New Year's Resolution #1: Get Rid of Back Pain

How many of you have back pain and found that last year you spent hundreds of dollars and countless hours attempting to get rid of it? You may have tried stretching, chiropractic, dry needling, foam rollers, surgery, or even drugs, but none of these methods have helped you for the long term.

Hanna Somatics teaches a long-term, scientifically based solution to back pain.

Education is one of the best ways to demystify almost any problem.  The more you know, the more you can help yourself. When it comes to eliminating chronic back pain there is some simple, profoundly sensible scientific information that is missing in most medical and therapeutic approaches to this problem: how the brain senses and controls the muscles.

The brain-to-muscle connection acts like a simple feedback loop, much like the underlying system of a computer: sensory (feeling) information goes into the brain and motor (movement) messages go out to the muscles.  You sense, you move, you sense, you move.

When it comes to back pain specifically, there is a specific Green light reflexbrain reflex, called the Green Light Reflex (or Landau Response) that is at the root of most chronic back pain. This reflex is invoked whenever there is a "call to action" to get something done: the alarm clock goes off, we're late for work, we need to stand all day, we're rushing here and there. When the Green Light Reflex occurs, all of the muscles of the back of the body, from the base of the skull down to the tailbone contract tightly to move us forward into action. In its extreme, the Green Light Reflex looks like the photo at right.

The Green Light Reflex is a positive response to stress. However, we don't want to get stuck in this (or any) reflex pattern. We need to learn to relax the muscles of the back when they are no longer needed for an action.

Whatever we do consistently becomes a habit at the brain level. If we constantly contract our backs in response to stress, yet neglect to remind those muscles to relax and release when they're no longer needed, the muscles will learn to stay tight and contracted. Tight muscles are inefficient, fatigued, and painful muscles that are constantly switched on.

The easy solution to back pain is to learn to release the tight muscles of the back.

No doctor, massage therapist, or physical therapist can release your back muscles for you; you must do it for yourself.

Arch and Flatten is one of the most basic, safe and simple movements you could ever do to begin to regain control of your back muscles, relieve muscle pain and take back control of your body.

Hanna Somatic Exercises are a simple, inexpensive way to begin to learn to regain control of your back muscles so you can get rid of your pain - for the long term. I am convinced that if doctors, physical therapists ad massage therapists were to teach Hanna Somatic Exercises to those with back pain, they would help save millions of healthcare dollars.

Check out the Essential Somatics® Store for my book and DVDs.

Interested in more? You can attend a workshop or Somatics training.