The Causes of Body Stress
 
The jarring effect of accidents and falls may cause body stress to become locked into the
lower back.  Heavy or incorrect lifting or bending may strain ligaments and muscles and
result in stress becoming stored in the structures.  The wrong kinds of exercise - those which
involve twisting movements or repeated forward bending - may stress the lumbar spine. 
Another cause is poor posture, especially sitting in a slumped position which reverses the
normal lumbar curve.
 
Sitting like this may give temporary relief from back pain, as it causes the joint spaces to
open up at the back and thus reduce pressure on spinal nerves for a short time. 
However, this posture builds up pressure on the discs and in time the back walls of the
discs may weaken and develop a bulge (herniated or sequestrated disk). 
This would result in pressure being exerted on a spinal nerve.
 
The Structure of the Lower Back
 
The spine of the lower back has five lumbar vertebrae and below these the sacrum, a triangular-shaped bone which fits between the bones of the pelvis with a sacroiliac joint on each side.  The coccyx is a small tail-like bone below the sacrum.
 
The bodies of the vertebrae are bound together by the intervertebral discs.  These discs with their tough
outer rim of cartilage and jelly-like core serve as shock-absorbers, and are shaped to give the lumbar spine
its natural forward curve.  The vertebrae form a bony canal housing the spinal cord.  The spinal nerves
exit from the cord through openings (foramina) between the vertebrae, and supply the skin and muscles
of the legs and feet, the lower abdomen and groin areas.  Branches from these nerves also lead to the
internal organs, such as the digestive, reproductive and urinary systems.
 
The Effects of Body Stress

 
Irritation to the spinal nerves of the lower back may result in back pain and this may be referred along the
nerve pathways into the abdomen, groin, hips, legs or feet.  Often pain is felt along the large sciatic nerve
which passes through the buttock and down the back of the leg.  There may also be sensations of numbness
in any of these areas.  Muscle function may be affected, resulting in stiffness or weakness.  The compression
effect in the lower back may be so severe that the back muscles lock up in a protective spasm, pulling the
spine sideways or forwards.
 
While body stress remains stored in the lower back, the irritation to the nerves may undermine or disturb
the normal functioning of the areas and organs they supply.  Thus body stress may lead to digestive
problems, e.g. constipation/diarrhoea, bladder complaints and may adversely affect sexual function.
 
Sometimes a person may not be aware of the body stress in the lower back other than feeling stiffness on
arising in the morning.  After BSR a person may be pain-free for a period, and then experience a return of
the problem for no apparent reason.  This signals that the lower back is ready to undergo further deeper
releases of body stress.
 
If the body stress has been present in the lower back for a long time (the cause may have originated in childhood), it may be necessary for the stored tension to be released in "layers" over a period of time.
 
As the foundation of the spine the lower back area affects the stability of the rest of the spine.  Therefore, if body stress is stored in the lumbar area, muscular tension will be referred to the upper back and neck.

Cases
 
A 48 year old man was experiencing such intense calf pain that he was unable to walk.  He was not aware of any pain in his lower back.  A week of traction in hospital had not eased the problem.  After the first BSR session the lower back become very painful as feeling was restored to numbed nerves.  The calf pain was unchanged.  After the second session three days later the pain withdrew from the calves and was felt in the hips and lower back.  After further releases 5 days later, the pain in the lower back began to lessen.  The final session was 3 days after that.  Within two weeks the client was pain-free and was able to return to work.
 
For several years a 15 year old boy had experienced the embarrassment of frequent bed-wetting, as well as intermittent lower back pain.  After three sessions, in which pressure was released in the lumbar spine, he had no further bladder problems.  The bed-wetting recurred a year later after a heavy fall at rugby, but cleared up once more after two sessions of BSR.
 
A 31 year old woman had walked with one foot rotated outwards, ever since a motor accident in her teens.  She frequently woke with her lower back in a painful spasm.  She underwent regular BSR over a period of 3 months.  Her foot was restored to its normal position and her buttock muscles, which had been wasted, had rebuilt.

THE LOWER BACK

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