Back hurts? Let me see your feet..
Our featured Londoner this week is therapist Luke Gregorczyk. People come to personal trainers with all kinds of issues, many of which we're not qualified to handle. So it's good to know about other disciplines, so we can recommend another health or fitness professional when needed.
One thing that comes up a lot in life, for active people as well, is back pain. According to the Office of National Statistics, almost 9 million days are lost each year due to musculoskeletal issues. And the most common of these is back pain, in its various forms.
Now, if you know what you're doing, you can help clients strengthen their back muscles to hopefully make injuries less likely. But there's no guarantee. And fixing something that hurts, unless it's treatable with, say, sports massage, isn't really a PT's domain.
The contributing causes of back pain can be many and various, starting from tension in the feet, through misalignment in the legs and hips. A trained Rolfer is practised in spotting just this kind of disorganisation, and treating it with myofascial release techniques.
So is your friendly neighbourhood Rolfer just someone you can refer people to if their back hurts? Well, there are more benefits than that, including some which relate directly to good movement in training. Restrictions in the fascia can put a constant load on joints, for example, interfering with good range of movement. Luke says that "Once Rolfing has helped you to improve your movement habits, you may find that your coordination and posture has also changed for the better."
So despite the funny name, this seems like a therapy worth bearing in mind. And how to find a qualified practitioner? All Rolfers in the UK are certified by the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration and are listed on the Rolfing UK website – which is also a great place to go to find out more about Rolfing.