Back pain: causes, symptoms, solutions

mal de dos

Back pain is one of the most common pains: it affects 80% of the population. It is a common reason for consultation and is often linked to inflammation. Whether the cause is recent or old, structural or psycho-emotional, it is the whole body that must be considered when treating the symptoms of back pain.


THE SPIN

Role

Our spine plays an important role in the human body: it is the main axis of our body. It is thanks to its shape and curves that we are able to stand upright, just like walking. Taking good care of it is extremely important because it “supports” us all our lives!

Structure

It supports the head and is divided into five segments. Cervical, thoracic, lumbar which are mobile. And the sacrum and coccyx which are fixed. They are formed by vertebrae welded together.

The spine consists of 24 vertebrae

  • 7 cervical
  • 12 dorsal (also called thoracic)
  • 5 lumbar

BACK PAIN AND THE VARIOUS SYMPTOMS

Le mal de dos peut prendre plusieurs formes, présentant des symptômes différents. 

Lombalgia

Lower back pain, lumbar vertebrae acute and subsiding or becoming chronic

Lumbago 

Pain that occurs suddenly in the lumbar region, sometimes in a single rib. Most often after a wrong movement.

Arthrosis

Early wear and tear of the cartilage. A disease that progresses slowly and insidiously. It can affect all joints. When it affects the lumbar vertebrae, it causes back pain.

Herniated discs

It represents an abnormal protrusion of the intervertebral disc. This can lead to back pain if the hernia does not come into contact with the nerve. It can also cause sciatica if the herniation comes into contact with a nerve root.

Sciatica and lumbosciatica

Caused by a herniated disc located between the last 2 lumbar discs. The herniated disc can be located between the 2 lowest lumbar vertebrae. Either L4 L5. Or between the last lumbar vertebra L5 and the 1st vertebra of the sacrum S1. It causes pain on the sciatic nerve which radiates from the buttock to the foot via the thigh.


WHERE DOES BACK PAIN COME FROM?

Origin of the back pain

Often related to inflammation, pain can be chronic. The causes can be both recent oldphysical and psycho-emotional. In either case, it is the whole body that needs to be considered. And this is in order to treat the symptoms of back ache.

It is by looking for the original cause that it can thus be relieved in a lasting way. And this, whether it is physical, physiological, psycho-emotional, environmental… It is always about this principle I often talk to you about: the health triangle

One of the original causes of recurring pain is quite often deep, and well anchored in the memories of the body. Through this pain, the body expresses itself. Specifically what was not possible through words in certain events in our lives. And when we face a similar event, the pain is revived. It is by reconnecting with our body and getting into the habit of listening to it that we come to see the links. The movement and dance therapy helps you do this.

The holistic approach to the individual

The body is a whole considered as such and not separated from its environment. For it is when all aspects of the being are balanced that we are healthy. Also, seeing the human being as a whole allows us to change our perception of the world. But also to:

  • Preventing health by taking care of oneself as an indivisible whole
  • Become aware of one’s place in space, and in one’s environment
  • Observe one’s relationship with other people, living beings. 
  • Understand and adapt one’s behaviours and postures

It is a matter of logic and common sense. However, our current lifestyles have distanced us from this connection to the self and to our environment. We speak in Sufi philosophy for example of “the illusion of separation”. In Sufi philosophy, for example, we speak of “the illusion of separation” and of “letting down the veils of illusion” in the practice of spinning. And this, in order to find the uniqueness of the being.

Why does back pain persist?

There are many original reasons for back pain to set in. This can be for example related to:

  • A fall at the age of 6 never treated
  • A car accident the aftermath of which continues
  • A poor posture 
  • A recent or past emotional shock
  • A series of stressful events accumulated in your life

Or again a big general fatigue in the face of life no longer allowing you to “hold on”. A feeling of not being “supported”, not feeling “in your place” or “out of place”. Or the feeling of “carrying everything on your shoulders”, and “having your hands full”. Indeed, there is no shortage of back-related expressions!

But I reassure you… Whatever the CAUSE of your back pain, there are LONG LASTING SOLUTIONS!


WHAT TO DO ABOUT A BACK PAIN THAT DOESN’T PASS?

Treat the physical/structural cause of recurrent back pain

  • Get kinesitherapy treatment

In France, it is the doctor who will prescribe all medical tests for you. And if he considers it necessary, he will prescribe kinesitherapy sessions for you. This will allow you to re-educate your muscles and restore the balance of your muscle chain. In Japan, the equivalent is called a “physiotherapist” and in US, a “chiropractor”.

  • Consult a kinesitherapist in Japon

The sessions take place in the hospital, in a “reabili” centre. Often it is physical manipulation and exercises. Sometimes there are machines to stretch the back, or the neck. They work in a similar way to physiotherapists, but from my point of view they are quite different in their approach. On the whole, there are a lot of elderly people. So they are more used to working with the problems of this public. However, I find the physical work rather basic and not specific enough for a younger person. But this is the very demanding sportswoman talking to you, and from her point of view as a patient!


Treat physiological and biochemical aspects

To consider the impact of a spinal imbalance, it is well to consider the organ, articulations, tissues, cartilage, and fascias.  For a deep inflammation, it is important to treat it thoroughly and quickly. In which case, the risk that it does not last over time. The risk is that the cartilage may be damaged by the inflammation.

