December 31, 2006
For the past several months I have been dealing with intermittent lower back pain. Some days it hurts, some days it's hard to even notice, and some days it is debilitating in a I-need-four-Motrin-to-move-way. I kept trying to pinpoint a cause and therefore, hopefully, a cure.
This past weekend I decided to try a massage therapist. His theory on why my lower back hurts starts in my neck. And continues through my upper back. As a cubical dweller at work, I sit for hours a day with my arms raised - basically tensing the muscles in my upper back. Twenty plus years of this torture have resulted in some adhesions or scar tissues between the layered muscles of my back. When one muscle was over taxed its neighbors would take up the slack resulting in multiple adhesions that have basically glued my upper back into one large muscle.
A late summer groin pull may have been the proverbial straw, causing compensation injuries to my lower back. With the upper region already damaged from years of sitting at desks that were too high or too low, the sudden extra load on my lower back had no where else to go. The chronic upper back situation was enough to turn what should have been only an acute lower back ache into persistent, chronic lower back pain.
The hour-long massage helped to loosen my entire back considerably. In fact today my lower back doesn't hurt at all. The rhombus muscles in my mid to upper back are quite sore however, as these where the ones he worked on the most. The therapist warned me that I would feel worse for a day or two before getting some relief. Repeated sessions will be required to fully break up the numerous, and quite large, areas of scar tissue in my back.
I'll also be investigating ways to raise my work chair so that my arms aren't held up so high all day long. For now I am pleased to finally have an explanation that makes sense, and a course of action to remedy the situation.