Functional Trainer: Holistic Health Series Part 3
Feb 13 2010 by Jack Walton
Chronic Back Pain
Seventy percent of us will suffer from a low back pain in our lifetime. A one-size-fits-all approach to preventing and rehabilitating chronic back pain is unlikely to be successful and what we must do is be holistic. The previous article has introduced how we can build a holistic approach and today we delve deeper.
Holistic Approach to Chronic Back Pain
The human body is a system of systems (musculoskeletal, digestive, respiratory etc) that all affect each other. Some health practitioners state that an imbalance in one system will affect the others and any number of symptoms will arise. If you suffer from chronic back pain here are some influential factors; mechanics of the injury, the respiratory system, jaw (TMJ) and cranial (skull) alignment, vision and hearing, organ health and emotions can play a significant part too.
Is This You?
Given these factors, if you are suffering from low back pain it might be worth considering whether you have:
:: Assessed the mechanics at the site of pain. Do you know whether you are dealing with pain at the sacroiliac joint (very base of spine) or with a disc problem in the lumbar (lower) spine? Once this is identified you are a long way to deciding the best method of treatment. If this pain is not acute and has been building up over a long time (chronic), then the whole body must be assessed. As an example, at Functional Trainer the cause of the problem is often found not at the site of pain. An old ankle sprain or hamstring strain may well be influencing the function of the back and need conditioning to alleviate the pain.
:: Any respiratory issues that could contribute to tension in the back. The diaphragm is attached to the spine and when it is not moving smoothly, stabilizing correctly or there is chronic tension, there will be stress or compensatory movement patterns that can cause dysfunction. In addition as breathing maintains the acid/alkaline balance in the body, it is essential to create a healing environment.
:: We bite down (masticate) around 4,000 times per day and this represents a huge amount of faulty recruitment if the jaw is misaligned. Given that the body regards the head and this joint so important, if there are problems there will likely be compensatory patterns from below the head down. Hence if the spine or pelvis tilts, rotates, bends in attempt to help the above problem then we may suffer pain somewhere below. This pain however, is considered a best-case scenario until the jaw alignment is restored.
These are purely examples of how getting to the root cause can alleviate back pain. Hopefully your pain is quickly and easily sorted, but if you find that it is persistent and chronic and you have been passed from practitioner to practitioner, then consider how taking a holistic approach could be the answer.
Blueprint For Health
The holistic approach demands that we establish several foundational principles in our nutrition, exercise and lifestyle. The body has a blueprint of good health and when we build a strong foundation then there is a greater chance of achieving it. Without it we will not treat the cause and continue to get limited results from focusing on the symptoms.