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IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW TO BANISH YOUR INSOMNIA…

The Daily Mail is running an exclusive series about how to beat insomnia with renowned consultant neurologist and sleep expert Professor Guy Leschziner who told the Mail that the pandemic has been driving another global health crisis – an epidemic of sleep problems.

Anxiety over Covid has caused an epidemic of sleeplessness. The professor wrote how extreme forms of insomnia can cause depression, type 2 diabetes, heart problems and even Alzheimer’s.

This is a four part series which started on Saturday and which listed six golden rules for better sleep –

  1. Sleeping pills can cause more problems than they solve. In actual fact they may only get you an extra 30 minutes’ sleep!!!!
  2. Sleeping less could help you sleep better. If you limit the time allowed in bed it can strengthen the brain’s drive to sleep when you’re there.
  3. Lie-ins and daytime napping can disrupt night-time sleep ( the former upsets your wake/sleep cycle, the later cuts ito your desire to sleep later). whoops looks like I have had that wrong for a long time.
  4. Over-the-counter CBD products are not the answer!
  5. Beds are for sleep and sex only. Apparently if you have not drifted off within 15 minutes, you should get out of bed and go into a different room, to ensure your bedroom is associated with sleep and not wakefulness.
  6. Sleep trackers may actually worsen your sleep as the information they provide could be very inaccurate and may increase your anxiety which will then keep you awake.

All of the above was be explained in more detail in today’s Mail on Sunday then continues on Monday and Tuesday. In Saturday’s Mail you can take an insomnia test to see what is disturbing your night’s sleep (it is VERY interesting).

In today’s Mail on Sunday it goes on to write that sleep deprivation can reset the brain. And exercising late or working in bed make nodding off challenging. They also write that there is a hormone tablet that may help for a while. Although drugs should never be your first port of call as they can lead to troubling withdrawal effects and anxiety. They write that no drug or even herbal tea should be your first port of call. But one relatively safe, temporary option is melatonin, a manmade version of the ‘sleepy’ hormone that occurs naturally in the brain to help control sleep patterns. The body actually produces melatonin just after it gets dark and continues through the night. You can only get Melatonin on prescription in the UK but it is available over the counter in the US.

I will follow up with another post after the articles on Monday and Tuesday in the Daily Mail.

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AQUATIC EXERCISE IS BETTER THAN PHYSICAL EXERCISE FOR LOWER BACK PAIN…

According to an article in Physicians Weekly patients, with chronic low back pain, were given a therapy program involving therapeutic aquatic exercise which outperformed a program of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation TENS and infrared ray thermal therapy for reducing pain and disability, researchers found.

Therapeutic aquatic exercise is increasingly making waves as a popular approach to treat chronic low back pain instead of physical therapies designed to relieve pain and reduce disability, including electrical nerve stimulation.

Healthline wrote that aquatic exercise, such as walking underwater and using floatation devices, can relieve the strain on certain muscles and strengthen them. Experts say you can begin with simple aquatic exercises before advancing to more complex ones and eventually return to land-based activities.

That’s according to a randomized control trial study of 113 participants with chronic back pain published in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers said that after 3 months, therapeutic aquatic exercise was found to have a greater influence than physical therapies on pain levels, functioning, quality of life, sleep quality and mental state.

Participants performed their allocated intervention for 60 minutes twice a week. Researchers said the benefits were present at the 12-month follow-up.

In actual fact regardless of whether or not you suffer from back pain, working out in a pool will offer you so many benefits. A few of the many benefits of pool exercise include a reduced risk of falling, less pressure on the joints and spine and having a wider range of motion.

It’s common for back pain to be caused by weak back muscles. This is why water workouts are so beneficial for anyone dealing with back pain. It provides a low-impact exercise that strengthens and conditions these muscles, creating better support for your spine wrote Disc Seel.

The hardest part is getting a referral for this type of treatment. I spent half a day trying to find out if there were any pools nearby that did simple aquatic exercises without success so then I looked into Spa Hotel’s but they were membership only.

In all the years I have had lower back pain I have never once been offered any type of water therapy which I have always felt could help with my pain as whenever we went on holiday I always liked to swim in the outdoor pools. It makes it a bit more difficult for me to just ‘swim’ as I have had two fusions in my neck so breast-stroke or crawl is out of the question. I just enjoyed floating but it’s not something you can do down at your local pool. It’s a shame no one has thought of setting up this type of aquatic class for people with lower back pain.

C3 Spine writes that there are several different types of water therapy. Depending upon your condition and the pain that you’re feeling, you may get the most benefit from using an underwater treadmill that allows you to exercise while having your body fully supported; underwater massage, which helps relieve tense muscles and joints; and other forms of underwater activities.

Whatever mode of water therapy is chosen, if the body is submerged to the chest there is an equivalent reduction in the stress of the body’s weight of approximately 80%.  If you are experiencing pain this will provide tremendous relief.

Most water therapy is done in heated water, giving the additional benefit of comfort while giving you the opportunity to move your muscles and increase your flexibility and mobility.

Walking backwards and sideways in chest deep water will help relieve pain. It relieves pain because the pressure and weight of the water essentially massages the muscles in soft tissues. The buoyancy of the lungs and abdomen then produce a traction effect on the low back, hips, thighs and legs and gently stretch the tissues.

Many people with low-to-mid back pain can’t stand up straight due to muscle spasms. Exercising in a bent-over position can make nerve and muscle pain worse, but being in water allows people to stand up straight and exercise in a position that maintains that posture once the individual leaves the water.

To me, with all these benefits from aquatic exercise let’s hope it is soon put into pain management programs for people suffering from lower back pain. I know my name would be at the top of the list and I would definitely write a review on how I got on if I am ever given the opportunity to give it a try.