Lower Back Stretches

The following lower back stretches may assist you with releasing tight muscles, improving flexibility and circulation in the back and legs which can then allow pressure to come off nerve pathways and pain levels to decrease.

If you have difficulty getting down and up off the floor, make sure you have a stool or chair (not on wheels) to assist you or someone nearby. When lying on the floor, you may need to cushion your spine by lying on a yoga mat or carpet. If needed you can use a small pillow or towel to support your head. If mobility is an issue, some of these stretches can be done on a firm bed or in a chair. 

Starting out you might only be able to do one or two repetitions of a stretch, that’s fine. If you do these daily or even every second or third day, you’ll gradually build up to more repetitions and then you’ll be ready

Devoting full attention means no mobile phones or doing this while watching TV, etc. You want full focus on your body and what you are doing. Many people were injured initially by not being mindful or concentrating on what they were doing. 

Breathe deeply as much as possible during these exercises. Belly or diaphragmatic breathing helps take your body out of ‘stress’ mode and will help you relax. Holding your breath too long may raise blood pressure.

Don’t do stretches cold. Warm up first by walking on the spot or doing gentle movement, having a warm shower or applying a heat pack on the problem area.

The following stretches and exercises are not for acute pain, recent accident or injury. See your doctor or health professional for advice in those cases. You can come back to these activities once you have moved past the emergency phase. And remember you do not have to do all of the following, choose which are relevant for you.

Floor (on Elbows):
This gentle position can be a good way to start helping yourself at home. Lie flat on the floor on your stomach and relax your back. Once this position is comfortable, come up to lean and rest on your elbows (ideally directly under the shoulders). Relax in that position for a couple of minutes depending on your pain level. If resting on your elbows is too high at this stage, come down and rest your chin onto your hands. You can do this position several times during the day if you wish. To get up off the floor, consider tightening the stomach muscles to protect your lower back and move slowly.

Feet on Chair:
Lie on your back on the floor and place your feet up onto a chair. Relax for up to ten minutes. Focus on breathing deeply and you have the option of slowly turning your head to one side, then the other, coming back to centre before relaxing. Hand option: palms up can help to open up the chest, shoulders and start to reverse round shouldered posture.

Floor Stretch:
Lie on your back on the floor and gently stretch your arms above your head, breathing deeply. Stretch and elongate the body, from finger tips to toes. Slowly point and then flex the toes, gently relax.

Pelvic Tilts:
Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Stomach muscles tightened, gently curl your tailbone up and towards you, your lower back will tend to flatten on the floor. Hold for several seconds. Slowly lower your tailbone back to the floor and your spine to naturally curve. Continue for three to ten repetitions. These are small movements, gently rocking the tailbone.

Knee to Chest:
Lie on your back on the floor and slowly bend your knees placing your feet flat on the floor. Adjust your hips and lower back so you feel comfortable. Gently stretch and lengthen your spine (from tailbone to the crown of your head) chin should be in a natural and neutral position. Bend one knee up to your chest and grab your knee/leg with two hands if possible. If that is too hard use a belt or towel. Hold the stretch as long as comfortable and then slowly release down onto the floor. When you start you may only be able to do the stretch for a couple of seconds, that’s OK. Remember to keep breathing. Bend the other knee towards your chest and repeat as above. If comfortable, you can repeat the stretch and alternate the knees. Option: you can also do this stretch with both knees together and hugging them into your chest. Option: if lower back or hip pain is not an issue, the resting or non-stretched leg can be fully extended to lie flat on the floor while the bent knee is brought to chest.

