TOP ESSENTIAL OILS THAT HELP WITH LOWER BACK PAIN…

These are some great essential oils to help with low back pain.

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4 COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BACK PROBLEMS BUT WITH SIMILAR NAMES…

Back pain comes in an array of different conditions with some that have similar names which can make it a bit confusing. Four similar conditions are SPONDYLOLISTHESIS, OSTEOPOROSIS, SCOLIOSIS and SPONDYLOSIS SPONDYLOLISTHESIS

Spondylolisthesis is where one of the bones in your spine, known as a vertebra, slips out of position.

It’s most common in the lower back, but it can also happen in the mid to upper back or at the top of the spine at the back of your neck.

Spondylolisthesis is not the same as a slipped disc. A slipped disc is when a disc (the tissue between the bones in your spine) moves out of place.

Many people may not realise they have spondylolisthesis because it does not always cause symptoms.

Symptoms can include:

  • lower back pain – which is usually worse when you’re active or when you’re standing, and is often relieved by lying down 
  • pain, numbness or a tingling feeling spreading from your lower back down your legs (sciatica) – this happens if the bone in the spine presses on a nerve 
  • tight hamstring muscles 
  • stiffness or tenderness in your back 
  • curvature of the spine (kyphosis)

The severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person.

OSTEOPOROSIS…

Osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. It develops slowly over several years and is often only diagnosed when a fall or sudden impact causes a bone to break (fracture).

The most common injuries in people with osteoporosis are:

However, breaks can also happen in other bones, such as in the arm or pelvis. Sometimes a cough or sneeze can cause a broken rib or the partial collapse of one of the bones of the spine.

Osteoporosis is not usually painful until a bone is broken, but broken bones in the spine are a common cause of long-term pain.

Although a broken bone is often the first sign of osteoporosis, some older people develop the characteristic stooped (bent forward) posture. It happens when the bones in the spine have broken, making it difficult to support the weight of the body.

Osteoporosis can be treated with bone strengthening medicines.

SCOLIOSIS…

Scoliosis is where the spine twists and curves to the side.

It can affect people of any age, from babies to adults, but most often starts in children aged 10 to 15.

Scoliosis doesn’t normally improve without treatment, but it isn’t usually a sign of anything serious and treatment isn’t always needed if it’s mild.

Signs of scoliosis include:

  • a visibly curved spine 
  • leaning to one side 
  • uneven shoulders 
  • one shoulder or hip sticking out 
  • the ribs sticking out on one side 
  • clothes not fitting well 

Some people with scoliosis may also have back pain. This tends to be more common in adults with the condition.

SPONDYLOSIS …

Cervical spondylosis causes neck pain – often in the over 50s. A GP should check more serious cases affecting the spine.

Ageing causes wear and tear to muscles and bones – called cervical spondylosis. 

Symptoms include:

  • neck and shoulder pain or stiffness – that comes and goes
  • headaches – often starting at the back of the neck

Source : NHS England

SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP…

It’s Sleep Sunday, so let’s talk about sleep, that’s if we are lucky enough to get some. Some facts about sleep deprivation and pain.

Many Fibromyalgia and chronic pain sufferers say they feel lucky if they get 5 hours’ sleep a night.

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a vicious cycle? Pain makes it difficult to sleep, but sleep deprivation means the body cannot repair itself – making the pain worse. Healthline points out that people with chronic pain don’t necessarily see improvements in sleep once their pain is resolved.

In fact, the pain often only continues to worsen until sleep is addressed. This may be related to the fact that some people with chronic pain may battle anxiety which in turn may cause stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol to flood their systems. Over time, anxiety creates overstimulation of the nervous system, which makes it difficult to sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation points out that sixty-five percent of those with no pain reported good or very good sleep quality, while only 45 percent of those with acute pain and 37 percent of those with chronic pain did the same. Additionally, 23 percent of those with chronic pain reported higher stress levels, compared with 7 percent of those without pain.

