THE BEST HAND REFLEXOLOGY POINTS FOR LOWER BACK PAIN…

Most people know ‘reflexology’ as something that is done to your feet but hand reflexology is definitely another technique that is becoming just as popular.

Hand reflexology certainly provides some benefits compared to foot reflexology. The obvious example is that our hands are far more easily accessible compared to our feet, which makes hand reflexology the most usable self-help tool for both adults and children.

Hand and foot reflexology has actually been used as part of medical care since as far back as the ancient Egyptian and classic Chinese times. The basic assumption used by the reflexologist is that each organ, gland, and part of the body is reflected in both the hands and the feet. Stimulation of the so-called ‘reflex points’ promotes relaxation, improves circulation, and encourages the body to heal itself. This explains why hand reflexologists sometimes use the axiom: “Health is at your fingertips!”

Hand reflexology is also brilliant as a relief from the new stresses technology has placed on our hands.

For lower back pain press the point where the centre of your hand joins your wrist and stimulate it. Always take medical advice if you don’t know what the problem is. This is a perfect antidote to a backache caused by sitting at a computer for too long.

A great site Reflexology Map that explains in detail how to start a hand massage.

YOU CAN FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO START YOUR HAND MASSAGE:

Step 1:  Sit in a comfortable chair in a quiet room.

Step 2:  Enter a state of relaxation using a few of your favorite oil hands. Oils and creams are normally not used in professional reflexology sessions, but will not hurt to use them in an informal session.

hand reflexology

Step  3: Rub the cream on your hands for several minutes until completely absorbed. This will relax your hands and increase flexibility in preparation for applying reflexology. Be sure not to use a cream or oil greasy your hands are not slippery.

Step 4: Close your eyes and focus on any area of your body where you feel an uncomfortable pain. Sometimes you just feel as if some part of your body feels misaligned.

Step 5: Consult a hand reflexology map to identify the points of reflection in your hands that correspond to the parts of your body you want to work. For example, if you have pain in your left shoulder, you have to query the map and see that the points of reflection for your shoulder are located on the little finger of the left hand.

Step 6: Firmly press the reflex point. You can gradually increase the pressure to make sure you’re “activating” the reflex, but loose a little if you feel some pain.

Step 7: Hold the pressure for 30 seconds and release.

Step 8: Wait a few seconds and repeat. You can press either 30 seconds or you can press and release the point of a pulsed for 30 seconds.

Step 9: Use your thumb to apply light pressure technique pressure if you are uncomfortable. To do this, use a circular motion over the same point of reflection for about 5 seconds, then rotates in a circular in the opposite direction for 5 seconds. Repeated several times for each point of reflection.

Step 10: Reflexology applies to all areas in both hands, but lend him more attention on problem areas.

Step 11: When you’ve finished your reflexology session sit quietly for at least 10 minutes. If possible, lie down and rest well for half an hour.

Step 12: Drink several glasses of water after applying reflexology. Water will help to drain the toxins released from your organs and muscles during the session.

 

Hand Chart

Shine Holistic says that “Reflexology is known to be of use for both chronic and acute back pain, but it is also good for reducing stress, which can sometimes exacerbate people’s perception of pain. Reflexology reduces stress and increases emotional well-being. This is related to back pain because it can cause stress which leads to an increase in the pain level experienced. By working on both fronts reflexology can greatly decrease the symptoms of chronic back ache.

Conditions such as sciatica and arthritis are optimally treated by having twice monthly sessions. Other treatment plans, such as for osteoporosis and herniated discs, will vary depending on the level of pain experienced and the severity of the condition.”

FAMILY SUPPORT FOR PATIENTS WITH FIBROMYALGIA OR CHRONIC PAIN…

The effect on family support for patients who are suffering from fibromyalgia or chronic pain is an essential factor in the care of these conditions, especially during this epidemic. While only one person in a family may suffer from fibromyalgia or chronic pain. the entire family is affected by it.

