“The low back is the base and root of our activity in the world. When we experience a loss of support or feel that challenges or responsibilities are too great, we simply “can’t stand it.” Rage, frustration, humiliation, or depression may be held in the low back which is neurologically and psychologically associated with our “gut” feelings and deeper, suppressed instincts. The lower back carries the most weight, and expresses the extend of burden or load we bear, or if we feel overwhelmed or hopeless.
The ability to adapt, withstand or face up to stress or perceived onslaughts is expressed in the back; e.g., being spineless, having one’s back against the wall, getting ones back up, oh my aching back.” ~ Asa Hershoff N.D., D.C.
The gut is one of the primary filtration systems of the body, when its plumbing, electrical and drainage system aren’t working quite right, the body starts absorbing toxins, clogging the system. When the gut can no longer protect us, autoimmune problems can be triggered by a network of cellular communications and through our lymph nodes. Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, poor motility, and trapped gas can all lead to obesity, high cholesterol, diverticulitis, pancreatic problems and more. Toxic buildups are stored in the fat cells of the body…if these toxins leak into the fluids of the body, which includes the blood, they can cause fatigue, body aches, thyroid, heart and brain problems, as well as depression.
Most back pains are 10 times more painful than any other muscle strain in the body. The reason for this… the back muscles are designed to ‘protect’ and ‘defend’ the spinal column. Also, the back muscles are closely connected to the Central Nervous System (CNS) that transmits pain messages to your brain—muscle pain is an early warning that your spine might be in trouble. When we are tense, our back muscles can go into spasm, causing excruciating pain that can last for weeks, months, even years.
The spine is generally flexible and quite resilient and when properly aligned is able to learn from and integrate a variety of life experiences. These experiences either stressful or ecstatic are able to flow easily through the awareness of the body/mind as long as there is no disruption, which could knock the vertebrae(s) off course. But when we experience a stressful or traumatic/shocking event, the spine’s shock-absorber’s become inflexible from the shock, causing the muscles, ligaments and tendons of your back and abdomen to work harder to keep you upright.
“It would appear that most cases of chronic back pain are actually caused not by spinal problems, but by muscle tension and spasm. This is not to be dismissed: It is extremely painful. Such muscle tension is caused by emotional tension, and the deeper the emotional tension is explored the more the story behind the pain is revealed. It may be a story of anger, fear, exhaustion, of trying to prove something to someone, of denial, of a lack of forgiveness—whatever it is, it is in the back because it is well hidden there. But it also hurts.” Your Body Speaks Your Mind: Understanding How Your Emotions and Thoughts ~ Deb Shapiro
The backside of the body reflects private and unconscious elements of your life. The back becomes the storehouse for everything you don’t want to deal with or don’t want other people to see. Hidden or unexpressed feelings become frozen in the structure of your body. That means a lot of negative emotions becomes stored along your spine and in the backs of your legs. Most of your powerful emotions such as anger and fear are stored in your back and it is these emotions that pull your body out of balance.
Trying to distance and suppress your feelings only aggravates the problem..as you are still continuing to carry the past, which continues to grow heavier and heavier.If you’ve been protecting yourself all these years and defending yourself from real or imagined dangers, you are living in a constant state of alertness. As well, you learnt to take protective steps to feel safe….this has been known to create an unsteadiness from the lower back, hips, and right down to the feet. The pelvis represents our inner direction and our deepest feelings and thoughts…it’s about our personal movement. Our 1st (root) chakra basically connects us to the earth as well as our survival instincts. Excessive tightness in the hips and buttocks may reflect a person’s need to ‘hold on’ in order to survive.
“Sacrum – Feeling unsupported, carrying unresolved family issues, holding on to childhood anger and resentment. Experiencing a lack of confidence and belief in self. Feeling uncomfortable in your body and in your life. Carry guild resentment and shame. Physical: Hip bones, buttocks, sacro-iliac conditions, spinal curvatures.” THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF YOUR BODY ~ Inna Segel
“Although seemingly soft and spongy, the buttock or gluteal muscles are often the most clenched and tense muscles in the body, for it is here that you can hide any tension or nervousness you may be feeling by literally sitting on it. Although that tension is hidden from view, its effect will be felt throughout the body. Consistently tight gluteals will throw off your posture causing spinal distortion and backache and then they can affect the functioning of your bowels….
