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Lower Back Pain Treatment in Anchorage, AK

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Lower Back Pain Treatment Directory

What is the cause of my lower back pain?

There are many causes of lower back pain, and most of us will experience some amount of lower back pain during our lives. Pain is signaled to the body by nerve endings, hence, most of the time an irritated nerve ending anywhere within your back (in your disc, bone, muscle, ligament, vein, artery, and more) can cause you to feel back pain. So, what can cause lower back pain?…

  • Bending over
  • Lifting a heavy object or repetitive straining
  • Wear-and-tear
  • Arthritis 
  • Injury (e.g., sports injury or auto-accident)
  • Posture or joint alignment issues of any part of the spine, ribcage, hips, head, feet & knees 
  • Tightness and problems in the front of the body
  • Lifestyle factors like being sedentary, having excess weight, smoking, wearing heals, and age
  • Slouching or sitting for long periods of time in positions that stress your back (poor ergonomics)
  • Over-training 
  • Certain medical conditions and diseases
  • Pregnancy
  • Inflammation

However, what’s not on this list is potentially the most important leading cause of back pain: that is, your fascia

You may not have heard of fascia, but on this page we describe why fascia is a leading cause of lower back pain. Problems in your fascia cannot be medically tested for or identified using standard medical imaging (MRI scans and X-rays).

Fascia coats all of our anatomy from head to toe; it interconnects across all parts of the body (skin through to the center of our bones). Fascia is effectively a key part of your body’s ability to sense and protect itself, and responds with pain, spasm, and inflammation when a particular area is threatened or harmed.

Lower back pain conditions that can be resolved or helped by proper fascia treatment include:

  • Herniated Discs (aka slipped discs) 
  • Bulging Discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Muscle strain or a “pulled back” 
  • Pinched/ compressed nerve (sciatica, for example)
  • Chronic back pain
  • Osteoarthritis (degeneration of the cartilage & discs of a joint that can cause bone spurs to form)
  • Bone spurs (small growths of additional bone that occur on parts of your back bones (vertebrae)
  • Kyphosis (is an exaggerated, forward rounding of the back – around the shoulders)
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
  • Scoliosis (sideways curvature of your spine)
  • Spondylolisthesis (one of the bones of your spine, slips out of place relative to the one below it)
  • Spondylolysis is a specific kind of fracture of a part of your vertebrae called the pars interarticularis
  • Fibromyalgia (widespread muscle pain)

Conditions that cause back pain that can sometimes be helped by fascia treatment include:

  • Osteoporosis – bone density loss causes bone weakening, this can lead to fracturing of the bones of the back
  • Referred pain (e.g., issues with your kidneys, liver, gallbladder, stomach pancreas, heart, lung & diaphragm can all cause back pain)
  • Spinal deformities (e.g., ankylosing spondylitis – a form of spinal arthritis)
  • Spondylosis (general term for degeneration of the spine)

Other conditions that cause back pain, but which aren’t helped by fascia treatment include:

  • Infections in the bones (osteomyelitis) and discs (discitis) of the spine
  • Kidney stones or kidney infections
  • Spinal cord cancer
  • Endometriosis (accumulation of uterine tissue outside the uterus)
  • Spinal tumors

Although fascia treatment can’t fix the conditions listed directly above, it is worth remembering that there are multiple causes of pain. You can’t always know whether all the pain you experience is caused only by one particular condition or whether it’s partly due to another cause that could be helped by fascia treatment. 

Call Us, to find out how helping your fascia can help your lower back pain.

Your Fascia is a Super-Cause of Back Pain

You may not be familiar with your fascia and why it can become problematic, but in reality, it is a super-cause of back pain. What do we mean by super-cause? We mean that fascia problems can be the underlying cause of many diagnosed causes of lower back pain. 

It turns out that nearly everybody has some problems in their fascia. Fascia problems can be caused by injury, surgery, postural issues, overuse, infection, or can result from inflammation caused by food allergies or an inflammatory diet. 

