Dynamic Duo - End Back Pain with Integrative Manual Therapy and Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition

Back pain is common. It’s so common that many people consider it to be normal. While it is typical, it should not be accepted as normal.

The National Institute of Health published a Low Back Pain Fact Sheet that states, “Nearly everyone at some point has back pain that interferes with work, routine daily activities, or recreation. Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on low back pain, the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work. Back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in the United States…”

Causes for back pain can include traumatic injuries from sports or vehicle accidents. Potentially as damaging are lifting or bending injuries. Even everyday activities such as stress, sitting for long periods and pregnancy can cause back pain. Any back injury could become a chronic problem, lasting for months or years.

Many people who experience back pain reduce activity, do some stretching, and may use ice or over-the-counter medications. Some will try to resume activities with modifications. Unfortunately, some people can’t slow down and rest. A single parent, for example, may be able to take time off from work, but have no opportunity to take a break from parenting responsibilities. Some people don’t have the time or finances to take time off from work. This leaves many people left to function through the pain.

Possible Causes of Back Pain

It is helpful to understand the underlying reasons for back pain in order to achieve sustainable relief. While the incident or stressor that caused the pain may be evident, the exact physical mechanisms at play must be diagnosed. The pain could be coming from a disc abnormality, the sciatic nerve, hip dysfunction, tightness in a muscle or even irritable bowel syndrome.

The exact trigger of back pain can be obscure and difficult to diagnose, and enduring back pain without relief can be frustrating and depressing. Thankfully, there are multiple natural strategies for eliminating back pain.

Integrative Manual Therapy

Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT) is a gentle, hands-on therapy. It considers the whole body while assessing the spine and possible underlying contributors to spinal dysfunction. The IMT therapist looks at the ability of the joints to move and their alignment. Gentle techniques are used to improve mobility and alignment. IMT therapists also assess tension in the fascia in the lumbar and pelvic region. Soft tissues, such as the pelvic organs, nerves, arteries and veins and lymphatic drainage vessels are also examined.

IMT therapists help create a healthier environment in the area of dysfunction, allowing the body to heal more readily. Someone that has undergone disc surgery may have inflammation and tension of the tissues, as well as poor circulation and drainage. This environment inhibits healing and can result in stiffness and residual pain. An IMT treatment plan in this case may include general healing support as well as techniques to promote circulation and drainage to and from the disc region, scar release therapy to reduce fascial tension and treatment of posture and joint mechanics for spinal alignment.

IMT can correct structural dysfunction and promote a healing environment to reduce and eliminate pain.

Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition

Other natural strategies that may be helpful in eliminating underlying causes for back pain include dietary and lifestyle changes. The body requires proper nutrition to heal. Some foods can cause an inflammatory response and delay healing. Back pain is often caused by and exacerbated by inflammation; therefore, making basic dietary changes can help to promote health by reducing inflammation.

Where does one start? First consider which foods are inflammatory. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley is one example of an inflammatory food that often contributes to joint pain and dysfunction. Many people have reduced chronic pain by eliminating gluten from the diet.

It is also known that high levels of processed and refined sugar in the diet can interfere with healing. Processed sugar is neuro-toxic, which means that it can contribute to inflammation of the nervous system. Often, back pain is caused by sciatic nerve irritation and spinal nerve involvement contributing to disc inflammation. Eating processed sugar can inhibit nerve healing. There are many substitutes for refined sugar, including honey, pure maple syrup, palm/coconut sugar and fresh fruit. Substituting natural sweeteners can promote health and healing.


Back pain can be debilitating. It can get in the way of normal functioning. There are many interventions that mask symptoms and can lead to other problems. By incorporating IMT and healthy nutrition, people can eliminate pain and improve health.

Ayelet Connell-Giammatteo, PhD, PT, IMT,C is the President and Owner of Integrative Wellness and Physical Therapy, a wellness center specializing in holistic physical therapy, IMT and nutritional wellness. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact 860-519-1916 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Mention Natural Awakenings for a free private consultation.



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