Back Pain and what causes it

  • About 4 out of 5 adults (80%) are currently in pain or have suffered from debilitating back pain at least once – the cost is considerable for both sufferers and to the economy.
  • For both NHS & Private healthcare combined costs for back pain is a total of £1.6 billion per year.
  • Back pain, in particular persistent back pain (i.e. for longer than 3 months), can have a significant impact on people’s lives. It frequently reduces their quality of life and adversely affects their family and social relationships.


It is estimated that up to 14 million men and women in the UK suffer stress, and I bet you

have suffered stress at one time or another? Stress occurs when we are put under too much pressure and can have psychological and physical symptoms.

Symptoms can range from irritability, apathy, depression and constant anxiety, to loss of appetite, lack of concentration, loss of sex drive and increased smoking, drinking or comfort eating, aches and pains (usually muscular pains or headaches), skin problems, heart palpitations, nausea, stomach problems and weight gain/loss.

N – KNACKERED  Definition: knackered  (ˈnækəd)   —
adj 1. exhausted; tired out
2. worn out; no longer working, especially after long or hard use

Physical signs to stress can include tiredness as when we are stressed, we have trouble sleeping, either with broken sleep, insomnia or nightmares.


85% of my clients that come for massage have upper back problems, normally shoulders and neck.

They commonly have knots around the shoulder blade and very tight Trapezius muscle.

As you can see from the diagram below the Trapezius is a very large muscle that is used in a lot of movements.

Massage is an age-old technique first used by the ancient Greeks and has remained popular over thousands of years.

Massage essentially refers to the technique of manipulating the muscle tissue in order to smooth out imperfections and facilitate the flooding of nutrients into the muscle, whereby it feeds and repair’s the muscles.

One of the main things that massage is used for is to aid and speed up the recovery of injuries, this is achieved through expelling waste products that accumulate.

Massage is also very relaxing and has mental as well as physical benefits.


Another cause of back problems is poor posture whilst sitting at computers in offices.

  •  DO
    check the position of your screen
    have your chair at the right height so your eyes are level with your screen and your knees are slightly lower than your hip joints
    let your wrists rest on the desk
    have your computer in front of you
    let your feet sit flat on the floor and not tucked under your chair
    keep your shoulders and back relaxed
    take regular breaks away from your PC
  • DON’T
    fix your eyes on the screen
    lift your shoulders when typing or clicking the mouse
    have any equipment where you need to twist constantly to access it
    collapse your neck as you read the screen
    use your PC in low light conditions


Aromatherapy blends that are excellent for aches and pains:-

Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum) is rubefacient (warming and increasing blood flow), analgesic and antispasmodic.

Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) is an analgesic, antidepressant, antispasmodic and rubefacient.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is analgesic, antidepressant, carminative (settles the digestive system), cephalic (stimulating and clearing the mind), cordial (a stimulant and tonic for the heart), digestive (aids the digestion of food), nervine (strengthening or toning to the nerves and nervous system) and rubefacient.


The term “Aromatherapy” is fairly new, it was first coined in 1928 by a French Chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé.

After badly burning his hand in an experiment he plunged his hand into the nearest tub of liquid which just happened to be a lavender essential oil.

He was later amazed at how quickly his burn healed and with very little scarring.

In some respects, the word “Aromatherapy” can be misleading because it suggests that it is a form of healing that works exclusively through the sense of smell, and emotions.

This is not the case, for apart from its scent, each essential oil has an individual combination of constituents that interacts with the body’s chemistry in a direct manner, which then, in turn, affects certain organs or systems as a whole.  For example, when the oils are used externally in the form of a massage treatment, they are easily absorbed via the skin and transported throughout the body.

Essential oils have 3 distinct modes of action with regard to how they interrelate with the human body: pharmacological, physiological and psychological.

The pharmacological effect is concerned with the chemical changes that take place when an essential oil enters the bloodstream and reacts with hormones and enzymes etc.

The physiological model is the way in which an essential oil affects the systems of the body, whether they are sedated or stimulated etc.

The psychological effect takes place when the essence is inhaled, and an individual responds to its odour.


What I hope you get from my article is ways to care for and protect your back, and if you are one of the unfortunate people to have back problems, ways in which Aromatherapy massage can be of real benefit in treating the pain and suffering without resorting to long term medication use.


Prevention is better than cure, and the best way to prevent back problems is to have regular massages to keep muscles and mind relaxed!


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