 

Everyday Health says “If a person has a chronic condition, it’s going to affect the people who care about him or her as well,” says Phyllis Talarico, former patient services coordinator of the National Fibromyalgia Association and founder of the North Orange County Fibromyalgia Support Group in Yorba Linda, Calif. “Education is vital for you to understand the symptoms and help them find the right treatment.”

Some good sources include NHS choices and Fibromyalgia Action UK.

Effective strategies for supporting someone in chronic pain has to start from the one closest to the patient.  Part of accepting the situation is managing their expectations. Once the family has identified what is likely to change, allow the patient to grieve for the things that have to fall by the wayside (at least for now) and let them go. Then focus on the areas where you foresee big problems and work toward realistic solutions. There are many undiagnosed patients at the moment due to COVID-19 but that doesn’t mean they don’t need help.

Recently, my own condition reared it’s ugly head and although my husband is right by my side to help me, my daughter really wanted to help more but it’s just not possible at the moment. Many Fibromyalgia sufferers who have help from Fibromyalgia and Pain clinics will be getting no help at all at the moment with the only support through online groups and websites.

With most GP appointments either via telephone or online it’s essential that you keep a diary or ask a family member to write one for you of how and where your pain is on a daily basis.I have written before that I was diagnosed after my spinal consultant asked me to write down all my pain symptoms for two weeks. When he read my diary he immediately said he thought I was also suffering from Fibromyalgia and sent me to see a Rheumatologist.

 

 

Of course, it’s not an ideal situation for the family members either, they are not immune to depression. It is frustrating to watch people who are sick and in pain, and yet to have little control over their illness.

Fibro Treatment Group points out that ‘The symptoms may be invisible put the pain is real. If you have fibromyalgia you’ve likely been told “but you don’t look sick.” A common misconception among those without the condition is that because the symptoms aren’t outwardly manifest or visible, they are not real. This is why we sometimes call fibromyalgia an “invisible illness”. While the symptoms may not be obvious and we may not look sick – the illness is very real.’

Finally, there are now thankfully a number of support groups set up around the UK and indeed the world. I guess one of the best places to look other than Google is the NHS website which has a list of support groups in the UK.

 

 

 

DYSTONIA – PAIN IN YOUR HANDS OR WHEN WRITING?…

Do you experience pain in your hands or when writing? Dystonia is a condition whereby sometimes it becomes painful to write or play an instrument due to cramps in the hand or arm.

The Dystonia Society is the only national charity providing support, advocacy and information for anyone affected by the neurological movement condition known as dystonia.

If the doctor is not able to explain what is causing the cramps, one possible cause is a hand dystonia (otherwise known as Writer’s or Musician’s Cramp). The symptoms vary and may be one or more of the following:

  1. Twisting or curling up of the hands while writing or playing an instrument.
  2. Fingers move of their own accord to unusual positions while writing or playing an instrument.
  3. Writing or playing an instrument becomes painful.
  4. Symptoms usually disappear when the above activities stop.

Hand dystonia commonly appears in people between the ages of 30 and 50. It is one form of dystonia – a condition that causes uncontrollable and often painful muscle contractions believed to be as a result of incorrect messages from the brain to the muscles.

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder and, if the symptoms listed above are severe or damaging to quality of life, the correct course of action is for a GP to make a referral to a neurologist specialising in movement disorders. There are treatments for hand dystonia that can significantly reduce the symptoms in many cases.  Only a specialist neurologist has the knowledge and skill to diagnose and treat dystonia.  If the patient and their GP agree that the symptoms might possibly indicate dystonia then the GP should refer the patient to such a specialist.

There are also other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, one of which is carpel or cubital tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is a narrow
space in the wrist that contains the median nerve. It is surrounded by the bones of the wrist (carpals) and a thick tendon sheath. Friction will cause the tendon sheath to swell and enlarge limiting the space within the carpal tunnel. As a result, the median nerve becomes compressed leading to numbness and tingling within the wrist and hand. Symptoms can be treated conservatively, with night splinting, medications, and cortisone injections. However, carpal tunnel syndrome does not resolve on its own and worsens over time.

Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of your ulnar nerve at the elbow.  The ulnar nerve travels from neck down your arm through a tunnel at your elbow called the “cubital tunnel.” The nerve is especially vulnerable to compression because the cubital tunnel is very narrow and has very little soft tissue to protect it. This compression causes numbness and/or tingling pain in your elbow, hand, wrist, or fingers. This is commonly caused by leaning on your elbow for long periods of time or swelling caused by friction of your ulnar nerve rubbing along structures of the cubital tunnel.

Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndrome are treated at first with conservative treatments like rest, changes in patterns of use, immobilizing the affected area with devices like splints or braces, physical therapy, medication and injections. If the symptoms do not improve after some time, your doctor may suggest a surgical procedure to relieve compression.

As you know I had cubital tunnel release surgery last year and my nerve conduction tests showed I also have carpal tunnel both of which are giving me a lot of pain at the moment. However, on the NHS list of symptoms of Fibromyalgia they do include tingling, numbness, prickling or burning sensations in your hands and feet (pins and needles, also known as paraesthesia)

The best way forward if you are suffering from any of these types of pain is to go and see your GP for him/her to decide your next move to finding out what the problem is.

Living Well with Dystonia is a great book on the subject written by by Daniel Truong;Mayank Pathak;Karen Frei (Author)  A Patient Guide provides comprehensive information on a wide array of Dystonias. It is intended for individuals with various forms of Dystonia who want to adjust lifestyle activities to accommodate this chronic condition, but do not want the disorder to define them. It is a resource and tool for both individuals with the disorder and their families to become better educated about the options available to them.

WEGO HEALTH AWARDS – BACK PAIN BLOG HAS A NOMINATION…

 

Wego Health Awards...

WEGO Health is a mission-driven company connecting healthcare with the experience, skills, and insights of Patient Leaders.

They are the world’s largest network of over 100k Patient Leaders, working across virtually all health conditions and topics. Their network collaborates with pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, agencies, consultancies, startups, and all types of organizations across healthcare.

WEGO Health offers enterprise and on-demand solutions that allow organizations to leverage the patient experience and expertise in the design, development and promotion of their products and services.

Nominate the exceptional patient advocates, influencers, and experts who make a difference in the lives of patients and caregivers. They say it is an honour just to be nominated, but they think the honour is all in the nominating itself!

After being nominated, connect with others in their Patient Leader Network:

  • Nominate another Patient Leader
  • Share your nomination with your network and urge them to nominate
  • During the endorsements period, endorse the Patient Leaders you’d like to see recognized

Join them and help celebrate the inspiring and impactful nominees. Feel good while honoring these Patient Leaders and then join in on the festivities.

I feel honoured to be nominated for Best in Blog Show.

If you know someone who deserves any of the awards at WEGO Health then pop down to their website and nominate someone and make their day. If you think I am worthy of this award I would be delighted if you could endorse me. Just click on this Wego Health link and click on the thumbs-up sign. Thanks very much

 

IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY SO LET’S TALK ABOUT THE BEST PILLOWS FOR BACK PAIN AND FIBROMYALGIA SUFFERERS…

If you adopt the best pillow positions for people with back pain you may find this really helps your sleep. Tuck Advanced Better Sleep says Individuals who experience back pain can adjust or reposition their pillows in order to alleviate their discomfort. According to Healthline, the following methods may be suitable for different sleepers:

