Category Archives: Effective Therapies for Back Pain

Meditation Can Help To Improve Back Pain – Back Pain Relief Through Meditation

Back Pain Relief Through Meditation

For some patients, no matter what they do, they still have back pain – and they’re ready to try anything that might help them alleviate the pain and get back into their busy lives. If you and your doctor are concerned that your back pain may be the result of stress in your life, you will want to try ways to reduce the stress in your body. And one therapy that comes up time and time again as something that is effective at relieving stress – meditation.

What scares most people away from meditation is the stereotypical idea that it needs to be done with your legs crossed and your hands in a prayer position. It seems a little far fetched and impossible when you see the yogis and the other spiritual gurus meditating. But meditation can be accessible to the everyday person as well. Meditation is simply the calming of the mind in order to clear yourself of thoughts. When you do this, you can relax your body fully and possibly even reduce pain that you feel in your body.

Here are some ways that you can meditate:

• Sit in a room where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and try to empty your mind of all thoughts. You might want to listen to some lyric-less music in order to give your mind something else to focus on besides your To Do list. Try to sit there for five minutes at first.

• Try focusing on nothing but a candle flame or a picture that doesn’t bring to mind other thoughts you might have in your head.

• Realize that you will have thoughts come in and out of your mind, but it’s how to deal with them that makes meditation work. Instead of sitting there and berating yourself for thinking, think the thought and then let it go. Try again to empty your mind.

• Focus on how your body is feeling without judging anything you feel. For two minutes, just think about how your body feels, how your muscles feel, and how you feel right now.

• Focus on the outside world for a few minutes and simply notice everything that’s going on around you. Look at the colors and the things that are around you without thinking about anything by what you see.
• Go for a walk and only focus on the way that your feet hit the ground or the park around you. • Close your eyes and count how many times your breath moves in and out. Whenever your mind starts to wander, bring your attention back to your breath.

• Think about one word with one syllable that you can repeat yourself with each breath in and out. For example, you might want to focus on the word, ‘health.’

• Purchase a guided meditation tape or CD that will instruct you how to move your concentration and your focus.

• On your computer screen saver or other screen savers in your life, type out the words ‘pain free’ and have them flash whenever the screens are idle. This will help to reinforce your concentration on being pain free.

• You can also create guided meditations for yourself by closing your eyes, breathing in and out, and then picturing yourself going on a journey somewhere different from anywhere on earth. Think about walking to this area, what you see, who you see there, and simply observe the pictures in your head. After a while, go back the way you came to this place and open your eyes.

• Some people find that counting their breaths with their eyes closed also helps them relax. Ideally, you will want to try to meditate for at least ten minutes a day – especially when you are feeling pain. Many people find that they are able to fit in a few minutes here and there each day – and that’s fine. The effects are cumulative, so don’t feel that you need to sit down for an hour each day.

You should dress in comfortable clothes and make sure you’re in a place where you can not be easily distracted. Closing your eyes isn’t necessary, but many people find it helpful to keep their concentration steady and focused on their breathing. By building up your concentration ‘muscles,’ you will be able to divert your attention more easily from the stresses of your day as well as any pain you are feeling. It is also thought that the more you can concentrate on not thinking, the more you will be able to change your focus when you feel pain that you don’t want to feel. There are also studies being done on the healing properties and connections between meditation and back pain.

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Acupuncture – An Effective Alternative Treatment For Back Pain

Acupuncture For Back Pain

In TCM or traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture has become the standard level of care for a wide range of conditions, from fatigue and infertility to disease and even different kinds of pain.

But the latest research into this kind of alternative medicine is proving to be effective for many forms of back pain.

An acupuncture practitioner will place thin sterile needles into various points in your body called meridians. These meridians are like sign posts in your body that show where energy is thought to move through your entire being.

It is thought that when you experience pain or illness that one of these meridians is blocked and needs to be redirected or opened in order for you to regain your health.

The needles do not hurt and they may be placed at many different parts of your body, not just in your back. Needles may be placed in the backs of your knees and calves to help stimulate the nerve systems and promote pain relief.

Even if you don’t quite believe in the idea of an energy system, what is interesting is that these meridians call along the pathways of the nerves in your body as well. And since the nerves are what are connected with the transmission of pain, it would make sense that adjusting these nerves in some way could help your back pain.

