She thought it was simple: 1. Your back hurts. 2. Get a massage. 3. Back doesn’t hurt.
We start. She says, “What’s going on with my back? Is there a knot?” Sigh. Yes. Her tone tells me that was a yes or no question. So I only say yes. Here is the real answer, which I keep to myself:
- She’s never had a massage. The body is not sure about someone else touching it and moving its limbs around, never mind pressing firmly into the sore spots. That may take a couple of sessions, or a lot, depending on her trust in humans, ability to relax, motivation to overcome this subconscious fear.
- Long before this back pain, the glutes have been tight on the right side. So has the IT band and lateral quad. We don’t know why, but there it is. I can tell it’s been there for quite awhile, so there will be a strong neuromuscular tendency to maintain that tightness.
- Since it’s been that way so long, the connective tissue has grown thick and tight all around the hip joint, so it isn’t moving as freely as it should.
- This has pulled surrounding muscles (and distant, and all muscles to lessening degrees) into distortion.
- Then a recent incident caused the acute pain that got her attention. That already distorted body picked up her daughter. The low back wrenched a little to keep its balance when her daughter moved suddenly. This caused a spasm and subsequent inflammation.
- She thinks that only #5 is what’s “wrong” with her back.
I see plain as day the way the body holds herself in that stuck, awkward posture, deep in the muscles closest to the back bone. They are clinging to the spine like toddlers cling to their mothers’ knees, begging for attention and throwing off her balance.
You have to coax them back to their places slowly. One by one. Some have to go first. Each one takes time. Plus some are stubborn. Plus some are cranky and tired. Plus you have one short hour.
Plus if you tell people they need to come back a few times, they suspect you of marketing.
When we finish she feels better “but there’s still this little spot.” I see she’s thinking she won’t come back. I don’t try to convince her otherwise. I’ve been at this awhile. It’s easy to know when to spare the marketing.