Minor aches and pains can often be part and parcel of an active lifestyle and the aging process, but the fact is, 10 million Brits are suffering to the degree where it impacts on their quality of life on an almost daily basis.
Arthritis is the biggest cause of pain in the UK, with an estimated 8 million people affected by the most common type of the condition, osteoarthritis Back pain on the other hand is likely to be an issue during your life as studies show that 80% of people will be affected by it at some point, whether as a dull ache or downright debilitating pain.
Pain can take many forms, from chronic neck and shoulder pain to whiplash injuries or minor muscle strain, and if you’re someone who lives with it every day, it can affect your lifestyle and routines.
If you’re wondering how to ease back pain and other types of stresses and strains, you can explore our recommendations to help bring you :
Focused, deep breathing
Whether you want to relieve a one-off injury or a chronic condition, concentrating on breathing techniques can really help to manage and ease pain. It’s a natural reaction to take quick, shallow breaths during a moment of intense pain, but this will only result in you feeling panicked or dizzy. Taking deliberately deep, slow breaths will help to relax you and take away any feelings of anxiety – aim for five or six breaths a minute to stimulate a ‘rest and restore’ response.
Take gentle exercise
If you’re looking into how you can ease lower back pain, there are many simple and gentle exercises you can try. Speak to your doctor before starting any new exercises, but alongside walking, swimming and cycling, knee rolls are great for stretching out the spine. Lie on your back and bend your knees, ensuring your feet are flat on the floor. You should then roll your knees from side-to-side, all the while keeping your lower back in contact with the floor.
If you’re wanting to ease arthritis pain, it’s important to introduce exercise into your daily routine to avoid significant muscle loss and improve joint mobility and muscle strength. Try isometric exercises, which will strengthen muscle groups without bending painful joints. Strengthen shoulder muscles, for example, with the isometric shoulder raise, for which you’ll start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly. Holding a light weight in each hand, slowly raise both arms away from your sides until they’re parallel to the floor – and hold for 10 seconds.
Get plenty of sleep
Easier said than done when you’re in pain, we know. For many people with chronic pain, it can be more severe when in bed and leave you downright exhausted, but sleep deprivation can actually be a factor in worsening pain. Make sure you’re going to bed at a regular time every night and don’t take naps during the day. A gentle massage a couple of times a week can also help to ease pain and enable you to get a better night’s sleep. Try not to indulge a negative attitude during times of pain, too – some researchers have found that pessimism could override the effectiveness of any treatment. By being positive, you’ll increase your chances of a better night’s sleep and potentially experience less day-to-day pain.
Stress can contribute to various types of pain, but you can help ease it by incorporating relaxation exercises into your pain management plan. This type of exercise will calm your mind, reduce stress hormones and relax your muscles. Mindfulness meditation is something in which many sufferers of pain find a lot of comfort. It reduces the stress and negative impact of pain by working on how the mind processes it. For a simple mindfulness exercise, lie in a quiet room and focus on one part of your body at a time – make yourself fully aware of it and accept any sensations you may be feeling.
While paracetamol can often be the go-to painkiller for long-term pain, arthritis and other types of inflammation, your Doctor may consider prescribing a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). Treatments including Arcoxia, Naprosyn, Codeine Phosphate and Celebrex work to reduce pain and inflammation, but some people may need to be careful about taking them (if you have certain other conditions, for example) so it’s always best to chat with a doctor about their side effects if prescribed.
Keep a pain journal
Jotting down what you’ve done each day and how various activities have made you feel is a good way to keep your doctor informed about your pain so it can be more easily treated. You can record a ‘pain score’ between one and 10 and discuss your notes at your next consultation.
Stay active at work
If you work in an office, try to make sure you’re not sitting down for long periods. Most of us spend around 10 hours a day sitting down and this isn’t great news for back and neck pain – try to take frequent breaks and stretch regularly.
Pain is the body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong, so, most importantly, don’t ignore it – always talk your symptoms through with your doctor.