Over a lifetime, it is estimated that 80% of Americans will experience some form of back pain. With over $50 billion dollars spent annually on solutions, people are seeking resolution and the options can be overwhelming. While each case is unique and may require multiple avenues of intervention, soft tissue contributes to both chronic and acute back pain and is very real. Some of the least understood of which are hamstrings and psoas major, two muscles with direct implications for clients experiencing these symptoms. At the North Carolina School of Advanced Bodywork, the techniques we utilize, passed down from Kyle Wright, allow us to effectively evaluate and treat these tissues and resolve low back and other chronic issues with great success.
As a culture, we are sitting ore than ever. Through patterns like this, we develop chronic excess muscle and nerve tension (CEMENT) in predictable areas. For the person sitting at work all day, hamstrings, abdominal muscles, and psoas major are soft tissue components that effectively lose their buoyancy and begin to drive bones out of position. While these muscles have easily identified tension patterns, through attempts at stretching the tissues on their own (“I know my hamstrings are tight when I try to stretch them”), what is not so easily or well understood is the documented pain patterns for these muscles. Hamstring and abdominal muscles, when experiencing chronic tension, have a pain referral that spreads across the lower back at the ilium (pelvis) and across sacrum (spine). Psoas major also refers to the back along the lumbar (lower) spine and up to the mid back. With the help of our skillfully trained therapists and the suggestions of how to resolve bad postural habits, these tissues can begin to relax and pain will diminish.
The long-term result of this seated position over time is what we refer to as the forward stooped collapsed posture. Here, the natural architecture of the body is lost. Rather, the gravity driving well through the body’s complex joint and into the earth, our bodies absorb this shock in areas not designed to take it. Through soft tissue manipulation, the dreaded ‘seated posture’ and its accompanying pain can be resolved and the body brought back to a functional state.
As it has been said for generations, movement is life. As tissues experience chronic tension and joints become immobile as outlined above, stiffness and tension set i. These patterns result in changes in motion and functional movement, leading to irritation in peripheral nerves and referred pain. Through analysis of posture, our students are able to identify where these bones are out of neutral and the movement is no longer fluid. The techniques we teach help to restore motion, increase range of motion, and reduce pain and discomfort.
David Phillips, MS, LMBT, Director of Training/Instructor