Just for a moment, right now, check your muscles in your backside. Are they relaxed? Or are they clenched tight? If so, consciously relax them and notice the difference in your attitude.
- What are you sitting on, repressing or holding down?
- What energy is being held in your backside?
- Are you sitting on feelings of insecurity?
- Are you sitting on a need for support and comfort?”
YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND ~ by Deb Shapiro
THE SECOND (SACRAL) Chakra
“Sensations and feelings contribute to emotions, another aspect of the second chakra. Emotion – from the Latin e, meaning out, and movere, to move – is the moving of prana through the tissues of the body. Emotions are the result of feelings stored up in the body. For example, you may have a feeling of irritation at something, but if that feeling is repeatedly stored in your tissues, it can become the emotion of anger. I like to think of sensations as the words, feelings as the sentences, and emotions as the story that emerges.
When you repress emotion, you restrict the body’s natural movements. You become rigid, creating the opposite of the second chakra’s watery flow, inhibiting flexibility. Therefore, developing flexibility in your body may require willingness to feel old emotions that are stored in your body. ” Anodea Judith’s Chakra Yoga ~ by Anodea Judith
The lower back is associated with the 2nd chakra which is associated with the hips, sacrum, lower back, genitals, womb, bladder and kidneys. This chakra is about sensuality, sexuality, emotions, intimacy, and desire. All watery things have to do with this chakra: circulation, urination, menstruation, orgasm, tears. Water flows, moves and changes and a healthy second chakra allows us to do so. It is also this chakra where, as a child, we were supported and reassured from our parents.
Your aggressive nature might have caused you some anxious moments while you were growing up, when you had to confine yourself to the limits imposed by your parents. They may have considered you too big for your britches then, or simply reckless and immature. Your need to demonstrate your independence might have alienated you from them. Your subsequent development made you realize that you had to act when you felt that it was appropriate, knowing that ‘he who hesitates is lost’. Even now, you aren’t easily dissuaded by people who say that your plans won’t work, and you always manage to prove them wrong.
If we didn’t get the support we needed as a child.. it can affect the areas of the lower back and knees. See the kidney meridian runs along at the back of the knee as does the bladder, liver and spleen. Inflammation is caused by a buildup of fluid.. the area of the skin very sensitive to be touched. When a large amount of the 2nd chakra energy is released through exercising, it can make us sensitive to energies in the environment and from other people too. It can also make us feel young, happy and bright!
When the 2nd chakra is balanced and healthy, we can be emotionally fluid, allowing ourselves to feel freely and without guilt. When it is excessive, we are overly emotional, have poor boundaries between ourselves and others, and are prone to obsessive attachments. When the 2nd chakra is deficient we tend toward emotional numbness, rigidity, and fear of pleasure.
PSOAS MUSCLES (major contributors to low back pain)
Buried deep within the core of your body, the psoas (pronounced “so-as”) affects every facet of your life, from your physical well-being to who you feel yourself to be and how you relate to the world. Acting as a bridge between the lower trunk and legs, the psoas is critical for keeping the spine aligned, allowing the joints to freely rotate and giving the muscles a full range of motion. The abdominal muscle, are surrounded by a complex network of nerve ganglia which lies approximately at the level of the psoas and the diaphragm. If the psoas is constricted for whatever reason, it will press on the nerves in the abdominal area. Constriction of the diaphragm may shorten the psoas, and tightness in the psoas may restrict the ability of the diaphragm to move freely. Any constriction in the the diaphragm will prevent full body breathing, a process which massages the internal organs and promotes strength and vitality.
