IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY, LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP AND THE PILLOW METHOD…

Has anyone else either heard or tried the pillow method to help you sleep? It’s a new idea for me but will give it a try.

4 OF THE BEST EXERCISES TO DO FOR A BAD BACK…

The best way to prevent lower back pain is to exercise regularly and engage in strength training so that your core and back muscles are strong. A regular stretching program to keep you limber will help too.
However, if you already have back pain, contrary to popular belief, you still can and should start exercising to strengthen your body. You just need to take it slower and easier… but you need to exercise.


In most cases, it’s the lower back that will hurt. So, the muscles that you want to strengthen will be your glutes, hip adductors, core, abs and back muscles. The goal here will be to challenge them gradually so that they get stronger over time. You can’t just bang out a set of deadlifts with heavy poundage and expect to get away with it.


You’ll need to take it slow so that you don’t aggravate your condition. In this article, you’ll be given a few exercises that are very beneficial for back pain sufferers. Most are low impact and will not aggravate your condition.


It’s also essential to get approval from your doctor before engaging in any exercise routine when you’re suffering from a bad back.

  1. Planks
    There are many different types of planks such as forearm planks, side planks, knee planks, reverse planks and many more. Have a variety of them in your training so that you target different muscles. These planks will strengthen your core… and a strong core is the first step to preventing back pain, or reducing it.
  2. Bridging
    This is one of the best back exercises out there, and yet it’s often neglected. Lie on your back and bend your knees so that your feet form a right angle. Now push off your heels and raise your hips off the ground. Your knees, hips and shoulders should be aligned and form a straight line. Lower your hips and repeat again. Do this for 10 to 12 reps.
  3. Deadlifts
    This is one of the cornerstones of weight lifting. It requires good technique and proper form. You can learn how to do it from a trainer at the gym or by watching videos online. Always remember not to use too much weight, and not to jerk. Slow, controlled reps is what you’re aiming for. The weight you use should allow you to do about 10 to 12 reps. If all you can lift is a bar with no weights, then that will do.
    You’re not trying to build mass or become a bodybuilder. The goal is just to strengthen your back so that you’re not in pain. You can progress over time.
  4. Bird dog
    Similar to the plank, and challenging too. There is minimal impact. Get into a kneeling position with your palm on the floor. Now, straighten your right leg outwards and above the ground, while you straighten your left arm outwards too.
    Now you’ll just be balancing on your left knee and right arm. Hold the position for about 5 to 10 seconds… or longer if possible. Now repeat on the other side.
    If you do these four exercises regularly, you’ll strengthen your back and core, which in turn will make you less susceptible to back pain. Do note that you should have a day or two of rest after training. Approach your training with a slow and steady mindset, and you’ll be stronger in a month or two.

There are lots of websites and YouTube videos on all of the above exercises if you find it easier to watch how to do them. Little steps is the perfect way to start these and only after you have spoken to your GP.

SELF DIAGNOSING BACK PAIN…

The most common type of back pain that people suffer from is often acute back pain. This is pain that’s severe and happens out of nowhere, or at least it seems that way. In reality, there’s often a trigger that caused the pain, and you’ll be able to remedy the problem once you figure out what it is.

Chronic back pain, however, is recurrent and can last for weeks or months, and sometimes even longer. It’s usually related to diseases such as osteoporosis, degenerative disc disease, etc. The severity of your back pain usually dictates whether you’ll see a doctor or not. Most people with mild back pain, tend to just wait things out and rest. While this is understandable, if the pain is nagging and doesn’t go away, you must see a doctor as soon as possible so that any possible problems can be treated in the early stages, before it turns into some chronic.

SUDDEN ONSET OF BACK PAIN…

If you have sudden onset back pain, this could be due to an injury or a fall, or a strain. In some cases, the pain may only show up a day after the event, so you may have forgotten about it.

For example, if you strained your back while moving the couch, your lower back may start to throb or hurt a day later. By then you may have forgotten about the couch and be wondering why your back hurts. So, you’ll need to think back.