Those with acute or chronic pain are more likely to have sleep problems impact their daily lives. Among people who’ve had sleep difficulties in the past week, more than half of those with chronic pain say those difficulties interfered with their work. That drops to 23 percent of those without pain. People with pain are also far more apt than others to report that lack of sleep interferes with their mood, activities, relationships and enjoyment of life overall.

People with pain also feel less control over their sleep, worry more about lack of sleep affecting their health and exhibit greater sleep sensitivity. They’re more likely than others to say environmental factors make it more difficult for them to get a good night’s sleep. These factors include noise, light, temperature and their mattresses alike, suggesting that taking greater care of the bedroom environment may be particularly helpful to pain sufferers.

While both chronic and acute pain relate to lost sleep, the survey indicates that chronic pain is an especially powerful problem. Indeed, nearly one in four people with chronic pain, 23 percent, say they’ve been diagnosed with a sleep disorder by a doctor, compared with just 6 percent of all others.

Sleep station comment that It’s a never-ending battle and a vicious circle between sleep disturbance and pain. In some there may be an element of chicken and egg – is the pain causing the sleep problems or is the poor quality of your sleep making your pain feel worse? Pain can, for example, be the main reason that you wake in the night, and these interruptions during the night can lead you to get less sleep, and most important of all, less good quality restorative sleep. This sleep deprivation can lower your pain threshold and your tolerance for pain and thus can make your pain feel worse.

9 COMMON MYTHS ABOUT PEOPLE IN CHRONIC PAIN…

They say that many of the beliefs about pain and pain relief are actually false! but that is far from the truth as many chronic pain sufferers know only to well.

Myth #1

No pain, no gain’, is a classic example of this myth that is said amongst athletes but in actual fact, there is no evidence to support the actual notion that you can build strength by pushing your muscles to work to the point of actual pain. However, resting and letting your muscles repair, although probably not very macho, is the sensible thing to do.

Myth #2

Another common mythit’s all in my head‘, but the pain is a complex problem, involving both the mind and the body. Pain is an invisible problem that others can’t see, but that doesn’t mean it’s all in your head.

Myth #3

It may not always be possible to completely control your pain, but there are many techniques which can help you manage it better. So, the myth that ‘you just have to live with the pain’, is also just not true.

Myth #4

One classic myth is the ‘I’ll get addicted to the pain relief medicine‘. However, GP’s start your pain relief with a conservative approach by prescribing non-opioid pain-relief medicines which are in no way addictive. Physical dependence is not the same thing as addiction. And, physical dependence isn’t a problem as long as you do not stop taking the pain relief suddenly. Addiction is rarely a problem unless you have a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

Myth #5

You went to that event yesterday, so you can’t be in that much pain‘. Just because someone is in chronic pain doesn’t mean that they have the same amount of pain all the time.  It’s quite possible to feel good enough one day to make it to that concert, and then the next day be in so much pain you can’t make it out of bed. It’s also possible to push through the pain long enough to go to that concert that you’ve always wanted to attend, knowing that you’ll pay for it later with even worse pain for days.

Myth #6

You look amazing so how can you be in pain’. This is a similar myth to number 5 and one that many people with #fibromyalgia (in particular) are told this. Why would you not want to look your best when you go out whether you are in pain or not and just because you have made an effort to look good does not mean you are lying about how you feel.

Myth #7

You can injure yourself further if you exercise when in pain’, This could not be further from the truth, as exercise such as physical therapy can be key to successful rehabilitation.

Myth #8

‘A pill can fix it‘. Pain Doctor says chronic pain is not the same thing as a headache. A simple headache is usually easily addressed with a tall glass of water and a few ibuprofen. Chronic pain is not as easily fixed. A few aspirin or even a handful of ibuprofen may not even touch the edges of a painful flare-up, and evidence is mounting that even prescription opioids are not effective.

Myth #9

‘Chronic pain is forever‘, Pain Doctor also comments that although chronic pain is called “chronic” for a reason, it is not an incurable disease. If a chronic pain patient has been in pain for years, it is unlikely that a doctor will be able to fix it in just a few visits, but with persistence and teamwork, it may be possible to diminish or even eliminate chronic pain over time.