Whether you suffer from a sore back or anxiety, from knee strain or exhaustion, there’s a good chance that a constricted psoas muscle might be contributing to your problem. When the psoas muscles go into spasm, they pull down on the shoulder and create an actual physical imbalance… you actually may feel yourself leaning over more to one-side. Metaphysically the psoas muscles can indicate complex traumas and unresolved ‘unconscious’ issues from early childhood. People with chronically tight psoas muscles have cut off their deeper feelings altogether, exerting rigid control over themselves as a way of defending themselves against these raw emotions. And yet there is always the sense of some imminent danger. For some people, their whole life is built around suppressing what’s down there, and in this respect they are dominated by those very things they are trying to keep at bay. Finding the self is like Peeling an onion – layer upon layer has to be removed to reach the core. This is similar to the deep-sea diver who plunges into the depths of the personal unconscious bringing hidden complexes to light so that they can be examined worked on and hopefully transmuted.
Since the home sphere is where most people feel the most vulnerable, they may attempt to manipulate and, control those around them so that nobody slips up and detonates their inner time-bomb. Obviously, this does not lend itself to the most relaxed of home atmospheres, in which there are probably many unwritten rules about what is or isn’t allowed to be said or done.
“The kidneys are actually situated behind the psoas, while the intestines and reproductive organs lie in front of it. When the psoas is tight and constricted, the lumbar curve becomes exaggerated, causing the abdominal organs to fall forward against the abdominal muscles, which were not designed to carry this weight. …When displaced, the intestines are unable to absorb nutrients, eliminate waste, and the sexual reproductive functions could be impaired. The problem as well, is that no matter how many sit-ups you do they won’t be able to support the constricted psoas pushing the abdominal cavity forward.” Yoga Journal ~ By Donna Farhi
Healing the psoas can help to improve your overall structure, and bring to light, old traumas and fears (physical tension) locked in the body. In regard to the fight or flight response, the psoas have been known to curl you into a fetal ball to protect the front of the body, or prepare your back and leg muscles to spring into action. Because the psoas is so intimately involved in physical and emotional reactions, a chronically tightened psoas continually signals the body that you’re in danger, eventually exhausting the adrenal glands and depleting the immune system.
One on each side of the spine, each working independently yet harmoniously, the psoas attaches to the side and toward the front of the 12th thoracic vertebra and each lumbar vertebrae. Moving though the pelvis without attaching to the bone, the psoas inserts along with the iliacus muscle in a common tendon at the top of the femur.
The psoas’ main function is to act as a hip flexor….without it walking or running would be impossible. These muscles also contribution to the outer rotation of the hips. When the psoas is so tight, they can’t release, causing the legs to turn outward during intense back-bending, which can pinch the muscles and nerves of the lower back.
The major aorta that carries the blood from the heart run very close to the psoas muscles and it has been thought that an imbalance in the psoas may affect blood circulation throughout the upper and lower extremities. Many people feel a flush of heat down the legs and up into the chest when the psoas releases. So the deep muscles of the psoas can affect circulation, respiration, nerve impulses as well as organ function. And we still haven’t considered the effect the psoas have on the musculoskeletal system.
In addition the psoas also forms a supportive shelf for the vital organs wjithin the abdominal core. In walking, a healthy psoas moves freely and joins with a released diaphragm to continuously massage the spine as well as the organs, blood vessels, and nerves of the trunk. Working as a hydraulic pump, a freely moving psoas stimulates the flow of fluids throughout the body. And a released, flowing psoas combined with a stable weight-bearing pelvis, contributes to the sensations of feeling grounded and centered.
CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM (CNS)
Have you ever wondered with the body’s amazing ability to renew itself, why we have, or seem to have the same or similar back problems throughout most of our lives? The answer lies in the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS coordinates our consciousness with billions of neurons (individual nerve cells) that are sent to the brain to be interpreted. Messages are then sent back to move the countless muscle fibers through the body. This is why most of our back pain begins with problems in the muscles because they are directly connected to the nerves that transmit pain messages to your brain AND many back problems are made worse by stress or tension in the mind.
