Lower Back Pain

Woman pressing her hand into her back to relieve pain

Lower back pain can affect not only your mobility but also it can affect the way you feel and your psychology.

Especially if it’s chronic, it can colour your whole life, affect your sleep, work, what you do, and even something simple like going out.

If this affects you, here are some simple tips from our massage therapists on how to reduce the pain.

Causes Of Lower Back Pain

What's Up Doc?

Lower back pain can really hurt, from a constant dull ache to shooting pain.

If you have it for more than 24 hours your first stop is your local doctor to get it checked out. It could be something as simple as pulled muscle or something more serious.

So, don’t dodge your GP. Go sit in the waiting room with the ten-year-old copies of National Geographic and get some advice on what could be causing the pain.

Flat Earth

Lifted something heavy?

Muscle strain is a probable cause of the pain.

The most obvious thing to do is lie flat on your back on a firm surface, and pull your knees up to your chest … this will take the pressure off your back and give you some temporary relief.

Be Like A Cat Yoga Pose

This is one we loved when we were pregnant to reduce the stress on the lower back.

On all fours, stretch your back up like a cat, and then curl it back down so your back arches.

Fantastic way to gently stretch the muscles. Repeat five times and usually your back will stop complaining.

Hot Stuff

Sore backs love heat!

So, load it up with hot water bottles, heat packs, standing under a hot shower, baths with Epsom Salts.

Anything to get the heat into the muscles to relax them and help take away the pain.

The heat will increase blood flow and promote healing, things your back will love.

Drinking Water To Rehydrate Body

Is Your Body A Temple?

A common cause of back pain may not necessarily be the disks or muscle pain, it could be your kidneys.

If you generally abuse your body with alcohol, cigarettes, soda drinks and junk food, the source of your problem could be sore kidneys.

This may be the cue for your body to be not-so-gently asking you to take a little more care of it. Some easy ways to shift to a healthier lifestyle are here.

Again, consult your doctor if you are unsure, but maybe a week with no booze and instead a diet of water and healthy veg may be just what your body needs to reduce the “please help” pain signals your back is sending to you.

Smoking can also add to osteoporosis which can cause general back pain. ‘

This might be the push you need to quit (plus save all that money on then indulging your body with some pampering .. win/win).

Two Ripple sports massage therapists

How Your Piriformis Muscle
Might Cause Your Back Pain

Ever wondered why your lower back pain just won’t go away?

A little known muscle called the Piriformis may just be the cause.

If your GP were to frown and mention the Piriformis muscle as the possible cause of your back pain – you would just sit there clueless?

“The what?” you’d say. “The piriformis,” your doctor would reply – and – chances are – you’d still be none the wiser.

Deep Tissue Massage

What Is The Piriformis Muscle?

Piriformis. Yes it sounds like some kind of Mexican hot pepper sauce but it is – in fact – a muscle.

If you’ve never heard of it before it’s because it’s not a show off.

Unlike the biceps and the abs, you’ll never catch the piriformis flexing itself in bathroom mirror selfies.

Instead, this muscle lives a quiet and happy life in the gluteal region of your body.

Yes – it lives deep in your buttocks where it forms part of a team of six muscles called the Lateral Rotator Group.

Its name comes from the Latin piriformis which basically means ‘pear shaped’ and it was first named in the 16th century by a professor from the University of Padua in Italy named Adriaan van den Spiegel.

Adriaan was quite the over-achiever. He also gave the first comprehensive description of malaria and dabbled in botany too so there’s a genus of around 60 species of flowering plants named after him as well.

What Does The Piriformis Do?

As part of the Gang of Six Lateral Rotators, the piriformis muscle helps to stabilise the pelvis and laterally rotate the femur in the hip joint. This helps you balance, walk and extend your leg outwards to the side.

Unfortunately, these muscles are also the major culprits in lower back and leg pain.

The piriformis muscle’s position in particular can cause it to become tight and compress the sciatic nerve.

How Does The Piriformis Cause Sciatica?

Piriformis Syndrome is what happens when things go wrong. But first – let’s talk about the sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve is the big enchilada of the nervous system. It is largest nerve and runs from the lower back through the buttocks and down the legs.

The nerve is located near the piriformis muscle but in 17 percent of the population the nerve actually goes through the muscle.

When the muscle tightens therefore, it can put pressure on the nerve and that big enchilada will let you know.

The result is soreness in the buttocks and referring pain along the sciatic nerve.

This referred pain is called ‘sciatica’ and often travels down the back of the thigh and / or into the lower back area.

Interestingly, Piriformis Syndrome can also occur for other reasons; for example it could happen due to external pressure such as repeatedly sitting on a wallet placed in a back pocket or – in rare cases – can be the result of a direct blow to the buttock area.

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How Do You Know If The Piriformis
Is Causing Your Back Pain?

Those who suffer from Piriformis Syndrome have symptoms that can include:

  • Dull pain in the buttock
  • Soreness down the back of the thigh, calf and foot (sciatica)
  • Pain when walking up stairs or inclines
  • Greater pain after prolonged sitting
  • A reduced range of motion in the hip joint

Piriformis Syndrome is often diagnosed through a process of elimination. When other  possible conditions have been ruled out, such as a lumbar disc herniation or sacroiliac joint dysfunction, then your GP will frown and  turn her or his  attention  to Piriformis Syndrome.

Your medical history is reviewed; a physical examination is undertaken and possibly diagnostic tests, too.

How Do You Release The Piriformis Muscle?

When it comes to Piriformis Syndrome, almost every treatment approach involves carefully and gradually stretching the piriformis muscle.

Your GP may recommend Physical Therapy that will include Piriformis stretches and hamstring stretches and exercises too.

Massage is a valuable treatment strategy as well. Deep tissue massage does much to enhance healing and is often very successful in controlling the aches and relieving the pain caused by Piriformis Syndrome.

Soft-tissue massage to the gluteal and lumbosacral regions increases blood flow to the area, extends the soft tissue, reduces irritation of the sciatic nerve and decreases muscle spasm.

Deep tissue massage or a remedial massage should always form part of your recovery process from Piriformis Syndrome.

Man receiving a deep tissue massage on his shoulder

If Piriformis Syndrome is diagnosed and treated early, the prognosis is usually good.

Unfortunately a later diagnosis has a less favourable prognosis. Symptoms that have been present for a number of months may take several weeks of treatment to resolve. Thankfully however, only very rarely is surgery required.

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Two massage therapists hands on clients back

I just wanted to let you know how fantastic our treatments were and what a great experience we had.

Everything went so smoothly and we were all so very relaxed and feeling fantastic by days end.

Any time we are back in Qld we will be definitely using your services again.


Massage Deep Tissue

5 out of 5
September, 2018

Ripple Massage Day Spa And Beauty
National Telephone: 0438 567 906 – Email: info@ripplemassage.com.au
Head Office : 48 Justin Ave, Mt Tamborine Qld 4272
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Author Biography – Ali Saoirse –  BEc University Sydney, GradDipPsych Bond University, Diploma Remedial Massage, Certificate IV Massage, Level 7 Kahuna Massage, Qualifications in Pregnancy Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Aromatherapy, Reflexology from Gold Coast TAFE.

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