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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Where Does Your Back Go When It Goes Out?

Sep 01, 2015 12:20PM ● By Ed Hemberger

How many times have you heard this comment from a friend: “You know, I was just bending over to pick up something, when all of a sudden I felt something slip in my lower back and, the next thing I knew, I was on my knees in terrible pain!” There are many explanations for how the spine gets in trouble, but one of the more common causes of back pain is a joint restriction.

When this happens, you will often hear people say “My back went out.” What actually happens when your back “goes out” is not that it goes anywhere but that the joints (facets) in the spine get restricted or fixed. In a study published in The Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT), it was recently shown that “Patients with chronic low back pain may respond better and sustain longer improvements when treated with alternative treatment protocols like Rolfing®,” according to John Cottingham, certified advanced Rolfer, an expert in the Rolfing approach to low back pain and co-author of the JOSPT study. Cottingham explains that “Rolfing structural integration, an original and scientifically validated system of bodywork, combines hands-on manipulation with movement education.”

Rolfing as a form of bodywork can speed up injury recovery by:

  • reducing pain, stiffness and muscle tension
  • improving movement and circulation around the joint
  • attending to both the injury and any secondary (ie., hip or neck) pain that may develop from favoring the injury

Rolfing movement education can help you:

  • identify bad habits that create tense tower backs, hunched shoulders, or turned-in ankles
  • learn correct posture and movements to replace old habits
  • learn from the knowledge of what your own body does, instead of guessing what's healthy for your back

 So the next time your back “goes out,” it may be just the time to turn to Rolfing.

Edward Hemberger is a Certified Structural Integration specialist on the Rolfing Method. He also practices Active Release Therapy (ART), Muscle Release Therapy and Neuromuscular Therapy. He has trained under Dr. Thomas Findley the past 11 years as an Advanced Rolfer, working at the North Jersey Pain Management Center in Hackensack as well as the Veterans Administration Hospital in East Orange. He may be reached at 973-462-3112.

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