Sunday, October 14, 2012

Managing Back Pain

Managing Back Pain
Management of back pain has been cited as one of the reasons for large economic burdens in the world. Healthcare costs in the management of lower back pain are said to have spiralled beyond billions each year and is very much likely to increase given the sedentary lifestyle that modern living has given rise to.

Often, managing pain has been seen as the best practice in curing the problem. And simple things can work wonders when it comes to managing back pain.

It is always best to get a comprehensive medical evaluation or a diagnosis as pain is often a signal indicating that something is wrong and needs medical attention.

Whatever the medical condition, there are a number of techniques to help cope with back pain, and most of these techniques are simple and can be done anywhere, anytime. All of these techniques make use of four types of basic skills that include:
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Distracting one's attention away from the pain signals
  • Diverting one's thoughts towards pleasant images or sounds and
  • Developing detachment and distance
Muscle relaxation: Muscle relaxation involves slow deep breathing exercises to release tension from the muscles to relieve pain. Learning to relax needs time, patience and practice. But the technique of relaxation once mastered, can focus attention away from your pain and release tension from all your muscles.

Distracting one's attention away from the pain signals: This technique gently manoeuvres one's attention from negative or painful images to positive mental thoughts. Simple activities such as watching television or a favourite movie, reading a book, listening to your favourite music or talking to a friend can distract ones attention to positive thoughts.

Diverting one's thoughts towards pleasant images or sounds: Concentrating on pleasant visual imagery helps in diverting one's attention from pain. One can divert one's thoughts to some pleasant memories of pleasant scenes or events or mentally repeat positive words that instil confidence to manage pain.

Developing detachment and distance: This technique helps one to develop a sense of detachment or distance from the pain. If one masters the art of relaxation through deep breathing and calming, one can easily extricate the mind from focusing on the pain and develop detachment.

As the saying goes, 'prevention is better than cure', preventative maintenance of spine is always worth a pound of cure. And some of the ways to maintain a supple spine is through simple routine exercises.
  • Exercises that strengthen the back muscles: The abdominal and back muscles in the body support our upper body. The actions of these muscles balance or support one another. Thus weak or tight muscles can be a precursor to back injuries. Back muscle strengthening programs like yoga and Pilates are excellent ways to prevent any kind of injury to the back. Studies have shown that people who practice yoga twice a week for eight weeks make significant gains in strengthening their back muscles. This leads to flexibility and endurance that are essential for a strong back.
  • Eat right and get enough sleep: Your diet plays a strong role in building and healing the soft tissues in your body. Fresh fruits and vegetable play their role in supplying effective vitamins necessary for a strong back. Sleep is the most essential ingredient for your body to relax and heal. Thus, ensure that you have a good seven to eight hours of sleep to stay healthy.
  • Breathe: The same muscles that help you in breathing also function as posture muscles. Thus breathing exercises through yoga, martial arts or Pilates can help in developing these posture muscles. They in turn help in developing a strong core and a good alignment of the body.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight puts pressure on the nerves, muscles and bones of the back. If you maintain a healthy weight for your height, chances of developing a back ache reduces considerably.
  • Maintain your posture: Do not slump. Slumping tends to put weight on your back. Be careful when lifting heavy objects. Bend and straighten from the knees when lifting heavy objects.
Statistics show that there is no sure fire treatment for managing back pain. Millions who suffer know that it is often a process of trial and error to see what works best for them. If you're one of them, make sure you are guided and helped by a medical practitioner to get the best possible option of dealing with it.

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