When it has a problem, fascia can restrict and cause pain and misalignment to any part of your body. In fact, many common back conditions (muscle strains, disc issues, kyphosis, sciatica, certain types of arthritis, and other conditions) often develop because you have pre-existing fascia problems that can increase pain and abnormal stress within the lower back. 

Fascia problems can cause:

  • Back pain to start or come back?
  • Slowing or even preventing full recovery
  • Chronic back pain 

In fact, it’s not commonly known that problems or restrictions in other parts of the body (like the ribcage, hip, knee, ankle, foot, neck, etc..) can increase stress and cause misalignment of your back, which can cause back pain. This is because many common movements (e.g., walking) require the use and combined movement of multiple joints at the same time. For example, when you have a restricted ribcage, hip, knee, ankle, foot, neck, etc.., this can cause a change in your movement and posture, which the lower back often has to compensate for. This tends to require additional movement of your lower back joints, which can increase the abnormal stresses in those joints. This can then lead to more wear-and-tear of the lower back joints which increases your chances of getting lower back pain. 

Since stress on your back and wear-and-tear are dependent on restrictions elsewhere in your body, and your fascia problems are generally crucial to causing these restrictions, getting help for your fascia in any part of your body can potentially help your lower back pain. In fact, for every area of your body, whether it’s your neck, your hips, your lower back, etc., there are also multiple types of fascia present: that is, fascia specific to nerves, veins, arteries, bones, and more. This means that a joint can be restricted because several different types of fascia are all tight together. This is why fascia has been elevated as a super-cause of back pain: since multiple types of fascia in multiple parts of the body can have problems that compound together to create back pain.

Thus the reason why back pain occurs, persists, or re-occurs after treatment is often because your fascia problems haven’t been addressed properly. 

Given the highly interconnected & dependent nature of your fascia & joints, your fascia problems now represent a large expansion in the number of things that can cause of back pain. Causes of back pain needs to be expanded to include fascia problems in your:

  • Bones
  • Veins
  • Arteries
  • Nerves
  • Lymphatics (vessels that transports lymph fluid)
  • Dura (outermost membrane that envelops your brain and spinal cord)
  • Ligaments
  • Muscles
  • Discs
  • Myochains (long chains of muscles & fascia that interconnect across the body)
  • Viscera & mesentery (wrappings and ligaments that keep your internal organs in place)
  • Superficial fascia (skin)
  • Cartilage

Why is your fascia a super-cause of back pain?

When your fascia is injured, it naturally tightens to protect the injury. Fascia is also able to recruit nearby muscles in order to guard the injured area from further harm. This protective reflex is a natural way your body responds to injury and it helps you recover by protecting your injury. After your injury has healed, these protective guarding reflexes that are coordinated by your fascia should reset and effectively disappear, allowing you to return back to normal activity without pain or tightness. 

However, fascia that is faulty can permanently prevent your body from being able to remove these guarding strategies. This is because of a faulty process that stops the “all-clear” message being sent by your fascia to the body (click here for more information). In fact, fascia problems can build on one another, such that with each bout of back pain or injury, you can effectively accumulate additional fascia problems. This will cause your body to become tighter and tighter as your body implements more and more fascia and muscle guarding strategies to protect all the different parts of the body that the fascia thinks need protecting.

With time, fascia problems that accumulate increase tightness and stress in and around your back and this will reach a point where something that use to be easy now causes a major problem – like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Such that bending over, lifting a box, playing sports, being pregnant, or training can more easily trigger a serious bout of back pain, or cause a back condition to develop (pulled back, pinched nerve, arthritis, bulging/herniated disc. scoliosis, etc.). 

Because fascia is affected by lifestyle factors like workplace ergonomics, exercise, diet, and old injuries you can prevent fascia problems by adopting a healthy lifestyle. However, you can also mitigate the effects of these lifestyle factors by having your fascia problems treated correctly (Click here, to find out how). Both of these, modifying your lifestyle and getting proper fascia treatment can help prevent painful back conditions from developing and from coming back.

