WHEN YOUR HEAD THINKS YOUR IN PAIN…

Pain is a sensation. However, when the unpleasant perception lingers and doesn’t seem to leave you, there could be many explanations as to what is happening to your body. Some pains do linger longer than others, which is why some people can experience lasting complaints. But when it comes to pinpointing why chronic pain exists and where it comes from, doctors are at a loss. More and more neurologists have discussed the possibility of the memory of pain. Indeed, lasting pain triggers a memory reaction in your body and brain. At a physical level, your muscles might tense because they remember the pain that once was. It sends the message to your brain, which matches the tension with the sensation of pain. Sometimes, your mind is starting the process on its own. The fact is that whether your body is in pain or whether your brain thinks you are, it doesn’t change the result for you. But what if you could alleviate the sensation by helping your brain to relax?

When your fear of pain leads to anxiety

When the brain activates the perception of pain, it is typically under a lot of stress, which can cause signals to backfire or reactions to be activated without a physical trigger. The quickest and safest way to recalibrate signals in your brain is to bring new stimuli to the central nervous system. Not having enough serotonin – the happy hormone – can increase your stress and anxiety levels and lead to nervous backfires. You can manage your serotonin levels through prescription drugs, such as Prozac, but you can also use CBD oil to alter serotonin signals. If you’re looking for a cost-effective alternative in the UK, Vsavi has a range of different products available for vaping, vaporising and as drops. More importantly, if you’re worried about getting high, CBD oil is free from THC, the compound that is responsible for psychoactive effects. 

 

Learning new soothing patterns

You can introduce calming and relaxing routines into your lifestyle as a stress relief. Yoga, for instance, offers a healthy mixture of meditative exercises to help you regain control of your thoughts and soothing poses to physically relax tensions. After a yoga seance, you are likely to feel more connected to your body, which encourages your brain to recalibrates signals. Additionally, learning breathing patterns can also alleviate stress before it affects your perception dramatically. High-stress levels are likely to make your brain feel pain where there might not be anything. 

 

Creating positive experiences

Last but not least, a positive mindset can relax the mind. Ultimately, a negative approach to life tends to lower your production of serotonin and endorphin – the feel-good hormones. But something as simple as laughing can address the balance and decrease stress hormones. While it might sound silly, you should try listening to your favourite comedian next time you are experiencing pain. When the brain misfiring triggers the pain, it might completely eliminate the sensation. But it is also useful for physical pain. 

Can you train your brain to reject the perception of pain? Some yogi masters claim it is an option, but it’s fair to say that most of us will never have that level of control on the mind. However, we can disrupt the stress and pain signals and regain control of our lives. 

HOW CHRONIC BACK PAIN CAN HAVE AN IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE…

Suffering from chronic or even just acute back pain can be a very challenging ordeal. Only a fellow back pain sufferer can truly understand just how debilitating and depressing the condition can be.

Your quality of life suffers when you’re in pain all the time. Most people not suffering from this condition just can’t seem to understand the devastating effects of this condition. It often seems like the patient is exaggerating or ‘weak’… when in reality, the pain can last for months or even years.

 

The mental and emotional toll

The first step to coping with this condition is to understand how it can impact your life. Depending on the severity of the pain, besides just medication and physiotherapy, you may also wish to speak to a counselor or a professional. The emotional and mental toll that back pain takes can leave you feeling stressed and depressed. You just might need someone to speak to.

 Everything gets harder

When even a slightest jolt makes you groan in pain, you must come to terms with the fact that your mobility may be limited. You may have to walk slower, move more carefully, and tasks that were a breeze before may be of a Herculean nature now.

Carrying a bag of groceries may leave you in agony. Even simple actions like getting up from a chair or reaching for the TV remote may send spasms of pain shooting up your spine. You must be careful of everything.

When your activities are severely restricted, you may find yourself becoming more dependent on others. This may make you feel like you’re imposing and your sense of self-worth decreases. It’s important that you know that you’re not incapable. It’s just the pain wreaking havoc in your life.

As difficult as it may seem, now more than ever, you need a positive attitude and the grim determination to persevere and beat the pain.

 

Fear

This is nothing to be ashamed of. Almost all adults fear pain. It’s just the extent that varies. You may experience fear and not just of pain but also your general wellbeing. What if things got worse? What if you develop other problems like diabetes or paralysis?

Most of these fears are often unfounded. You can always talk to your doctor about the problem and clarify your doubts.

On the other hand, you may fear going out or engaging in other activities just in case you worsen the pain. The advice here is to use common sense. If the activity is a visit to the beach or a walk by the park, go ahead. The fresh air and change of scenery will do you good.

Fearing everything will just make you stay indoors and your life will become monotonous and sedentary. This will actually worsen the situation. Activity will improve your blood circulation and keep your muscles stronger and reduce your back pain.