Many people have found instant relief with the use of acupuncture. They feel more energy in their body and their pain is better controlled with medications or with other therapies they are trying.

In order to find a qualified acupuncturist, you will want to contact the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to find licensed practitioners. There are licensing regulations for these medical professionals and they are often trained for a number of years before they are allowed to go into practice.

In fact, many health insurance plans are now covering acupuncture treatments, so you may be able to find a provider through your health plan.

Acupuncture treatments increase in effectiveness with regular treatments, so it’s recommended that you go for treatments on a weekly basis until your back pain has resolved.

But acupuncture can also help to prevent future pain, so follow up appointments may also be necessary.

Acupressure

If you are a little squeamish around needles, you can get the same benefits from an acupressure practitioner. They will also work to stimulate the various meridians on the body, but they will use their fingers and direct pressure instead of needles.

They will often hold a thumb in certain places of the body for up to a minute to help stimulate the flow of energy through the body and to release natural endorphins that will help to lessen the pain you are having.

These practitioners can also be found through the NCCAM.

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How Effective Is Chiropractic Care For Back Pain?

Chiropractic Care For Back Pain

Chiropractic care is one remedy for back and neck pain that’s getting more press these days than it used to.

Since chiropractic workers focus on the alignment of the spine and neck, it only makes sense that you might turn to these professionals when your back is aching.

By manipulating the body in certain ways, a chiropractor can help to lessen the pain caused by problems with alignment as well as muscle tension. Often, when your body is not in the right alignment, your body will tighten the muscles around that area, causing intense pain.

But if you can loosen that tightness and change the alignment, you will be able to reduce the pain and help the body ‘learn’ the correct positioning.

The main goal of chiropractors is to restore the normal alignment and shape of the spine. Whether this is achieved through the use of a TENS unit or through physical manipulation will depend on the case of the patient.

In the initial treatment session, the chiropractor will assess your spine to see where they feel the problem is. They will then prescribe a course of treatments that will need to be done over several weeks, even months in some back patients.

With each visit, you may have your neck or back moved slightly to promote the proper positioning or you might have the neck or back moved quickly into the right place, with each subsequent time being easier than the one before.

Many patients will note that their backs actually feel worse after treatment for a few days and that they can have headaches and pain after treatment – this is not always a normal result, so be sure to call the doctor if you start to experience these symptoms.

These symptoms are generally attributed to the muscles changing their pattern, and this change can then cause pain.

There are many people who don’t believe in the value of chiropractic work for back pain, but medical studies are split on the effectiveness on back pain.

Some studies show that proper manipulation can indeed help those with simple back pain issues with muscle tension, while other studies concede that chiropractic work may do more harm than good.

In recent days, there have been some concerns with going to chiropractors who aren’t properly trained.

Your chiropractor should be:

* Licensed in the state where they are performing
* Have an up to date certification to practice
* A medical doctor
* A doctor of osteopathy, if possible (DO)

When you go to general chiropractic clinics in which the professionals don’t seem to have the proper accreditations, severe consequences can happen.

Some patients have suffered strokes and paralysis because of improper manipulations to the spine.

You should know that quick snapping of the neck is never recommended. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded after your chiropractic appointment, or if you have a severe headache, you may want to head to the nearest emergency room to make sure you aren’t having a stroke.

Suffice to say, it’s easy to see why people are hesitant about chiropractic work. But when you have these manipulations done by a licensed professional, you can see great results.

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Massage Therapy For Back Pain – Is It A Good Thing Or Not?

Massage Therapy For Back Pain

While most people will praise the idea of getting a massage to help with body pain, is it a good idea for those with lower and upper back pain?

If you and your doctor determine that your back and neck pain is probably caused by muscle tightness, massage therapy can be a great way to help reduce the pain you are feeling.

What you will want to do is start by finding a licensed massage therapist that has passed the state licensing exams and that has been in practice for several years. If your back pain is related to a sports injury, you might want to go to someone who handles sports massage exclusively.

The massage therapist will have you undress and lie underneath a blanket to keep your body from being exposed. If you feel too exposed, you can leave your underwear on.

The massage therapist will then enter the room once you’re covered up and will proceed to work on your back exclusively, or they might want to work on your entire body as tension in your neck and back can often travel to other parts of your body too.