Call us, so we can answer any of your questions about how fascia might be affecting you. 

Herniated Disc(s), Bulging Disc, & Disc Degeneration

A herniated disc is one whose tough outer walls (annulus) have split open, allowing the softer center (nucleus) of the disc to leak out. Your discs effectively act like rubbery pads that lie between each of your spinal bones (vertebrae), with the exception of your two topmost bones and your lowermost bone (tailbone). The role of your discs is to absorb shock and help with spinal motion. 95% of herniated discs occur in two locations, 1) between the L5 vertebrae – lowermost bone of the lower back and your sacrum and, 2) between L5 and the next vertebrae above (L4).

The difference between a bulging and herniated disc is that the outer wall hasn’t split open in a bulging disc, hence the softer nucleus hasn’t leaked out. However, in both cases, the available space around the nearby nerve roots of your spine can be reduced, and depending on the size and location of a disc herniation or bulging disc, the nerve can become irritated or compressed. Some of the symptoms of a herniated disc, bulging disc, or disc degeneration include:

  • Neurologic symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness of an arm or leg, loss of reflexes).
  • Pain with unsupported slouching / sitting
  • Pain when bending over
  • Pain in the morning when you first get up
  • Back stiffness and difficulty standing and sitting
  • Limited ability to raise your leg whilst keeping it straight (usually the leg can’t rise more than 55 degrees from straight/horizontal)
  • No symptoms (30% of those with a bulging disc who are 20yrs of age have no symptoms, this increased to 84% of those who are 80yrs of age[1]

Medical studies[2] have shown that loading your back in a bent over and twisted position is the most effective way of herniating your disc, so avoiding twisting while you bend over will reduce the stresses placed on your discs.

Aging, wear and tear, posture/alignment, and injury are typical causes of disc problems (as discussed above). But all these causes are actually controlled or effected by your fascia. For example, after a single back injury, your fascia and muscles naturally tighten to guard the area. Unfortunately, this tightening can become dysfunctional such that the guarding or tightness doesn’t “turn off” like it normally would after healing is complete. Now we have a constant fascia and muscle tightness (spasming) that can cause long-term abnormal stresses that can lead to poor posture and alignment which can cause painful disc conditions. Fascia spasm problems also can slow and even prevent recovery, causing you chronic pain and preventing resolution to your condition.

Since fascia problems can create long-term misalignment of your body, helping spasming fascia to return to normal, healthy function can play a large role in preventing conditions like herniated discs, bulging discs and degenerative disc disease and arthritis.  

When picturing a bulging or herniated disc, one often assumes that the disc bulges or ruptures outwards into the spaces between your vertebrae; however, discs can commonly punch up or down into your vertebral bones creating pocket marks or divots in them, with the bone material getting replaced by disc material. These disc indentation features are called Schmorl’s nodes, and are usually painless; however they do contribute towards degeneration of your spine.

Degenerative disc disease is caused by wear and tear of spinal discs, and is a natural part of aging. It doesn’t always result in pain or other symptoms. The likelihood of having a bulging disc at the age of 20 is 30%, this increases to 84% at the age of 80. However, counterintuitively the chance that you will have symptoms from disc degeneration reduces from 63% if you are 20 year to 4% if you are 80[1]. If pain is present, it is often the result of inflammation, reduced space between your discs, spasming and tightness of your guarding fascia and muscles, and joint cartilage damage. 

If treatment is required for herniated discs or bulging discs it normally involves either physical therapy or medication, and can sometimes need surgery depending on your symptoms. Other therapies that are used to help people with a herniated disc include chiropractic, massage therapy, and acupuncture. If treatment for your disc issue doesn’t work, it is often because the underlying fascia problems haven’t been properly addressed. 

If you aren’t familiar with fascia or fascia problems, click here to find out what fascia is and how you can correct your back problems by correctly fixing it, even when your problems haven’t responded to standard treatments.

