Anyone who performs bodywork has encountered this situation at one time or another: the client presents with an episode of sharp, severe, low back pain. There may be a history of pain with lifting or prolonged sitting and the pain is usually greater on one side more than the other. The pain may radiate into the buttocks and sacrum and perhaps to the lateral thigh and into the lower extremity. The pain may worsen with extended sitting and with any forward flexion of the spine.
The gastrocnemius is one of the most easily visible muscles in the human body—the structure that gives the calf its characteristic bulging shape. It is this shape that inspired the name of the muscle: “belly of the leg,” from the Greek gaster (belly) and kneme (leg).
You may have heard a couple of different words used to describe the occupation of people who perform massage therapy: masseuse or massage therapist. Which term does your bodyworker prefer, and which should you use?