Low back pain treatments work with soft tissues and the nervous system to correct imbalances and address dysfunction. Bodywork, acupuncture, counseling, and somatics are all effective, and can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan to address the specific causes of your low back pain.
Restorative practices balance the effects of stress on the body. Stress serves an important role in keeping us alive through threatening circumstances, but it is also a complex biological response that is designed to be temporary and flushed out of the system when the threat has passed. Restorative practices are able to help with that after-stress reset.
Restorative practices use techniques that create space for deep rest in the body and mind. Often, the goal is to create conditions where tension can be released in layers, allowing the body to be held by gravity instead of internal force.
As physical tension releases, the heart rate begins to slow and the breath deepens. The nervous system begins to change modes away from stress and adrenaline responses. Digestion improves and the body sends more nourishment to tissues so that they can repair and heal. The more muscular tension releases, the more blood and oxygen is able to flow through the body.
Restorative practice also nourishes the mind. Deep rest resets the nervous system, which helps calm anxiety. Shifting the nervous system away from stress mode also decreases pain levels, as the nervous system is able to turn the volume down on the pain signals themselves.
Releasing stress and restoring the body and mind to a calm, nourishing state is a key to maintaining and creating health. Restorative practice can take many forms, including classes, bodywork, mindfulness, or other therapies. With enough restoration, we are able to prevent becoming locked into chronic stress patterns and the dysfunction they cause.
Sciatica is pain from the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lumbar spine, through the hip, and down the leg to the foot. The pain can be felt anywhere along the path of the nerve, and can range from minor to severe.
Treatment for sciatica involves working with the structures of the back and hip that may be impinging on the nerve. The piriformis muscle of the hip is the most famous cause of sciatic pain, but it is not the only cause. Our posture, the way we walk, how we sit, and other habitual body habits change how our muscles work together over time, and when those systems become imbalanced, the ways they compensate often cause pain.
Sciatica treatment focuses on releasing tension, freeing adhered tissue, and addressing the structure and range of motion around the sciatic nerve, as well as other related issues that are causing imbalance and stress in the body. Often, a combination of bodywork, acupuncture, and somatic movement can help reduce and often resolve sciatica.
Bodywork works with the tissues directly to free adhesions, restore range of motion, and reduce muscular tension that may be impinging on the nerve. It also increases blood and nutrient flow to the nerve, which helps reduce pain signaling. Bodywork is also able to address complex causes of sciatica, like neck or shoulder tension, that in turn is affecting the hips and low back and so contributing to the pain.
Acupuncture is proven to be effective for pain treatment, including sciatica. It helps tone the nervous system, turning down the volume on pain signals from the nerve to the brain. When the body has been in pain for a while, or the issue has become chronic, the pain signals can get caught in a feedback loop that gets worse over time. Acupuncture is able to safely reset this process, which helps the restore nervous system health.
Somatic movement, like yoga or feldenkrais, brings awareness to where and how the body moves in space. It helps reconnect the brain to movement patterns in the body, and to rejuvenate tissues through movement, stretching, and using a larger range of motion. This in turn reduces tension in the body and helps address dysfunctional movement patterns.
Sciatica can be persistent, painful, and frustrating. Effective treatment understands that it is the result of dysfunction in complex structures of the body and works to release tension, restore function, and rebalance the nervous system in order to manage the pain and create health.
If your feet hurt when you wake up in the morning, especially in the heel, then you probably have plantar fasciitis. It is a symptom of larger problems in how you walk, run, and stand. Though there are many ways to reduce the pain in the short term, effective treatment usually requires working with the structure of the body as a whole, especially the legs, pelvis, and back.
Plantar fasciitis refers to pain in a band of connective tissue along the bottom of the foot called the plantar fascia. It connects the heel to the toes and is an important part of maintaining the arch of the foot. The arch needs to have just the right tension, neither too tight nor too loose, in order to best absorb the impact of the foot on the ground with each step.
Biomechanical issues like imbalanced posture, how you walk, or even the shoes you wear, are usually the main contributors to plantar fasciitis. Your connective tissue (fascia) runs all the way from the bottom of the foot, along the back of the calf and thigh, and continues up the back and neck to the head. Tightness anywhere along this path can in turn tighten the plantar fascia and cause pain.
