Can Blocks & Guns Fix Your Back Pain?

Kieran Finnegan: Chiropractor, Myotherpaist (SLM) & Sports Massage Therapist.

Although there are many treatments/techniques claiming to fix back pain by correcting posture & alignment, two commonly used by other chiropractors are the use of and a little hand held device called an . The chiropractors who use these will claim to be able to put a hip back in to place, correct a short leg, realign the spine & pelvis etc…  As posture is determined by the muscles, Its simply not possible to correct posture, by having someone lay on blocks or having your spine tapped by a hand held device.

Typically its tends to be non-evidenced based “10 minute chiro’s”  who use these techniques. Although 10 minutes may be enough to make a psychological change (placebo) it will have no effect on your muscles and therefore your posture. Although, the placebo effect should not be underestimated, there are quite a few people who get this treatment and get results often feeling improvements in there posture and pain levels, despite neither of these things actually been treated and it is more the belief in the treatment itself and the practitioner-patient relationship, with the practitioner being caring, emphatic and listening that is actually having the greatest effect. 

The green arrow on the left represents the muscles of the leg (hip flexor,  quadricep and adductor) pulling the hip down. Showing up as a short leg. You can actually see the muscle shortening/bulk on the inside of the left leg to the inside of the left knee, more than likely this is a critical muscle pulling the hip and creating the short leg.

The right arrow, represents the muscles of the right hip (TFL, glute med & quadratus lumborum) pulling the hip up, showing up as a long leg. You can see the crease under the rib on the right is much more prominent than the left, the muscles on the right side of the spine need to be lengthened in order to decompress that side of the spine.

Typically this patient would present with right hip pain (opposite short leg) and/or a deep ache across the lower back above the belt line or more centrally of the sacro-illiac joints. If let untreated long enough may start to compress the discs in the lower spine affecting the nerve(s), as this is more of a lateral (side) tilt it will tend to effect this L3-L4 discs as this is where the greatest pressure is, where a rotation of this hips will effect L5-S1 disc, as the sacrum is rotating relative to the L5 with the disc sandwiched between the two being effected the most.

I will write an article in the future on shoulder, upper back and neck postural syndromes, what muscles are involved and what are the likely symptoms.

Even if you can get a basic idea from the info above and the article linked below of what poor posture looks like, how muscle imbalances have there effect and how the body is inter-connected you will actually have a MUCH better understanding of posture and how it relates to back pain than the chiropractors who use these techniques and short 1o minute treatments.

I have written a more in depth article on how you can diagnose your own hip, pelvic and lower back posture on my Sydney CBD website, so you can objectively see for yourself if you have a postural issue and more importantly if its actually been corrected.

Its also vital you understand posture is only one aspect of back pain which should not be treated in isolation and a wholistic approach that also looks at lifestyle, stress, diet, exercise, fear of pain, sleep etc… is also necessary. I have treated many people with good posture and still suffered from considerable pain and ones who had quite bad posture who’s symptoms were minimal.