Cuppa & a Catch Up

Musings on movement, health, wellbeing & self-care

STRESS & LOW BACK PAIN- Is there a link?

In a simple answer, Yes.  In recent study where rats and humans were subjected to low level stress – stress being the equivalent of sitting in the world’s most boring board room meeting, desperate for a mooch round outside and a cup of your favourite beverage – it was found that the low spine (Lumbars 3-5 for those wanting to get specific) had increased significantly in sensitivity and over time, to a level that some of might call pain.  **(no ratty’s were harmed in the making of this study)

The study was triggered by Fascia Research Scientist and Rolfer (a type of manual therapy), Robert Schliep when he noticed in his patients the pain levels being experienced were not congruent with what he could see on their scans.  While some came with high levels of low back pain, the MRI scan showed a healthy spine with normal function contrasting with patients who had MRI scans showing serious degeneration of the intervertebral discs and yet reported no pain.

So what’s going on?  What this study shows and what has long been accepted in the manual therapy and movement world, is that physical pain isn’t always directly linked to physical injury or ailment.  Sometimes it is, but sometimes it’s not.

If you take a moment to have a real think about it – how often have you known you were taking on too much, you were too busy, you felt like there was no room for thought, you’d become forgetful, foggy, panicky, anxious…stressed.  But, you can’t stop, you’ve got kids to take to school, the meeting to attend with your boss, that sales pitch to make, the dinner to prep, your elderly parent to look after.  This list preventing us from slowing down is endless AND, we reason with ourselves, it’s only thoughts which we can choose to ignore.

Cue the onset of back pain. Nagging, sharp, dull, achy, every time you move pain.  Now, you can’t ignore that can you?  So off to the Dr you go and if its acute enough pain, you get a scan which shows?…nothing. 

How is that possible?!  It really really hurts!!!  Luckily modern medicine has come up with some proverbial sticking plasters for this pain.  Anti-inflammatories, pills, gels, patches heat pads so you can ‘get on with your life’.  If it’s super bad pain, you might even get something way stronger, slightly addictive and brain impairing at the same time. 

Allopathic medicine can sedate you out of your pain, but it comes at a price, you get sedated out of your life too..

But we are designed to be more intelligent right?  That’s why you’re reading this post.  What can I do to help myself?  

Well, delegate would be a start, what can you do to shift the work load off your plate (I’m a lone parent, business owner/ entrepreneur and my family are scattered to the four winds of the UK, so we can chat about delegating if you’re triggered), but the most important thing is to LISTEN.  Listen and Silent are spelt with the same letters and that’s not a coincidence.  Your body is talking to you. It’s called interoception (another post). 

What do you need?  1 hour a week just for you? It’s a start.

Manual therapy will give you space to relax for a an hour with healing touch which works wonders for your body and your mind. 

A movement class will give you an hour a week to breath, move and focus on nothing else but the voice of your teacher allowing your body and brain the rest it so desperately craves.  1 hour a week so your back pain goes away.  It’s got to be worth it, right?

“But we are designed to be more intelligent right?  That’s why you’re reading this post.  What can I do to help myself?”

Cue the onset of back pain. Nagging, sharp, dull, achy, every time you move pain.  Now, you can’t ignore that can you?  So off to the Dr you go and if its acute enough pain, you get a scan which shows?…nothing.

How is that possible?!  It really really hurts!!!  Luckily modern medicine has come up with some proverbial sticking plasters for this pain.  Anti-inflammatories, pills, gels, patches heat pads so you can ‘get on with your life’.  If it’s super bad pain, you might even get something way stronger, slightly addictive and brain impairing at the same time. 

Allopathic medicine can sedate you out of your pain, but it comes at a price, you get sedated out of your life too..

But we are designed to be more intelligent right?  That’s why you’re reading this post.  What can I do to help myself? 

Well, delegate would be a start, what can you do to shift the work load off your plate (I’m a lone parent, business owner/ entrepreneur and my family are scattered to the four winds of the UK, so we can chat about delegating if you’re triggered), but the most important thing is to LISTEN.  Listen and Silent are spelt with the same letters and that’s not a coincidence.  Your body is talking to you. It’s called interoception (another post).

What do you need?  1 hour a week just for you? It’s a start.

Manual therapy will give you space to relax for a an hour with healing touch which works wonders for your body and your mind. 

A movement class will give you an hour a week to breath, move and focus on nothing else but the voice of your teacher allowing your body and brain the rest it so desperately craves.  1 hour a week so your back pain goes away.  It’s got to be worth it, right?