pain?
While myotherapy for back pain is best administered by a professional, she alone cannot help improve your back problems. Over time, as you come to terms with how does myotherapy alleviate back problems, you will realize that it is the expertise of the professional as well as your own efforts which ultimately determine the efficacy of the treatment.
During a myotherapy for back pain session, the professional will study your current state of health and explain it to you in detail. Over the course of the treatment they are likely to suggest the following self-help measures for you to improve the functioning of your back muscles:
- Dietary changes to maintain healthy weight and a state of wellbeing
- Heat or ice packs depending on the state of your muscles and the type of injuries
- Exercises as well as stretches which are most suited to your condition
- A number of relaxation techniques which help promote healing and recovery
- Self massages and how to administer the same
How do I find the most suitable professional for myotherapy for back pain?
Spend some time considering your therapist and take into account several factors such as their skill set, qualifications, experience and specialities. Your selected therapist might make use of one or many of the myotherapy techniques to alleviate your ailments and restore health.
Maintain an open form of communication with your therapist as it is vital for effective treatment and never hesitate to change professionals should you feel it no longer working for you. If you are confused about how to begin your search for a practitioner of myotherapy for back pain, you could consider talking to your doctor, general practitioner or any other medical professional for advice or referrals.