Back pain can be excruciating and debilitating. It makes even a simple task – like putting on a pair of pants – feel almost impossible.
From surgeries to pain-relief medications, conventional medicine has capitalized on how back pain can take over people’s lives.
But the truth is, many of these “cures” provide only short-term – if any – relief. Too often they do not address the core of the problem. And even worse, they can actually damage your health. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, can increase your risk of heart disease, liver problems and more.
If you’re looking for a long-term healthy – healing – solution for back pain, you’ve got to get to the source of the pain. And the source of most back pain is imbalance – physical, nutritional and even mental imbalance. By correcting these imbalances, you not only can stop the immediate pain, but even get rid of it permanently.
Addressing the Physical Imbalance
Thousands of back pain sufferers have turned to the Healthy Back Institute (HBI) (www.losethebackpain.com) to help them correct these imbalances. HBI emphasizes a self-directed and comprehensive approach to healing, starting with “muscle balance therapy.” Through carefully designed exercises, you bring your muscles back into balance.
To understand the impact of imbalanced muscles, think about your muscles and bones as a carefully designed architecture. Bones provide a framework for muscle attachments. And muscles help maintain your bones’ positioning. If you build up your muscles too much in one place and neglect ones that complement them, the stronger muscles will start to pull the bones, and accompanying muscles, more and more out of line.
“For example,” points out HBI’s co-founder Steve Heffron, “You can have overly strong and tight muscles in the front of your legs that pull your pelvis into an abnormal position.”1
Many of these imbalances come from daily life. “If you sit or stand all day for your job . . . if you’re a factory worker or an athlete . . . your body accommodates to the activity that you give it,” explains Heffron. “Over time those accommodations become physical changes. And those physical changes become the abnormal pressures.”
And this, many times, is what becomes back pain. As these muscles contract, the spasms also constrict nerves and restrict blood flow. The constricted nerves become irritated and cause inflammation. The restricted blood flow results in low levels of nutrients and oxygen in the muscle tissue. Without these essentials, the muscles cannot relax, resulting in further pain.
Losing Back Pain For Good
By identifying muscle imbalances that are causing back pain and correcting them, says Heffron, people are able to stop the pain.
But don’t consider these corrective exercises a difficult addition to your life. “Instead it should become a way of life,” says Heffron. “If you can change your habits, you can change the things that cause the problems in the first place.”
For example, Heffron stands up for phone calls and reading. He’s replaced his desk chair with a therapy ball so he can move around as he types at the computer.
In addition to the physical solutions, healing back pain depends on good nutrition.
“Our bodies are self-healing organisms,” says Heffron. “As long as you’re in an injured state, your body has to work harder to heal itself. You need the proper nutrition to give the body what it needs so that it can heal itself, rather than stealing it from someplace else.”
And when it comes to nutritional healing for muscle and back pain, magnesium stands out:
- Magnesium helps nerves and blood vessels relax, relieving the pain caused by these constrictions.
- Magnesium plays a key role in the production of ATP, our body’s energy currency. Without enough ATP, our muscles contract.
Magnesium supplementation also counters another imbalance linked to muscle pain: Too much calcium.
In muscles, calcium and magnesium dance a delicately balanced duet. Calcium causes muscles to contract and magnesium causes them to relax. Too much calcium causes the fibers of the muscle – the actin and myosin filaments – to bind up tightly.2
With no magnesium available – or not enough – to counter the calcium, our muscles can’t relax.
As Carolyn Dean points out in her book, The Magnesium Miracle, we’re hounded to get more calcium by books, ads, doctors and more.
Few sources remind us to get enough magnesium.
Our ancestors’ Paleolithic diet included calcium and magnesium in a ratio of 1:1. Today’s ratio is between 5:1 to 15:1! That excess calcium binds up our precious magnesium, leaving our body even more shortchanged on magnesium.3
In fact, American adults are woefully low on magnesium. The National Academy of Sciences found that on average, men only get about 80% of their magnesium needs met and women only 70%.4
Supplementing with a high quality magnesium supplement like Jigsaw’s Magnesium w/ SRT (Slow Release Technology) can help restore this mineral balance in your body.
Don’t Give Up
While a pain reliever may provide some immediate relief, these approaches – restoring physical and nutritional balance may take time. Remember, it took you years, if not decades, to create these painful imbalances.
Heffron offers a few additional bits of advice to help you continue this process successfully:
- Experiment. What works for one person may not work for you. For example, magnesium supplementation may provide immediate results to someone deficient in magnesium, but yield nothing for someone who has plenty. See what works for your body and become the expert.
- Don’t give up on an approach just because it didn’t work once. Many pain relief techniques – massage and nutrition, for example – may not work at all until you address the root source of your pain – the muscle imbalance. Once you start returning to balance, these complementary therapies become more effective.
So don’t let back pain rule your life. Restore balance at both the nutritional and physical levels for healing that can last a lifetime.
- Steve Heffron, Personal Interview 12/17/08
- Joseph E. Muscolino, “Body Mechanics”; www.amtamassage.org/mtj viewed 12/20/08
- Carolyn Dean, The Magnesium Miracle, Ballantine Books, New York. 2007, p. 21
- Carolyn Dean, p. 23-24