 Social life

Your social life may suffer because of your pain. You’d rather stay indoors than go out and have fun. It’s difficult to have fun when you’re in pain. If you’re married or have a partner, intimate relationships will suffer too.

The pain will make the entire activity a chore. You’ll need to be open and speak to your partner about it. Do not withdraw and get angry or disappointed. Experiment with new positions that are easier on your back.

 Your career

The hard truth is that you may have to quit your job if it’s one that has a lot of manual labor. If you work at a desk, your workstation may need to be adapted to suit your condition. If your condition is so bad that even leaving your house to get to work is not a possibility, you may wish to ask your boss if you can work from home. All these situations are possible, and you must be ready for them.

I had to sell my last business after my fourth spinal surgery kept me in hospital for nearly three months. It was a big decision and a new chapter in my life.

At the end of the day, just know that you’re not alone in this. It may seem like a small consolation, but the fact that there are millions of people with chronic back pain doing the best they can to lead ‘normal’ lives should inspire you to stay strong.

Keep finding ways to improve your condition and get better. Even if all it takes is a positive attitude, that itself will reduce your mental stress and make you feel better.

BACK PAIN DURING PREGNANCY…

Millions of women around the world experience back pain during pregnancy. Usually, it’s one of two types of back pain. The first type is known as PGP, which is an acronym for pelvic girdle pain. This is pain that arises when the pelvic joints are affected.

The second type of pain is more common and arises because of the extra weight the mother is carrying. When there is a child in the tummy, the extra weight in the front, puts pressure on the spine. It makes the back muscles tight, and posture may be compromised too. The ligaments are strained and the back hurts.

The good news is that after pregnancy, the pain will diminish and disappear. However, there are measures that you can take to reduce pregnancy-related back pain.

As they often say, prevention is better than cure. So, it’s best for women to exercise regularly and focus on back and core exercises such as planks, crunches, deadlifts, squats, etc. This will strengthen their body, so that it can withstand the extra weight in the front during a pregnancy.

Of course, this is prior to pregnancy. If you’re already pregnant, and in pain, just follow the tips below.

Always watch your posture

Bad posture is one of the root causes of back pain. The extra weight in front changes your center of gravity. To compensate for this, you should do pelvic tilts often, so that you ease the pressure on your lower back.

Use the right footwear

Forget the high heels and vanity footwear. Get a pair of shoes that provide good support and cushioning.

Sleep correctly

It may be strange to say, ‘sleep correctly’… but it is true. Place a pillow between your legs when you’re sleeping on your side. This will ease pressure on your back. Another tip you should follow is to place a pillow under your belly. When you’re on your side, your swollen tummy will be weighing you down. A support pillow under the tummy will keep things level and balanced without placing tension on your back muscles.

 Do yoga

Certain yoga moves like the cat/cow pose, tabletop, sumo squat, and wide-legged forward bend will help to stretch your back muscles and ease the tension. Another benefit of yoga is that it will improve your blood circulation, and the breathing techniques will oxygenate your blood better. So, you’ll have nutrient-rich blood circulating better around your sore back, and this will alleviate the pain.

Avoid standing for too long

The longer you stand, the more stress your weight places on your back. It’s good to not be in any one position for too long. You must understand that the belly is straining muscles in your back. So, to prevent any one muscle from being strained, it’s best to not be still in one position for too long.

Learn to bend correctly

Ideally, you should learn how to bend and pick up items correctly when you’re pregnant. Going for maternity classes or doing your own research will help you understand how to work with your body so that you don’t end up in pain.

These 6 tips will help most pregnant women reduce the pain in their backs. Besides the methods above, heat and cold treatments will work too. You could give acupressure or acupuncture a try.

Speak to your doctor first before trying anything new. Once you get the ‘go ahead’, you can do what you need to in order to ease your back pain.

OVER THE COUNTER MEDICATION FOR BACK PAIN AND FIBROMYALGIA…

This is a question that millions of back pain sufferers ask all the time. Is there any medication that works? The truth of the matter is that it all depends on the type of back pain that an individual has.

If the back pain is acute due to some injury, over-the-counter medication may be enough to relieve the symptoms while the body heals naturally. However, if you suffer from chronic back pain due to more serious issues such as degenerative disc disease or osteoporosis, the medication will only help to a minimal extent.

Medication is not the be-all and end-all of back pain treatment. You’d do well to lose excess weight, maintain a good posture, avoid sitting for long periods and even try out acupuncture or acupressure to help aid in the healing process.

The medication that you take will help to relieve the pain and discomfort so that you can exercise and improve your condition. Most over-the-counter medication will not only provide temporary pain relief, but will also relax your muscles and reduce swelling and inflammation while altering your perception of pain.

