The Missing Link within the treatment of Back PainHeidi Hadley
In this blog, I will be delving into the subject of back pain. We will consider situations within my clinical practice and how you can take those lessons and apply them into your own situation.
The buzz word!
For many years I've heard the latest buzz word, from “weak” to “fragile” to “activate” and the list goes on! One buzz word and opinion which has been around for many years is to strengthen muscles to treat back pain. If you are a reader of my blogs, you will know that I often discuss these subjects.
The notion that people are in pain or injured due to having weak muscles is and has always been unusual to fathom. The reason being, I see many clients in my clinical practice that are professional athletes. Some of my clients are triathletes. Their musculature is very strong and solid. They have physiotherapists and other health professionals within their sporting institutions that “prescribe” corrective exercises to strengthen their muscles. The reason they see me in clinic is because they religiously follow the advice of their health professionals and yet find themselves in further pain or continuing to have recurring injuries. Interestingly enough, I have found that many of my clients feel strengthening muscles to “fix” a recurring injury or pain is not effective. In many instances, it has amplified their pain.
Are you willing to change your mindset?
You may wonder why I ask you this question! Well, until you consider another view and stay open to questioning a belief you have held for so long, then you won’t change your current situation. However, if you are happy to consider updated information which is supported by pain scientists and neuroscientists, you know you will start to make shifts and changes within the area of your health and wellbeing.
The first view I would like you to consider is the belief that if people are in pain or injured that they are labelled as “weak,” “fragile,” “misaligned,” “have poor form” or “chronic.” How dis-empowering is that thought? Imagine how an athlete feels who has dedicated years towards their career and is then shot down in flames with such a negative comment. Imagine how that starts to play with their mental health. This belief has come from the old thoughts and approaches to muscular health from the 1950s. The mindset back then was that if something is weak, it needs to be strengthened. The doctor that created this notion was Dr Thomas DeLorme. He treated injured soldiers and made a massive assumption that their injuries were due to being ‘weak.” Once again, if you are a regular reader of my blogs, you know that we humans are not that “simple.” We have many facets to our amazing mind and body which has mushroomed in research since the 1950s, and yet people in 2020 still hold on to that old belief system.
Let’s imagine with many people wanting to get better, reduce pain and break the label of being “weak,” what do they do? They create an over eagerness and determination to no longer be classed as weak and limited. So they start to over exert themselves and increase their repetitons, thinking that the more they do, the “stronger” they will be. As a result of this, they create muscular sprains/strains and increase their pain.
Another view I see in clinic, once again with athletes, as well as the non athletes, is this fixation with “activating” the glutes and “firing” them up! The expressions to “lock on the core” and “strengthening the core” are also thrown around a lot in the approach to back pain. The clients that I see have usually been to every other health professional before they see me and the main focus they have been given to strengthen their muscles and “switch them on.” However, in all of the cases I have mentioned above, these muscles are already fired up and so I am going to explain what the missing link in the treatment of back pain is.
Just let it go!
In a society fixated on outward appearance, people can mistake toned, rippling muscles for being healthy! However, underneath the skin, the muscles, fascia and skeletal systems are often under immense pressure and strain. Many people have found in their later years, that all the strength work they have built up over the years, has actually accelerated the age and health of their muscles and joints. They may feel more pain and for a person that has prided themselves on their fitness, this can be very dis-empowering because they are trapped in a very tight, tense and painful body. However, it doesn’t have to be or stay this way. Let me explain why.