Lying Hamstring Stretch:
Lie on your back, slowly bend your knees and place both feet flat on the floor. Adjust your hips and back for comfort. Bring one knee up towards your chest and grasp it with both hands. Slowly extend and straighten the knee so you can feel the stretch into the back of the leg. Hold your leg at the back of your thigh or you can use a band, belt or towel and hook it around the ball of your foot. Hold for 10–30 seconds. You can also flex the ankle slowly up and down while holding this position. Don’t forget to breathe! When you are ready to lower the leg, gently bend the knee first and then lower the leg to the floor. Repeat stretch with the other leg. Option: if it is too hard to get down onto the floor, you can do this seated in a chair or standing with foot elevated on a step.

Seated Hamstring Stretch:
Seated on the floor, bend one knee and bring that foot near your body, keeping the knee as close to the floor as you can comfortably. Extend and straighten the other leg in front of you, foot flexed and toes up to the ceiling. Keeping your back as straight as possible, lean forward at the hips and toward the outstretched leg and foot. Use a band, belt or towel around the ball of the foot to hold the stretch (pointing the toes, lessens the stretch). Repeat stretch with the other leg. Sitting on a cushion or block to raise the hips may help with this stretch.

Floor Groin Stretch:
Sit with feet facing each other and together, knees bent and comfortably low to the floor. The closer your feet to your body the more intense the stretch but work within your limits. Sitting on a cushion or block to raise the hips may help with this stretch. Option: can be done standing. Legs apart, bend one knee and lean to the side, to feel stretch in the other hip and groin.

Calf Stretch:
May also assist with cramping and tight ankles. Standing a short distance away from a wall, gently lean forward and push against it with the leg you want to stretch behind you. Keep your heel of that back leg planted to the floor or as close as you can. You can adjust the angle of your foot by leaning further into the wall. The greater the angle of your ankle and foot, the more it stretches the lower leg.

Morning Movement Routine

Here’s my easy morning movement routine to get the body moving first thing.

The following exercises generally help with mobility, circulation, and lymphatic drainage and work the major muscle groups. They can be also done in the evening before bed to help release tension.

You don’t have to do all seven, you select the right exercises for you or ask your doctor or exercise health professional.

Watch the instructional video before starting the Super Seven Exercises!

1. Marching on the Spot:
Start low impact, gently marching on the spot. It’s up to you how long and fast you march and how high you raise your feet. This can also be done between each exercise to keep moving.
2. Breathe and Shake:
Stand with feet approximately hip width apart and knees slightly bent. Deep breath in and stretch your hands and arms up to the sky.As you exhale, shake out your hands above your head and then continue shaking them all the way down to your sides. Let your neck, shoulders,  and hips and knees gently move and shake and move as they want. Do at least three times. Wonderful for your circulation and lymphatic system.
3. Side Steps:
Start with small steps first to one side, then the other. As you warm up and get more fit you can make those steps bigger. When stronger and used to this activity, you may decide to bend your knees as you step out to the sides and use your arms.
4. Arm Swing:
Start with feet shoulder width apart, shoulders relaxed and arms loosely by your side. Tighten your core or stomach muscles. Slowly turn to one side and let your arms flop and follow, then slowly turn to the other side. Gradually increase your speed of turning from side to side, letting the arms move and stay loose.
5. Shoulder Rotations and Side Neck Turns:
Stand with feet apart. Stretch and lengthen through the spine (pull up through the back or crown of the head). Lift your shoulders gently up and then rotate backwards and bring shoulders down. Repeat and rotate backward up to ten times, then relax.

Relax, release and lower your shoulders, your head facing to the front. Slowly turn your head to one side towards the shoulder to your comfort level. Hold for three to ten seconds, and then slowly come back to centre. Repeat sequence with the other side.  Ideally do this sequence at least three times.
6. Air punches:
Standing balanced with feet apart, hands held up and closed into fists, punch upwards into the air above your head with one arm. Bring back to centre and then alternate with the other arm. You can also lower the arms and air punch directly to the front. May also help to relieve stress and over time extend the range of movement in the shoulders. 
7. Air Squats or Chair Sit:
Stand with your feet hip width apart, toes pointing slightly outward and tighten your stomach or core muscles. With a comfortably straight back and upright torso, your weight balanced on your heels, bend at the hips pushing your buttocks backwards and bending the knees like you are about to sit down. Lower to a comfortable and safe level for you, keeping your hips above knee level. Your knees over but not beyond your toes.