This is just one example. Working out at the gym, braking suddenly while driving, or even bumps to the back can cause back pain. In these cases, some pain killers and rest will suffice.

Usually, lifting heavy objects or twisting your trunk may cause sudden onset back pain. The facet joints get temporarily out of alignment and this will cause the joint to get inflamed. The surrounding soft tissues and muscles will get swollen and hurt. You may need to see a doctor.

GRADUAL ONSET OF BACK PAIN…

Another type of back pain is one that starts gradually. Sciatica is one such issue. If you have pain that’s located between your lower back and glutes, you might be suffering from ankylosing spondylitis. Pregnant women whose backs are strained will also display similar symptoms.

Another serious gradual onset of back pain arises when there is inflammation in the sacroiliac joints. In cases like these, you must see a doctor. Numbness around your back and buttocks, loss of bladder control, pain during bowel movements, etc. are all signs of back issues that require professional medical attention.

CHRONIC BACK PAIN…

With these types of back pain, it may seem like there’s no cause. The pain may come and go away. It’s episodic, recurrent and not as severe as acute back pain.

Usually, chronic back pain arises due to poor posture that takes a toll on the joints and muscles over time. Correcting your posture will remedy the problem. It could also be due to ageing, where your joints suffer wear and tear.

If the pain is persistent or worsens, there may be inflammation. It’ll be best to see a doctor.

These are the 3 types of back pain that generally affect most people. What you really need to know is that when assessing your pain, you must be honest with yourself. If the pain is getting worse, do not bury your head in the sand and expect it to go away. Keep a diary so you can explain in detail about your pain should you need to see a GP.

WHAT’S ALL THE BUZZ ABOUT PAIN AND NEUROMODULATION…

Harvard Health Publishing wrote that “ Chronic pain is an enigma for both pain doctors and their patients: difficult to understand (as everyone’s pain is different), challenging to treat effectively, and frustrating to live with. Desperate patients sometimes turn to drastic and irreversible surgical procedures, like amputating nerves to relieve pain, and unfortunately even those procedures may fail to provide the hoped-for results.”

Fortunately there have been great strides in research related to pain perception and our nervous system’s reaction to various pain treatments, and we’ve been able to develop novel devices that provide many people with much-needed relief and improve their quality of life.

Neuromodulation is “the alteration of nerve activity through targeted delivery of a stimulus, such as electrical stimulation or chemical agents, to specific neurological sites in the body.” Dr. Norman Shealy, a neurosurgeon, implanted the first device for the relief of intractable pain in 1967, and his work ushered in a new era for chronic pain management.

One of the most common examples of neuromodulation is the use of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) for chronic pain management. SCS consists of a very thin lead (or wire) that is placed in the space just outside the spinal cord (known as the epidural space). The lead is attached to a small generator device that is implanted under the skin and subcutaneous layer in the back or buttock. The devices will deliver frequent, low-voltage electrical impulses to the spine, with subsequent modulation of the pain signals in transit to the brain. Those impulses often feel like a gentle tingling or buzzing (which is called paresthesia) on the body.

Harvard explain that another form of neuromodulation is the intrathecal pump, which is a device designed to deliver a desired medication directly into the spinal fluid surrounding the spinal cord.

Neuromodulation treatments have typically been offered to patients only after they have tried conventional treatment options such as medications, physical and occupational therapy, or surgery. Although the treatment is not without risks it is a cost affective option for managing chronic pain, in particular after failed surgery,

Guy’s & St. Thomas’ NHS Hospital in London have a Chronic Pain Management & Neuromodulation Centre. It is internationally recognised as a centre of clinical and academic excellence in the management of chronic pain.

They have a long history of providing traditional chronic pain management treatments such as day case procedures and outpatient treatments.

They have also established world prominence in the fields of spinal cord stimulation and other neuromodulation techniques, as well as in addressing the psychological, physical and social impacts of chronic pain with our pain management programmes. This is delivered through the INPUT pain management department.

The centre collaborates closely with spinal surgeons in the assessment and treatment of spinal pains, and similarly provides highly specialised, multidisciplinary assessments for conditions including chronic headache, facial pain and pelvic pain.