Muscle strains (Pulled back)

A muscle strain is something that most of us will feel at some point in our lives. It is a type of muscle injury that involves overstretching your muscle that can cause some amount of muscle tearing. This can range from hardly any tearing to a complete tear that splits the muscle apart. Muscle strains are associated with:

  • Overuse (repeating a task that stresses your back – bending or crouching)
  • Overdoing something (e.g., lifting a heavy object with poor body mechanics) 
  • Falling or injury
  • Poor posture 
  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Sometimes a severe cough can cause a low back strain
  • Carrying excess weight or being out of shape

A quick note on the difference between a strain vs a sprain: A back strain (pulled back muscle) is not the same as a back sprain, although they can happen together in the same injury. A strain refers to an overstretch, causing some amount of tearing to a muscle, whereas a sprain is an overstretch causing some amount of tearing to a ligament (a ligament is a tough fibrous band that holds bones together). 

Not all strained muscles (or pulled backs) are equal. In fact we technically have a scale that measures the severity of strain depending on the amount of tearing and stretch that the strained muscles have experienced. There are three grades of muscle strain:

  • Grade 1 is a mild strain, where only a few muscle fibers are torn or over-stretched. Usually you have normal strength, but the muscle is painful or tender.
  • Grade 2 strain is a moderate strain, it has more injured or torn muscle fibers and causes severe muscle pain and tenderness. There can be minor swelling and sometimes bruising, and usually there is a clear loss in strength.
  • Grade 3 strain is a serious injury, where the whole muscle has been torn apart, this causes considerable pain, swelling, and a complete loss of strength. 

Typical treatments for grades 1 and 2 strains are rest, ice, and a doctor might prescribe medication for pain and swelling. For severe grade 2 strains and grade 3 strains, your treatment commonly includes injury stabilization, surgery, and physical therapy. Recovery times depend on severity, with mild strains taking days to a few weeks (5-6) and more severe strains taking several months. 

A pulled back or muscle strain can become chronic and cause persistent pain. One of the reasons your pain could persist is because you continue to repeat a particular activity that creates stress in your back. Although this can be true, it is also often true that you were once able to do the task previously without pulling your back, so what has changed? More often than not the underlying cause of chronic strains is the problematic involvement of your fascia. If you aren’t familiar with fascia problems click here to find out what fascia is and how you can correct pain created by a pulled back. 

Severe muscle strains or pulled backs that haven’t resolved can very often be helped by fascia treatment. Without fascia treatment, fascia problems can persist and slow down your recovery, and can even prevent your symptoms from resolving. Fascia treatment is appropriate once the muscle tear caused by your strain has been given the all-clear for weight bearing exercise. At this point, fascia problems are a common cause of continued pain and stiffness from a pulled back. In fact, the fascia problems that are holding you back and causing continued pain and stiffness don’t have to be caused by your current specific injury. Very often there are pre-existing fascia problems that are holding you back. And on top of that, these other fascia problems may exist outside the back, such that you need to help another part of your body in order to relieve the abnormal stresses that are perpetuating your pulled back symptoms.  

Muscle injury

Muscle injury is very common, whether it’s a muscle strain (through overuse), bruise, cut to the muscle, cramp, muscle pain, or muscle soreness after exercise. Muscle pain doesn’t require that you injure a muscle, instead pain felt in muscles literally has hundreds of other causes. For an overview of these please read section above (Causes Lower Back Pain). 

The type of muscle injury and its severity will determine your appropriate treatment options. These can include, rest, ice, medication, physical therapy, massage, and more rarely, surgery. Most muscle injuries take days to weeks to resolve, whereas a more serious injury like a grade 2/3 strain, or a significant cut of the muscle, can take several months to heal. However, if your recovery time is taking much longer than usual, it can be because of your fascia problems that haven’t been treated correctly – click here to read why this is. 