Return slowly to your starting position.If this is a new exercise for you, don’t go too deep too soon. Place a chair behind you and sit or squat down onto it. Aim to sit down and get up without using your arms, just the strength in your legs, hips and knees. Do squats slowly to your comfort level and build up the number gradually. If there is any discomfort, stop and seek professional guidance.
 squat bw.jpg

I would love to know how you go with the Morning Movement Routine. Let me know how it makes you feel!

What to do when pain medication doesn’t work for you?

What do you do when pain medication doesn’t work for you? When you can’t get any relief? I know how this feels because it happened to me and I have to look for alternative solutions.

Those of us who have been in pain or those who are currently battling pain conditions know the personal and emotional costs.

I’m not anti-pharmaceutical or anti-pain medications. There are some great pain and life-saving medications. If they are working for you – thank goodness for them! It’s just that prescribed pain medications did not work for me in the past and so I had to ascertain the cause of my pain and then work to eliminate it at the source.

For the vast majority of people I come into contact in a clinic situation, pain medications are also not working for them and so many have been left in painful limbo. Sometimes those medications may have worked well initially but because the cause of the pain was not addressed, they lost their potency and good effect. Sometimes the side effects outweigh the benefits. 

While pain meds are invaluable to handle pain in acute or emergency situations, for long-term chronic pain they can sometimes be temporary ‘band-aid’ solutions that may come with side effects and decreases in efficiency.

So if you do not want to be reliant on prescription medications forever, again it becomes important to deal with WHY you are getting pain and HOW you are going to fix it for the long term.

Of course everybody is different, medications and treatments that have worked for others with similar conditions cannot always be guaranteed to work for you. Different genetics, raised in diverse environments, having been exposed to unique combinations of chemicals and toxins, eating differently, having various personalities, emotional states and abilities to handle stress and disease etc. Likewise the therapies and techniques that worked for me and for my clients cannot be guaranteed but at least they are safe to try and will support your health in other ways.

The reality is that no one can give you a guarantee because people are wonderful, complex beings who can be massively unpredictable. Sometimes the only way to know whether something will work for you is to try, and if that doesn’t work try something else. Keep taking positive action and don’t get angry if your doctor, therapist, medication or supplement doesn’t work straight away for you. More time might be needed, maybe some fine-tuning or perhaps it’s not the right answer for you just now.

I know it can be hard (sometimes excruciatingly hard) but be grateful that you are learning along the way and it is important to keep moving forward. Take responsibility and realise that you have to do something different if you want different and positive results. If you become complacent and keep doing what you have always done, then chances are that you will keep getting the same results and the same pain!

When I was diagnosed with MS and orthodox medicine had no cure and no hope for me, I had to be determined (some called it stubborn) and try out things for myself and persist, keep going even when there was no hope. If I’d given up and prepared for my demise like my neurologist had advised me all those years ago, I would never have recovered, got married, had children and had a wonderful career helping people.

So if you are currently in a similar situation, my heart goes out to you but please whatever you do, don’t give up.

Patience and commitment are extremely important as usually the longer you’ve had a pain condition, the more time and effort it takes to turn it around. It’s a bit like the momentum of a runaway train. Once pain has become entrenched, it develops a momentum of its own which requires a lot of effort to firstly slow down the progression and then to gradually bring it to a stop.

It then takes another mighty effort to reverse the direction of that “pain train” and commence your healing journey. So be prepared to put in your best effort – this is the most important work you’ll ever do!

For more information on how I beat my pain, naturally, you can check out my book DRUG FREE PAIN RELIEF.

If you would like to see if I can assist you personally, book in for a free 15 minute consult to discuss your needs.

