Pain is a construct of the brain. The brain produces pain as a way to let us know something is wrong. Our problem… we feel it but frequently we ignore the message or do things to deafen its sound. When you feel pain near your spine, it’s even more important you listen and take the right, immediate steps to get out of it. We take pain killers, we take anti-inflammatory medication… but are we really listening to our body or are we taking the batteries out of our alert system when we know something is about to set fire? One key question is, why, once you are in pain is it so difficult to get out of it?
Before I tell you what’s missing, let me tell you what a lot of people think about resolving low back pain (LBP). The biggest, and most inconclusive idea is that if you have low back pain your “core” is weak. The second biggest problem is that we have a misconception about “the core” in the first place. It’s not a muscle system like most people think. It’s a dual, neurofascial stabilizing system filled with mechanisms that even the “deep core exercises” people say they are using to help low back pain even tap into aren’t really accessing at all.
In a randomized controlled trial study originally dated back in 1976 it shows that “Abdominal muscle onset was largely unaffected by 8 weeks of exercises in chronic LBP patients. There was no association between change in onset and LBP. Large individual variations in activation pattern of the deep abdominal muscles may justify exploration of differential effects in subgroups of LBP.”
What the study was investigating was the delay that occurs in the feed-forward mechanisms of the deep abdominal system that our body uses for natural spinal stability. When this mechanism is delayed your low back is more prone to unnecessary compression and misalignment because this pre-stress mechanism that should precede movement autonomically is absent or delayed due to repetitive strain, postures, or previous injuries. The study used basic core stability exercises, sling exercises for chronic, nonspecific low back pain.
The conclusion above wasn’t promising. So what’s missing? Well, before you can address the feed-forward mechanism, you must address the reflexive and rooting mechanisms of what I call the NeuroCore System. The problem is, no traditional exercises actually effect the timing of these mechanisms because it’s not the muscles that are having the issue or the motor pathways. It’s the sensory nervous system that is having the trouble.
I’ve worked with literally thousands of people with chronic low back pain, hundreds in my private practice and hundreds more with MELT. I am so due to do my own study to see if by adding MELT to these traditional core techniques you can get people out of low back pain – because I have, and I know it works.
First, you have to stimulate the reflexes and rooting mechanisms in a very subtle way. You can’t force the mechanism into rebalancing. You really have to ease in like a Jedi, very stealth like to reacquire the balance of these mechanisms. However, once you initiate them, if you do stabilization exercises (I have my own bag of techniques I use) you will always achieve better results.
If you just apply traditional stability exercises to someone who CURRENTLY is in pain, you won’t help them much. Their natural stability systems are out of whack so the best you will do is make them better and bracing and compensating to achieve stability.
We all need to understand that muscle strength is only one facet of stability. It’s in fact not even the most important part. You can’t be efficiently mobile if you are inefficiently achieving stability. The big issue is, most of us don’t even know what this means. What is stability? If you walk upright, does that mean you are stable? Nope. It’s just not that easy. There are ways to test it.
In the MELT Method book, I teach people how to assess their natural stability system or what I call the Autopilot to see if it’s efficiently achieving balance. You might be surprised to find that your Autopilot is out of whack and needs to be rebalanced.
So before you think all hope is lost and if you have chronic spinal or pelvic pain there is no way out, you need to try adding MELT to your physical therapy, core strength training, or rehab. I am telling you, it is possible to get out of chronic pain and get your brain to stop sending you those signals because you will actually resolve the issue once and for all.
Posted from http://www.meltmethod.com/blog/low-back-pain-easy-get-in , January 2013