Lower Back Pain – 90% Cause Not Known?

The most common form of back pain is Lower Back Pain. And if we have to believe scientists, in 90% of the cases there is no clear and discernible cause. On wikipedia there is talk of even 95% of all back troubles being without any known cause!

Now this is really serious, because...

Before you can tackle a problem, you have to know the cause, and how does that work when doctors keep telling us that 90% of our back troubles have no known cause?...

...please read on, because there is a scientific cause and also a solution to your chronic or acute back troubles!...

The pain is very real, sometimes sickening, sometimes literally debilitating. If you are suffering from back pains right now, you know what I am talking about.

An unknown cause of back pain is so wide spread that doctors now call these kinds of problems nonspecific back problems.

This expression indicates that the back pain can not be pinpointed to any specific cause...

...according to current methods of diagnostics, that is.
Lower Back Pain and MRI scans

You may think that an MRI scan can give decisive answers about your back complaints. That remains to be seen however. I know of a neurologist in the Netherlands who truthfully indicates that he is not taking MRI scans anymore, simply because 20 – 25% of all adults in the Netherlands have a disc herniation which does not, nor will it ever, bother them!...

But the neurologist said that if people see on an MRI scan that they have a herniated or protruded disc, they may want to get operated on thinking that that would help. But according to this neurosurgeon it is highly doubtful that the protruded discs are the cause of the pains...

And there are just too many cases in which an operation hasn't helped the problems at all. There are even cases where the complaints actually got worse. Obviously that is not what we want.

And to make it worse, there are also many cases where nothing can be seen on any scan at all, yet the pains that people feel are very very real!...

What is going on here? No visible damage on the scan, yet you have pain. Then where does the pain come from?

Research into the origins of chronic pains has recently pointed at the role connective tissue in our bodies play in our pains...

Back pain is now clearly associated with connective tissue, also called myofascial tissue. Myo means muscle, fascia means membrane or connective tissue.

And once you know how this tissue works and may be causing your pain, you will be able to see the road forward to getting pain free again.
Myofascial tissue, or fascia, what is it?....

...if you cut up a chicken breast, you see a thin shining membrane on top of the meat. This membrane spans over all of the meat and turns into thicker, white tissue, the tendons, which connect the muscles with the bones. This shiny stuff is the membrane we are talking about. This membrane connects the muscles to the bones and the ligaments.

And let's look at another example to understand the role of this tissue a bit more. Take a grapefruit. Slice it in half and look at how it is divided in parts. The divisions seem to be created by "white stuff."  First there is a thick bunch of white stuff around the outside. Then the white stuff divides the fruit into wedges.  If you look closer at one of the wedges you will notice there are finer wrappings of white film encapsulating the pockets of juice.

This white film that creates the structure of the grapefruit and holds the 'parts' in place is what myofascial tissue is doing in your body.

Like the pockets of juice in a grapefruit, each cell has a thin membrane of fascia holding it together. Each group of cells form a piece of tissue fiber. The tissue fiber has a bit thicker fascia membrane around it. A number of fibers create an organ or muscle which remains intact by having its own thicker membrane around it. The biceps and heart each need a container to hold it in place. The fascia is exactly that, a container for parts of the body that interweaves and encapsulates other smaller containers just like the white connective tissue of the grapefruit.

Fascial membranes anchor our intestines to our ribcage. Fascia encapsulates every bone and every organ. Fascia not only wraps around muscles and organs, but it wraps and interweaves through them. The entire body has a final thick fascia membrane right underneath the skin.

In our bodies, everything is connected with everything else with this tissue, hence the name connective tissue.

In recent years, we are discovering more and more about the function of this connective tissue and how it works. In one book I studied about it, it is called an endless web of tissue, running from top to bottom throughout our body, and connecting everything with everything

It is exactly this myofascial tissue that plays such an important part in back pain...

Myofascial tissue can dry out and end up sort of glued together, it seems to act as a storehouse of trauma, both physical and emotional...

If you hurt yourself, it gets stored in your fascia, if you don't take proper care of your body, your fascia dries out and if it does it gets brittle and glues your muscles and organs together a bit, to you it feels like your are more and more stiff...

If there are emotional issues in your life, it stiffens your fascia and you!...
Lower Back Pain and Trigger Points

You may have heard of trigger points, these are small knots in the myofascial tissue, people call them muscle knots and you can feel them in your own body, small painful thick spots in your muscle tissue. The thing is, it is not the muscle tissue. They are in fact small tissue contractions on the transition between muscle tissue and connecting tissue, which is why the official name is 'myofascial trigger points'.

