I have had several clients that have had herniated disks in their backs. This is a very serious and painful condition. I will give you one of their stories.
Several years ago a lady about 38 years old called me and told me her 5 year old had jumped off a chair and landed on her back, causing a lot of pain. Her back had gotten worse day after day for over 3 weeks. She had been prescribed more and more pain medication until now the high level of medication was not only not stopping her pain but was also causing her to only have about bowel movement per week, causing more pain.
Her doctor had referred her to a surgeon who had said he would operate on her back, but had to split her breastbone (sternum) and operate on her back through her chest. The lady was a Physicians Assistant, and was afraid of the invasiviness of the surgery. That was when she called me.
When she called me because of her pain level she could not drive, so I brought my massage table to her home. She had been off work for several weeks. She was in a lot of pain so when I first tried to massage and stretch her, she could not take it. So I did a massage technique that is called the gate control theary. This allowed me to work on her as normal.
The first few massages were a bit uncomforable for her as her body was very ridged and protective of her injury site. After two massages per week for about 5 weeks, she was able to return to work because her pain was very decreased and had quit taking her pain medication. She then had weekly massage for two more weeks.
About then she told me her pain was about 95% gone and now was going to come in for maintenance massages about monthly. She did not have to have a surgery because massage had helped her body to relax enough to heal itself. The massages had not healed her, but relaxed her and allowed her body to heal itself.
When our body is very tight and stiff it has such decreased blood flow to that body area that:
it cannot heal properly because blood flow into the area is not adequate for healing and bodily wastes are restricted from leaving the area so swelling and inflammation may persist and
continued splinting (our body producing more and more scar tissue to prevent movement) may occur from inadequate movement in that area that will further restrict movement and healing.