Alongside your medical prescription, consult a osteopath and/or a chiropractor “seitai”. This will be able to work on all of the above. In kinesiology touch for health, this aspect is also addressed. And as everything is complementary, I find the combination kinesiology – seitai particularly effective.

But again, receiving a shiatsu massage will also be excellent for balancing the relationship between organs and meridians. In addition, it will allow your body to let go of the residue of subtle memories related to back pain. Namely: a shiatsu practitioner is also an officially trained “seitai” in Japan.


Treating the psycho-emotional cause

You may have already read in scientific journals the terms “tissue memory” or “fascia memory”. We also speak of cellular memory, embryonic memory… The human body is well made: it keeps in memory everything it goes through. And this, in order to adapt according to the data recorded and maintain your survival. It’s as simple as that.

Be aware that if you wish to treat your back pain on a long-term basis, it will be beneficial to consult a bodymind therapist in parallel. Preferably using kinesiology and EMDR in particular. Indeed, there is the emotional load to consider following a fall, an accident, a false move. As well as the whole surrounding context, likewise for a recurring pain. It is bound to have an origin which once found, can contribute to the reduction of your symptoms.

A mind-body therapist will be able to look with you at your whole being and your living conditions. He will look for the original cause of this back pain, whether it is physical, physiological, or psycho-emotional. In this way, you can bring more understanding to what you are experiencing. And what your back pain wants to tell you. The memories then go up from the body, to the subconscious, to the consciousness. To finally release the associated emotional charge, and correct the original causes.

Factually, information and facts are not the most important thing. Just because you know your life by heart doesn’t mean a problem is solved. It is the emotional charge associated, and the sensory memories that we are most interested in.

Combining approaches to treat back pain in the long term

We have been talking about it for years in osteopathy and mind-body therapy. But it is a concept that is still sometimes difficult to grasp because the body has been segmented for so long. Among other things because of our lifestyles, but also because of Western medicine. There is really no judgement to be made on this or to compare. Because to consider the whole of the individual, one must take the time… Out for various practical and quite understandable reasons, it often lacks.

Hence the great interest in making ponds between the different approaches to health existing today. All very complementary and not “alternative” to conventional medicine (although that is the commonly used term).

I do not agree with the rejection of one practice in favour of another so-called better one. Being passionate about the world’s medicines and therapies, I see rather a huge field of possibility and synergy. And this, leading to more understanding of our being and its functioning. As well as that of the living, in an incredibly immense universe with many mysteries. Let us remain humble, because nobody holds the absolute truth. But undeniably, complementary knowledge that can help the individual to live his life on Earth. And with the least pain and sorrow. And as much sweetness, joy, and consciousness as possible … Of course, this knowledge is bound to evolve with time, experience, and scientific discoveries.


TIPS FOR PREVENTING BACK PAIN

Taking care of your posture

  • Avoid poor posture and carrying heavy loads.
  • When carrying, do not have a round back. Bend your knees and grasp the object. When carrying shopping bags, do not carry them at arm’s length, but hold them tightly to your body.
  • When driving a car, or sitting at a desk, make sure you are sitting at the back of the seat. Keep your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. If necessary, invest in a special cushion or an adapted chair.

In Japan, this is a real problem for foreigners who work here. Simply because in general we are bigger. And the equipment is not adapted to our size. Such as the height of the tables, small chain, computer screen too low… It is frequent that I receive in consultation people having “blocked their back” for a set of these reasons.

Physical exercise

If you are not very sporty, I advise you to take some time to sign up for some gentle practices. Such as: Do-In, Qi gong, Feldenkreis, Eutonie, BMC… In my online classes, particularly in the movement and dance therapy courses I include some of this. I include Brain Gym kinesiology education for coordination and learning. This allows you to feel your body and move it gently and respectfully. A real self-osteo session from your home!

Attention, I remind you that for a healthy back, you must know how to work it. Do not rush to the gym unaccompanied. You could make the back pain worse. Thus, it is just as important to do :

  • Sensory exercises in micro movement (very slow)

It is this work in the slow motion that allows you to understand the movement. But also your habits, in order to correct them when necessary.

  • Do stretching to gain flexibility

With respect to the body without ever being forceful.

  • Strengthen muscles 

Be sure to work the whole body to maintain balance in the muscle chain

Meditate to reduce stress and calm the mind

In other cases, it is mainly the impact of stress on their posture. As well as the overall living conditions. The relationship is sometimes evident in the way one stands “in front of life”. Posture says more than we think about what we think our personality is. But also about what we are experiencing inside. And the good news is that it does not define you! You can learn to manage your mind… This is what I teach in reiki courses and meditation.

As a dance teacher, I noticed this very quickly. No matter how much we worked on body posture, if the student did not gain confidence, the shoulders would sag again. This led me to start teaching dance therapy right away. First of all, to create a group cohesion. Then to have a space of confidence where everyone can release the stress of the other’s gaze. And, to break the fear of contact by going to meet the others, and the space. Also work on taking your own place while respecting others. And then, the students dared to express themselves and naturally the movement was aligned. It was not mechanical but “inhabited”, sincere, and therefore very touching.


Human being are not just a body, separated from the mind. We are a all. A back pain might mean more than just a random pain. Please, take care of your back for a long healthy life!


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Back pain: causes, symptoms, solutions

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