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'I have back pain what can I do?'

Back Pain is debilitating. If it comes on suddenly it stops you

in your tracks, and there is the unknown of what is wrong. It can cause worry and stress which adds to the cycle of back pain. Long term back pain wears you down, both physically and emotionally- you can become ratty and loose patience and tired.

Here we will discuss the causes and the signs of back pain; when to contact a GP or Physiotherapist; how to self treat both short term pain and chronic pain, followed by long term advice.

First a little about your spine,

The spine supports every part of your body. It protects your Central Nervous System, CNS.

Your CNS is involved in nearly all functions in your body; your respiratory & circulation systems, your digestion and elimination, your immune and hormonal networks. so alo

ng with the structural support of your posture, your spine is central to your wellbeing.

Most back pain, while frustrating, painful, exhausting, worrisome and extremely debilitating, is not as serious as may be perceived and it can be successfully treated with the correct movement without the need for medical intervention. The sooner you take action the better.

Many people do not believe or understand the effectiveness that correct movements and exercises can make to reduce or completely eliminate back pain.

Looking at the body as a whole system, our movement patterns, the balance between mobility and stability, strength and flexibility, we can more often than not, ease and start to move without pain again.

What is most important is to create the time and do it!

First check out our Red Flags to see if you do need to consult with a GP or call 111

Red Flags-

The following are rare but if you have back pain plus any of the following consult your GP or call 111.

-a fever (high temperature) -redness or swelling on your back -pain down your legs and below your knees -numbness or weakness in one or both legs or around your buttocks -loss of bladder or bowel control (incontinence) -constant pain, no matter what position you are in , particularly at night -pain that is getting much worse and is spreading up your spine. chest pain.

Other causes for low back pain, which you may need your GP can advise on are

-fracture, a crack or break in one of the bones in your back.

-a slipped disc - this is when a disc bulges so far out, it puts pressure on your spinal nerves.

-spinal stenosis - a condition in which the spaces in your spine narrow.

-spondylolisthesis - when one of your vertebrae slips forward and out of position.

-degenerative disc disease - when the discs in your spinal cord gradually become worn.

-rheumatoid arthritis - an inflammatory condition.

-osteoporosis - a condition where bones lose density causing them to be weak and brittle.

Your back pain may have started due to

-standing, sitting or bending down for long periods with an unbalanced posture. -lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling loads that are too heavy, or going about these tasks in the wrong way. -having a trip or a fall

-car accident

-sporting injury -being stressed or anxious -being overweight

-poor posture

-Digestion problems- inc IBS

-Inadequate muscle support of the trunk and spine

-lack of proper movement in the spine and hips due to inadequate stretching/exercise

-carrying a bag on one shoulder for extended periods. Remember back pain can start months after an original accident ( car, fall, sporting injury)

Research has shown that similar findings are seen on scans of people with and without back pain and these may be unrelated to your pain.

Imaging studies have identified that 68% of adults aged 40 will have disc degeneration and 50% will have a disc bulge. This increases to 80% of 50 year olds having disc degeneration. These incidental findings may lead to unnecessary further tests or interventions and can cause unnecessary worry and anxiety and make you fearful of moving your back normally

Having a scan of your back does not improve your pain or speed up your recovery.

A scan does not tell you what treatment or exercises will help your back pain

Learning deep muscle relaxation, Somatic Pandiculation, ( Hanna Somatics and Somatic Yoga) along with rebalancing of muscle tone for postural support is incredibly effective. (Therapeutic Pilates Back Care ) Large muscle groups often contract to protect and area through long term repetitive inefficient posture and or accidents, injuries, surgeries, repetitive tasks, prolonged bad (unbalanced) posture and on-going emotional stress.

Alongside this we need to gradually increase the muscle activation of other muscles to stabilize, balance and support the posture.

First Aid for Back Pain.

Firstly is your back pain acute , sudden and recent ? If so ibroprofen is excellent to reduce inflammation, especially as a gel, as it is applied direct to the area. Arnica gel is also a good alternative. Magnesium is a powerful muscle relaxant and I would recommend most people to add this to your intake for healthy functioning of your muscles and heart ( muscle).

Please remember Ibroprofen is a pain killer, so just because your back feels better doesn't mean it has healed yet! Continue to take it easy. This is not intended for long term use! It is to reduce the inflammation, avoid lifting or twisting for a 3-4 days and then begin with gentle exercises .( see below video).

If you have checked for all the red flags above, It is recommended to keep moving rather than be completely still. Build up the exercises over the next weeks, See our full series of back care videos. If you are still pain after a week consult a GP or Physiotherapist.

I personally would contact my physiotherapist sooner rather than later. Its always easier to treat an acute problem rather than wating for something to get chronic.

You really don't help yourself by putting up with it. If you have a car that was making a terrible sound, you know the longer you leave it, its going to make it worse, or could actually cause and accident on the road. Well think of yourself like this. Going around with a underlying pain, masked with pain killers is an accident waiting to happen.

So first - constructive rest. Literally feet up. This changes the position of the pelvis and eases low back pain. a rolled up towel supports the neck in the proper position. palms up drops the shoulders into a correct alignment.

Here are some simple and basic moves to ease and support your spine. A gentle somatic pandiculation followed by some basic Pilates exercises.

