Lower Back Pain, exercises, the Psoas and Pilates

Discussions relating to Lower Back Pain.

Lower Back Pain, exercises, the Psoas and Pilates

Postby M in California » Fri Jan 27, 2006 8:55 pm

About the time I discovered Dean's book, I had been dealing with a herniated disk (L4), severe back spasms which felt like what being electrocuted must feel like, and chronic pain.
My doctor had advised against a Chiropractor because he was afraid that any "adjustment" might further herniate the disk.
He told me to take it easy and eventually the pain would subside.
He was right. But, I was left with a painfully fragile lower back.

During one episode, my friend who is a massage therapist and Pilates instructor started to work on me to relieve the tension in my Psoas.
For anyone with lower back pain, look up info on the Psoas! It is made up of muscles that run alongside our lower back - next to the spine, over our hip bone and into the front of our leg. If one side of the Psoas is cramped, you get that, "Old man, hunchback, crooked walk."
Anyway, she confirmed what Dean's book confirms... By strengthening and stretching the muscles of the Psoas and our "core" (stomach muscles, etc.), we then stabilize the Pelvis.
I had to work on stretching my hamstrings also. My back was so "frozen" in place that the loosening of the vertebrae with breathing exercises and small, specific movements brought huge relief.

I have also discovered these small rubber balls that come with a small book by Elaine Petrone that you can use with Dean's exercises. These little balls help me to stretch out my back, like on Page 96 of Dean's book, and relax my muscles; without fear of any quick, unexpected movements that can happen on the large, rubber balls that they use in Physio.
These little balls are about the size of a large softball, and are very soft and flexible.

I just wanted to share this info in case it can help someone else who thought that they were stuck with constant back pain. There is relief.
Just go slow and listen to your body. If you can get the Psoas to release and your pelvis stabilized, then you will have great relief.

Thanks and good luck.
M in California

Postby Jeanette » Fri Jan 27, 2006 11:03 pm

Hi M -- You were fortunate to find someone who could (and would) work on muscles that we often ignore -- or don't know about. We so often focus on strengthening and stretching the large, superficial muscles and we forget the role that the smaller, but critical, linkages play.

Dean's exercises get to a lot of those, but depending on what you've done to injure yourself or how you've been compensating, you may have to "wake up" some unused muscles in order to get them to take on the jobs they're supposed to do. Your massage therapist seems to be helping you with that. Great :)

Pilates is a great exercise system and one that Dean's pantheon of exercises reflects. They do have to be used skillfully and in reasonable progression, however, incorporating those core muscles which contribute so much to the overall strength of the back. Dean's regimen does an excellent job of guiding you through those progressions.

Good luck with your recovery.
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