WHY WE SHOULD ALL TRY YOGA FOR CHRONIC PAIN…

This great graphic which I found on Pinterest from My Southern Health shows how we can easily try some Yoga positions for chronic pain. Psychology Today write that chronic pain triggers changes in brain structure that are linked to depressionanxiety, and impaired cognitive function. New research shows that practising Yoga has the opposite effect on the brain and can relieve chronic pain.

Harvard Health points out that Yoga can help people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, low back pain, and many other types of chronic pain conditions. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that among 313 people with chronic low back pain, a weekly yoga class increased mobility more than standard medical care for the condition. Another study published at nearly the same time found that Yoga was comparable to standard exercise therapy in relieving chronic low back pain.

A meta-analysis of 17 studies that included more than 1,600 participants concluded that yoga can improve daily function among people with fibromyalgia osteoporosis-related curvature of the spine. Practising Yoga also improved mood and psychosocial well-being.

 

Try yoga techniques for chronic pain management. In this infographic, we share 8 poses can help ease your pain and stress. Learn more on My Southern Health.

 

 

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THE HEALING POWERS OF LAVENDER AND PEPPERMINT…

I have written many a post on my love of Lavender and all its healing powers in one form or another but if it’s combined with Peppermint you will find it even better.

One of my favourite ways to get the benefits of these oils is in the roller ball format. A great pack of three is by Tisserand who sell a Little Box of Mindfulness pack of three roller balls.

Tisserand Little Box Of Mindfulness

Clear your head & be present in the moment with their mindful pulse point roller balls made with 100% natural pure essential oils. BREATHE DEEP blend of Orange, Petitgrain & Coriander gives your mind a break when it’s time to stop. MIND CLEAR blend of Peppermint, Lavender & Lemon allows you to declutter your mind & find clarity. REAL CALM blend of Lavender, Bergamot & Patchouli helps you to take time out & feel serene.

Available from Amazon and other retailers for £8.68 – I keep mine in the drawer by my bed for if I am having a difficult night.

Another favourite of mine is The Cotswold Lavender Soothing Gel for £4.95 their finest lavender oil carefully blended with peppermint. This super combination will help to soothe everyday aches and pains. Apply to temples and pulse points. 20g glass jar.

Enjoy a lovely shower before you retire using Liberty of London’s Lavender and Peppermint Shower Gel £9.00, spray your pillow with Skincare Botanics Aromatherapy Lavender and Peppermint Mist £6.95 and I can almost guarantee you will sleep well.

If your mind will still not settle down then try reading The Breathing Book by Donna Farhi from £6.95 from Amazon, Vitality and Good Health through essential breath work.

COFFEE AND CERTAIN FOODS – CAN THEY CAUSE YOUR BACK PAIN?…

Have you ever wondered if the coffee you grab in the morning or something you have eaten is contributing to your back pain?

We all know there are certain foods that you can eat that either hurt or help inflammation in your body, which may contribute to back pain. Foods like junk food, fast food, red meats, fried foods, pastries, and cakes are of course not good for you. They say that it’s the trans fat, saturated fats, and high glycemic index that can irritate inflammation and make your back pain worse.

On the other end of the spectrum there are foods like walnuts, blueberries, salmon, cod, and other fruits which are extremely good for your health. These foods are filled with Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin D. All of these foods are great for you for a lot of different reasons, but when it comes to your back, these all help to reduce inflammation which takes pressure off of your spinal nerves and relieves back pain.

There are some coffees which are extremely sugary, high-calorie coffees that you can get at coffee shop chains. These types of coffees have high glycemic indices and many of them contain a high amount of saturated fats in them and are definitely not good for your inflammation and your back pain.

But what about straight black coffee without all the sugar. Well, apparently black coffee is a lot better for you and it doesn’t really have the “not good for you” ingredients. But it also doesn’t have any of the good ingredients either.

Coffee has caffeine in it, and caffeine can actually elevate levels of anxiety that you experience. This is why people that get the jitters from too much coffee seem a little jumpier than normal. The coffee is putting them on edge and sending their bodies into the fight or flight condition and when you are in fight or flight, your muscles are a bit more tense than normal, mostly to prepare you for a quick escape.

Consequently, if you have back pain, this isn’t good news. Even a little bit of muscle tension can cause your piriformis or psoas muscle to irritate your sciatic nerve and cause back pain.

So, although there probably isn’t much real danger in drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, it can contribute to back pain issues.

