Mind your back this Christmas
Back Pain – this condition affects a huge percentage of the working population, from the sedentary to the actively sporty. I remember some studies done on the mechanics of the back when I was studying Osteopathy way back in my early days of this healing journey. For the average male at 10 stone and 5 feet 8 inches, bending one degree forward from the upright position, the poundage stress put through L5/Sacrum is around 500 pounds. This is on one point of the back and is a mighty amount of pounds. For those who don’t understand feet, inches or pounds obviously this doesn’t mean a great deal, unless you have suffered from acute spasm of the back and felt even the slightest of movements, creating either more spasm or acute pain. When experienced, never forgotten.
Back pain is understood in many alternative modalities in different ways on how to treat. My experience in running a skeletal pain clinic in the farming hot bed of Yorkshire for 17 years tells me you need to assess each individual case separately and listen to all the cues the body is making to inform firstly the person suffering the pain, and secondly the practitioner assessing the condition.
Common things to look out for:
- Aches that come and go – does the ache go with movement and heat?
- Sharp pain – does the pain go with rest and cold?
- Recurrence of these pains – is it associated with stress from work, late night habits, eating too late, going to bed late, alcohol consumption, coffee, consumption of pain killers and anti-inflammatories, sugary food increase, change in environment, travelling a lot?
Later on in my growth as a practitioner and studying Chinese medicine with its vast knowledge of energetics (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually) I learnt that the individual approach is key to successful management and healing of these very painful conditions.
By making these observations you start to understand something of the nature of the condition and these are what the practitioner is looking for to evaluate how to treat you specifically.
Australian statistics re back pain:
- Nearly 70% of Australians will suffer back pain this next year
- 80% of Australians will suffer back pain at some point in their lives and 10% of these will suffer disability as a result
- One in four Australians has significant back pain now
- Back pain doubles and sometimes triples such feelings as worthlessness, hopelessness, sadness, and the feeling everything is an effort
- Australian businesses spend $1 billion each year in direct or indirect costs.
A big factor that is applicable to most of us is that we don’t always know how to relax and let go of all the tensions that we create in our body. This is particularly relevant at this time of the year leading up to Christmas. We often have a million and one things to do or complete that stress levels become very high indeed. Our body reacts to this stress in the form of tension. What does this tension then do? Mainly block the energy channels and lead to an increase in all symptoms. If you already suffer from a bad back, then watch that you are not neglecting the powerful aspect of the breath to help relax. Shallow breathing is a common symptom of tension, and relates to poor movement in the diaphragm, which puts pressure on the back.
So my message to you this Christmas is please remember to relax and take it easy…Your back will thank you for it!
For more techniques on breathing and relaxation, we released a downloadable meditation CD last month which is available for purchase here.