The Three Phases of Pain Relief after Structural Bodywork

Correcting posture and restoring proper body alignment can be the most important factor in becoming pain free and staying that way.

Having corrective bodywork was the first major step in beating my MS diagnosis, the associated chronic pain and rapidly deteriorating mobility. In recent years, my own clinic experience has shown me that many other pain and health conditions can also be improved.

I’ve had clients who were not prepared to do anything else to help themselves (for example making lifestyle changes) but who liked to come for treatments and they still had amazing results by relying purely on bodywork alone.

So corrective structural therapies can work to relieve pain very well by themselves but it also depends on the person and how serious and chronic the condition. Normally the more pain you are experiencing and the longer you have had it, the more strategies you will need to implement to speed your recovery.

When a structural imbalance and/or muscle contraction in the body is causing pain and it needs to be corrected, there are typically three steps or phases that are processed through to gain pain relief.

The first step is the physical release of tight or contracted muscles which also usually helps take pressure off nerve pathways. Circulation and lymphatic drainage are often enhanced. 

Because muscles attach to bones, in the second step, that physical release then allows the bony structure or skeleton to rebalance and make minor adjustments and corrections.

The final third phase is that with the body structure more balanced, function and mobility are also improved and there begins a reduction in the triggering and firing of nerves, and so pain decreases.

Depending on the person and their pain condition, this three-phase pain relief after physical structural correction may happen very quickly or can take several days to process.

If you are interested in a Bowen Therapy session, please get in touch.

Some Real Talk About Chronic Pain and Illness

Some Real Talk About Chronic Pain and Illness

So… here’s some real talk about chronic pain and illness (from someone who’s been there).

  • Sometimes severe or chronic pain is the wake-up call you need to kick yourself into immediate action. We can get complacent with our health and think we can just take a pill and fix everything. That is not always the case, sometimes you have to step up and take urgent action to fix the situation.
  • If you get a bad diagnosis, you’ll probably go through grief stages such as shock, denial, sadness and anger. You can use an emotive feeling such as anger to energise and fuel your fight back. Those strong feelings can focus and prod you into becoming your own health warrior and fighting – for yourself and your loved ones!
  • You always have a choice. Whatever your pain condition, you can choose to get a second (or a third) opinion. The medical profession is so specialised that people can be experts in their own field but have little knowledge of alternatives outside their expertise. Medical professionals are also often overworked and are looking after numerous patients who are all unique. Sometimes they don’t have all the information needed to make the best decision (so do your part and always keep them fully informed) and occasionally test results are misinterpreted. There is a reason the term ‘medical opinion’ is widely used.
  • You already know personally what pain is and how it can make you feel. It can keep grinding you down until you find it hard to remember a time when you weren’t in great pain. You despair of ever feeling good again and anxiety or depression can start to raise its ugly head.
  • You also probably know how at first people sympathised with you but as the days dragged on into weeks and months, they began to get tired of you and your pain because while it exhausts you, it also exhausts those around you. Then people start to avoid you and slowly you become isolated and lonely in your pain.
  • But you can fight back and you don’t have to continue to accept your current situation. You can get angry about it and totally annoyed with the unfairness of it all but then decide to use that anger. After all anger is just an emotion or ‘energy in motion’. So you can choose to use that energy in positive ways to your advantage, to motivate and become determined to conquer your pain. You have to dig deep but your power is there, just patiently waiting for you to step up and use it!
  • Finally sometimes you, and everyone around you, can do everything right and you still get a bad outcome or no improvement in your pain. Sometimes bad things happen to good people but that’s life and beyond our control. It is still important to never give up because you only fail when you stop trying!

On a personal note, when I was diagnosed with MS, pain medications did not work for me and a big motivation at that time was finding relief. If my pain meds had worked, I may have sat back passively, accepted my diagnosis and would probably have rapidly deteriorated and passed away just as my neurologist predicted. Now when I look back, my pain was actually my saviour!