Fascia can increase abnormal stress and reduce circulation around your injury, both of which can slow and sometimes even prevent full recovery from muscle injury. Fascia treatment is appropriate once you are able to do weight-bearing exercise with the injured muscle.

If you are unfamiliar with fascia and how it can underly your muscle pain and injury, give us a call and we are happy to answer any questions that you might have.

Pinched/compressed nerves

A pinched or compressed nerve happens when too much pressure is put on a nerve by its surrounding tissues (muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments, disc, etc.). Symptoms of a pinched nerve include numbness, tingling, or pain. The sensation that a foot or hand, for example has “fallen asleep” is also a pinched nerve symptom. A classic example of a pinched or compressed nerve is a condition called sciatica. The sciatic nerve is the main nerve of your leg that emerges out of the nerve roots that come out of the lower spine. Factors that can lead to the development of sciatica include prolonged sitting, occupations that require lifting heavy loads, twisting or sitting a lot, excess weight and growing older, playing physical sports (hockey, basketball, football, rugby).

The most common locations for a pinched nerve are:

  • Back and hip (sciatica)
  • Neck and shoulders
  • Wrist and hand (carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Arm and elbow 

In the case of your neck and back, it is common for a nerve root along the spine to become compressed by a herniated disc, bone spur, bone fracture, or narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis). In the lower back, the most common pinched nerve condition is sciatica. Compression of your sciatic nerve can cause radiating pain, numbness, tingling and weakness along some part of the back of your hip and leg or foot. Severe sciatica can cause leg weakness or bowel or bladder changes. Compression of the sciatic nerve typically occurs around the nerve roots of your lower back (between L4, L5 and your sacrum), however compression can also come from:

  • Muscle spasm (e.g., piriformis syndrome – a muscle spasm in one of your deep posterior hip muscles that can squeeze the sciatic nerve)
  • Tumors or cysts 
  • Adhesions that prevent proper nerve movement/glide

Note that some of the same symptoms of nerve compression can commonly be caused by nerve irritation and inflammation.

Treatment options for symptoms of nerve compression typically include rest, heat and ice packs, stretching, medication, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, steroid injections and surgery. While most sciatica symptoms last for a few weeks and may repeat occasionally, more serious cases can last months and years. The best way to prevent sciatica from developing or stop it lasting months or years is to get your fascia treated correctly. In the section above (click here) we describe how fascia problems can cause conditions like spinal stenosis, herniated discs, muscle spasms and other spinal conditions to develop, all of which can lead to sciatica. Fascia can also prevent sciatica from resolving as the underlying stresses that drive compression of your nerve need your fascia to be correctly treated before you can fully heal.

If you are unfamiliar with fascia and how this can underly sciatica or any other pinched nerve, give us a call: we are happy to answer any questions that you might have.

Is there a way I can prevent back pain?

You can prevent back pain with a combination of:

  • Exercise
  • Stretching
  • Losing weight
  • Improving your posture
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects, or ensure that you bend your knees and keep your back straight when lifting heavy objects
  • Better lifestyle habits (e.g., reduce sitting time and improve sitting position, stop smoking, move more)
  • Don’t wear high heels, or poorly-fitting shoes
  • Avoid foods that you are allergic to and adopt an anti-inflammatory diet

If these preventative measures haven’t been able to prevent your back pain, it could be because you have fascia problems. The type of fascia problems we are talking about aren’t normally diagnosed by a doctor, physical therapist, massage therapist or chiropractor. However, fascia problems often underly many of the most common back conditions that cause back pain (click here for more info). In fact, problems in your fascia can prevent you from improving your posture, and can even diminish the effects of exercise and stretching on helping back pain. 

Fascia problems very often require a specific type of treatment called Fascial Counterstrain therapy (read sections below for more on why this is). Therapies like physical therapy, massage therapy, myofascial therapy, chiropractic, osteopathic therapy and acupuncture simply aren’t able to find and treat all the different types of fascia problems that you have in your body. Treating your fascia problems with Fascial Counterstrain is one of the best ways of preventing back pain, not least because it addresses the underlying causes of why you develop back conditions, but also because it can actually detect problems in your fascia before they become symptomatic or cause back pain. 