Holistic remedies are great, but when the pain is bad, there’s nothing like painkillers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to bring fast relief. There’s nothing wrong with using these medications.

You’ll need to see what side effects you experience. They can vary from person to person. You may not even have any. You’ll only know when you try.

 

• Acetaminophen

Most over-the-counter types of medication contain paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen. These can be used to treat anything from headaches to fevers to back pain. It works by preventing the body from releasing pain chemicals. In this way the pain signals going to the brain are altered and you feel less pain.

While generally harmless, consuming these in the long run can lead to a toxic buildup within the body, and the liver may be affected.

 

• Opioids

Another type of medication that is used to treat back pain is opioids. Only a doctor can prescribe opioids because they’re much stronger drugs and usually used to treat chronic back pain.

The drugs work by increasing your tolerance to pain and reducing the body’s perception of pain. They’re similar to the acetaminophen, but on a much higher degree.

While opioids are powerful, in some cases, the back pain may be so bad that even though it’s mitigated, you can’t eradicate it. To make matters worse, the body develops a tolerance to opioids over time and they lose their effectiveness.

Therefore, it’s imperative that you use these painkillers as a temporary measure while you go about changing other aspects of your life to make the back pain more manageable. Maintaining a good posture and an ideal weight is far more beneficial to your back in the long run than any opioid or medication could be.

 

• NSAIDs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs_ are extremely effective for pain treatment. In most cases of back pain, there will be accompanying inflammation of the soft tissues around the area. NSAIDs will reduce the inflammation and bring about much relief.

They’re more powerful than both acetaminophen and opioids. However, they do have side effects like nausea, indigestion, fatigue, etc.

At the end of the day, when it comes to medication for your back pain, it’s best to speak to a qualified doctor, and if possible, get a second opinion too. Use medication as one of several tools to treat your back pain. Don’t rely on it completely. As long as you adopt a multi-pronged approach to treating your back pain, you’ll find relief sooner and may even get rid of the pain totally.

WHY YOGA IS GREAT FOR BACK PAIN…

Yoga is one of the best exercises that most back pain sufferers ill benefit from, if they engage in it. There are several benefits that are accrued when you do yoga regularly.

 

Stress relief

For starters, it’s a fantastic form of stress relief. The slow controlled movements combined with the breathing techniques will calm your mind and body. Most health problems get better when you’re less stressed, and your back pain is no different.

 Increases strength and flexibility

Yoga will also strengthen your core and back muscles through the different poses. While it may seem gentle when compared to more ‘hardcore’ forms of training such as CrossFit or resistance training, yoga will still help to isolate and tone the specific muscles that require strengthening.

The truth of the matter is that certain yoga poses are extremely demanding, and initially, most people (including the strong ones) will face difficulty holding certain poses. Yoga is not completely relaxing. It can be challenging, and if you suffer from back pain, these poses will help to strengthen your core, abs and back muscles.

There is also an element of stretching in yoga. You may be surprised to know that even tight hamstrings and hip flexors can worsen your back pain. The poses in yoga will help to stretch many major muscle groups in your body.

As we age, our body gets less limber and most adults have difficulty touching their toes. Yoga will decrease stress on the lower back by easing your tight muscles. This is one of the best ways to reduce back pain.

 

Improves blood circulation

When your muscles and joints are stretched, blood circulation to these areas will improve too. When nutrient-rich blood flows easily through your body, the affected area will get good blood flowing through the muscles and joints, and this will aid in healing.

The increased range of motion and mobility that comes about from regular yoga practice will mean that you move more easily, and your back will be less stressed when engaged in the same activities.

Increases awareness of your body

Yoga increases your awareness of your body. You’ll notice improved balance, better coordination, and you’ll be aware of the limitations of your own body. Many people suffering from back pain, often engage in activities that may suddenly trigger the pain and leave them groaning in pain.

When you practice yoga often, you’ll know just how much you can move without aggravating your condition. You’ll understand that the remote control for the TV that’s barely out of reach will require you to stand up and get it, rather than stretch to the side and struggle to reach it with your fingertips only to suddenly trigger spasms of pain in your back.

 

Improves posture

Yoga will also improve your posture. One of the keys to reducing back pain is to improve your posture. Yoga will really benefit you in this area. It’ll also align your body and correct and imbalances within.

It’s very common for people to have muscular imbalances because we usually rely on the dominant side to do all the work. Yoga with all its poses will strengthen both sides of the body, so that one side is not compensating for the other.

Speak to your doctor first and if he/she gives you the go ahead, you should join a yoga class with a qualified instructor. Inform the instructor about your condition and they’ll tailor routines that will suit you best. Do get started today, and you’ll reap the rewards in no time at all.