Great tips on how to manage and relieve back pain
- Thursday, 04 May 2017
Back pain is one of the most common conditions we treat at Fulham Massage & Wellness. Very often, our therapists can go beyond treating just the pain and stiffness, they would be able to identify where the problem is coming from and point out any imbalances in the body. Pain, tightness or a spasm are usually results of the long term underlying issue that patiently wait for the final triggering factor that brings it out to light.
Prevention of Back Pain
There are many preventative ways to take care of the back. You don’t have to wait for your back to get injured to start implementing them; in fact the best time to look after your back is when it is feeling good and happy for the little adjustments. Here are few tips:
- Look at your sleeping position
Although it is difficult to control what position you sleep at night (most of us move or turn without even knowing!), it is possible to retrain your body by controlling the position you fall asleep or having few extra cushions that will support you through the night. Sleeping in a recovery position on the sides (ideally swapping sides every now and then) or on the back with a little cushion under knees proves to be the safest position for the back. It is best to avoid sleeping on the stomach as it forces the back to bend slightly and can lead to back pain.
- Check your mattress
Changing the mattress every 8 years is another way of looking after your back. Most people spend a third of their day in bed so making sure we have the appropriate mattress is a key. Only imagine walking in wrong shoes for 8 hours every day – that’s how your back can feel if the mattress you sleep on doesn’t support it properly. Swapping/switching the mattress 2-3 times a year can help, too.
- Your desk set up
If you work at the desk, checking your desk set up is vital. If your computer screen or telephone is on the right hand side, you naturally might be rotating towards that side. This can cause imbalance in your back – constant twist or side bend will shorten the muscles on one side which, if not corrected, can lead to future spasms or injuries.
- Look for repetitive movements
If carrying your child on the left hip to free up your right hand is one of the habits, then your low back will eventually become imbalanced and the left shoulder area strained. If your sofa is positioned in the way you always have to turn to one side when watching TV, it will create muscle instability. These are just common examples from everyday life that can potentially lead to a back pain, but with an awareness and small adjustment, can prevent very debilitating problems.
- Manage high impact activities
High impact activities usually involve running, jumping and sudden change of directions. Weather you jog, play squash or participate in any regular sporting disciplines, without appropriate footwear or core strength, your risk of getting a back pain is significantly higher. Most shoe shops these days can measure the biomechanics and therefore recommend individually suitable pair of trainers that should serve you best for approximately 6 months. When it comes to the core strength, Pilates classes are a great way to activate the “right” muscles which will support the back through high impact sports.
Management of Back Pain
There are numerous ways to manage a back pain. It is important to seek a professional diagnosis if the back pain has been present for more than few days, causes any sharp pain, pins and needles, numbness or movement limitations to rule out any structural, spinal or neural injuries. If the pain is of muscular nature, movement is what helps to ease it up. Although our first reaction is to stop moving and rest, it should actually be opposite! Immobilisation and guarding causes more stiffness and it send the message to brain saying there is a great danger and better stay on guard.
Additionally, warm showers or baths can help to soothe the tissues. Back and neck loves the heat, so hot water bottle and heat packs can bring an instant relief. When the area is warm, it is also a great opportunity to implement gentle stretching or foam rolling. This will help to relax muscles and switch off the “on guard” sign that our neurological system carries around.
Drinking plenty of water will help to flush all the toxins, waste products and increase fascia’s (the connective tissue) flexibility. You will feel less tight and compressed which will help your back to move more freely.
With a long experience at massage and bodywork, Fulham Massage & Wellness therapists can bring a pain and tension relief already at the first treatment. Although this is going to take the edge of the problem, most people will then need 2-3 follow up sessions to completely correct it. By repeating the massage, we teach the muscles, fascia and other soft tissues to behave and function in an optimum way. This, long term leads to a healthy back and minimises the risk of further injuries. If your back is tight for a long time, the first treatment will loosen it up, which will bring a great dose of relief. Unfortunately the muscles and connective tissues don’t understand why they supposed to stay this way, so they will want to tighten up again. And that’s why the follow up treatments play such an important role – they create new muscle memory. When that memory is created and movement pattern rebooted, it’s only a matter of maintaining it by receiving a massage therapy once a month.
For more information or advice on how to manage or prevent back pain, go to our website www.fulham-massage.com. You can also call us on 020 3794 9760 for a free over the phone consultation or to book your treatment with our talented therapists. “We have your back” and will be delighted to help you!