Book Review: TRIGGER POINT THERAPY FOR LOW BACK PAIN – A SELF-TREATMENT WORKBOOK

Authors: Sharon Sauer, Mary Biancalana
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
Book Publication: 2010

Have you (or someone you know) had surgery that was supposed to cure all of your back problems, and yet you still suffer from back pain and diminished function? Perhaps the back problem was misdiagnosed (as many evidently are).

According to Myofascial Trigger Point therapists Sharon Sauer and Mary Biancalana (based on the seminal work of Drs. Janet Ravell and David Simons), back pain episodes, whether chronic or acute, have one thing in common – problematic muscles. These are muscles that are weak, tight, over-lengthened, or lacking in full range of motion movement. Their solution is trigger point therapy – warming up, compression treatment, stretching, contracting and relaxing, and movement of myofascial trigger points, or points of “spot tenderness in a palpable taut band of [muscle tissue].”

In their self-treatment workbook, Trigger Point Therapy for Low Back Pain, Sauer and Biancalana explain trigger points and referred pain pattern (pain in your low back, for example, can be referred from trigger points in a number of muscles, such as the gluteus medius in your buttocks). They share their own personal low back pain treatment protocols, and provide clues for self-diagnosis, including a wealth of information on each of the muscles that can either cause or refer pain to the low back and buttocks. And the reader is provided with a list of must-have tools (in addition to your own hands) that the authors believe could be the best investment you ever make.

The above is all explained in a succinct, reader/user friendly writing style, which is enhanced with detailed and extremely useful illustrations. The techniques are well- explained, gentle, and easy to follow, so you can do them yourself at home.

The individual muscle chapter descriptions of specific symptoms and signs to look for, along with the illustrations, allow the reader to investigate and understand their own particular low back pain patterns.

At the end of each muscle-specific chapter, the authors also include more detailed information aimed at the health care practitioner, describing ways to use the protocols in a clinical setting.

And most important for the reader (in trying to decide whether to employ some of Sauer’s and Biancalana’s self-care protocols) is that the strategies introduced in this book to help people with their back pain are very safe. As the authors point out, “Myofascial trigger point therapy is a prudent option because it’s a conservative form of treatment. Once your doctor has ruled out cancer or other life-threatening causes of pain, there’s little risk or downside to trying myofascial trigger point therapy. Unlike surgery or drugs, there are no lasting side effects.”

Because low back pain takes such a personal and economic toll, there is a crucial need for safer, less costly, and more holistic patient-centred solutions. Sauer and Biancalana’s Trigger Point Therapy for Low Back Pain provides one.

With your own persistence and hard work, using this book can help relieve you of your back pain and allow you to become fully functional once again.

S

Susannah Kent is a Toronto area Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle Instructor.

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