Bodywork and acupuncture are effective treatments for plantar fasciitis, usually as a series of bodywork sessions supported by acupuncture (depending on the severity of the pain). Treatment begins with releasing tension along the full fascial lines of the body that connect with the feet. This includes working with both muscle and connective tissue to free adhesions and restore function. Treatment also works to increase blood and fluid flow to the plantar fascia, helping to nourish the tissue and reduce the pain caused by blood restriction. Nerve signal regulation also helps to reduce pain sensations while structural issues are addressed.
Plantar Fasciitis is a symptom of larger structural issues in the body, and can be treated effectively through bodywork and acupuncture. By working with the body as a whole, we can understand plantar fasciitis as a symptom of tightness in the back of the body, rather than only a foot issue, and resolve the dysfunction accordingly.
Hemp extract, or CBD, is cannabidiol, which is one of the many compounds that come from the cannabis plant. It is technically legal in all 50 states, but is unregulated, which means that you can’t trust all the labels on CBD products and it is important to check into the company that produced it. It is effective for sleep, pain, inflammation, and anxiety, as well as other health issues, and it does not make you feel high.
CBD and Hemp Extract are the same thing, but different companies choose different terms for labelling purposes. In order to be legal in all 50 states, it has to be sourced from industrial hemp, and contain no more than 0.4% THC. A Full Spectrum CBD product means that it contains the full legal limit of 0.4% THC, as well as other trace cannabinoids in addition to the cannabidiol (CBD).
Treating Pain: CBD reduces inflammation in the body. This helps reduce pain levels for both acute pain and chronic pain issues.
Regulating Sleep: CBD calms the nervous system, which helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. It can be used as a regular part of your bedtime routine, or to help you fall asleep when traveling or jet lagged.
Reducing Anxiety: CBD also reduces anxiety symptoms that come from PTSD, anxiety disorders, and OCD. It does so with very few side effects, unlike many of the medications often used to treat these conditions.
At Ha.Lé, we are pleased to carry high quality CBD/Hemp Extract products from companies that we trust. They can be taken internally or absorbed topically, depending on your needs. CBD is widely tolerated by adults across a wide dose range, and we find that it can be a safe way to increase the effectiveness of our treatments when integrated into care.
Low back pain is a very common health issue, and it tends to be something that people deal with for long stretches of time, sometimes for years or even decades. The conversation around low back pain often sounds mechanical, as if certain body parts are malfunctioning. However, the low back is part of a system of movement, and walking correctly can help correct dysfunction and reduce pain.
In order to treat low back pain, the hips need to rotate when we walk. To do this, make sure your feet and knees are pointing straight ahead, and your legs are swinging straight with each step, not out to the side. A way to practice is to walk on a flat curb, or with your feet on either side of a line painted on the road. Rotating the hips engages the muscles of the low back with each step, and allows the muscles of the hip to release periodically instead of always staying tight. This improves the body mechanics of our entire spine and back, our pelvis, and our core musculature.
When the low back is engaged while walking, it does two things. First, it builds strength and stability in the soft tissue, which then supports and stabilizes the spine. A more supported lumbar spine is less likely to become compressed, pinch nerves, or go out of alignment. Low back engagement while walking also helps to release tension in those muscles. It brings in blood flow and oxygen, stretching and moving the muscle fibers so that they are less likely to grow rigid or go into spasm.
Part of being able to walk correctly requires building body awareness, which is a skill that many people have not been taught how to have. Bodywork and Somatics classes both help the brain learn how to better sense where the body is in space and how it is moving. Once we can sense that, we can begin to adjust our movement patterns in order to better support our health.
Learning to walk correctly can effectively treat back pain because our bodies are made to move. When we move with correct alignment and muscle engagement, we free up our natural ability to function and heal. This in turn reduces pain and works to create health.
Walking is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. It activates deep biological processes for health, balance, and wellbeing, supporting both physical and mental health. Our bodies are designed to walk as our main mode of getting from one place to another, and many of our biological systems work best when we are in motion.
When we go for a walk, our circulation increases, which nourishes our whole body with blood and oxygen. This nourishment provides what our tissues need to repair themselves, often solving minor issues before we even notice them.
