Why Back Pain Keeps Returning: The Vestibular System | Part 1

Why Back Pain Keeps Returning: The  Vestibular System | Part 1

This is an excerpt of an article from Dr Eric Cobb in PT on the net from February 12th of this year. I couldn’t agree more with him…

“In the health and fitness world THE most commonly encountered limitation in training is spinal pain, immobility or lack of stability. In fact, low back pain is the most ubiquitous ‘musculoskeletal’ pain experienced around the world and is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 years old (AAPM Facts and Figures on Pain, 2014).

(…)It would be logical to assume that there have been tremendous breakthroughs over the last 50 years in dealing with spinal pain. Unfortunately, this is not the case! The truth is that despite increasingly sophisticated imaging techniques and exercise protocols, MANY health and fitness clients continually struggle with chronic spinal issues.

And, as we are all aware, one definition of insanity is, ‘Doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result.’ Perhaps it is time to begin thinking about spinal complaints from a broader perspective.

One glaring problem in the current approach to dealing with spinal compromise is the ongoing insistence on evaluating and working with the back as a mechanical system rather than a NEUROmechanical system. The fact is that there is far more going on than meets the eye when we discuss something like spinal mobility, stability and strength.

Spinal movement is a complex symphony of muscular activation and inhibition combined with the ongoing influences of the spinal structures themselves (vertebrae, ribs, etc), fascial tension planes, dermal adhesions, etc. And, most importantly, all of these structures are in a virtually continuous state of flux and adaptation as we move and are forced to continually re-orient against gravity.

As a result, it is a bit naïve and reductionist to always attempt to point to one muscle, one joint, or one biomechanical entity as the SOLE cause of the complaint; whether that be blaming all of a client’s back pain on a disk injury or blaming their inability to perform a plank on poor abdominal strength. While those answers may be a part of the story, they are almost never the full story…”

To be continued in next blog article 😉