It has been my experience that folks who have ended up in this state more often than not have had a muscle spasm. Where did it come from and why does it happen so suddenly? The fun thing about our backs, especially the low back area that is most often affected, is that there is so much overlap in the musculature there it allows for a lot of possibilities. Oftentimes I hear clients tell me they were reaching for something, or lifting something and they tried to move back to standing straight and BOOM! The back seizes up, there is a LOT of pain and they sometimes can't move, or if they can, it is very, very painful. So why did their back do this? My experience in helping people through this type of injury is that it often has to do with posture or muscles that have tightened down and can't 'breathe' anymore, and so they throw themselves into spasm. The pain is merely a direct voice to your brain and neural system that something is wrong or off and "can you please pay attention to this part of your body?"
The next question someone may ask is "What do I do about this?" Massage. Yep, I'll say it again. Massage. While it hasn't been a proven remedy and has lightly been considered an alternative modality that might help, I am here to tell you, it definitely helps. In my work as a therapist over the past 13 years, I've seen it a lot and have been able to help people walk out of the building on their own accord, when they could barely walk on their own to my massage table.
Massage in this scenario is a good thing. Massage can bring blood flow to the area and help get things loosened up so they can get back to a more normal position. In essence, we are breaking the pattern that the muscles have gotten themselves into (from whatever the cause) so they can be more supple and move better for you, instead of against you. Most often it only takes a slight movement to trigger this muscle response and the pain that comes with it. By working with the client and listening to them describe what they felt when it happened, and how long they have had the pain (if they don't get a massage right away) usually we can come to recognizing when it started and from there, proceed to massage and the work it takes to get things to release. This can be similar to a fall, which I wrote about in our March newsletter, in that the muscles experience a bit of a trauma and need to be helped through that.
Massage does a body good. Trust me. I've said it before and I'll say it again. If I didn't get massages on a regular basis, I wouldn't still be doing what I'm doing as a Massage Therapist at EQUIVITA. In talking to my clients and helping them when they have either fallen or thrown their backs out, we have created an educational conversation and now most of those clients don't hesitate to call me. They know coming in to see me and help them get 'fixed' is going to be in their best interest. I'm happy to answer questions you may have, so feel free to send me a note!