Your amazing mind and body work so intricately together, that you cannot separate them. Irrespective of if you’re a top athlete or the average person, your brain is constantly watching the actions of your body, from the load, rhythm, posture, actions, weight transfer, shock absorbency and so on. Humans are creatures of habit, the vast majority of our day, we are repeating the same movements, actions, thoughts and postures, just to name a few. When the sensors within your muscles notice this, they adapt and change their length and tone. So for instance a person may be told that their back pain is due to a weak core, so as a result they are “prescribed” core strengthening exercises. However at the same time, this person spends the vast majority of their day sitting at the computer. So, for a moment, can you imagine what that habitual posture at the computer can look like? Head jutting forward, shoulders rolling forward, the front of their ribcage is drawing down towards their pelvis and their tail bone tucked up and under. Which side of their body is shortening and becoming tight from sitting habitually? It’s the muscles through the front of their body. So then on top of that, they are encouraged to tighten their core further, what will the muscles do in the abdominal region? They will shorten further. The person then wonders why they continue to have pain and feel their range of movement has also reduced.
The old thought that these muscles are weak is incorrect because in actual fact, due to neuroplasticity and bioplasticity, your brain and body have adapted to the “new normal” which has been presented to them over time. This adaption has actually cause large groups of muscle to stay habitually contracted. From the lifestyle and beliefs within society, people know how to get stronger and tighter, but they have forgotten how to soften muscles and let them go!
Muscle memory = stronger muscles
Within the Total Somatics online program, I guide you through a methodical process to learn how to shift from old thoughts to the scientifically proven methods to release muscle tension and reduce pain. Within Total Somatics, I teach you how to activate certain areas of your brain with a methodical 3 step process known as Pandiculation. Pandiculation is the method which creates a “software” reset between your brain and body. When you learn how to actually soften your muscles and let them go, you notice that your muscle memory improves tremendously. Within the Total Somatics online program, I teach you how to regain muscle memory, which in turn increases your strength and power. If you learn how to release a large portion of a muscle which has been habitually and subconsciously held tight by your brain, imagine how much power you will gain.
I have found many clients over the years have said that Total Somatics is the missing link in the treatment of their back pain. When you learn how to read your muscles, how to move efficiently, how to release the belly of your muscles (not just the outside of the belly – which is what stretching can only achieve) and integrate the Total Somatic principles into other areas of your life, you then notice you begin to create a new lease of life, no longer being held back by pain and limited range of movement.
People love how Total Somatic Movement can be incorporated into their lifestyle. They find that their strength training, cycling, day to day actions at home and work improve greatly because they have become more somatically aware of how they move and how to correct their habitual posture, movements and behaviours. Many have switched stretching for somatic movement because stretching is a passive movement and has not brain involvement, whereas somatic movement involves your brain as it is “priming” your body for action. That is why it works brilliantly with sports people, strength training and other exercises. You learn to create endurance and power with your muscles by creating a conscious practice in your chosen sport. Likewise, for people who are not athletes, the daily habits you create will tighten certain muscle groups and leave us captive in a very tight body. When you learn with Total Somatics why and how these things are happening and what you can do to reduce pain, improve posture, increase mobility and have a new lease of life, it makes sense to move with the scientifically proven approaches to reducing back pain.
Would you like to learn more? Would you like to know how to reduce pain and move freely?
I am holding a FREE workshop on:
Sunday 26th July at
7pm Australian Eastern time,
10am British summer time and
5am Eastern time.
If you are unable to attend live, I will be recording the workshop. If you would like to attend live or obtain a recording please specify in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be also be holding a mini somatic movement session during the workshop, so please wear clothes that is easy to move in so you can be involved within the workshop.
For your privacy during the live public workshop , I will ask you to switch your cameras off because it will be recorded. Your comfort and privacy is always paramount to me.
In the meantime, would you like to learn more about Total Somatic Movement?
CLICK HERE to download your FREE eBook.
For Total Somatics Members:
The next live workshop for members will be held on Saturday 1st August at 7pm Australia eastern time, 10am British summer time and 5am Eastern time. Once again, it will be recorded and uploaded to the online program for you to view at your leisure. We will cover material which as a group you requested last time. More details will follow in an email soon.
I look forward to teaching you how you can start improving your health and wellbeing, creating a new lease of life, whilst applying these skills and principles to your daily activities.
Heidi Hadley xx