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.

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TIPS ON HOW TO AVOID COMMON CAUSES OF BACK PAIN…

So many things can cause you back pain, in fact far to many to list but I found a few tips on how to avoid the most common causes of back pain.

Standing incorrectly I suppose is an obvious one but they say that if you can avoid leaning while standing (against a wall or similar) and do not stand on one leg as this can create muscle imbalances.

Sitting incorrectly while driving can soon cause back pain, they suggest that you should raise your seat up until your hips are level with your knees. Raise it higher if you can’t see clearly out the windshield or windows. Don’t drive with your hips lower than your knees. If your car doesn’t have a control to adjust the seat height, then sit on a cushion to help keep your hips level with your knees. I have a coccyx cushion in my car and my husbands car and could not last a journey without one.

For women they say your bra is very important, which is something I have written a little bit about before. Apparently London’s Royal Free Hospital says that 100% of women who want a breast reduction is because they are suffering from back pain and most of them were found to be wearing the wrong sized bra. I think its easier now as most department stores have fully trained staff to measure you properly.

Sitting at your computer is a very important one. They say its because you have to lean forward or stretch out with your arms, both of which can cause back ache. To stop this happening they recommend that you set your keyboard so you rest your arms on the desk to use it, and your screen so that your head is straight when you look at it. My son bought me a special ergonomic key board and computer mouse for when I sit at my desk and worked out the correct height for my laptop which sits on some books and I do feel I can sit a little longer now that is right.

They also say sitting too much can cause back pain as apparently when you sit down, the load going through your discs is increased threefold so they recommend that you move regularly, ideally every 20 minutes. Well I’m afraid I do sit most of the time but my legs are always horizontal ( not sure if that helps) but as I do get uncomfortable often I do have to move around quite a bit so hopefully at least I am doing that right.

Low vitamin D levels was quite a shock for me as I haven’t once been told to take any form of supplement for my back. They say it is because deficiencies in the sunshine vitamin D are now strongly linked to back pain which they say is because insufficient vitamin D makes surfaces on your spine soft and spongy, which then irritates the nerves. Their top tip is to take a supplement of vitamin D.

One for the girls ( and some boys) they say high heels causes back pain due to the way they tilt your pelvis forward, they suggest alternate heel heights so no need to throw all those beautiful heels away, just don’t wear them all the time.

Some of the most obvious things to avoid as they can cause back pain are:

  • Lifting incorrectly
  • Overstretching during lifting, bending or twisting
  • Bad posture
  • Poor sleeping position or a sagging mattress
  • Lack of exercise

With increased risk factors of back pain being:

  • Being overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking

THE BAD BACK COMPANY…

Check out my latest post on The Bad Back Company Blog

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BACK PAIN SUFFER, MOVING DAY. 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BACK PAIN SUFFERER 

Monday, Moving day…

 

A Day in the Life of a Back Pain Suffer, Moving Day.

We’ve lived in our lovely happy home for the last 33 years and have too many memories to mention but now its time to leave, it’s moving day today. I’ve been sleeping restlessly lately with so much on my mind. Having not moved home in such a long time you forget how stressful it really is, from packing, to agreeing dates, to signing the hundredth piece of paper how can your mind and body rest?

 

However, the day is finally here! After a fitful night’s sleep thinking about my children’s first steps down our hallway and waving them off when they finally left home. I must admit I was a little emotional about saying goodbye to our beloved home and physically tired at the thought of yet more packing, those last few essentials that are far more than a ‘few’ items to carefully put into boxes.

 

Since having chronic back pain, I have always struggled with even packing my suitcases to go on holiday. So, when we finally took the plunge to move, I was practically giddy at the thought of packing up my entire home. My husband and I had discussed this and as his back is also not in the best way, we decided we would get some help for packing the house up, although deep down the nerves did kick in at the thought of my wedding china being packed up by someone else!

