What if Your Back Pain could be Solved; Muscle Imbalance
We have solved countless back pain cases that people had all but given up on. The reason? We look at every aspect of your movement system. The Muscle, Joints, Tendons, Movement Patterns, Strength, Diet, and Lifestyle. This helps us comprehensively solve the issue.
The Reductionistic Approach to Back Pain:
We often feel our back pain in the muscle. This leads many to think the spasmed muscle they are feeling is the cause and solution.
If I have a spasmed back muscle, I can usually place my hand on the area and feel the tightness, heat and even pain upon touching it.
We see so many patients arrive to the office convinced their problem is only one area: where they feel the pain.
Looking at back pain as it relates to muscle more comprehensively, it is very key to look a little broader than just the muscle spasm you can feel. The pain isn’t often caused only by the muscle nearest the painful area.
The Functional Approach
Often the muscle pain we feel is just the “smoke” and its a good doctors job to find the fire.
Mapping out muscle imbalance above and below the pain is key to fixing your back pain for good or at least making it a very minor thing to manage.
We trace your history back through traumas you have had, and what you do repetitively day to day.
After the history we analyze the muscle in different tiers:
- How it Moves (See part 1)
- How it Appears in static posture
- How it Functions when tested for strength
- Can it Lengthen to it’s full capacity
- Can it perform in the proper teamwork with other muscles.
- What does it feel like (palpation)
We then line up our results with the hobbies, sports, job, injury history we have in front of us and begin to piece together a map of your muscle system.
After a detailed analysis I can’t think of a case where someone had back pain, and didn’t also have hip involvement at the very least. Usually we see mobility issues in the thoracic spine, weakness of the scapular muscles (both from our modern day technology use), a weak hip or foot etc.
Without fixing these “adjacent” movement areas, the back pain will continue on. When a hip muscle is weak for instance, what we now know is the lumbar erector muscles and Quadratus Lumborum muscle will overwork to help you walk, lift etc. To truly fix the issue, the hip muscle must become active during all movements.
We often see patients with a tight Quadricep and Hip Flexor which pulls their pelvis on one or both sides too far forward. This excessive forward tilt leads the back muscles to hyperextend to compensate.
Once we have mapped out the muscles that have lost their normal function, taking them through a full range of motion while performing the sports muscle therapy known as MyoFascial Release can be very helpful.
This can retrain the neurological pattern or “job” the muscle is designed to do. As well, it can break up any scar tissue or fibrous adhesion in the muscle.
A muscle doing its full function
Trigger point therapy
Similar to MyoFascial therapy, Trigger points are hyperexcited neural bundles in the muscle. They are present when a muscle is overused from postural or functional dysfunction. We use hands on and tool based trigger point release.
Percussion can reset muscles, because it provides neural stimuli in excess, stimulating the nerve fibers embedded in the muscle that communicat to the spinal cord and balance centers in the brain.
Different than regular massage. The massage therapist will go in with a quantafiable goal based on your detailed exam.
Trigenics is designed to activate the muscle. Often a muscle can be “turned off” by a tight muscle opposite to it anatomically. Other times a joint imbalance, scar tissue, or trigger point can do it. Trigenics Myoneural medicine is great for “rebooting” muscle.
Corrective Exercise Teaching you how to manage the imbalances and better manage your pain and loss of function day to day is key!
Practitioner Diagnosis and Exam is where the magic happens. Once we know the pattern we can develop a game plan to treat it. We have caught imbalances in elite athletes that have saved their careers or got them back to full activity.
For those in Chronic pain, we have helped many reduce or eliminate pain medication and get back to doing what they loved.
Even those who have been through surgery or have a genetic condition of the spine. Muscle therapy is not contraindicated.
When a joint becomes imbalanced it can send pain causing messages to muscle. A Doctor of Chiropractic that has a team around them that incorporates all of these approaches is going to get chronic cases and sports injuries better, faster.
Joint motion and balance is necessary but the correction of mobility or “adjustment” can’t hold without addressing
- Muscle imbalance
- Fascial imbalance
- Movement patterns
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About the Author: Dr. Day is a Chiropractor and Exercise Physiologist in Greenville, SC. As a sports chiropractor for years in California he was able to work with thousands of elite and amateur athletes in multiple disciplines. To balance an athlete before a performance or get them back after a career altering injury you have to be thorough, efficient, and have multiple approaches. He brings this approach to Chronic Pain, and every day back pain to get patients better, faster.