Why you don’t actually have a bad back.

back pain

I know you have heard it. Maybe you have even said it. “Oh, I have a bad back….hip…..shoulder…. neck.” You know what? In most cases, I disagree. What people often have – when they say that they have a bad back, is some combination of muscular imbalance, long term patterning, inflammation, and trauma. THESE ARE REAL THINGS! But they aren’t a bad back. Let’s examine this from a mind-body-spirit perspective.


First things first. The Body.

psoas back

I have been successfully treating back pain for a long time with shiatsu massage (and some nutritional coaching.) In my experience, people with lower back pain often have a combination of shortened and overstretched muscles that surround and attach to the hips. The hamstrings and gluteal muscles work with the hip flexors and psoas muscles to allow movement and create stability at the hip. When these muscles are shortened (tight), they rotate the hips – which pulls on the lower back muscles creating weakness and pain. As bipedal (2 legs) humans, our HIPS are at our center. The places where your legs meet your hips, and where your hips meet your spine are the areas you want to look to for balance (and the cause of the imbalance.) Once they are in balance, back pain will often cease. It may take time for this to happen- especially if the condition is chronic, but it DOES happen.

Next, The mind. 

What we THINK about we BECOME. That is real, it’s the most real, it’s the thing that we are all going to find out at the pearly gates. “Oh my god, I was just limiting my self because of FEAR!” So let’s stop that business now. Our words, both what we say TO ourselves and ABOUT ourselves are important. In “The Four Agreements,” a bestselling book by Miguel Ruiz, the first agreement is to be impeccable with your word. Words are thoughts that are given sound and become prayer, aka FORM. When you AFFIRM to your body that you have a bad back, it cooperates! If you think and believe that you have a strong and healthy back, it will be. You may have to do some work to make this happen, but everyone can experience back health. Once your mind believes it, the universe hears the thought and sends energy to meet it. I promise!


Third, the E-Motions.

When humans experience mental, emotional, spiritual and  physical trauma, we tend to associate the trauma with some part of our body. In that way, feelings get stuck inside our bodies because our bodies react to trauma by “shutting in.” In the science of somatic therapy, as in the work of our beloved Louise Hay, feelings can relate to certain kinds of pain and illness. The back, is all about feeling supported. Back PAIN, then, is often about feeling unsupported. “Lower back pain may reflect your fear of money or lack of financial support. A pain in your middle back may be connected to your guilt. Do you wish some people would get off your back? Do you feel stuck in all that stuff back there? Upper back pain could be related to you holding back love or feeling unloved. Do you feel a lack of emotional support?” (L.Hay, You Can Heal Your Life.)

Last, the SPIRIT. 

From a spiritual perspective, BACK pain has something to do with the BACK of the body. Again, as bipeds, we are always moving forward. With every step, every day. From a spiritual perspective, back pain might be telling us that we are not moving forward with ease, that we are hanging BACK in the past and not open to or moving toward the future. In chinese medicine, the back of the body is represented by the kidney and bladder meridians of water. Water expresses the Jing, the vital force, and holds the emotion of fear. Are you feeling fear? Is fear hiding in your body, your consciousness? Is it keeping you from moving forward in some way?

mind body spirit

Remember, your body is WITH you, not against you. It is yours to enjoy and use or hate and punish but it is YOURS. Your relationship with your body is your first one; how you talk to it, think about it, feed it and nourish it will determine how it treats you. How can you be a better friend to your body today? What words does it need to hear?


If you are experiencing back pain, want to learn more about what your body is saying to you, or just want assistance to move forward in your life, schedule an Ensoflow Shiatsu session today!

In health,


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