These exercises in this video are there for a guide line only and are at your own risk. *

Keeping still and immobile with pack pain for long periods is also not advised ( please refer back to our red flags) Learning to move well and=keeping an eye on your every day movement patterns is crucial. Here are some obvious ones, but also things like how you get in and out of a car, sitting cross legs, locking knees out, driving with one foot dropped right out like Charlie Chaplin feet, screen height for computer etc.

Additional Support.

Seeing a physical therapist, Physiotherapist, Acupuncture, Massage/body worker is highly recommended and a regular movement class that works with alignment and integrated movement. Somatic Yoga along with a therapeutic Pilates Back Care sessions are highly recommended. See our Timetable

Long Term Care Begins Now!

Never underestimate the importance of how you support your body with your nutrition and mental and emotional wellbeing. Learn to relax and unwind. ENERGYBODi provides a space to nurture, unwind and express. Seeking help from counselling is also beneficial.

Attend a class regularly for back care. Both Pilates and Yoga at ENERGYBODi include Hanna Somatics and are perfect for taking care of your back. Sustain your classes for long term health.

Maintain a healthy weight— additional pounds place excess strain on spinal vertebrae and discs. Quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption.

Stay well-hydrated. The body is 70% water, and sufficient hydration contributes to inter-vertebral disc health and that of other back related structures and functions.

Get your vision checked. Poor vision can affect the way you carry yourself, which can contribute to back problems.

There are some vital vitamins and minerals that will directly help your muscular/skeletal/nervous systems. Getting a varied diet can be tricky sometimes, but also many minerals are missing from our food due to heavy use of the soil, which becomes depleted. It can take five years for an organic farmer to get the nutrients back into the soil for his crops. There are actually about eighteen essential nutrients that contribute to bone health; Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin C, B6, B12, K2, Zinc, Potassium, iron. Magnesium is definitely one of the most essential. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant ( also good for your heart muscle!)

Magnesium is a powerful muscle relaxant!

This critical mineral is actually responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions and is found in all of your tissues -- but mainly in your bones, muscles, and brain. You must have it for your cells to make energy, for many different chemical pumps to work, to stabilize membranes, and to help muscles relax. When was the last time you had a good dose of sea vegetables (seaweed), nuts, greens, and beans?  Magnesium is very common to be deficient in. It is absolutely vital for relaxing and contracting the muscles. If you are someone who gets cramps this supplement is vital. However not just muscles but bones... Magnesium helps to fix calcium properly. It may blow some people's mind that the calcium supplements they're taking are not only useless, but are actually contributing to osteoporosis if they are not balanced with the right minerals!

Vitamin B12 is necessary for healthy bone marrow and for the body - and the spine - to grow and function normally.  Vitamin B12 deficiency is an important risk factor in osteoporosis. When the level of the vitamin falls, the deficiency triggers the demineralization of the bone. Daily life gets harder for you to endure as you experience debilitating symptoms such as: muscle weakness, fatigue, tingling in your extremities, mental fogginess, memory problems, and general apathy. Vit B12 is used for cell regeneration and nerve tissue. Vitamin B12 can be found in meat products, such as liver, fish, red meat and poultry; dairy products, such as milk, eggs and cheese; and green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and broccoli. I would highly recommend B12 injections, particularly for vegans/vegetarians. They have made a huge difference to myself personally.

A Vitamin B complex and magnesium work in tandem to promote normal function of the nervous system and normal psychological function, contribute to energy yielding metabolism and reduce tiredness and fatigue.

Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is essential to building strong, dense bones when you're young and to keeping them strong and healthy as you age. Feeling tired and achy is a frequent wintertime complaint. According to Dr. Holick, many who see their doctor for such signs end up being misdiagnosed as having fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome when it is a vitamin D deficiency. Always take Vitamin D3 along with a K2 supplement.

Vitamin C is necessary for the development of collagen, which is an important part of the process that allows cells to be able to form into tissue. This is extremely important for healing problems caused by injured tendons, ligaments and vertebral discs, as well as for keeping bones and other tissues strong. Vitamin C can control inflammation, reduce back pain, repair and maintain the discs of the spine, and protect bones from losing calcium.

Your spine supports every part of your health as it protects your Central Nervous System. Your CNS is involved in every system of your body. Keep your spine strong, flexible, stable, mobile and agile... you are as young as your spine!

I do hope this article has helped if you are suffering from back pain. Don't give up or despair, I understand how draining it can be and how it affects your whole life. Remember it isn't about someone waving a magic wand and making it better, it is about becoming an expert in yourself, being your own teacher, your own healer. We do this with guidance and knowledge and help from others but ultimately we become our own expert.

At ENERGYBODi, the teachers share their knowledge as part of the journey for you to become your own experts.


Heather and team

*This advice and exercises are not intended to diagnose or treat any illness or treat any injury. It is for educational purposes only. If you choose to engage in any of these exercises presented by ENERGYBODi and related Teachers, you do so at your own risk. Please consult a physician before you start any NEW program. You agree not to hold Heather Parsons, Joanne Davidson, Jessica Goggins, Denise Robson, ENERGYBODi liable for any illness or injury. Not every exercise is safe for every person. Correct exercise execution of all exercises is imperative to prevent injury. Please consult your health care professional and GP if you have any questions about if an exercise is right for you.

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