  • Side sleeping with a pillow between the knees. You should ensure your body makes contact with the mattress between your shoulder and buttocks. The pillow should be placed in a position where it won’t slip out; this will help the hips and pelvis align with the spine, which can reduce pain and discomfort. If a gap forms between your side and the mattress, then a smaller pillow may be used to fill that space.
  • Fetal position with both knees tucked. To achieve this position, lie down on your back and then roll onto one side with both knees bent and tucked toward your chest. Bend your upper body toward the knees; this will help expand the spine and alleviate pressure on the disks. Be sure to rotate to the other side if you begin to experience discomfort.
  • Stomach sleeping with a pillow beneath the pelvis. Although stomach sleeping can exacerbate back pain symptoms, a pillow placed under the pelvis can relieve stress on the neck and back disks. Some sleepers in this position are more comfortable without a pillow beneath their head.
  • Back sleeping with a pillow beneath the knees. Lay flat on your back and place a pillow beneath both knees. This helps straighten out the spine and alleviates pressure points between the neck and hips. If you find this is insufficient, consider placing a rolled-up towel under your lower back.

 There are six standard sizes for pillows, as well as smaller specialty sizes normally associated with specific pillow types (such as orthopedic memory foam pillows). The following table breaks down the width and length dimensions of these seven sizes, as well as suitable pillowcase measurements.

PILLOW SIZE DIMENSIONS PILLOW CASE SIZE AND DIMENSIONS NOTES
Small 20W” x 12L” Specialty sizes Normally found with orthopedic/cervical pillows (see below)
Standard 20W” x 26L” Standard (20-21W” x 30-32″L) The most common pillow size, as well as the most compact and usually the least expensive
Super Standard 20W” x 28L” Standard (20-21W” x 30-32″L) Slightly longer than the Standard, but uses Standard-size pillowcases
Queen 20W” x 30L” Standard (20-21W” x 30-32″L) Queen (20-22W” x 30-34L”) The second most common pillow size, and suitable for most people who toss and turn
King 20W” x 36L” King (20-21W” x 36-41″L) Good for people who toss and turn, and also makes good headrests and backrests
Euro 26W” x 26L” 24W” x 24L”

22W” x 22L”

20W” x 20L”

18W” x 18L”

16W” x 16L”

Euro (dimensions vary) The only standard pillow size that is square-shaped, and not normally used for primary sleeping pillows
Body Pillow 54W” x 20L” 48W” x 20L” Body pillow (dimensions vary) The longest pillow size, mostly suitable for side sleepers and pregnant women

Pillow shape is also important for people with back pain. Although a wide selection of pillow shapes are available, pillows generally fall into one of these two categories:

  • Even: These pillows have an even, non-contoured surface. They may not be as suitable for sleepers with back pain, but pillows made from certain materials (such as shredded memory foam or feathers) conform beneath the head and neck for targeted pain and pressure relief.
  • Curved: Also known as cervical or orthopedic pillows, curved pillows are usually made from foam and have a contoured surface. The neck is raised with the area for the head dips down, which can provide better support for people with neck pain — but some sleepers claim that these pillows are more comfortable when they are placed upside down on the mattress.

Lastly, let’s discuss pillow loft, a term that refers to how thick a pillow is when not bearing weight. Specific loft measurements vary by model, but there are three general loft categories:

  • Low-loft: Less than three inches thick.
  • Medium-loft: Three to five inches thick.
  • High-loft: More than five inches thick.

The loft will help determine how supportive and comfortable the pillow feels, and whether it is suitable for people with back pain. However, there are several factors to take into account when selecting a pillow based on loft. These include:

Sleep position: Choosing the right pillow based on loft depends on whether the sleeper prefers the back, side, or stomach position.

  • Back-sleepers are usually most comfortable with medium-loft pillows because they find the right balance between thickness and softness.
  • Side-sleepers often prefer medium- or high-loft pillows because this position can cause large gaps to form between their head/neck and the pillow.
  • Stomach-sleepers tend to prefer low-loft pillows because higher-loft models elevate the neck too much, causing the spine to become uneven; this can lead to aches and pains throughout the body. Some stomach sleepers find that not using a pillow at all is most comfortable.

Pillow position: People who sleep with a pillow completely beneath often prefer medium-loft pillows because there is less space. For those who sleep with a pillow partially beneath their head, then a medium- or high-loft pillow may be needed to fill the larger gap.

