Back Pain, X-rays, and Muscle Tension

A client sent me an interesting blog post about X-rays, chiropractors, and back pain.

Chiropractors and doctors consider back pain a structural  problem, when in fact most back pain is functional in nature.

If you understand functional movement you don't need to see an X-ray to know that someone has an overly arched back, slumped posture or scoliotic leaning. If you palpate someone's back and feel muscles as tight as steel rods, you don't need an X-ray to show you that the muscles are pulling on the bones, or that one side of the body bears more weight than the other side (which could result in hip and knee pain). You just need to understand the relationship between the brain (which controls the muscles), the muscles, and movement.

Regaining full muscle function and relieving muscle pain is a learning process.

Most doctors no longer learn the art of palpation, which familiarizes the practitioner with the function and tonus rate of the muscles. Nor do they apply an understanding of the brain/muscle connection and how muscles become tight and stay tight/frozen. They tend to medicalize back pain. I agree with the writer that X-rays are a significant intervention that should be used only when a break or tear is suspected. When muscles become "frozen" and stop functioning properly, however, the best way to regain proper muscle function and improve proprioception is through movement re-education such as Hanna Somatic Education. The muscles, which learned to stay tight due to stress responses, need to be "woken up" at the brain level, so they can learn to relax.

So if you have tight muscles, muscle pain or dysfunction that is not part of a disease process, and wonder whether or not you need an X-ray to diagnose the problem, first try moving - bending, reaching, gently twisting. Notice how it feels - how you can and cannot move. This will begin to shed light on your problem and increase your own sense of body awareness. If you can move easily in one direction, but not the other, you probably have some "amnesic," tight muscles which, with some methodical and easy retraining, can learn to relax and function again as they are meant to. This will relieve your pain and save you money in the long run.

To learn the methods and movements that will teach you to reverse chronic muscle pain, increase awareness, control and flexibility of muscles - and save you money in the long run - click here to buy my new, easy-to-follow instructional DVD.

To make an appointment with Martha to discuss your particular muscle pain problem, click here for more information about private clinical sessions, online video sessions, group classes and phone consultations.