How can BMT help my back pain?

This page offers an explanation of how the Sarling technique of Body Mechanics therapy can ease your back pain.

The tips and suggestions that follow are general advice to improve body use and thus reduce pain. They are simple changes that can be applied easily to your daily life, to keep your muscles balanced, reduce strain on your joints, and most importantly reduce your pain.

Specific advice for individual conditions can be given via consultation, please see our clinic page.

The Sarling technique of Body Mechanics Therapy specialises in the relief of back pain through remedial precision exercise, posture correction, clinical massage and advice on body use patterns. Therapists use hands on techniques to give relief from the specific problem, then give the patient home care advice to further improve the condition, and prevent the pain from returning.

The way we sit, stand, sleep and move has a dramatic effect on the muscuolskeletal system, changing the way our joints and muscles feel. The postural muscles (that keep us sitting or standing) work in pairs - to cause movement one shortens and the opposing muscle lengthens. Think of the simple ones, to bend your knee, the Quadriceps at the front of your thigh lengthen and the Hamstrings at the back of your thigh shorten. This is the case throughout your body, when we over use certain movements or body postures, the relevent muscles will over shorten, which we feel as pain and tightness.

If this is allowed to continue, the tight muscles pull on our joints pulling our skeleton out of alignment - causing further pain. When conditions go untreated they become chronic, the patient ignoring symptoms in the hope that they will just go away!

The truth is that the pain is your body's way of communicating with you; asking you to change the habits and body use patterns that cause the pain and misalignment. When we learn to use our body correctly, we do not suffer with the aches and pains of imbalanced muscles.

Body Mechanics Therapists are trained to teach improvements not only in posture but also daily body use patterns, thus encouraging the patient towards a healthy balanced body use that does not cause pain.

Sadly most bad habits have been part of the patients life for many years, making them difficult or impossible to change entirely. But improvements can always be made to some degree, depending on the level of dedication to the technique!

The remedial exercises can be used to compensate for the habits that cause chronic shortness, by stretching, strengthening and balancing the specific muscles that suffer missuse.


Helpful tips for back pain sufferers

1. Avoid standing with your knee's 'locked back'. 
When standing, try to press your knee's back, as thou to straighten your legs fully. Do they go back any further than they are? If not they are locked back, correct them to the 'soft' position, which is between locked (as far back as they go) and bent.
Notice how this changes the curve in your lower back; locking the knee's back puts extra pressure on the discs in your lower spine.

2. When sleeping on your back, put a pillow under your knee's.
This takes the weight of your legs off of your back and keeps your knee's in the 'soft' position mentioned above.

3. When sleeping on your side, place a pillow between your knee's.
This keeps your knee's hip distance apart, and supports your upper leg, avoiding the weight of the leg from pulling on your hip and keeping your hips in good alignment while you sleep.
- Just think how long you spend asleep, your sleeping posture will make a big difference to how you feel when you wake up!

4. When sitting, keep your knee's level with your hips.
This ensures that the seat takes the weight of your legs. If your knee's are higher than your hips (Seat too low) the heavy weight of your legs presses on the joints of your lower back.
If your knee's are lower than your hips (Seat too high) the weight of your legs pulls on these joints. Adjust your seat accordingly, or use a cushion.

5. Avoid double leg raises
Laying on your back lifting both legs of of the floor at once puts an immence strain on the lower back. It is a common abdominal exercise, yet their are safer and far more effective abdominal exercises available!

6. Avoid heavy lifting when your back is painful.
If you must lift, ALWAYS bend your knee's, keep your back straight, and tighten your abdominal muscles.
This takes the strain your strong leg muscles, and tightening your abdominals supports your back through the lift. 

7. Good strong abdominal muscles will take 30% of the strain of of your back, gentle, sensible abdominal exercises are available from your Body Mechanics Therapist.

8. Avoid staying in one position for extended periods of time.
Active rest is usualy best for back pain unless your GP/consultant has advised otherwise.
Take a short walk, a gentle swim, and keep mobile. Avoid long journey's, if you must travel, stop to move around, get out and take a walk frequently.