 

On the day of the move I decided that a long hot shower would help relax my back, as I have already mentioned I have been a little sleep deprived lately, which can often aggravate my back. However, I do find the heat from a long hot shower somewhat eases this pain and also gives you that time to mentally prepare yourself. With that done, a very strong coffee and a quick glance at the weather (no rain!!) some excitement creeping through I felt far more ready for moving day!

 

The email I had had from the removal guys said they would be with us between 9.30 and 10am. So, after an early breakfast I put everything away except some tea, coffee and biscuits to keep the removal guys topped up. Now as with anything that you want to run on time there is always a slight hiccup, the guys arrived late and the removal process did not start until about 10.45, which for someone who runs her life approximately an hour early for everything this was not quite as relaxed as I had hoped for!

 

Both myself and hubby were sitting on pins waiting for a phone call from our solicitors as contracts should be exchanging at any minute as they had assured us it would all be sorted first thing Monday morning, still nothing at 11:30am…… I was getting a little nervous now!

 

After making numerous cups of tea and sitting on camping chairs my back was starting to ache as it was not being supported properly and unfortunately, I was getting rapidly more stressed! I had now seen my coccyx cushion disappear into the abyss of boxes and genuinely felt a pang of missing it, as a fairly new addition to my back-care routine I have found it very helpful and now it was missing it was all I needed! However, I had remembered to keep aside my heat pad which as all you fellow back pain suffers know.. heat soothes! 

 

A Day in the Life of a Back Pain Suffer, Moving Day.

Now with my heat pad firmly attached, I wandered into the conservatory which had always been mine and my husbands’ favourite room, where we could sit and watch the birds and squirrels play in the garden, surrounded by beautiful blooming flowers. I must admit at this point I did question why we were leaving and then I remember we were moving to be closer to our family, there really was no contest. 

 

It quickly became 2 o’clock my house was packed I could not believe the removal guys had done an amazing job and finally the solicitors had called, “it would all be complete in the next half an hour.” Well I was delighted and did a somewhat stiff dance, if you have ever suffered with back pain you will know that even a little twirl can sometimes be too much. I heard my husband laughing as he came in mimicking my robotic dance move, he had over heard the conversation and he was just as excited as I was. We decided to take a cup of tea and one final walk in our garden to loosen our backs ahead of a long journey to our new home. We really didn’t want think our new neighbours had robots moving in!

 

2.35pm 

Then it came the phone call that you dread on moving day… ‘“ I am so sorry to say”, said our solicitor, “ but the contracts have still not been exchanged due to one of the solicitors down our chain not being available.” Heart sinking I didn’t know what to say and passed my phone over to my husband who normally has a few harsher words to say than I do but this time he just listened and accepted it. We looked at each other, and after a quick chat where he explained that the solicitors had assured him tomorrow would be the day we decided that in our hearts we had already moved so we would leave today anyway. We left the keys with the removal team and set off to our favourite hotel near to where we were moving to treat ourselves to a much deserved glass of wine.

9 CELEBRITIES VIEWS ON CHRONIC PAIN…

We are not alone in pain and in fact some very famous celebrity’s also suffer from chronic pain. Did you know that it is reported that chronic pain affects 1.5 billion globally? Unfortunately pain can affect anyone, famous or not but some celebrities keep their condition quiet and others have told how and what they think of chronic pain.

They call it the ‘silent epidemic that stretches the globe’.

Nine famous names who have suffered chronic pain include –

Morgan Freeman – who suffers from Fibromyalgia said –

“There is a point to changes like these. I have to move on to other things, to other conceptions of myself. I play golf. I still work. And I can be pretty happy just walking the land.”

George Clooney – who suffers from chronic back pain said –

‘I thought I was going to die [but] I’ve gone from where I can’t function, where ‘I just can’t live like this’ to ‘I’ve got a bad headache.”

“It’s been a long recovery […] you can’t mourn for how you used to feel […] you have to come to terms with it.”

