Back pain, Sciatica and Bowen Therapy
It is estimated that 80% of adults will suffer from at least one episode of back pain at some point in their life and 1 in 5 people will visit their GP because of back pain in any given year.
Although for some, a diagnosis for an underlying problem, slipped disc, sciatica or arthritis will be given, for the vast majority, neither the sufferer nor the GP will identify the specific reason why the back pain started.
In most cases, the patient will leave with few answers, a possible recommendation to visit a physio or osteopath and a prescription for anti-inflammatories and/or painkillers to take until the pain subsides (which in approximately 2/3rds of cases will be in within 2 weeks.). It is however widely accepted that once you have experienced back pain, it is likely that you will be susceptible to having recurring bouts of back pain ongoing from this point.
But pain doesn’t just occur for no reason. And it stands to reason that if you don’t put any focus on addressing the underlying problem, of course it is going to happen again! Ask a Bowen therapist and you will get an explanation that puts an entirely different perspective on the apparent randomness and helplessness of back pain, and a highly effective approach to help you to address it.
We use The Bowen Technique to influence the soft tissue tension throughout the body with an aim to resolving the root cause of the issue rather than just putting a sticking plaster over the symptoms.
I always highlight to my clients that our bodies are not held upright by bones. In fact there is not a single bone in the body that directly touches another bone. In fact, our skeletons are entirely suspended by a complex matrix of ‘elastic bands’, all interconnected from the top of our heads to the tips of our toes.
And it is these ‘elastic bands’ – muscles, tendons & ligaments, collectively known as ‘soft tissue’ that entirely dictate how the skeleton is held and supported.
Therefore, incorrect tension in our soft tissue caused by injuries, posture, emotions and countless other influences will start ‘moving our bones around’ and leave us ‘mis-aligned’, leading to different kinds of aches and pains and even internal problems.
A good analogy is to imagine our bodies are like tents. Held up and kept stable by the tension in the guy lines, with the main tent pole running through the middle. Increase the tension in the guy lines on one side and the pegs will eventually ‘pop out’ on the opposite side. In our bodies the ‘popping out of the pegs’ are basically where we will be feeling pain.
The problem is more often than not the incorrect tension of a guy line (soft tissue) on the opposite side or elsewhere in the body. Clicking, forcing or manipulating the spine back into line will only ever be a short-term solution until the tension in the ‘guy ropes’ has been adjusted and balanced.
Causes of Back Pain
The pain that you are feeling in your back is likely to be as a result of years of your body gradually shifting out of balance. Over time, compensation patterns build up putting extra stresses and tensions on certain muscle groups until ‘breaking point’ occurs; commonly when bending over to put your socks on, or to pick something up. And although ‘breaking point’ and pain may be experienced in the lower back, the key to resolving the issue may lie in a completely different area of the body.
Therefore, for successful treatment of non-specific back pain, sciatica, slipped disc, arthritic wear and tear; and indeed any joint pain or tension for that matter, it is essential to release soft tissue throughout to ensure total alignment of the whole body.
Start asking your therapist some questions if they only treat your shoulder for ‘frozen shoulder’, if they only treat your neck for ‘neck pain’ or ‘whiplash’, if they only treat your foot for ‘plantar fasciitis’, only your elbow for ‘tennis elbow’ or only your lower back for ‘sciatica’ etc. All these are just names given for problems and areas where the ‘pegs are popping out’.
Bowen Therapy – Back Pain Treatment
During a treatment, each unique Bowen move triggers the brain to switch off the ‘fight or flight stress response’ resulting in stress levels and tension reducing. As muscles relax and the spine starts to adjust position, impinged nerves are released, and strain and pressure on involved muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints are relieved bringing about reduction in inflammation, stiffness and pain.
A Bowen treatment also helps to strengthen the body’s natural defence mechanisms and repair processes, enhancing the body’s ability to repair and heal damaged and inflamed tissue.
The treatment is extremely gentle, as any pain caused will kick the body into a “protective” rather than a “fixing” mode. It’s definitely not a “no pain, no gain” situation.
It is recommended that all clients initially receive three treatments over a period of 3-4 weeks in order to work through the body from all angles, triggering structural change where needed.
The whole idea of ‘the deeper you go (and the more pain you inflict) the better’ is a total myth. The nervous system receives most of its information at a very superficial level; very close to the surface of the skin. By the time we go ‘deep’ with soft tissue treatment, we have reached a point of marginal and eventually diminishing returns.
With any soft tissue treatment we also tap into the wonderful world of connective tissue (tissue that connects everything to everything else). Connective tissue (or fascia) is a continuous network. It will allow (or not allow) us to have a certain range of movement.
All our muscles are at the total mercy of the connective tissue for their movement. Connective tissue, according to research, needs a lot more than normal human strength to adapt or change. It does however respond to subtle input, which explains how Bowen Therapy can create or stimulate such incredible change at a ‘whole body’ level with so little intervention.
There is an old adage that says ‘if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got’. So if you’re experiencing recurring problems with your back or any other area of your body, why not do something different and try The Bowen Technique?
Please Note: This treatment should not be seen as a substitute for essential medical treatment. Consult your doctor if unsure.
|About The Author
Lindsay Evans is a full time Bowen Therapist, working from several clinics in Wokingham, Berkshire and offering a limited home visit service.
For more information about Lindsay’s work visit her GoToSee profile page here
Visit her website www.lindsayevans.co.uk