Call us if you would like to find out how treating your fascia with Fascial Counterstrain therapy could help you prevent or overcome re-occurring back pain.

Are There Alternatives to Surgery for My Back Pain?

If you are considering surgery for back pain, your back pain is likely overwhelming. The truth is that surgery can sometimes be your best option for back pain, but knowing when this is the case is very challenging for you, the patient. There are many alternatives to surgery that include:

  • Wearing back braces
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture
  • Multiple types of massage
  • Osteopathy
  • Pain-relieving medication
  • Nerve blocks, nerve ablations (the destruction of a nerve prevents the transmission of pain), and steroid injections into various parts of the spine
  • Ultrasound, Traction
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is where electrodes are placed on your skin and a small electronic stimulation of the nerves is produced that may reduce pain
  • Rest, heat, ice, stretching, and exercise
  • Other alternative therapies

The typical back patients’ journey starts with a back problem that won’t resolve by itself, often they will then see some kind of health professional. If your back pain continues to persist, at some point you will seek out a doctor. With a doctor, they might say that surgery could help your back pain, but you should first try PT and medication. If PT and medication hasn’t worked it’s completely understandable why you would then want surgery. 

Although, some people will still want to avoid the dangers and risks of surgery, and so will try other treatment options instead. However, everyone has their own limit as to how much time they’re prepared to spend finding and trying non-surgical treatments. 

For those who have surgery, there is a sizeable number of people who, after their back surgery, do not feel like they get full resolution of their symptoms, or that significant symptoms return after 1-3 years of surgery. In part, this may be because the MRI scan or X-ray that the doctor uses to identify and diagnose the cause of your back pain can’t image all the common causes of back pain.

In our experience, a good place to start is getting your fascia problems looked at, as these are “super-causes” of back pain (read this section above). Fascia problems can’t normally be diagnosed by a doctor, an MRI scan, or an X-ray for the basic reason that doctors are not trained to help fascia, and fascia is not detectable with MRI and X-ray imaging technology, even though it is visible to the naked eye. 

Fortunately, Fascial Counterstrain therapy is able to fill this gap and step in when your doctor or physical therapist can’t identify and correct the fascia-based causes of your back pain. This therapy also has another advantage in that if you are doing physical therapy, seeing a doctor, chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist or other health professional, very often the Fascial Counterstrain will improve the results you are getting from these other therapies. 

Call us if you would like to find out how treating your fascia with Fascial Counterstrain therapy can be your best way of avoiding back surgery.

What are my treatment options for back pain?

You may not be aware, but there are a large number of causes of back pain that can’t be identified by standard medical tests and imaging (MRI scans and X-rays). As described in the section above there are many treatment options for helping back pain that don’t involve surgery, although there are also several surgical options that can help back pain. Whether you want or need surgery or not, the whole aim of any treatment is to reduce or completely resolve your back pain. In the sections above, we talked about how there are a large number of possible causes of back pain, however the thing that is not often appreciated is that your back problem usually stems from multiple causes. Thus, fixing only one cause may not be enough to resolve your back pain or condition. 

If your back pain persists or returns after back surgery and/or having gone through one or more back pain therapies, you might start to believe that that your back pain can’t be helped. This thought could be compounded by the fact that there are too many treatment options to know which is the right one for your back issue. It is easy to understand how you can get discouraged in this situation, and how you can feel forced into accepting just living with back pain and its limiting effects on your lifestyle. And even if someone was to meet you and tell you about “the right” treatment, unfortunately the chances that you would trust them enough to act on that are probably not high.

Regrettably, this situation is not that uncommon. Often the only way past this is for you to be lucky enough for someone to refer you to a Fascial Counterstrain therapist, or for someone to successfully explain to your satisfaction what the fundamental role of your fascia is and how it might be causing the symptoms that you feel. Armed with this understanding, a Fascial Counterstrain therapist becomes your next logical treatment option, whether you are suffering chronic back pain, recovering from back surgery, trying to avoid surgery, or trying to improve your athletic performance.

