East Bay Massage: Lower Back Pain and Massage

Lower back pain is the number one complaint of clients seeking massage. It is far and away the most disruptive symptom that send people to seek out bodywork. You may be surprised to know that the vast majority of lower back pain is NOT nerve related!

Sitting for extended periods of time stresses the structures of the lower back. Lower back pain is usually due to sacroiliac ligament dysfunction. This structure is the tissue that is located in the depression between the sacrum and the ilium, or between what most consider to be the ‘tail bone’ and the back side portions of the pelvis. There are three layers of ligament at this sacral region: posterior, interosseus, and deep anterior.

The posterior fibers are those ligaments that lay most superficially– closest beneath the skin. They are the chief connection between the sacrum and iliac and are most prone to injury or dysfunction. Pain is often referred from this area distally— meaning that pain originating in the posterior fibers of the sacroiliac ligament will run down the buttocks, leg, and sometimes even as far as the lower leg and foot. The severity of the injury to the ligament is proportional to how far down the leg pain is referred– the farther down the pain, the more severe the injury to the sacroiliac ligaments.

When these structures are inflamed, the response is contagious to surrounding tissues. While ligaments are slow to heal, the entire lower back benefits from massage by improving mobility, increasing range of motion, and helping the body to reintegrate those fluids that linger after swelling no longer serves a purpose. The use of heat, extra bolstering, or stretching can be incorporated to assist the body in regaining movement and reducing discomfort in the lower back. While these considerations often help a client with a tweaky back feel comfortable on the table, the real benefit is to be found after the session is completed and the client is able to walk or sit without discomfort!

It should be mentioned that strengthening and stretching the muscles surrounding the ligaments of the lower back is the best defense against lower back pain. In order for those structures of the lower back to be healthy, they should be both flexible and strong. Make sure to take frequent breaks if you sit all day at work– get up, walk around,  stretch, and receive regular bodywork to maintain lower back health!

Thank you for visiting East Bay Massage!





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