And so this is the power of pain. Once you become determined to fight and overcome it, you have a mission and a different focus, a distraction from your pain and then it becomes your powerful motivation. Because frankly the vast majority of us will do anything to avoid pain.

Then once you overcome it, you will become so empowered and strong. You will come to know that it is not a permanent condition and that you can beat it – you just have to engage the fighter, awaken the warrior in you.

“Pain does not have to mean suffering, it can actually be the birth of a stronger and more powerful you.”       

Read more in my book, Drug Free Pain Relief.                       

How I beat MS (Multiple Sclerosis)

How I beat MS (multiple sclerosis) Drug Free Natural Remedies

I was only 22 when I was given a death sentence. Spoiler alert, I am still here and this is how I beat MS (multiple sclerosis).

My neurologist had just got back the results from my brain scans, eyesight and hearing tests.  He said… “You have MS, multiple sclerosis. You are in the typical age-group and your symptoms are also typical. Your MS is progressing very rapidly, I estimate that you have less than a year. So go home and get your affairs in order, I seriously doubt you will reach your 23rd birthday.

 I know that next time I see you, you will be in a wheelchair and once that happens, things will speed up and then it will just be a matter of months … well that’s it. I’m sorry but there is no treatment for multiple sclerosis.”

How could there be no way of treating this? I was young, previously healthy and fit and even though I was in excruciating pain I didn’t feel like I was going to die. I remember looking at my neurologist and thinking – really, is that it? Why are you giving up on me? Surely there is something we can do?

I understood what my neurologist was saying about my condition but whether I was going to accept it, was another thing, I was determined to get better.

The following weeks passed in a haze of disbelief as I researched everything I could about MS and natural ways to heal the body.

The exact cause of MS is unknown (most likely there are multiple causes) but it is a degenerative disease of the central nervous system. To this day there is no definitive cure. 

My recovery from MS evolved firstly with the discovery of the importance of body structural correction and postural realignment in promoting effective body functioning and repair. While my body had been so contracted and contorted physically, its own healing and correction mechanisms were hampered and severely restricted. By bringing my body back into structural alignment and balance, body systems were able to recommence doing what they needed to do to restore proper health and function.

So around the same time my MS symptoms had started to decrease as my body was brought back into proper alignment and balance, I started taking mega-doses of vitamin C powder with bioflavonoids (including hesperidin and rutin) because it was indicated in Lady Cilento’s books as being useful in fighting viral, bacterial and arthritic type conditions. The bioflavonoids were important to assist in the fast assimilation by the body.

With advice from various books on nutrition, I also cut out caffeine and diet soft drinks.

Once movement became easier, I wanted to continue to improve and keep moving. I began gentle exercise and yoga at home. I practiced meditation most days and made a conscious effort to keep thinking and speaking positively.

I went to see my neurologist for a scheduled follow-up visit. I bounced into his office and told him how two of my major MS symptoms had disappeared with corrective bodywork and my use of superior nutrition and vitamin C. My neurologist was literally struck dumb.

Within four months of bodywork, eating fresh food, no white sugar, soft drink or artificial sweeteners, taking vitamin C plus gradually getting back into exercise, yoga and meditation, every MS symptom disappeared and I was able to return to full-time work.

Years have passed and my good health continues to this day. I still use those strategies to maintain my health. Now I am a health warrior committed to helping others find natural solutions for their pain and suffering.

If you would like to read the whole story, I go into more details about how I beat MS (multiple sclerosis) in my book, Drug Free Pain Relief.

8 Tips for Preventing Back and Muscle Pain

There are many small habits that we do everyday – the way we sit, stand, move and use our bodies that can cause poor posture, stress on muscles and pain in the long term. Here are 8 tips for preventing back and muscle pain.