Mattress type: Certain mattresses, such as all-foam and latex models, are designed to sink deeply beneath the sleeper’s body. A low-loft pillow may be most suitable for these mattresses because there is less space between the neck and the mattress surface. Other mattresses, such as innersprings and hybrids, are less responsive and will not sink as much. A medium- or high-loft pillow can help fill the extra space and provide more support.

Body weight: People with above-average weights (more than 230 pounds) may sink deeper into their mattress than lighter individuals, and thus prefer a low- or medium-loft pillow that won’t elevate their heads too much. People with below-average weights (less than 130 pounds) may prefer medium- or high-loft pillows because they don’t sink as much.

Head size: People with larger-than-average heads are more likely to feel comfortable on a high-loft pillow that won’t sink too deeply. Low- or medium-loft pillows may be the best option for those with small or average-size heads

Shoulder width: People with wider shoulder spans experience larger gaps between their head/neck and their pillow, and may need a higher-loft pillow to compensate for space. Those with narrower shoulders usually feel more comfortable with low- or medium-loft pillows.

It’s important to note that many pillows offer adjustable loft. The owner simply unzips the pillow cover and adds or removes the fill material to increase or decrease the loft. Adjustable-loft pillows may be the best option for people whose loft preferences tend to vary from night tonight.

Best Pillow Materials for People with Back Pain

Pillows come in a wide selection of fill materials, each with unique benefits and drawbacks for sleepers with back pain. The table below lists pros, cons, and back pain ratings for the seven most common pillow materials.

PILLOW MATERIAL DESCRIPTION PROS CONS NECK PAIN RATING
Buckwheat The pillows are filled with five to 10 pounds of buckwheat hulls, or outer shells Adjustable loft Sleeps cool

Good support

High price Too firm for some

Heavy and difficult to move

Good Buckwheat pillows offer adjustable loft and sleep fairly cool, but many people with back pain find they are too firm
Down The pillows contain the soft inner plumage of ducks or geese, and may also be padded with outer feathers Adjustable loft Lightweight

Sleeps cool

High price Flatten easily

Too soft for some

Fair
Most down pillows are not suitable for sleepers with back pain because they are excessively soft and will lose their shape quickly
Down Alternative The pillows are filled with polyester fibers that mimic the softness of real down Adjustable loft Lightweight

Low price

Short lifespan Flatten easily

Too soft for some

Poor Most sleepers with back pain do not feel comfortable on down alternative pillows because they are too soft and will become flat rather quickly
Feather Pillows are filled with outer feathers of ducks or geese (as opposed to down, or inner plumage) Adjustable loft Lightweight

Long lifespan

High cost Flatten easily Very Good Feather pillows tend to be firmer than down pillows, making them more suitable for people with back pain
Latex Pillows contain solid latex, a substance extracted from the sap of rubber trees Close conforming Long lifespan

Retain full shape without flattening

Non-adjustable loft High cost

Dense and heavy

Good Latex pillows offer even support, but the loft is not adjustable
Memory Foam Pillows may contain shredded or solid pieces of memory foam, which softens when it comes into contact with body heat Close conforming Adjustable loft if shredded

Lightweight

High cost Sleeps hot Very Good Memory foam pillows conform closely and alleviate a high amount of pressure; most orthopedic pillows are made from memory foam
Polyester Pillows contain shredded polyfoam, which has a similar feel to memory foam, or interlocking polyester fibers that give the pillow a fuller shape Low cost Adjustable loft when shredded Short lifespan Flattens easily

Sleeps hot

Good Memory foam pillows provide more pain and pressure relief, but polyfoam pillows can be a low-cost alternative for people with back pain

Additionally, some pillows contain interior water chambers that can be filled or drained to adjust the loft. The chambers are usually padded with foam to make the pillow more comfortable. Many sleepers with back pain claim that water chamber pillows alleviate pain and pressure to a noticeable extent.