It turns out that it is the connective tissue that passes on pain to other parts of the body. We call this referred pain. None of this shows up on scans, but if you touch the tissue, you clearly notice the trigger points and if you apply pressure to those points, it will soon start hurting a lot and very often you feel the pain in a different spot in your body as well.

A couple of years ago I received  my last treatment from my manual therapist, and he made me lay down on his massage table, then he pulled my big toe, and I felt a reaction going up my spine...

...that's how connected we are!

Trigger point therapy is one therapy that is targeted to remove the trigger points. It aims to do so by means of special pressure massage of the particular pain causing spots, and thereby relieve the pain. However this still doesn't take care of the underlying problem, which is how the trigger points originated in the first place.

Bodywork is another therapy that is aiming to release your fascia and help you get rid of your triggerpoints...

Or maybe you have heard of Bowen Therapy, which is another from of therapy aiming at releasing your fascia.

Then even more recently special exercises have been developed to stretch the fascial tissue in such a way that you can now succesfully release the stored up damages in most of your fascia yourself, at home and quite easily as well.

With the BeatingBackPain.com selfhelp program we teach you certain moves that have helped many already improve the state of their fascial tissue, all by themselves and without any treatment. Don't get me wrong, treatment can be great and sometimes is neceesary to get hings going, but I just find it easier to deal with things myself in the comfort of my own home at times when it suits me.

Triggerpoints have been researched and documented quite a bit and funny as it may seem, clear pain pathways have been discovered that look remakrably similar to meridians, that are so well known in traditional chinese medicine. And with current state of technology outside of western medicine we are now able to even measure things happening in these meridians.

Unfortunately traditional western medicine still seems very reluctant to even dare to think or research these new developments. It almost seems our health industry is more concerned with developing drugs rather than discovering natural causes and solutions.
90% Unknown Cause Of Back Troubles - You Now Know Better

So next time your doctor tells you there is no discernible cause for your back problems, please point him at the role fascia plays in chronic pains.

Like said above, fascia acts as a storehouse of physical damage to your body, as well as a storehouse of emotional damage and I guess there is even a spiritual connection.

Trigger points are known to originate in the muscle tissue if you use the muscles wrongly, or strain them too much or without variation. For instance, you can incur trigger points by lifting a heavy suitcase with only your left hand. Doing heavy labor with your 'strong' side may lead to trigger points. Think of a carpenter or bricklayer who does a lot of repeating heavy work with 1 hand...

But also a wrong posture during lifting can cause trigger points, and the list goes on. But more important of course is to know how to get rid of your trigger points, preferably without treatment which would take time and cost money.

But we also mentioned that fascia stores emotional troubles as well...

Have you ever heard of Dr. Sarno who wrote about the mind-body connection regarding pain?

Dr Sarno tells people that our mind causes our pains, and he then continues to say that the painful tissue is oxygen deprived tissue. Interesting to know that all research into fascia also shows that the triggerpoints develop in areas where there is clear oxygen deprivation. And the Sarno research seems to confirm that emotional and psychological trauma get stored in fascia, thus causing pains...
Lower Back Pain – What You Can Do Yourself

For starters, guard your posture when you lift, walk, work, do sport, etc. etc. That is why we wrote a new book describing a simple – almost automatic – way of improving your posture – without physical exercises: The 'Guard Your Posture Checklist'. It can be ordered on this website. Interesting enough our research shows that people with better posture are better able to stand their ground in all sorts of situations, which can help in dealing with the issues of your life as well and helps you work on the possible mind body connections of your particular pains as well.

It also turns out that a body full of trigger points is a body full of muscle tension, and this tension is often associated with pain, but also with stiff parts in the back because your intervertebral discs get 'flattened' by the constant muscle tension in your back. Call it collateral damage if you like, but one thing is sure, most discs can really benefit from some tender loving care...

To promote healing of your discs, we recommend the book 'The Dutch Decompression Routine'. In this book, you will find simple decompression exercises to relieve the pressure on your discs, thereby giving your body the opportunity to return your discs to good health.

You notice that a healthy back – without pain, without trigger points, en with healthy intervertebral discs – has to do with the right posture, healthy discs, and also a healthy basic or core stability of your back. And it is this last item that the exercises from the basic program of BeatingBackPain are meant for.

The Back Pain GoodBye! program works on release of fascia tensions by a simple series of exercises that are known to rebuild core strength and stability of damaged backs and that also aim to release tensions that have been stored in fascial tissue.

In the next article, we will further discuss the symptoms of lower back pain.