Call us to find out more about Fascial Counterstrain therapy and how it helps the causes of persistent back pain.

How fascia problems occur and cause painful back conditions to develop

Whether it’s an underlying cause of a condition or it stops you from fully recovering after treatment, fascia plays a pivotal role in the conditions that cause back pain. Fascia is central to your ability to sense pain. This is because most nerve endings that transmit pain are housed in your body’s fascia, so the pain that you feel from any injury, condition, or disease is actually coming from the fascia of that affected tissue or body part. 

Fascia coats all of our anatomy from head to toe; it interconnects across all parts of the body (skin through to the center of our bones). Fascia is effectively a key part of your body’s ability to sense and protect itself, and responds with pain, spasm, and inflammation when a particular area is threatened or harmed.

Fascia interconnects across and pervades through all parts of the body and coats all of our anatomy from head to toe (skin through to the center of our bones, including nerves, veins, arteries, muscles, discs, and more). Fascia plays a key role in your body’s ability to sense and protect itself. It responds with pain, spasm, and inflammation when a particular area is threatened or damaged. 

Fascia plays a central role in protecting and healing the body from injury. It’s actually the nerve endings in your fascia that are responsible for sending the “all-clear, good to go!” message to your body after injury.  Until they send this message, your body keeps the muscles and fascia guarding the injury tight. This is in part achieved by the “pain-spasm-pain” cycle. This is where pain causes both a protective spasm in your muscles and fascia, and produces inflammation – which itself can lead to yet more pain. This creates a self-re-enforcing, protective feedback loop that produces inflammation, spasm, and pain until your injury or condition has fully healed. 

This feedback loop becomes problematic and dysfunctional when inflammation gets “stuck” in the injured fascia. This problem is called a fascia dysfunction and prevents the “all-clear” signal from being given to the body. This then creates long-term fascia dysfunctions that can last for years. These long-term dysfunctional fascia spasms can exist before your back condition develops and can make you more prone to developing a back condition. Additionally, a back injury itself can cause yet more fascia dysfunctions to form. This is further compounded because spasming fascia and muscles can slow the healing process by reducing circulation into and out of the back.

Dysfunctional fascial spasms can misalign joints and prevent correct movement on them because the spasms hijack your muscles. This misaligned, worse movement on joints can lead to an increased abnormal stress through your back. Since we can’t consciously override this ability that fascia has to hijack muscles into protectively tightening for the long-term, over time, this kind of stress 1) makes your back more prone to developing many of the common back conditions that cause back pain, 2) increases the likelihood of back pain recurrence, and 3) can slow down or sometimes prevent recovery. 

For example, there are multiple fascia dysfunctions that can cause your body to use your glute muscles less, which forces you to use your back muscles more. Many people suffer from glute muscle inhibition – a technical term for when a muscle is turned off by your nervous system, weakening it in certain positions. 

This very common problem of glute muscle inhibition can prevent you from fully turning (rotating) your leg and from fully moving your leg backwards (extending). Hence, you might feel hip tightness or see differences in how well you can move one hip vs the other. The shortfall in glute strength and hip movement means when you walk or run, your back muscles have to work harder. This in turn increases stress in these muscles, and with overuse they can get over-tired, increasing abnormal stresses into your back. With time, this can lead to many of the most common back conditions developing, reoccurring, or not fully resolving.

While the full role of fascia in injury and pain is becoming more widely known, many in the medical and therapeutic fields are still unaware of its significance or how to specifically address it when it is dysfunctional.  

A wide variety of fascia dysfunctions (e.g., fascia dysfunction of a vein, artery, nerve, bone, cartilage, and more) can cause and contribute to a specific back condition. Often painful back conditions develop because of multiple long-term fascia dysfunctions in the back, knee, hip, ankle or foot. Thus, in order to resolve back pain, you may need a therapist with the ability to address all the different types of fascia dysfunctions (in veins, bones, nerves, and more), wherever they may be in the body. Fascial Counterstrain therapy is one of only a handful of treatments that can actually achieve this.