Elizabeth Taylor – who suffers from Scoliosis said –

“You just do it. You force yourself to get up. You force yourself to put one foot before the other, and God damn it; you refuse to let it get to you. You fight. You cry. You curse. Then you go about your business of living. That’s how I have done it. There’s no other way.”

Jennifer Grey – who suffers from chronic neck pain and who said –

“I will always have pain. But I exercise as much as I can, and I find that makes a huge difference. And if my body does seize up, I have a pain plan in place. I go back to my doctor.”

Jackie Chan – who suffers from back pain and said –

“Pain is my daily routine. As long as I don’t go to the hospital, it’s nothing for me.”

Lady Gaga – who suffers from Fibromyalgia said –

“There is an element and a very strong piece of me that believes pain is a microphone. My pain does me no good unless I transform it into something that is [good]. […] I hope that people watching it that do struggle with chronic pain know that they are not alone, […] I want people that watch it that think there’s no way I live that way because they see me dance and sing, to know I struggle with things like them and that I work through it and that it can be done.”

Paula Abdul who suffers from CRPS said –

“The body does not give up on us, so we can’t give up on it. My goal is always to work with my body, not against it so that it can function efficiently. […] I also try to remember that there have been pain-free days — which means that this difficult time will be over and give way to a better time. […] That’s where gratitude is so important. Writing gratitude lists to remember all the wonderful things I’ve experienced has also been really helpful for me.”

Sinead O’Connorwho suffers from Fibromyalgia and said –

“Fibromyalgia is not curable. But it’s manageable,” O’Connor said in a 2005 interview with HOTPRESS. “I have a high pain threshold, so that helps – it’s the tiredness part that I have difficulty with. You get to know your patterns and limits, though, so you can work and plan around it. It is made worse, obviously, by stress. So you have to try to keep life quiet and peaceful.”

Jo Guest – who also suffers from Fibromyalgia said –

“I used to love wearing sexy clothes and short skirts, but I don’t enjoy dressing up any more. The spark has gone out of life. It’s hard to feel good about yourself or like a sexy woman when you feel so ill,” Guest told Daily Star in a 2008 interview. “But I am positive about it. I really believe I am going to get better. I will not give up.”

STUDY FINDS EVIDENCE OF NERVE DAMAGE IN AROUND HALF OF FIBROMYALGIA PATIENTS…

health pic

According to an article in Medical News Today, about half of a small group of patients with fibromyalgia was found to have damage to nerve fibers in their skin and other evidence of a disease called small-fiber polyneuropathy (SFPN). Unlike fibromyalgia, which has had no known causes and few effective treatments, SFPN has a clear pathology and is known to be caused by specific medical conditions, some of which can be treated and sometimes cured. The study from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers will appear in the journal Pain and has been released online.

“This provides some of the first objective evidence of a mechanism behind some cases of fibromyalgia, and identifying an underlying cause is the first step towards finding better treatments,” says Anne Louise Oaklander, MD, PhD, director of the Nerve Injury Unit in the MGH Department of Neurology and corresponding author of the Pain paper.

The questionnaires, exam assessments, and skin biopsies all found significant levels of neuropathy in the fibromyalgia patients but not in the control group. Of the 27 fibromyalgia patients, 13 had a marked reduction in nerve fiber density, abnormal autonomic function tests or both, indicating the presence of SFPN. Participants who met criteria for SFPN also underwent blood tests for known causes of the disorder, and while none of them had results suggestive of diabetes, a common cause of SFPN, two were found to have hepatitis C virus infection, which can be successfully treated, and more than half had evidence of some type of immune system dysfunction.

“Until now, there has been no good idea about what causes fibromyalgia, but now we have evidence for some but not all patients. Fibromyalgia is too complex for a ‘one size fits all’ explanation,” says Oaklander, an associate professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. “The next step of independent confirmation of our findings from other laboratories is already happening, and we also need to follow those patients who didn’t meet SFPN criteria to see if we can find other causes. Helping any of these people receive definitive diagnoses and better treatment would be a great accomplishment.”

Fibromyalgia