Many people with back pain have experienced the frustration of failed treatment. Treatments often fail because modern medicine focuses more on medication to alleviate symptoms rather than the crucial elimination of their cause. Pain management is an important part of back treatment; it is difficult to function let alone pursue a rigorous treatment course when suffering constant pain. Reducing pain in the short-term should be a means to an end rather than the end itself, however. The root of the problem must be addressed in order for the effects to be long-lasting.
Knowledge is key to both preventing and treating back pain. Preventing pain means practicing proper body mechanics, both while stationary and moving. Posture and physical activity should be conducted in a balanced manner in order to avoid the common problem of muscle imbalance.
What is a muscle imbalance?
The stronger of the imbalanced muscle becomes chronically tight and shortens, while the weaker is lax and overstretched. This distortion creates a tug-of-war on the body; the tight muscle pulls on tendons, ligament and other muscles.
Consider this example: The core muscle group consists of the pelvic, hip, abdominal and lower back muscles. This group is tasked with the support and stability of our upper bodies. If you do crunches regularly in pursuit of the legendary 6-pack but neglect to strengthen the other core muscles, you have an imbalance. The abdominal muscles become taut and exert a pull on the ligaments, tendons and other muscles of the core. This distorts the position of the pelvis, which distorts the spine’s curvature.
In this example, it is clear that poor posture will be an initial indicator of muscle imbalance. The pelvis will tilt under, the lower back will be strained and the shoulders will drop. The inappropriate pressure and strain placed on the spine can create a herniated disc, misaligned vertebra, sciatica, and dysfunction of the joints formed where the sacrum meets the pelvic bones called the sacroiliac joints. Poor posture results in back pain, and can exacerbate the imbalance that caused it.
This cycle is best interrupted sooner than later. An approach called Muscle Balance Therapy has been developed to help people balance out their bodies.
What is Muscle Balance Therapy?
Muscle Balance Therapy was developed by the Healthy Back Institute to correct imbalances in strength and flexibility between muscle groups. The treatment entails an initial assessment, both visual and physical, of your body to determine if and where imbalance is present.
It is critical to know where imbalances exists before embarking on an exercise program, since exercising overdeveloped muscle groups can worsen your condition.
Muscle Balance Therapy prescribes a very uneven workout, one that focuses on the weaker muscle groups and neglects the strong ones until the two are matched in terms of strength and flexibility. This frees the tendons, ligaments and muscles from strain, setting the stage for proper body mechanics.
It must be acknowledged that Muscle Imbalance Therapy is not a one-shot deal. Once balance has been restored, you must continue to maintain it. Since imbalances are caused by daily activities, such as workplace movements, posture and sports uses, it will be necessary to continue exercising less-used muscles from now on.
If you have back pain or poor posture, it is time to consider the possibility of muscle imbalance. Talk with your doctor and, as always, do your own research.