How Does Fascial Counterstrain Therapy Resolve Back Conditions?

Fascial Counterstrain therapy resolves painful back conditions (even when they are chronic) because it is designed to fix the fascia dysfunctions that can cause them. Fascia dysfunctions are a result of a faulty long-term pain-spasm-pain cycle, [up to section above] that can prevent your condition from fully resolving, and can occur in any type of fascia. That is, fascia of nerves, arteries, veins and more, in any part of the body, whether it’s your knee, back, hips, or feet, etc.

Fascial Counterstrain therapy targets the associated “stuck” inflammation and chronic spasm of a fascia dysfunction by resolving its chemical and neurologic causes. This dual-targeted approach helps you rapidly resolve many common ankle and foot conditions, even those that haven’t responded well to standard treatments or that have become chronic. 

Fascial Counterstrain therapy can treat fascia dysfunction in the multiple types of fascia that exist in any part of the body (knee, back, hips, feet, etc.), which allows it to resolve many of the hard-to-find causes of back pain. Allowing the body to return back to a more properly-functioning, “factory settings,” painless state.

The way Fascial Counterstrain therapy works is that it releases your body’s fascial tissue, with the therapist using precise and gentle positioning that is guided by the presence of specific painful Tender Points.

Fascia coats all of our anatomy from head to toe; it interconnects across all parts of the body (skin through to the center of our bones). Fascia is effectively a key part of your body’s ability to sense and protect itself, and responds with pain, spasm, and inflammation when a particular area is threatened or harmed.

Tender Points are small diagnostic points that, when painful, indicate the presence of a fascia spasm in a certain fascia tissue in a specific part of the body. Tender Points are similar to Trigger Points, but unlike Trigger Points that are located only in muscles, Tender Points can be located anywhere across the body. 

This simple and gentle solution can have profound effects for anybody with a condition or injury, even those with complex physical problems.

Four main benefits of Fascial Counterstrain Therapy

1) Pain reduction and elimination as “stuck” inflammation is effectively released.

2) Preserve your joints and reduce wear and tear by removing improper joint stresses through releasing fascia spasm. 

3) Help prevent injury recurrence.

4) Slow down, stop, and even sometimes reverse degeneration of affected tissue by improving circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid (lymphatic fluid is key to your immune system and helps the healing process).

All of these together give your body the healing and recovery tools to achieve optimal, long-term healing and health.

Contact us to find out more about how Fascial Counterstrain therapy works and how it can help you recover from your back problem.


[1] Brinjikji W, Luetmer PH, Comstock B, Bresnahan BW, Chen LE, Deyo RA, Halabi S, Turner JA, Avins AL, James K, Wald JT, Kallmes DF, Jarvik JG. Systematic literature review of imaging features of spinal degeneration in asymptomatic populations. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2015 Apr;36(4):811-6. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A4173.

[2] Veres SP, Robertson PA, Broom ND. The influence of torsion on disc herniation when combined with flexion. Eur Spine J. 2010;19(9):1468-1478. doi:10.1007/s00586-010-1383-0

Contact us to find out more about how Fascial Counterstrain therapy works and how it can help you recover from your lower back problem.

Questions are welcomed!

    Conditions Treated with Fascial Counterstrain Therapy

    Fascial Counterstrain (FCS) therapy is a class-leading, hands-on method for the identification, assessment, and correction of one of the most common sources of pain and dysfunction in the body. It can help resolve chronic pain & inflammation, improve post-surgical outcomes, reduce healing times, reduce wear and tear across joints, & improve tissue health. Fascial Counterstrain therapy can substantially help many conditions, here is a list of a few, if you don’t see your condition ring us to find out if we can help.

    Speak to a Therapist