A new client, we’ll call her Jane, booked a massage therapy appointment recently. It was her first-ever massage appointment. She didn’t know what to expect. She didn’t like the idea of “being naked” under a sheet. She had some reservations about a stranger touching her. But she was desperate. Ever since high school, she suffered from intermittent lower back pain…as in the kind of pain that sent shooting surges of electricity throughout her hips, down her legs, and up her spine. She felt like a 90-year-old rather than a 30-year-old. When these flare-ups started in the past, she would usually take anti-inflammatories, rest, and let her pain heal on its own. Until recently.
When Exercise is Painful
Before her scheduled massage, Jane had climbed aboard the health train for good, or so she thought. After gaining some weight and being prescribed anti-depressants, exercise was highly recommended by her doctor. And so, she took it seriously this time. Knowing that her hips were tighter than a sailor’s knot, Jane realized that yoga was the solution to her problems. But it took only two weeks of exercise for her back to completely debilitate her again. She couldn’t bend, sneeze, or sit down without feeling intense pain in her lower back and hips. However, this time, instead of waiting passively for the pain to dissipate, she decided to do something about it. The longer she waited for the pain to go away, the worse she felt about resuming her sedentary lifestyle.
Switching Out Massage for Manual Osteopathy
The reason Jane booked a massage rather than an appointment with a physiotherapist, osteopath, or chiropractor is that she didn’t understand how bad it really was. But as soon as she walked in and described her symptoms, our manual osteopath was not only able to correctly guess the problem but could also point out with 100% accuracy the location of Jane’s back where the pain was located. It was obvious to everyone that Jane didn’t need a massage, she needed an osteopath.
The Painful Side of It
What the osteopath had discovered just by checking a few points on Jane’s back was that Jane’s entire pelvic structure was completely out of alignment. Osteopathy teaches us that all our body’s systems are connected. You can’t isolate one problem without discovering another. In Jane’s case, poorly aligned hips led to overcompensation and were caused by an anterior pelvic tilt. What caused that? Well, in Jane’s case, years of sitting at a desk, weakened glutes and abs, and poor posture. The initial cause her poor alignment, may have been caused by her teenage career in soccer all those years ago. Living with limited hip flexion for that long has made exercising longer than a period of two weeks a painful experience.
Then came the fun part: the adjustments. Although osteoarticular techniques are gentle in nature, they undoubtedly cause pain and discomfort, simply because they are manipulating the very spot that hurts. When our osteopath applied these techniques to the exact location on Jane’s back that needed manipulation, it felt like a slow stabbing sensation that made everything go numb. And then…magic happened. Slowly, Jane felt a warm sensation come over her. It was like someone had poured a cup of warm water all over the right side of her back. What had happened was the miracle of osteopathy: a return of blood flow and a feeling of immediate and blessed relief like she hadn’t felt in decades.
Jane’s back issues aren’t completely resolved. Adjustments sometimes take time. With better posture, proper stretching, and further manual osteopathy, Jane’s hips and lower back are on the full road to recovery. Soon, she’ll be able to resume her exercise so that she can strengthen her core and glutes and better protect her body.
When Enough is Enough
Sometimes a simple massage is all it takes to ease our stress, relieve our tension, and make us feel 100% better. However, if you’re like Jane, and you’ve been suffering with lower back pain, sore hips, leg pain, and headaches, contact Mantra Wellness Centre today to find out what’s the right treatment for you.