Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2023

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Back pain is a prevalent health concern affecting millions of individuals worldwide. Nearly 8 in 10 people will experience some form of low-back pain during their lifetime. Back pain is also a common reason for seeking care from a massage therapist. The severity of back pain can range from mild discomfort to chronic pain that significantly affects daily activities. Understanding the underlying causes of back pain is crucial for effectively managing these conditions, particularly for massage therapists who provide relief for their clients. In this article, we explore two of the most common causes of back pain—disc pathology and myofascial pain. We'll examine the causes and symptoms and the role of soft-tissue therapy in treating these conditions. LUMBAR DISC PATHOLOGY Lumbar disc pathology refers to abnormal conditions affecting the intervertebral discs, with the most common type being herniated nucleus pulposus, also known as a herniated disc. Although often called a slipped disc, this term is a misnomer since the disc does not slip out of position. The disc serves as a shock-absorbing structure, consisting of concentric rings of fibrocartilage (annulus fibrosus) surrounding a gel-like substance called the nucleus pulposus. Prolonged pressure can cause the inner nucleus to press against the outer annular fibers, leading to the nucleus protruding and changing the 22 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k m ay/ j u n e 2 0 2 3 Back on Track Treating Lumbar Disc and Myofascial Pain TECHNIQUE By Whitney Lowe CLINICAL EXPLORATIONS KEY POINTS • Incorporating massage therapy into a comprehensive treatment plan for lumbar disc and myofascial pain can help clients achieve improved function, reduced pain, and a better quality of life. • Massage reduces overall low-back pain, providing greater freedom of movement, an essential part of effective treatment. 1 Treating the lumbar paraspinal muscles.

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