Treatments And Technologies We Use To Treat Back Pain
There are many different ways to treat back pain, and it’s just as well because we don’t all respond to the same stuff.
The ultimate key to successful treatment of back pain is working with a team who are willing to take a sufficiently flexible approach, and trial a number of different therapies to see what works best on your specific case.
Low Energy Laser Therapy is the application of specific deeply penetrating light waves to a painful area. Light with a wavelength in the red to near infrared region of the spectrum (660nm–905nm) is generally employed because these wavelengths have the ability to penetrate skin, and soft/hard tissues. Lasers like these are known to trigger the release of a substance called ATP within cells, this suggests that they boost tissue metabolism in painful areas.
A great many clinical trials have shown this type of treatment has a meaningful effect on back pain, inflammation and tissue repair. In our experience people with back pain often experience immediate improvements in their pain after laser sessions.
Shockwave Therapy is a non-surgical – non-drug-based – scientifically approved therapy that is widely used as a pain treatment. There have been literally hundreds of studies that support the use of shockwave therapy for a very wide range of pain complaints.
Shockwave Therapy was originally developed for its application as a non-invasive treatment of kidney stones. We use a gentler form of the same technology to break up deep muscle knots and tracts of scar tissue in the neck. For more information on shockwave therapy visit our shockwave homepage here.
Gait Analysis & Stride Analysis tools are for people who are interested in long term prevention of pain. When the root cause of your pain has been uncovered it takes all the guess-work out of treatment and rehabilitation of pain. Deep insights into our movement patterns are now possible: with the use of cloud based AI machine learning; and complex sensors that go in your shoes while you perform movement tests.This data opens the door to tailored forms of rehabilitation
We believe that all pains have a story to tell and that there are genuine underlying physical issues behind all stubborn pain. In other words, you don’t get sore overnight, and you certainly don’t get chronic pain overnight, unless you have had a real physical issue. Gait Analysis & Stride Analysis are designed to identify these issues.
Orthotics are a tool that have helped millions of people move past exactly the type of stubborn pains that tend to chip away at the fun, freedom, and choice that make life enjoyable.
An averagely active person takes in excess of 3 million steps per year. Modern humans do all this on extremely flat, hard surfaces like concrete, tarmac and paving stones. Hard, flat surfaces are as stressful to our joints and connective tissues as sugar is to our teeth. This is a major part of why we live in an epidemic of lower body pain and degeneration.
Orthotics are a way of protecting us from the lifelong strain concrete and tarmac inflict on our tissues.. The Increased support for the foot that orthotics provide often brings greater ease and freedom to our movements in the long term. The benefits are often felt not only in the feet, ankles, and knees but even in the back and hips.
If you suffer with stubborn back pain that you want to get rid of permanently its likely that you will need to address some underlying weaknesses and imbalances. This ‘rehabilitation’ step is important for those who want to attempt to resolve their back pain in the longer term.
The key to effective strengthening exercises for chronic back pain is learning to isolate your core muscles. Effective strength training for back pain is not planking and sit-ups. Planks and sit-ups are strength based exercises for the superficial layers of the trunk and the hip flexors, they do not target the deeper layers of the core. The muscles that have been shown to have an impact on back pain are the very deepest layer of stabiliser muscles.
At our clinic we take great care to teach people how to isolate and control their deepest core muscles.
Most backs with persistent or recurring pain are full of ‘pressure points’ or myofascial trigger points (the sore spots you feel in muscles when you get a deep massage). At Featherston St. Pain Clinic we consider ourselves experts at finding and releasing the most stubborn trigger points. It’s not always fun to have done (we know that ourselves) but boy can it help with persistent back pain; when it’s done properly!
Acupuncture can be extremely helpful in the management of many back pain cases. We don’t approach acupuncture in the traditional way where needles are placed in a wide no.of locations, we focus directly on the area of pain.
Acupuncture aims to promote blood flow, release pressure points in muscle and reduce pain signals. Needles are placed around the area of pain and we generally leave them in for around 10 minutes, depending on your body’s tolerance to them. If acupuncture works for your back pain, you will usually start to feel the benefits within the first 2-3 sessions.
Your spinal column is made up of a series of bones, these bones are able to move and flex because of the discs and small joints that connect them. There is actually only a small amount of movement at each ‘segment’ of the spine but when you add all those little units up you have a reasonably mobile column.
The facet joints (think small knuckle sized weight bearing joints) in your spine are a prime suspect for generating back pain. It’s these facet joints that have locked when you can’t turn your head. It’s these little joints that get injured and you get a whiplash. The majority of back pain sufferers have one or more locked up, facet joints in their spine. Spinal mobilisation or spinal manipulations mobilise the facet joints and restore movement to your spine and can bring great relief.
A large number of people suffer with stubborn back pains caused in part by old unhealed injuries. These injuries can come from almost any historical back injury, or even hip, knee and ankle injuries. Naturally, one of the long term repercussions of unresolved trauma to the back and spine is scar tissue.
Scraping gently in and around the connective tissues and muscle using a blunt scraping tool is the basic method behind how we manage scar tissue in the back. Guasha is the old Chinese name for this technique but there are many others from different cultures and there are more modern techniques like Graston Technique. The idea with all of them is to break up and assist with remodeling of microscopic scar tissue adhesions, which are a major cause of back pain.
Muscle tension Is a major contributor to many cases of back pain. By using specific stretch techniques for the muscles in the back you can often release a great deal of tension. Post Isometric stretches are a specific style of stretching that utilises your muscle’s tendency to relax after it has contracted strongly.
Cupping massage or cupping therapy has been used for thousands of years by multiple global cultures and not only is it still around for good reason, it is currently undergoing a powerful resurgence.
Using suction cups for the treatment for back pain increases blood flow in the area, stretches the fascia, can bring massive amounts of relief; and yes leaves funny marks that your friends and family will assume are bruises. The most common myth around cupping is that it releases toxins, the actual cause of the marks in cupping leaves is deoxygenated blood that has been drawn to the surface.
Percussive movements have been an established component of soft tissue release, massage and even respiratory healthcare for thousands of years, and it is no less effective today. Percussion massage as treatment for back pain generally involves the use of mechanical massage devices. It is designed to reduce muscle tension and promote blood flow within the soft tissues. Percussion is generally at its best when used in combination with the other treatments for back pain like those in this list.
Heaps of people find the application of ice packs for the treatment of their back pain can prove to be very beneficial. Ice works by interrupting pain signals within the nerve, stimulates the activity of blood vessels, and reduces both inflammatory and pain chemistry in the soft tissues.
One of the most common questions we get asked is whether heat or ice is better. Nine times out of ten ice is a better option than heat when you have pain. Heat can be a bit of a tricky one because it does often feel soothing at the time. Sometime after heat application however you may have more pain than you might otherwise have had..