Im sure there are lots more myths about pain, do you know any?

MY TOP THREE PILLOWS FOR THE DISCOMFORT OF BACK AND NECK PAIN…

Pillows are so personal don’t you think? After my first cervical surgery I had to wear a collar so it didn’t really matter what pillow I had but after the second cervical fusion they did not advise one but neither did they advise any type of pillow, so I stuck with the same soft type for years. So much so that when I go to a Hotel and the pillow is hard I find it very difficult to get to sleep.

However, they have now found out that certain neck pillows can not only help with the pain from disc injuries and whiplash but also for back pain, shoulder pain and even chronic pain.

There are obviously quite a few different types advertised and the tempa ones are advertised everywhere. When I go for my afternoon rest I always just get under the throw and sleep on my v pillow, on my side whereas when I got to bed at night I sleep on a fairly flat a pillow which would not suit most people but after two cervical fusions my neck is pretty stiff so I cannot cope with anything too thick. My other problem is that although I know I should sleep on my side or on my back I love going to sleep on my front which is the worst position for neck and back problems.

My top three choices are –

Sealy Activsleep Geltex Memory Foam Pillow, Amazon, £34.99

This pillow focuses on ventilation and airflow which runs between the hundreds of tiny fibres that surround the Geltex core so it has lots of breath ability. It’s great for allergy sufferers in mind too, with hypoallergenic filling and a knitted Purotex cover to prevent bugs and bacteria.

I personally found this too high for myself but my husband who usually has two pillows found this one pillow enough for him and extremely comfortable. I did struggle getting it into a regular size pillow case, though.

  • Sealy Activsleep Geltex Pillow standard size 74 x 48cm
  • Made with a supportive and comfortable memory foam shell that is ventilated to increase airflow and breathability and prevent overheating
  • The revitalising Geltex core provides support, comfort and coolness and is surrounded by DuPont Cotrano fibres which are light and bouncy
  • Knitted Purotex cover helps to combat pillow nasties such as bugs and bacteria
  • Made in the UK, anti-allergenic, 2 year manufacturer’s guarantee

My second choice is The White Company Memory Foam Comfort Pillow which is £45

This special shape-contouring pillow is made with shredded memory foam, which means it gives fantastic firm support with added comfort. The beauty of this design is that it gives the supportive benefits of memory foam, while boasting the sleek appearance of a traditional pillow. If you sleep on your side, this pillow will bridge the gap between your shoulder and neck for perfect alignment. What’s more, the soft casing can be unzipped and machine washed at 40°C, making it wonderfully easy to care for.

Firm support
Non-Allergenic 
Filling: 100% memory foam clusters

I LOVE this pillow but then I love just about everything at The White Company. It fitted perfectly into a normal size pillow case and feels more like a normal luxury pillow rather than a memory foam pillow, which is why I think I like it so much.

It’s better for side sleepers, which I should be but prefer to sleep on my stomach and it definitely bridges the gap between your shoulder and neck for correct alignment. I love that it can be unzipped and popped into the washing machine.

My third choice is Soak and Sleep’s soft Duck Feather and Down pillows are a delightful way for front sleepers to nod off, from £20.

It feels substantial thanks to the generous quantity of small, soft duck feathers blended with light and lofty duck down, and is very reasonably priced too. You can choose between a soft/medium pillow – ideal for front sleepers or a deeper medium/firm pillow that’s better suited to side and back sleepers.

This pillow will support your head and neck for good spinal alignment – you can choose from their range of pillow fills, firmnesses and depths to suit your sleeping style.

Covered with a 233 thread count percale to help wick away moisture for a cooler, more refreshing night’s sleep. It’s another pillow that can be machine washed.

You can choose between a soft/medium pillow – ideal for front sleepers or a deeper medium/firm pillow that’s better suited to side and back sleepers. Obviously I chose the soft/medium pillow.