According to Elle, Nutrition is one part of a three-pronged approach that Dr. Todd Sinett, chiropractor, certified trainer, and author of the recent book  3 Weeks to a Better Back, uses to tackle back pain. His method also examines these ailments structurally (muscle and bones) and emotionally (everyday stress), but diet is definitely the piece of the puzzle that barely anyone considers.

Dr. Sinett says you can’t pinpoint what back pain caused by diet feels like, exactly–it could range from severe lower back pain to a chronic aching neck. He notes that the science connecting diet and back pain applies to all levels of discomfort, concluding that eating a large amount of inflammatory food (more on that below) can cause muscles to contract without relaxing. If that persists over a long period of time, it can cause back spasms and irritation. Major dietary causes of back pain, he says, include excessive caffeine, alcohol, and sugar–all things that increase cortisol levels. When there’s excess cortisol in the body, connective tissue can get inflamed, causing pain. 

Other stress-causing, cortisol-promoting eating habits include skipping meals, eating large portions, or limiting yourself to a restrictive diet over a long period. You’re not off the hook if all you eat are salads every day, either, since that “roughage,” as Sinett calls it, “causes your digestive tract to go into overdrive very quickly” and triggers the muscular system, too. One way to fix that is by varying the kinds of food you eat day to day and breaking away from routine. Sinett himself used to eat high-fiber oatmeal every morning before developing bloating, stomach pain, and eventually a stiff neck. 

SUFFERING FROM SAD AND LACK OF ENERGY DURING THE WINTER MONTHS….

We all lack energy from time to time but if it doesn’t improve then you should see your GP.

There are a number of conditions that can leave you feeling lethargic. Iron levels are one of the first things that can affect energy levels and cause tiredness.

An under-active thyroid is another cause of tiredness and the falling hormone levels that occur at the menopause.

Fatigue can also be a sign of diabetes.

If you are suffering from SAD (Seasonal Effective Disorder) this can also cause fatigue.

As well as the above, some medications can also cause lethargy, including beta blockers, some antihistamines, codeine-based painkillers and also some antidepressants. Also some sleeping tablets may help to get you through the night, some can cause daytime fatigue.

Of course, anxiety, stress and depression are also triggers for sapping energy levels. The best course of action is to go and visit your GP.

At this time of year one in eight of us can suffer from winter blues and one in 50 of us suffer from SAD through lack of sunlight.

Symptoms of SAD include fatigue and depression.

Its the sunlight that tells your brain to produce serotonin, which is needed to boost our mood and energy. Lack of it as autumn turns to winter causes an increase in the production of melatonin (which makes us sleepy) and a reduction in serotonin is what can cause depression.

One of the most obvious ways to treat SAD is to get outside in the daylight for at least 20 minutes a day but you can also invest in a light box. Light therapy is the most effective way of decreasing the symptoms. Also it is believed that eating foods rich in an amino acid called tryptophan increases the amount of serotonin in the brain.

Also they say that Australian research found that taking vitamin D supplements for only five days in late winter improved the mood of people with SAD. It can also prevent osteoporosis, support immunity and regulate weight. Of course the best way to get Vitamin D is through the effects of sunlight on bare skin. Amazingly they say that Vitamin D lasts for 60 days in the body so if you’ve been away for your annual holiday in the summer, it will mean your levels should be fine until November.

Other sources of Vitamin D can be found in oily fish and eggs, cheese and poultry.

Research also suggests that eating carb-rich foods helps the brain take up tryptophan. You can also find supplements and The Food Agency recommends taking 10mcg a day.

UNDERSTANDING HOW YOUR BODY FEELS PAIN…

Understanding how your body feels pain may help you to appreciate how it comes about.

Pain basically results from a series of electrical and chemical exchanges which involves three major components, your peripheral nerves, your spinal cord and your brain.

After pain starts messages move through nerves up the spinal cord. Then the brain intercepts the messages as pain, including where it is, intensity and nature. For instance, burning, aching or stinging.

The speed by which the messages travel can vary. A dull, aching pain, like from an upset stomach or an earache is relayed on fibres that travel at a slow speed. Whereas the feeling of severe pains is transmitted almost immediately.

When pain message reach your spinal cord, they meet up with nerve cells that act as ‘gatekeepers’, allowing or refusing the messages to pass through to your brain.

The ‘gatekeepers’ open the gate wide to your message of severe pain, for instance if you touched a red hot pan. You also have nerve cells in your spinal cord which may also release chemicals that increase or subdue the messages, which can then affect the speed at which they travel to your brain.

All in all a very clever system is set up to enable us to deal with so many different types of pain.