Nobody Wants Back Pain For Christmas
This tip might seem simple enough but often times people suffering from back pain are advised to rest and just put up with it! You might even be fearful of movement for fear of causing “damage” to your spine! Let me assure you that you are a lot more durable than that.
Pain is an output of the brain and is very poorly related to actual tissue damage. Pain generally doesn’t come from a structure like a ligament or a disc. Pain can be turned on or turned up by anything that provides the brain with credible evidence that the body is in danger and needs to be protected. It works like an alarm system to alert the body of danger or perceived danger. Unfortunately the brain is often overprotective.
The good news is that in a similar way to the brain turning pain on…it can also be turned off or down! You can start this at home over the holidays with some gentle movement. Avoid the positions that aggravate the pain and start moving! You need to convince the brain that you are not broken, and that you are safe to move! Something as simple as some leg and shoulder movements often throughout the day can get you back on path to becoming free from back pain
When our brain goes into this overprotective state that we mentioned in tip number one it tenses, tightens and stiffens everything up. But this isn’t how our bodies are designed to move. We need to be relaxed, loose and able to move freely.
A simple breathing technique can encourage the brain to come out of this “fright or flight” protective state it is in and to enter a more relaxed “rest and digest” state. If our bodies are relaxed, the brain can relax and as a result tension and tone in your muscles will decrease too!
As well as this, back pain can be a symptom of a wound up nervous system, and people who are stressed, tired or anxious can experience back pain more than others. Christmas can be a stressful time of year for some, it can be difficult to avoid it at this time of year but addressing external factors such as stress can really help calm the body down and reduce pain.
Calm, light, slow breathing in and out through your nose (not your mouth) often helps a lot in calming everything down and decreasing your back pain symptoms. If we are relaxed, the brain can relax!
Prepare for your New Years Resolutions!
January is a busy time for gyms across the country and it is often a time people begin a new active hobby such as running, or start a gym programme! Whatever your fitness goals may be it is important that everything starts gradually.
As previously mentioned, the brain can produce pain if it is provided with credible evidence that the body is in danger. If you are someone who has never ran before or have taken a long break from your activity, jumping straight in and going for a 5km could be too much too soon – often times resulting in injury!
This idea of doing too much too soon is something we see a lot here at our clinic. And whilst it’s great that people are enthusiastic and raring to go with their new hobbies, it is important to introduce the activity gradually over time. For example if you wanted to start running, you might go out now and try two minutes of walking, one minute of jogging, two minutes walking, one minute jogging… and gradually decrease the walking time and increase the running time as you progress!
Dosage is key when avoiding injury or reducing back pain!