In this post I am going to share the secret to back pain that you may have been overlooking, and yes, there is a secret.
Human beings are a complex combination of mind, body, and soul. Just like these, your physical body needs to be cared for in a similar holistic mindset. One of ProActive’s key approaches to treating pain with physical therapy is to look at all of our patients as people who have bodies who are experiencing pain; you’re not just a shoulder experiencing pain. It is imperative that your PT focuses on the big picture, who their patient is as an individual, and their daily routines in order to treat the body as a whole.
When patients walk through the door with back pain, we will not just slap on some ice, heat, or suction cup you until you’re “better.” Here’s the secret: you won’t be better. The old cliche of not being able to fix a bullet wound with a band-aid is a good metaphor here. Sure, we can get you feeling better for a few hours or even for a day only using manual modalities, but that’s not going to heal you. We need to look at how our patients' bodies are moving in order to treat what is causing their pain, not just treating the pain itself.
It’s important to understand that the human body has certain joints for stability and certain joints for mobility. The diagram below serves as a good reference tool for which joints help the other stay stable so we can move our bodies through space without pain.
A very common cause of back pain is “tight” hips, or hips that are not as mobile as they should be. The low back will begin to sacrifice its stability to increase the mobility of the lower extremities to move us through space. It is a give and take relationship between these major joints. The secret here is to help our patients understand that we need to strengthen our areas of stability and give love to our areas of mobility so they can stay in optimal shape.
This is a comprehensive, symbiotic, and harmonious approach. It is easy to blame the part of the body that is “causing” you pain, but it takes patience and wisdom to know that we are holistic beings and should be treated as such. Every body is different, but understanding this basic relationship and working on healing our movements from that point is the secret to living a pain-free, active life.