1. When standing or sitting, stop crossing or folding your arms across the front of your body. That position tends to bring your shoulders forward and over time creates a cramped ‘round shouldered’ posture. Long term, this habit can create a permanently rounded upper back and associated weakness in the thoracic spinal muscles.

2. When sitting, do not clasp your hands together in your lap. If you are sitting upright, your elbows should be hanging relaxed and vertically aligned under your shoulders. Your hands resting gently on your mid upper thighs, allows your shoulders to stay back and for you to have your chest upright and elevated, breathing deeply into the lungs.

3. Carrying a heavy handbag repeatedly on one shoulder places enormous pressure on the nerves and muscles and over time can cause imbalances in the upper spine. Use the handle and hold the bag in your hand, changing sides regularly. Don’t keep your wallets and keys in your back pocket as they may create a pelvic imbalance when you sit.

4. Stand with your feet apart, not together. Standing and sitting with your feet together can put pressure on the iliotibial band which stretches from your hip to your knee and can create that outer thigh, leg ache. The wider you are in the hips, the further apart your feet may need to be. So simply changing the way you stand over time may help prevent pain.

5. Do not cross your legs (standing, sitting or lying) – besides putting pressure on nerve pathways and possibly triggering pain, that position can affect circulation and lymphatic drainage to the lower limbs.

6. When standing, take your weight evenly on both feet. Don’t slouch onto one hip or lean to one side. This places huge strain on the pelvis and back. If you are required to stand in one spot for any length of time, keep your body weight evenly distributed and simply bend the back of the knees ever-so slightly. Alternately place your buttocks and back flat against a wall and maintain weight evenly on both feet. If you find this difficult to do, it can be an indication that are structural imbalances and you may benefit from physical correction.

7. When lifting, first move in close to the object, bend your knees, hold your stomach muscles in tight before and as you lift. Do not over reach or twist. 

8. Be aware of how you are entering or alighting from a car. Getting out of a car, most of us tend to ‘throw’ a leg out and start walking. To avoid strain on the hips and pelvis, keep knees together, tighten stomach muscles and turn the trunk of your body to the open car doorway,, sit close to the edge of the car seat and swing the legs out together if possible, placing both feet on the ground. You can use your arms to lift your legs if necessary. Try not to get in and out of a car if it is parked on a slope, flat even ground is better for back and leg pain conditions.

I hope these 8 tips for preventing back and muscle pain have got you thinking! Do you do any of these habits? Is it time to change them up?

Please get in touch if you need further assistance with your back and muscle pain.

How to sit for pain free posture

Are you aware of how you sit? It might be causing you pain and creating bad posture.

Often lounge and TV chairs are made to look good, but they may not be the best for your back. They may tilt your back too far backwards and if they are too soft, you can really sink into the seating and then find it difficult to get up from that position. So while soft seems so inviting, in reality it may not be good for your back.

The ideal chair is one that allows you to keep your back relatively straight and vertically aligned. Generally you should be sitting slightly forward on your hips and tailbone – not leaning backwards with your spine past vertical. Push your buttocks into the back of the chair so you are sitting upright.

Extend and pull up through your spine – don’t sag into the chair and allow your rib cage to collapse onto your stomach and hips. Pull up through the crown of the head and rest your hands on mid thighs (not clasped together or crossed in front of your chest). Shoulders should be down and relaxed to help keep an open chest with your elbows hanging vertically.

posture chair bw.jpg

Chairs that tilt your spine back will make you (unconsciously) push your head and neck forward so that your body can find a centre point of gravity. Your body has an inbuilt balance mechanism that means when your body is tilted backwards, your head will automatically come forward to compensate. As soon as that happens, neck and shoulder muscles strain and tighten, circulation is affected and pain can be initiated or increased.

Most lounge chairs today are plush and you tend to sink deeply into the seat – I avoid those chairs because I know they can trigger my back and I want to stay pain free. Soft chairs can be a trap for people who end up sitting all day and maybe falling asleep in the chair. For many pain conditions, being ‘lazy’ and sitting all day can have painful consequences. If you have back issues, you should choose wisely how, where and how long you sit.