The CNS consists of the brain and spinal cord. The brain carries out most of the ‘computing’ in the nervous system and communicates with the rest of the body through the large bundle of nerves called the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system (PNS) is the intricate network of nerves that carries information between the CNS and the rest of the body. Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves carry sensory and motor messages to and from the spinal cord. Together these nerves keep your entire body in communication with the brain.
“The nervous system maintains our body’s inner environment and regulates the digestion of food and the amount of carbon dioxide in our blood without our awareness…..
By acting as a conduit for the expression of Universal Consciousness (our innate wisdom), the nervous system establishes who we are and how we deal with the world. What our body feels—not necessarily what we are conscious of—actually changes the way we perceive the world. If the nervous system is stuck in one perspective, the messages it will send and receive will be stuck in that perspective as well. In other words, when the nervous system has not been able to recover from the trauma of past events—whether physical, emotional, or chemical—our emotional reality is also stuck…..The combined effect of various stress and the inability of the nervous system to deal with them produces a subluxation (interference) of the spine….This interference disrupts the nervous system’s natural ability to assemble and sort out neurological instructions. Like a computer, if the input (messages to the system) is distorted in anyway, then the output (messages from the nervous system to each body cell) will also be distorted. Emotional trauma, accidents or breathing polluted air are challenges to a compromised nervous system.” The 12 STAGES of HEALING ~ by Donald M. Epstein D.C.
There is a deep and powerful connection between the mind and back—to begin understanding the cause of your back pain, begin the healing process. The more rigid, tight and unyielding the mind, the more rigid, tight and unyielding the physical body (tight shoulders, neck, chest, abdomen, hips hamstrings, psoas, ankles, etc… ).
TRAUMA RELEASING EXERCISES (TRE)
Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) “TRE® is a simple and quick set of movements that turn on our body’s natural rebalancing process—providing an immediate experience of relaxation. By releasing everything from everyday stress to deeply held physical tension and trauma, TRE® frees us up to meet life’s challenges with greater skill and ease. Best of all, our bodies do the work; we get relief without needing to process or retell our story.” Tension Release Exercises
A client of mine (J.S) has a friend who is a trauma counsellor which was originally designed for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)… specifically for soldiers who had returned from war. “It takes you through a series of movements.. then you end up in a position that releases the psoas, which is described as being a muscle that holds emotion (hence trauma release exercises to target it).”
TRE relieves the accumulation of everyday muscle tension as well as past traumas Trauma Release video
EMOTIONAL FREEDOM TECHNIQUE (EFT)
Emotional Freedom Techniques – EFT – also known as Meridian Tapping – is a very effective healing method, that is known to eliminate past trauma and abuse, anxiety, fears, and phobias, negative emotions and beliefs, self-judgement, physical and emotional pain, bad habits, migraines, and often helps to heal physical injuries and illnesses.
“BATTLE TAP is an easy-to-learn self-help tool that is designed for armed public service professionals who are experiencing emotional or psychological distress. It’s based on Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), an emerging intervention that uses acupressure-point tapping, re-exposure, and cognitive scripts to rapidly resolve undesired emotions and memories.” http://www.battletap.org/home.aspx
Web-page on … What is EFT Tapping
This is a great site demonstrating EFT techniques http://eft.mercola.com/
HEALING LOWER BACK PAIN
“Muscles absorb and respond to tensions and feelings. If they do not relax sufficiently following stress, then the tension accumulates and causes deeper, long-lasting damage. If this continues over a period of time, the muscles become set and fixed in this restricted form. This is where you “hold” issues, emotions and trauma. Frozen anger, fear, or grief creates a kind of body armour, which further blocks and holds back feelings, locking the musculature into fixed positions…
The muscles enable all the bodily systems to function, such as circulation, digestion, breathing, and nerve impulses. Their freedom of movement is essential for optimum health. When the muscles are restricted…your energy will be unable to flow smoothly…Stress release and emotional expression are therefore essential for muscle ease. Exercise is also vital–it not only releases muscular tension but psycho/emotional tension as well.” YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND ~ Deb Shapiro
to be continued….