Dr. Ida Rolf once said "where the pain is the problem is not" and this couldn't be truer for the majority of people I see in my studio.
A lot of time people wrongly assume that being a Sports Massage Therapist, I will be getting "stuck in" to those stiff areas we all get and be expecting a painful massage in their belief that it is what they need and will be good for them.
That isn't the case.
Recently I had a lady phone me up who had "put her back out during a Pump class at her gym". She attends around 10-15 classes each week (Pump, HITT, Yoga, Circuits etc) for around the last 10 years. There's no previous injuries, but suffers mid back tension, that put down to the amount of classes,
She has a Sports Massage every 6 weeks to help with this. The Massage Therapist has said her back was a "mess" and requires lots of deep tissue to break down all the knots. The Massage is usually very painful but necessary (or so we could think). After the massage my client feels released in the mid back for a few days, but notices her lower back starts to ache for a couple of days. This process has been repeated for a few years.
My client informed me she "put her lower back out" during one of her pump classes, but had also attend her regular massage that same day,
From the history taken I already had a good idea of what could be going on.
During our first screening we found that there was little to no activation in her main stabilising muscles of her inner abdominal unit and her out abdominal unit. Now you can probably guess that if her main stabilisers aren't keeping her stable, what is... her mid back. Hence why it could get so stiff and painful from all the classes, its overworking for protection. So if we "get stuck into it" and release it all, what could happen? Well it looks like it already has happened pain in the lower back. It's also worth mentioning her I found her pelvis "stuck in a rotation".
So what did we do? Firstly I got her activating her inner abdominal muscles first (Diaphragm, Pelvic Floor & Transverse Abdominal). Through some simple breathing and activation exercises (I will also mention at this point we applied Kinesology tape to the lower back just to calm the current symptoms down as a temporary measure). We also worked on releasing the Pelvis from its "stuck" rotation.
As the sessions went on and she could correctly activate the inner abdominal unit muscles we then added in exercises to activate the outer abdominal unit.
After a few more sessions my client returned to her gym classes without any problems. Whats even better that she hardly getting any tension at all in mid back these days. So we can see we have not only managed to get her back to her gym classes but we have also managed to reduce the mid back tension and pain she was suffering by addressing the pelvis rotation & activating the correct muscles, all without even touching the initial area of pain.
Feel free to ask if you have any questions at all.
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Gibbons, J. 2016. Functional anatomy of the Pelvis and the Sacroiliac joint, 154, 203-205
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