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With the western world now getting older as an overall population, the number of those suffering from lower back pain issues has vastly increased. This being said, lower back pain is often misunderstood, with many people believing that once you encounter a lower back issue it will then re-occur or influence your wellbeing for the rest of your life. This is not strictly the case however, as most lower back pain issues is a temporary, where the damage to the muscles or nerves has been minor and after relevant rest or via strengthening exercises will lead to complete recovery within 6 weeks.
When lower back issues persist, a doctor or practitioner should be contacted for an expert opinion and for the prescription of painkillers or surgery if they deem it necessary. The majority of lower back issues can be managed and improved without the requirement of a surgeon, utilizing a number of adaptations including rest and exercise as core part of the rehabilitation and management process.
Rest is a key fundamental to the recovery from any injuries and illnesses and should be core to any successful workout programme . If you encounter lower back pain a few days rest will enable your lower back muscles to heal and the nerves within the lower back to repair. Too much rest however can lead to the muscles weakening around the spine, so be aware of how much rest you take and consider the amount of exercise you were doing prior to sustaining the lower back pain to the volume of rest and recuperation that is needed.
Often our rest can be interfered with and can actually make us feel worse, groggy and irritable due to the pain and stress levels. Lower back pain is one of the core reasons to insomnia and two in every three people who suffer with lower back pain issues experience from not getting enough sleep, through either struggling to get to sleep initially or staying asleep. Breaking this pattern can be tricky, but here are some techniques that you can utilized to gaining increased sleep efficiency, via some home techniques that practitioners advise, making you feel refreshed and energetic in the morning:
Imagery has been found to be an extremely effective mechanism to reducing stress and pain, through using imaginary images. If you picture a really annoying noise or really bright colour for example and then focus on that annoyance and then slowly reduce the colour or sound by turning down the volume gradually or fading the colour, you will find that when done correctly can lead to your pain being reduced. Although the evidence to support this technique has been has been minimal, the results in studies thus far have been fruitful, with imagery shown to reduce emotional and sensory pain. This technique has been applied by practitioners and is endorsed by The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. You can do this technique in the comfort of your home and see the benefits for yourself.
2. Mental anaesthesia & analgesia
Endorphins are what influences our mood and are the bodies' natural pain relief too. The mental analgesia is a technique where you can imagine your body releasing these endorphins and then through imagination you can think of them acting upon your lower back and slowly alleviating the pain within your lower back. If you find that this technique mental anaesthesia is the complete reverse in psychology of mental analgesia, so if you find the first technique does not work for you, this is a great alternative. This revolves around sitting in a relaxed state and just imagining the feeling and sensation of anaesthetic flowing through your body and moving towards your lower back where the pain is isolated and soothing the pain into a numb state. There are alternatives you can use as opposed to anaesthetic or endorphins that you can harness through your imagination that can have a similar effect, such as imagining a cold ice pack soothing the saw area for example.
Meditation has been around for a very long time and has many studies have indicated very strong correlations with decreased stress and anxiety. A particular type of meditation called mindfulness meditation to reduce lower back pain. Studies have indicated increased pain relief as a consequence of using this form meditation as well as reduction in depression and enhancement of self esteem amongst other positive traits it has been linked. It has been used by practitioners and lower back specialists as a form of prescribed treatment and can be done on your own. Like everything in life, it takes practice and works in the principle of removing the difference between thought and pain sensations within our minds. It gives you a great coping strategy that looks at changing the way our minds receive pain and is a great way to make pain bearable and generate a state of calm within yourself.
4. Controlled Breathing
Breathing in a stable and relaxed condition is very difficult to obtain, especially when you back is in severe discomfort, but when executed correctly can make a massive difference to the pain that you feel. It is not just used to relieve pain in the lower back, but help with the associated stress and anxiety that the pain causes.
1. Get into a relaxed reclining position
2. Placing yourself in a dark room and shut your eyes
3. Slow your breathing down and focus on deep breathes
4. Breathe from your chest with long, deep breathes
5. Make sure to focus on your breathing and don't let your mind wonder
6. Continue this controlled breathing for several minutes
5. Altered Focus
Altered focus is where you really concentrate for a sustained period of time on another anatomical component of your body, such as your hand, leg or foot for example. By putting all your focus onto another non-painful body part it helps you to shift pain away from your lower back. This acts like a slow release of he pain from your lower back, but this technique can be very frustrating as it requires a high level of concentration and conditioning of your mind, but noticeable effects of relief kick in.
Lower back pain is always independent to the person experiencing it and these are just coping strategies that you can use in the comfort of your own home, when it is not applicable to get to a doctor and should not been interpreted as a direct replacement. If pain persists, a qualified practitioner or doctor should be your first point of call who will assess whether you need surgery or a workout programme to help facilitate your rehabilitation. The mind is an incredibly powerful tool and this can work both for us and against us at times. Through practicing these techniques you will be able to be in control of your pain and not prevent it from dominating your life.
Luke is the Managing Director of Origym that specialize on in fitness and health courses in the UK. Luke loves all things health and fitness, with a particular interest in cycling where his passion derives and can often be found cycling along the hills of the Lake District in his spare time.
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