Usually, you need hands-on Physiotherapy for low back pain treatment because the problem is a jammed spinal segment - and it literally needs winkling free. Human hands (in our case feet) are the most effective tools for doing this. Talking thumbs here, and using pressures similar to prizing a champagne cork out of its bottle, the stiff vertebra can be progressively loosened with on-off pressures to restore all its freedoms.
Any stuck vertebra will be painful to touch, as if the bone itself is bruised. The mobilising pressures of human touch elicit a distinctly agreeable sensation; a sort of welcome 'sweet pain' for having the troublemaker pinpointed. It's a relief to have it found, as if the mystery itself is half solved. And with the mobilising well targeted, it's then possible for you to get more immediate results doing your own spinal decompression to separate the spinal segments. You do this at home with a BackBlock.
All the spinal segments have 6 degrees of freedom where they tip forward and back, left and right, and swivel or twist on their axes. Superimposed on one another and all contributing individually each spinal segment participates in overall spinal movement, providing a remarkable variety and range of overall spinal motion - be it cutting your toenails, doing a swan dive from the high board, or getting on your coat.
Spines need all their 24 segments to have their full 6 degrees of freedom. Apart from letting you move properly, there's a more invisible reason why this should be so: by twisting, squashing, tilting and lifting they suck and flush a fluid exchange through the discal pillow on which they sit. Fluid passing in and out of the disc is what brings nutrients in and wastes products out. This mechanical circulatory effect is one of the chief means by which discs get nourishment to keep themselves alive and healthy. Poor disc nutrition is the first cause of spinal breakdown.
The intervertebral discs are the pillows or shock absorbers between the bony vertebrae. You can see from the photograph above that they are largely bloodless. In fact, the human IVD is a huge structure, relatively speaking, to survive without a blood supply. You can also see that the central part of the disc (the nucleus) looks like up bag of fluid. Indeed, the higher the water content of this part of the disc the better it functions as a fulcrum that tips this spine about and springs the vertebrae apart.
It's when discs start drying out that things starting going awry; the discs cannot feed and maintain themselves as well, they cannot spring-load movement as well - and eventually they cannot keep the vertebrae spaced apart as well. With the dehydration and loss of disc pressure, they also cannot keep their vertebrae sprung apart as well, to keep them taut and secure in the spinal column. As the disc thins, the bones of the vertebrae grind closer together and in some cases, the vertebra sitting atop the drier disc works itself loose and becomes 'unstable'. Instability is the end-stage of Sarah Key's 5 stages of spinal breakdown, as discussed in Back Sufferers' Bible
To prevent disc dehydration and thinning coming to pass, the body sends out graphic pain messages whenever movement of a segment slips below par (this usually happens through injury- see micro trauma of the disk wall) because it knows that reduced nutritional fluid flow will quite quickly cause the disc to degenerate. One of the most important movements that hands on Physiotherapy for low back pain must restore is the axial rotation (twist) of a problem segment, as shown below. This literally unscrews the vertebra, like unscrewing the screw-top lid of a jar.
Do-it-yourself spinal decompression is a cornerstone of the Sarah Key Method. Most people want to be effective in treating their own back problem - and all Sarah Key patients, including those seen in the Sydney clinic are dispatched with a BackBlock. With hands-on physiotherapy 'un-hooking' a problem vertebra it is then so much easier (and quicker) for you to get distraction or separation of the spinal segments yourself. The decompression induced by the passive hyper-extension over the block is a welcome respite from recumbent sitting postures and the never-ending compressive forces of gravity.
You can buy your BackBlock here
Most people who follow the Sarah Key Method cure themselves by doing their own 'pressure change therapy' with the BackBlock. Some travel from abroad and interstate to see Sarah (and her assistant therapists) once or twice and then go back home to keep going. Hands-on physiotherapy is not essential in the treatment of low back pain, but it speeds things up. If you're going it alone (and most do!) it is strongly advised that you you watch Sarah on video showing you how. The Complete Video Package is the best. Doing it right makes all the difference.
Read about the power of therapeutic touch in What is Physiotherapy?
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