Overcoming Back Pain

A New Approach Brings Relief

The spine has been the subject of endless study and debate. Back pain is a universal complaint. Practitioners of all descriptions have X-rayed, probed, dissected, injected, bolted, pummeled, cracked, stretched, twisted and exercised ad infinitum in the elusive attempt to alleviate this age-old affliction.

With the development of the X-ray, the spine was presented as a disembodied stack of bones. Discs and other soft tissues are invisible in these images. The apparent misalignment of the bones of the spine and/or collapse of the disc space between them led to the conclusion that this “fragile” and frequently imbalanced structure must be the source of back pain.

Since the spine is richly supplied with pain nerve endings, there is even one “inventive” approach to overcoming back pain by cutting or destroying these nerves. Nothing like treating the cause! Unfortunately, many of these treatments have been unsuccessful, or provide only short-term solutions for the painful condition.

Matrix Repatterning is a new form of treatment based on the underlying structure of the cells of the body, referred to as the Tensegrity Matrix. This concept confirms that all of the tissues of the body, including the joints, muscles and ligaments, as well as the bones themselves and even the internal organs, are interconnected. It also explains how the body responds to injury.

This model of the body has been proven by research at several cell biology laboratories, including the pioneering work of Stephen Levin, M.D. and Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D. These studies prove that the body tissues are composed of interconnected protein strands in the form of a  geodesic framework. These proteins form a continuous framework throughout the body, providing a balance between stability and mobility. This structural model explains many of the properties of the body related to postural support, movement, response to injury, as well as the effects of treatments.


Since the tensegrity matrix is a continuous fabric linking every cell in the body, when the force of an injury (either strain or impact) enters the body, it is rapidly transmitted throughout the entire body. Moderate injuries are easily dissipated due to the elastic properties of the matrix. Excessive force, however, may be absorbed by the matrix, causing the protein strands inside the cells to become rigid and electrically charged. When force is transmitted through tissues and encounters a dense surrounding material such as water or bone, the energy may become even more focused and trapped locally. The small black dots represent the increased concentration of molecules inside a dense structure, such as the internal organ or bone. This focusing effect is like a magnifying glass that tends to concentrate the mechanical energy of a strain or an impact into the protein structure of the cell, leading to the formation of an area of restriction, which Matrix Repatterning Practitioners refer to as a primary restriction.

Water is the most dense substance in the body. Fluid-filled internal organs (such as the heart, liver, spleen and kidneys) and crystalline bone, due to its density, tend to absorb much of the force of injury. These tissues are often the sites of primary restrictions. These sources of tension create strain in structures throughout the body. This, in turn, results in abnormal movement and irritation of sensitive structures such as joints and muscles. The primary restriction itself is often painless after the initial injury, since the nervous system tends to get used to a constant source of irritation and only becomes painful with direct pressure (tender or trigger points).


The assessment consists of a detailed examination of postural balance, movement patterns, muscle tone, joint mobility, neurological function and other tests, as well as a careful determination of the primary restrictions. When we bump our knee or elbow, our natural reaction is to hold or rub the area. Research has demonstrated that the electrical field in the hand tends to normalize the field in the injured area.  In a similar manner, the practitioner places his or her hand (a normal field) on various parts of the body. If the area contains a primary restriction, it will temporarily reduce the local cellular tension. Since the matrix is interconnected, the rest of the body will relax slightly. This is something the practitioner can detect and the patient can often feel as well.

This process is continued until all of the primary restrictions are identified. The practitioner will then determine the priority in which these areas are to be treated.


Treatments involve the use of precise localized pressure, which releases the stored electrical charge within the restricted area. When this happens, the molecular structure returns to its natural, flexible state. This is a permanent correction, and the charge will not return unless another significant trauma occurs. Each area may need to be treated in several different directions in order to release the entire pattern, and several primary areas may be treated in any one session.

Treatment is generally painless. However, since long-term imbalances are often being corrected, the body may respond for a period of several days after each treatment. The brain tends to adapt to chronic conditions and pain. Treatment may re-awaken some of this stored information causing a temporary aggravation of symptoms. Certain home-care measures may be recommended to help your body adapt to these changes more comfortably.

The assessment is repeated at each subsequent visit. Further layers of restriction are thus revealed and released in priority sequence. This is similar to an archeological excavation.

A series of treatments can release all of the structural imbalances developed over a lifetime.


Let us consider the spine from the perspective of the tensegrity structural model. The spine provides protection for a very important structure called the spinal cord. Without it, we would not be able to survive. Painful signals from the spine help to prevent any movement that would threaten this vital structure.

The spine however, like all structures of the body, is connected to every other part by way of the tensegrity matrix.  Therefore, it is subject to any abnormal strain patterns arising from any one of a number of possible primary restrictions.

The spine, in fact, appears to be designed to give in response to strain. This provides an essential role in diverting potentially damaging forces from damaging the vulnerable tissues of the spinal cord. Pain signals may help to alert us to a potentially dangerous range of motion, which might therefore jeopardize our survival. Perhaps the pain is simply a useful symptom, which has nothing to do with the actual source of problem. The spine may be simply reacting to the overall structural imbalances being expressed throughout the body and performing its overriding function of protecting the delicate tissues housed within it. The distortions of vertebral segments, seen on X-ray, might be an expression of this protective response.

Based on our clinical research, many cases of back pain are due to restrictions in other parts of the body. When these are addressed appropriately, the spine is able to heal rapidly, and pain becomes a non-issue.

Key Points

  • Pain is often not the problem.
  • The cause is often in the deep core tissues: bones and organs, or the cellular and molecular level
  • Matrix Repatterning is focused on well-being, not disease
  • Matrix Repatterning is focused on solutions, not treatments

The Matrix Repatterning Center offers a number of services to help support well being at a profound level, including Matrix Repatterning®, Naturopathic medicine, Massage therapy, Advanced Electrotherapy and Laser, custom-fitted orthotics, Stress Counseling and classes in Yoga, Meditation, Pilates, Feldenkrais and Nia. Call (905) 726-8770 or email info@matrixrepatterning.com


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  • Gray G: Functional Kinetic Chain Rehabilitation; Overuse and Inflammatory Conditions and Their Management: Sports Medicine Update, 1993.
  • Ingber, DE: The Architecture of Life: Scientific American, Jan. 1998, pp. 48-57.
  • Levin SM: The icosohedron as the three-dimensional finite element in biomechanical support.  Proceedings of the Society of General Systems Research on Mental Images, Values and Reality Philadelphia, PA: Society of General Systems Research, St. Louis, May 1986.
  • Roth, GB, D’Ambrogio, KJ: Positional Release Therapy: Assessment & Treatment of Musculoskeletal Dysfunction: Mosby – Harcourt-Brace, 1997.
  • Schultz, AB: Biomechanics of the Spine. In Nelson L (Ed): Low Back Pain and Industrial and Social Disablement. London, American Back Pain Association, 1983
  • Wang N, Butler JP, Ingber DE: Mechanotransduction Across the Cell Surface and Through the Cytoskeleton: Science, Vol. 260, May 21, 1993.

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