12 YOGA POSES TO HELP ALLEVIATE BACK PAIN…

Yoga is an amazing way to help ease back pain but without supervision could cause harm so please do not try any of the above poses unless you have done yoga before. The NHS website has a guide to yoga and says that ‘Dozens of scientific trials of varying quality have been published on yoga and while there’s scope for more rigorous studies on its health benefits, most studies suggest yoga is a safe and effective way to increase physical activity, especially strength, flexibility and balance.’

There is also some evidence that regular yoga practice is beneficial for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains – including lower back pain – depression and stress but they say that most forms of yoga are not strenuous enough (boo hoo) to count towards your 150 minutes of moderate activity, as set out by government guidelines.

 

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HANNA SOMATIC EDUCATION THERAPY FOR CHRONIC PAIN AND DEPRESSION…

Hanna Somatic Education (aka HSE) teaches you how to release muscles that have involuntarily contracted. Thomas Hanna, PhD developed Hanna Somatic Education over the course of two decades of work in the field of Somatic Education. He began as a Feldenkrais practitioner, and developed his own method of Somatic Education after studying neurology at the University of Miami Medical School.

It was there that he did research into the muscular ways in which all humans respond to stress reflexes and how these full body reflexes can habituate at the level of the central nervous system, causing muscular pain that contributes to many common pain conditions. Clinical Somatic Education developed from the hands-on methods of Thomas Hanna as well as other innovations from present-day somatic pioneers.

There are only a few Somatic therapists in the UK and one is Jonathan Hunt, a former Premiership footballer who had to retire in 2003 due to back pain. When manipulative therapies failed to help him, he tried the Hanna Somatic programme and was so impressed that he trained as a therapist himself.

Everyday Health said tensing our muscles is so automatic for many of us that we don’t know how to hold our bodies in any other way. Hans Selye, a famous endocrinologist, once said, “all of life is stress.” Our reaction to our daily stress gets absorbed into our bodies; if we’re not aware of it, we can go days, months, years, even an entire lifetime in a state of amnesia — called sensory-motor amnesia.

Sensory-motor amnesia is a “habituated state of forgetfulness of how certain muscles feel and how to effectively coordinate them” — chronic muscular contractions that lead to the common physical complaints that we usually mistake for the natural aging process, according to the Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training.

Some of the suggested exercises for backache are: Lie on your back, arms resting by your side, knees bent, and feet hip-width apart tucked up near your bottom. As you breathe in, arch your lower back by pressing your tail bone down, then very slowly flatten your back into the floor as you exhale, to relax. Rest, and then repeat slowly and gently ten to 15 times. When you finish, straighten and stretch your legs. Don’t attempt any of these until you have checked with your GP first and don’t overdo them as they should be comfortable.

 

COULD THIS BE THE SOLUTION FOR BAD POSTURE AND PAIN?…

Could these posture tops help alleviate bad posture which causes lots of back and spinal pain?

PERCKO is a French Company who sell three different types of posture tops to help correct your posture and relieve back pain.

Their website states their posture tops have given 50,000+ users less back pain. Just reading their story on their website of how it all started inspires you to give this product a try.They say that you will get benefit from day one of wearing one of their posture tops.

They have three different tops to choose from, LYNE UP is for daily life, LYNE FIT is for sporting activities and LYNE PRO is ideal for manual activities or gardening.

Their tensor technology is built into the fabric of the top which applies a light pressure onto the lower back and shoulders which pulls the body back into a correct, more supportive posture. You then become aware of your bad posture and then you naturally adopt a better posture.

PERCKO say that 87% of their users reported a reduction in their back pain after less than 2 weeks. Maintaining good posture throughout the day is then going to relieve pressure on the spine and this then eases the pain you get from slouching and leaning which I am sure the majority of us are guilty of.

I personally sit for a couple of hours at my desk and even though I have my laptop on a pile of books so it’s the correct height, and even though I use an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, and even though I have a back cushion and coccyx cushion I still get a lot of back pain which I am sure my posture is contributing to.

PERCKO approached me to see if I would be interested in trying the LYNE UP top to see if it helps with my back pain. They said that after wearing the LYNE UP for just 3 weeks I will see a permanent improvement in my posture position. Then after that initial 3 weeks they recommend the best way to keep your posture good is to wear the top 2-3 times a week.

Of course I said I would love to try the posture top especially now the weather has changed as I could easily wear it under my own clothes. The top arrived in a beautiful box with instructions on how to wear it and I was keen to get started with it straight away.

I will be keeping a diary of how my posture and back pain improves (hopefully) over the next three weeks and I will then post my honest review on the product.

