Therapy works just as well as fusion for disc-related back pain

Surgery for back pain does not work any better than therapy or no treatment at all. A study conducted at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital ("Operative and Nonoperative Treatment Approaches for Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease Have Similar Long-Term Clinical Outcomes Among Patients With Positive Discography" - September 15, 2013) found that patients with back pain and disc disease did not demonstrate a significant difference in the outcome measures of pain, health status, satisfaction, or disability based on whether the patient elected for fusion or no surgery at all. Therapy is now a first-line option for treating chronic back pain, and the Feldenkrais Method can be recommended with confidence that it is backed by science. 

Back pain and sciatica relief for people over 40: Five Feldenkrais tips everyone should know

If you have lower back pain with or without sciatica you’re not alone. Millions suffer from low back pain and leg pain every day. Given the vast array of treatment choices, how does one decide on a course of back pain relief? The following 5 tips based on the Feldenkrais Method for relieving back pain and sciatica may help:

  • Back pain is not prevented by strengthening of the muscles of the back
  • The stability of the back rather than the strength of the back prevents back pain
  • Therapy for stability is quite different from strength training
  • The stability of the back depends on a properly functioning spinal core
  • A properly functioning spinal core has vertebrae that relate functionally to each other

Functional relationships differ immensely from structural relationships. Structural relationships can be seen on an x-ray and MRI, and are often used to justify back pain diagnoses and treatment plans. Functional relationships on the other hand can be seen with the naked eye. Can you turn as easily to your left as you turn to the right? Does one direction create back pain, while the other direction feels more comfortable? Can you easily bend forward to put on your shoes, get up from a chair, and get into and out of the car without pain? Can you sleep restfully?

Sciatica and back pain relief result from improving functional relationships within the spine, and optimizing the function of the spine as it relates to the rest of the body. How is this accomplished? Each and every Feldenkrais lesson, of which there are thousands, addresses the functional relationships of the spinal core while teaching you to reach, roll over, and sit without pain. Feldenkrais Method lessons create environments within which the body can begin to heal itself by bringing the function back. Function which may have been lost for years by overuse, injury or misuse. Function which will return in a matter of weeks. Let Feldenkrais help you live more comfortably, out of pain.

Many surfers have low back pain

I am never surprised at the number of surfers I see with low back pain. Before I began doing Feldenkrais, my back would often hurt me, especially after surfing.  Many of my friends that surf also experience the feeling of pain in the low back. The amount of extension surfing calls for really requires that the entire back be exquisitely organized for movement, something I don't often see.

I am often asked what to do about that pain you get in your back after surfing. For the generally lazy, who want to do essentially nothing to help themselves, there is always something called Static Back: lie on the floor and put both your legs up over the couch or ottoman such that your hips and knees are at 90 degrees. And yes, just lie there, for about 15-20 minutes. If there is any strain in your neck while you lie on the floor, place a small pillow under your head. There you go, much improved quite quickly.

If you prefer to do something a bit more active for your lower back, congratulations, you will get better faster. Visit my Free Feldenkrais Exercises page and do each of the first 4 lessons on the page. This will also take about 20 minutes, except you will fell vastly different and surprisingly relieved. Enjoy your relief and remember, you're not in this alone. Call me in Encinitas, CA for a free phone consultation: 760-436-2403.

29-year old with distressing low back pain

I recently saw a chemist from the Scripps Research Foundation. He is a post-doc studying molecular engineering. He had experienced lower back pain for 7 years and no one could tell him why. He was quite frustrated, but had a positive attitude. He was a big strapping boy, loved his sports, and stood about 6'1". Sure enough his back muscles were some of the tightest I had ever felt.

After his first Feldenkrais lesson his back pain was significantly improved but not gone. I saw him the next day, and after that lesson his back pain was gone and has not returned.

Two hours of Feldenkrais therapy and 7 years of back pain gone. Would you like this story to be about you? Come visit me at the Feldenkrais Center and rid yourself of that nagging low back pain.