People also come with different leg and spine lengths so one chair design is not ideal for all. For example a too high chair can press on the hamstrings, the back of the legs of a shorter person and over time can compromise circulation and lymphatic drainage. This can result in tight calves and swelling of the feet and ankles. Pick a chair where your legs are not swinging but your feet comfortably reach the floor (or use a foot stool). Also flex your feet and stretch your legs regularly while seated to avoid circulation problems.

If you have back, hip or knee pain, and the length of the chair seat is too long, you may have difficulty getting out of the chair suddenly. Or if you’ve been sitting far back into a chair, do not stand up immediately from that position. First, bring yourself forward horizontally towards the front edge of the seat until you can get your feet firmly on the ground. Tighten your core or stomach muscles, lean slightly forward over your knees and then rise. Stand for a few seconds for your circulation to equalise and to regain your balance before you move away. Stop and visualise what you want to do next and then move – no need to rush. Do not jump up quickly from a chair that is not optimal for you.

If you go somewhere and the chairs don’t suit then stand up and walk around. Don’t allow other people to dictate that you remain seated and put your back at risk. Stand off to the side or at the back so that you can move unobtrusively and protect your back. 

You might think that sitting in chairs is simple because it is something we do all the time and often for many hours a day but it can be the number one thing that it is triggering your back or leg pain.

Do you need to improve your sitting habits?? Let me know how you go with these tips.

Case Study: Sexy Back!

I wanted to share an interesting case study with you as this is not my only client I have seen with the problem of ‘sexy back’!

A young female in her early 20s, was having a lot of trouble with her lower back and sciatic nerve. She’d already been hospitalised several times with the pain and there was talk of back surgery but she’d been told to lose weight before that could go ahead. She’d tried other therapies with no relief and then a friend of hers (a client of mine) had told her to see me.

There was structural misalignment in her lower spine and hips – she had grown up on a property and used to ride horses, had several falls, but now worked at an office in the city. She wasn’t getting any physical exercise and her muscle tone was very poor. However she responded quickly with her first Bowen session and had significant relief.

She was very excited to be able to move with substantially less pain.

I spoke to her about needing to rebuild muscle tone to support the corrections, suggested some gentle exercises she could do at home to support her recovery.

Her second session also went well and we got further improvement to the stage where she was no longer in pain. She hadn’t however chosen to do any of the exercises or stretches to help herself. I explained again the importance of building and maintaining muscle tone to keep pain free.

Her third treatment was totally different. She came in limping and in severe pain. Her father came in this time with her. She told me she had been great, no pain and full mobility until the weekend, then something had gone drastically wrong – she didn’t know what.

Her father sat out in reception while I helped his daughter but as I came out of her clinic room he grabbed me.

“She’s been going really well coming here but it’s her husband.” he whispered.

“He works away on shifts but he came back over the weekend. A long weekend, it’s too much sex or what he makes her do. It’s happened before but she won’t listen!”

I knew it was possible and could see he was very concerned. Recent activity had made her pelvis unstable and because of her poor muscle tone and lack of fitness she was back in trouble. 

So if you are in a similar situation, just be aware of ‘sexy back’.

There are positions where you can still have fun or a loving connection but not put your back at risk. Slow and supported tends to work better than fast and rough, and honest communication with your partner is important. Be conscious of positions that hurt or trigger your lower back pain and adjust accordingly.

Typically the person with lower back pain would take a more passive role and pillows can be used to support the back, hips or go under the knees, etc. Suggested positions depend on the type of pain and the actions that trigger it but may include seated using a chair or laying on the side and spooning.

Having a hot shower before sex can also be helpful and can loosen tight muscles, easing cramp and spasm. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or therapist for positions specific for your condition – they won’t mind, they would rather you use safe positions and stay pain free!