There are a number of massage therapies that are possible, and you will need to determine which one is best for you and for your sensitivities. Many people simply don’t like hard massages, for example, so you might not want to choose a shiatsu massage.

But others might want the standard Swedish massage.

You can always tell the massage therapist what is working for you and whether you need the strokes to be harder too.

Massage therapy is thought to help your back pain by:

• Improving the circulation in your muscles, which allows for healing
• Increasing the relaxation in your body
• Reducing the tension in your muscles
• Increasing the range of motion in your muscles
• Increasing the pain killing endorphins in your body

To reap the benefits of massage, it’s advised that you go regularly, at least once per week.

Many patients find that massage can often not only help current back pain troubles, but it can also help them prevent back pain from strenuous activities.

For example, if you’ve run a race that week, you might want to schedule a massage in the days after the race to prevent any soreness and pain in your back and neck.

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Physiotherapy For Back Pain – Occupational Therapy

Physiotherapy For Back Pain

Also known as physical therapy, there are other ways that a physical therapist can help you with recurrent back pain troubles.

Occupational therapy is similar to sports physical therapy though it is used more for movements that are related to work and other practical tasks. For example, if you are leaning over to put together a certain product, you might be taught how to do this movement in a supportive manner during occupational therapy.

Many patients will have occupational therapy after they have had surgery on their backs as this can help them relearn how to move their body in order to protect the work that was done and to continue to strengthen their core so that they are stronger after surgery instead of weaker.

If you stop to think about how you move each day, you might be surprised to see just how often you use your back to do everyday tasks.

From lifting the groceries to the counter top to simply getting in and out of your car, these tasks need to be relearned when you have a back injury or even just back pain.

In occupational therapy, you can relearn these everyday tasks as well as any movements that you use on a daily basis. Simply getting in and out of the bathroom is something that you need to be able to do on your own, so an occupational therapist will walk you through the movements and help
you learn ways to support your body.

These therapists can also work with family members of those with back pain or injuries to help show them how they can support the injured person as they go through rehabilitation.

The goal of occupational therapy is for the patient to be free to do whatever they need to do in order to live their lives. This means that the goal of therapy is to ensure that everyday tasks are simple and healthy for the patient – and can be done unassisted.

By focusing on fine motor skills, the patient can regain the ability to make better choices for their health and for their back troubles.

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Sports Physical Therapy/Sports Medicine For Back Pain

Sports Medicine For Back Pain

If it’s been determined that your back pain is related to a sports injury, you might want to see a therapist who specialized in sports medicine.

This therapist will be able to:

• Evaluate your injury
• Evaluate your ability to gain strength
• Create a training program to help regain mobility
• Assess your progress and adjust your goals
• Choose activities that won’t harm you any further

When you go to see a sports therapist, you will probably be asked to perform similar tasks as are within the sport you got the injury from.

You might be asked to swing a tennis racket, for example, or a golf club. As you do so, the therapist will be watching your movements to see where you might be able to strengthen the movement and protect your back at the same time.

Repetition of tasks that caused the back pain are going to be the focus of this physical therapy, but so are strength training exercises that you learn in therapy and need to continue to do at home.

Some sports therapists use water therapy to help those who are slowly coming back from a severe injury as the resistance helps to build strength, but the water keeps the muscles loose, especially when it’s warm.

Athletes will also learn balance and coordination drills that will further help the body learn to adjust and adapt to new conditions while still protecting the back from further harm.

Your core will be the main focus of sports physical therapy for the back, so you might also do yoga positions and Pilates exercises as alternative therapies.

As you continue in the sports therapy, you can also work on new movements you are using in your sport in order to learn how to best perform them in order to protect your body.

Sports therapy works on the principle that your body’s muscles ‘learn’ to perform a certain way when they are ‘taught’ to do so. The more you do a movement the ‘right’ way, the more likely your body is going to do it automatically when you are performing under pressure.

You can expect to do many repetitions of exercises until you can do it without thinking – which is exactly the goal you should be aiming for.

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Physical Therapy For Back And Neck Pain

Physical Therapy For Back And Neck Pain

Since much of back pain is caused by a weakening of the muscles, getting those muscles back into shape is the best course of action for many patients.

But if exercise and activity on your own hasn’t helped and the back pain keeps coming back, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy for you.

Physical therapists will help you learn how to move your body in a healthy manner, while also strengthening your core to support your back. They can work with you in both active and in passive ways to help your body regain its health and to lessen pain naturally.

