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Pain Issues Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

Smart Strategies for Treating Your Nagging Neck or Back Pain

By Staff Editor
Oct 6, 2015 - 7:05:21 AM

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( - Neck and back pain is manageable, but it's not always intuitive as to how to do it. Here are a few of the best ways that will help you get back on your feet and enjoying life again.

Physiotherapy And Massage

One of the most common therapies for neck and back pain is physiotherapy. Physiotherapy consists of a diagnosis and treatment plan that is largely physical. It may include acupuncture, massage, specialized exercises, and various medical devices or aids.

The goal is to normalize the mobility in the back and neck and to help strengthen muscles and minimize the risk of reinjury.

Most physiotherapists will spend time getting to know you, your lifestyle, habits, and personal needs. They will also spend time figuring out the root cause of your problems. This helps them in the diagnostic process and will ultimately guide treatment.

Relaxation Therapy

Relaxation therapy is a unique way to cope with pain. It is a special form of behavioral therapy used to relieve psychological stress and fatigue. It can be either guided by the therapist or done alone at home.

Some methods of relaxation therapy combine several methods into one, and these are supplemented with other practices like imagery and biofeedback.

The goal is to relax your way out of pain and stress.

Relaxation therapy also slows your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure, slows your breathing rate, reduces the activity of stress hormones, increases blood flow to major muscles, reduces muscle tension and chronic pain, reduces fatigue, improves concentration and mood, reduces anger, and increases confidence.

Autogenic relaxation uses both visual imagery and body awareness to reduce stress. You are required to repeat words or phrases for it to work. For example, you may imagine a peaceful setting and focus on controlled and relaxed breathing. You may say a prayer or be instructed to make an audible noise which you can focus on.

Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that requires you to slowly tense and then relax each muscle group.

By tensing a muscle group initially, you trick your body into over-tensing or stressing the muscle. Then, by letting everything go, your body is more apt to relax and release tension.

Visualization is a relaxation technique that requires you to form mental images that take you on a visual journey. You are instructed to imagine a peaceful or calming place or situation.

Other relaxation techniques include hypnosis, Tai Chi, biofeedback, music and art therapy, deep breathing, massage, and meditation.

Heat Therapy

Heat therapy uses infrared heat to help relax muscles. This therapy relies on the idea that infrared light can penetrate muscles and help them to relax. For tension-related pain and soreness, this type of therapy works well.

An infrared heat lamp, or a heating pad, is used to warm up the affected muscles. Continuous heat is applied to the area for anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes per session.

Some supplemental stretching may be done after the heat treatment.

Over time, the tension is released and pain is reduced or eliminated.

Postural Correction

Some forms of pain are caused by poor posture. Tension, chronic pain in the low back and neck, and general pain all over can all be directly caused by posture.

Some methods, like The Gokhale Method, directly address posture, with an emphasis on whole body alignment and mobility.

Other methods, like those discussed on, address alignment but also allow special focus on body parts and specific postural corrections.

When posture is correct, pain in the neck and low back are often reduced or eliminated if posture is the cause.

Weight Training and Exercise

Weight training and exercise can strengthen weak muscles, which is the cause of many back and neck problems - especially low back problems.

Weight training that focuses on strengthening the back can help reduce or eliminate pain in these areas because the muscles are stronger and more capable of supporting the spine. Even when the problem appears to be structural (i.e. a bulging disc), strength training may improve the condition by taking stress off the area and allowing the muscles to better support the spine.

In most low back pain cases, the cause is 2-fold: weak lumbar or spinal erectors and weak abdominal muscles. Strengthening these muscle groups, while simultaneously training supporting muscle groups in the "core" of the body will help reduce or eliminate pain without the long-term need for muscle relaxants, pain medication, or ongoing physical therapy.

Nicki Llewellyn is the founder of Bodyworks Edinburgh, a massage and physiotherapy clinic in Edinburgh, U.K. Founded in 2013, Nicki and his team set out to help clients improve muscular issues, sports performance and any injuries to bring them back to full health


Mike McCurdy:[email protected] or is syndicated worldwide, to thousands of journalists in all media, and health-related websites.


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