Walking also helps calm the mind and reduce the effects of stress. The rhythm of walking helps us enter a light meditative state, which then regulates breathing, lowers stress hormones, and can bring a sense of peace and calm.
The actual act of putting one foot in front of the other keeps our bodies and minds in conversation with each other. The motion of it involves complex interactions between muscles, bones, and connective tissues. Walking helps tune up those interactions, and increase coordination in general.
Going outside to walk increases all these benefits by adding fresh air and uneven ground. The fresh air, open space, and interactions with nature all help to boost the immune system and regulate sensory processing, and may offer a sense of peacefulness. Uneven ground keeps our coordination and stabilization systems active, reducing the likelihood of falling and helping improve joint health.
Going for a walk is one of the most fundamental self-care practices we can do. It directly supports comprehensive mental and physical health, which in turn increases our internal feelings of vitality and our overall sense of wellbeing.
Our bodies use pain to tell us there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Pain can come from things like repetitive motion, poor posture, highly active lifestyles, and accidental injuries. It can be a short term issue, or last for a while. The good news is that there are direct ways to treat and reduce pain levels through integrative care.
Injury: Recovering from an injury is sometimes a frustrating process that takes longer than we would like. Supporting the body through this process involves both gently working with the injury, and releasing tension from the other parts of the body that are compensating while the injury heals. Bodywork therapies can directly reduce inflammation, relieve tension, and nourish the injury with blood and nutrients. Classes help build awareness of new movement patterns and relieve tension, and Acupuncture can reduce pain signals and promote overall balance for affected systems of the body.
Athletic Performance: Highly active lifestyles like running, rock climbing, and kayaking push your body to higher levels of performance and fun. This means your body needs extra recovery in order to prevent injuries. Classes to support full relaxation, rebalancing, and core strength help the body recover and nourish itself. Bodywork and Cupping Therapy help improve recovery time and can increase athletic performance.
Aging: Small imbalances accumulate into aches and pains over time, which means that getting older often means increased pain from years of repetitive motions, posture habits, and old injuries. Bodywork can help treat and rebalance the causes of these various aches and pains. Acupuncture is effective for reducing pain levels overall, and addressing underlying dysfunctions. Classes reinvigorate and reactivate the body, improve muscle tone and balance, and help develop awareness of movement patterns.
Integrative care offers effective ways to treat pain from injuries, athletic performance, and aging. It supports the body’s own healing processes and increases your internal sense of wellbeing, partnering with you in your care in order to create health.
Our bodies have posture, which means that we resist the pull of gravity by holding our body in a certain shape. A healthy posture gives us ease and economy of motion, helps with coordination, and provides a balance between stability and mobility.
How we move can affect our posture. Think about typing at a keyboard all day, and how that can round the shoulders and move the head forward. These movements train our muscles into certain patterns, which changes our posture, and then our posture affects the shape of even more movements.
Over time, posture issues can get locked into chronic holding patterns in our muscles. This causes ongoing muscle tension and discomfort, from where we are holding ourselves in less than optimal ways. For example, our spine is designed to stack, vertebra by vertebra, to provide a structure that helps support our relatively heavy head. When we lean our head forward off that stack, the muscles in our neck and shoulders compensate. For every inch forward, it is as if the head is 10 pounds heavier!
There are several ways to address posture issues and retrain the body. Mindfulness is one of the most broadly practiced methods. This can be done through reminding yourself to notice your posture every so often throughout the day. It can also be practiced in movement class or during other activities. Notice which muscles you are using, and see if you can shift that movement so that it comes from the core instead of the extremity. Somatics and Feldenkrais also really help connect awareness to movement in order to correct imbalanced patterns.
In addition to mindfulness and therapeutic movement techniques, bodywork that addresses fascia can be very helpful for posture issues. Structural Integration and Myofascial Release techniques help adjust the connective tissues that hold the body in the shape it is used to, releasing old impingements and adhesions to free up range of motion.
Working on healthy posture is progressive. The more you can learn to engage the right muscles and release tension from less healthy patterns, the better your posture will be. It is often a process of cultivating awareness, and can have tremendous benefits for overall health and wellbeing.