Active Physical Therapy

This is the physical therapy that most people readily recognize. When you are doing active physical therapy, the therapist is either moving your body for you or they are showing you movements that they want you to repeat during your session.

These are designed to work with your injuries and to help strengthen your body to prevent future troubles.

Depending on the severity of your back pain, you may need to go to physical therapy several times a week or you might simply go one time a week over the course of many months – it depends on your diagnosis.

During these sessions you may:

• Stretch
• Do low impact aerobic work
• Strength training

To most people, this sounds like going to the gym, but under the care of a physical therapist, you will be able to have your injury monitored and regulated for you as an individual. They will be able to recommend specific movements and then create new goals for new movements as you progress.

Physical therapists will also encourage the patients to practice these exercises on their own to continue their progress as well as to continue strengthening their backs.

If you are given a certain set of exercises to do, it’s best that you follow the regimen exactly and talk to your physical therapist about any additional pain that you might feel during the movements.

Passive Physical Therapy

If you have an extremely severe back pain case or if you simply can not do the active exercises yet, especially after surgery, you may be advised to have passive physical therapy.

In these sessions, movements and treatments will be done TO you, instead of you being an active participant.

This kind of passive therapy starts out simply, but can progress into more complicated therapies that can really help to strengthen the muscles of your back.

• Ice packs
• Heat packs
• TENS unit
• Ultrasound
• Iontophoresis

Ice and heat are both used to relax and to contract the area where the pain is being felt. One is not better than the other, as such, but some patients report that one does feel better to them, so pay attention to the way your body responds.

For some patients, rotating these two therapies is the best choice for them as it will help to control spasms as well as swelling in the area. Try leaving the packs on the area for up to twenty minutes, then remove for the same amount of time, and then switch to a new pack.

A TENS unit is a bit more complicated of a passive therapy and it should be administered by someone who is trained in using the device.

This is a device in which pads are placed at certain points of your body in order to stimulate your muscles as well as to help rewire your nerves so that you don’t feel pain.

Not everyone responds well to the TENS unit, so it may not work for you. But in many cases, this therapy helps to control the pain during movements and can help the body figure out how to change the direction of the pain so that it doesn’t go to the brain and be felt by the patient.

Ultrasound is when the physical therapist uses an ultrasound probe to send deep waves of heat into the muscles and the back to provide relief. This technique is non-invasive and can help the body heal itself with the relaxing warmth.

The only trouble with the ultrasound technique is that it typically doesn’t have long lasting benefits and needs to be repeated during a few therapy sessions.

When you are having an acute back pain episode, a doctor may prescribe iontophoresis for the area. This is a therapy in which steroids are injected into the skin to lessen the inflammation of the area, helping to dull or relieve the pain altogether.

As with any therapies, be sure to check with your insurance before setting up the appointment to be certain that your health insurance plan will cover the treatment.

Not every health insurance plan will pay for TENS therapy, for example.

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Tip 1 On How To Prevent Back Pain – Stand Up Straight

How To Prevent Back Pain

While most of us realize that we should be correcting our posture more, it’s an essential step in preventing and reducing back pain.

Our spines are meant to be in a naturally curved position, but we need to hold our bodies in a certain manner in order to allow the body to sit in this proper position.

When you slouch, the vertebrae in your spine have more pressure put on them, causing pain and possible spinal damage when you continue to slouch throughout your life.

Here is how you can begin to stand up straight:

• Stand with your feet slightly apart, about hip’s distance is comfortable for most people.

• Hold your head up high with your gaze forward.

• Pull your chin up so that it is parallel with the floor.

• Roll your shoulders slightly back.

• Keep a slight bend in your knees, softening them.

• Put your arms to your sides, with palms facing inward.

• Bring your chest up, as though you were taking a deep breath.

You should be able to draw a line from your ear to the shoulder to your hip to your knee if you are standing up properly.

But the immediate effect will be that your body should feel more relaxed and your neck and back should loosen up.

You can also use these tips when you are sitting down, though your feet should be flat on the floor and knees bent at a ninety degree angle from your chair.

The more you practice this good posture, the more natural it will become

NOTE: If you are currently suffering from back pain and any of these tips make the pain worse, stop what you are doing and check with your doctor for further guidance.

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