SUCCESS RATES OF AN EPIDURAL STEROID OR FACET JOINT INJECTIONS FOR BACK PAIN?…

With so many different types of spinal injections available for back pain I decided to do a bit of research on epidurals for back pain and what I had for my cervical pain back in March this year.

I was told at the time that the way I had this injection (which was through the front of my neck ) was highly dangerous and that not many pain consultants ( including mine) would perform this procedure. All the way through the procedure the consultant ( another one I had been referred to who specialised in this type of injection )kept saying I must not move one fraction of an inch but instead to shout stop whenever I started to feel it too uncomfortable.

Right from when start when the injection went in I instinctively moved slightly because of the discomfort and the consultant was quite strong in his words to remind me to say stop or he may have to stop the whole procedure.

Slowly but surely after numerous stops I was given a fair dose of the steroid to help with my pain. I then had strict instructions on how I might feel afterwards and if I felt differently to phone directly to speak to him.

I can honestly say it wasn’t the most pleasant or procedures but I’m always of the opinion of no pain no gain with these type as of procedures. Fortunately I had no after affects and after about three weeks ( I was told it could take that long) the pain relief kicked in and my neck and arm pain disappeared for the first time in years.

When I asked the consultant how many of this particular type of injection I could have in a year he said he would not recommend ever having another as it is so dangerous.

The pain relief lasted four amazing months !

Spine Health wrote that while the effects of an epidural steroid injection tend to be temporary (lasting from a week to up to a year) an epidural steroid injection can deliver substantial benefits for many patients experiencing low back pain.

  • Recent research reports that lumbar epidural steroid injections are successful in patients with persistent sciatica from lumbar disc herniation, with more than 80% of the injected group with disc herniation experiencing relief (in contrast to 48% of the group that received a saline placebo injection).
  • Similarly, in a study focused on a group of patients with lumbar spinal stenosis and related sciatica symptoms, 75% of patients receiving injections had more than 50% of pain reduction one year following the injections. The majority also increased their walking duration and tolerance for standing.

So, I could see from this information that it seems to be ok for lumber pain but there is no mention of it for cervical pain.

An article in The Daily Mail said that tens of thousands of patients are being given a ‘useless’ back-pain injection, which costs the NHS nearly £40 million every year, an analysis suggests.

Patients that demand a ‘quick fix’ for their discomfort are being given the treatment, priced at £540 per procedure, despite doctors being told to recommend back-pain sufferers be more active or try psychological therapy.

According to an analysis of NHS data by The Times, 70,608 steroid injections into patients’ facet joints, which make spines flexible, occurred last year, compared to 62,570 five years ago.

Guidelines released in both 2009 and 2016 advise against the procedure. 

Figures also show 8,044 operations that fuse spinal bones together were carried out last year, up from 7,224 between 2012 and 2013. 

Spinal Healthcare point out that Epidural steroid injections are actually very safe, since they are simply an injection that contains both local anaesthetic and steroids. In effect these reduce the inflammation that is causing pain in the nerves and the disc in the spin and the local anaesthetic numbs the area, bringing short term numbness to the region. By the time the local anaesthetic wears off the steroid will be working to reduce inflammation.

However there are some risks with the procedure, but these need to be looked at in context. Almost every human activity carries some risk with it. For example, crossing the road, lifting heavy objects, even opening a tin of beans all carry risks. Yet we do them every day, simply because they are necessary to human function.

Reading through lots more posts on epidurals I have come to the conclusion that like anything in life one size does not fit all of us and for some this treatment gives great relief and for others none whatsoever. There is definitely a problem with the cost of this type of injection as you require x ray staff and others to proceed with it. My facet joint injections which were also done in X-ray were cut a couple of years ago due to funding.

I can quite understand the cuts as the NHS is under so much pressure but I think it would make sense to have a team of people who simply follow up your pain relief after the injection to monitor if it was worth doing or not. That way the ones who benefit could continue having them and and the ones that don’t could try something else.

As far as the safety of this type of injection, I guess any injection into your spine carries risks but that could apply to any type of procedure. However, having it for cervical pain is something I could not find so it makes me think that maybe the one I had was a one off that worked for a while but now it’s back to square one again.

 
 
 

HOLISTIC MEDICINE FOR THE WHOLE PERSON…

Holistic medicine, complementary therapies that treat the the whole person infographic. Lots to look at and research to help with pain.

I have covered many of these holistic complementary therapies before and some are in my book but I plan to cover each one in full again for us all. Hopefully that way, if I help just one person to be in less pain then I will be one happy bunny.