Back Pain Cure: Is There A Cure For Back Pain or Neck pain ?
There seems to be a lot of mis-understanding around how a back pain or neck pain can be cured. It’s worth saying at the outset that getting cured is a process. It takes not just time but usually (significant) changes to one’s life-style for certain types of back pain or neck pain to be cured. For some it may mean physical changes, ie the way they work or travel arrangement, for others it may be a sign of mental health, stress, fatigue. Understanding what your root cause is, is key to a lasting pain free life.
If You Always Do What You Have Always Done, You Will Always Get What You Have Always Got
Remember being cured is not the absence of pain for a few days or weeks. If pain keeps coming back it is likely you are repeating the same insult to the body. Over time, like bending a paper clip back and forth, eventually the clip may snap. The thing is that people who do not overcome back or neck pain typically fall into two groups. Those who are simply unaware of what they are doing wrong with their body, so do not see they need to make change. And those who willfully overrule their body because to get the day done.
She Stoops But Only To Conquer
Making change is not ‘giving-in’ to the pain. Making change is not a life-long sentence. You may feel like you are stooping to something you don’t want to do, but remember it is only to conquer. In other words, relax – making changes is not the end of life as you know it 😊! And the change will certainly not be life-long.
The length of time needed for the change will vary. When discussing this with our patients, as osteopaths we typically encounter the following:
- Those who say “Are you telling me if I do ABC, in X weeks time I will be cured?”. These patients get better and get better fast.
- Those who say “Are you telling me if I do ABC, in X weeks time I will be cured?”. These patients partially do it, or don’t do it for long enough, so may not get properly cured.
- Those who say “I know you may be right, but I am just not in a position to do ABC”. Naturally these people may have the hardest journey.
– Suffice it to say, to believe that there is absolutely no change at all that they can make to their lives, is likely to be a fallacy. Or they may think it's hardly worth making such a small change. However, we know even a tiny amount of change at the beginning, in the right way, can start the process of healing off.
– The problem we see as osteopaths is that people who are slow adopters of making change, often have to make deeper changes further down the line, and may need to do this for a lot longer.
– The good news is that eventually most people in this group are likely to make the changes needed for healing, but usually for the wrong reasons ☹ – possibly because the pain eventually impacts their health too negatively, messes up their family, working or social life, or impacts on their mental or emotional health. The hardest part is believing any change will make a difference. Once you can come on board with this, making the changes is relatively easier.
Is There A Better Way?
Sadly until new technology comes along, such as gene therapy or stem-cell therapy, we need to reply pain management. In the 1980s when I was training to be an osteopath, a re-writing of medical textbooks was taking pace internationally. In the older books, you will see the term “Back Pain Treatment”. In modern books it has been replaced with “Back Pain Management”. In simple terms, despite the might of the medical profession there was, and still is no absolute cure for back pain. The best we can do is manage it. Even surgery has been proven not to be a cure for the common back pain.
To manage back pain or neck pain the principle is simple. Think of it like a bank account. If you spend more than you earn, you go into the red.
In the same way, if we keep overdoing things we only know about it after the event. That can make it confusing for a patient to know what action is causing their pain. It may be helpful to think about seeking professional help, to help you unravel what it is that is actually taking place. As osteopaths that’s what we do for a living.
Thinking About Change – Obstacles and Fears
Obviously for all of us, myself included, making change can be tough. You may have financial obligations, obligations to family or work-place, difficulty getting out of a work-life rut, a background emotional pressure. You may want to make the changes but can’t see a way forward. It is a natural fear and one that may the need the help or insight, of others. Remember change may need to be physical, emotional or both.
As Dale Carnegie famously said, the hardest part about taking a decision is committing to it, the execution of the decision is relatively easy. There is nothing more powerful than a mind made up. You may not know how you are going to do something, but you know you will. For some people it may even include a talking therapy like CBT, if extra help is needed.
“But I Want To Get On With My Life”
If you take the view, that at this stage of your life you are doing whatever any other person of the same age would be doing – think again. During an injury what your body is really saying is that for your age, or your lifestyle, or your mental / emotional state; that for your background level of health that you have at the moment, for the level of injury you are in at the moment, what you are doing is making the teacup overflow. You may need to pull back somewhere. You may simply be doing too much, more than your healing cycle can cope with.
Of course treatment, exercise, medicine, etc play a big part in healing as well as developing body stamina. But without change, it can be like trying to fill a bucket with water that still has a hole in.
10 Top Tips For Beating Back Pain and Neck Pain
So what change might change look like in your life, right now?
Not sure? You could ask someone close to you to help you see the wood from the trees, or you could seek professional help to get you on the path. Here are our top tips for beating back pain and neck pain.
Obviously these tips are generic, and you will need to see which ones relate to your needs. If you would like to discuss your personal options why not pop in for a consultation. Call 02089462331 today.
- Keep The Weekend Free. At least once a month try and have a ‘PJ Weekend’, cutting out all social activities, travel, visits, etc. A quiet in-doors weekend.
- Try One Week Of Early Nights, not just one to two nights in the week, a whole 5 days. That means getting to bed at least 1 hour before your normal time. The genes for healing are most effective during night sleep. After a week of early nights, you could have the equivalent of an extra night’s healing sleep. Imagine what that could do for you.
- A Lot On your Plate? If you have a lot on your plate and need to get lots done – avoid the temptation to rush. If you have to rush – rush slowly. Slowing down calms the nervous system. Muscles are connected to nerves. Calming the mind, calms the body. Calming the body calms the mind. The relaxation reduces stress on the muscles and joints, and gives them a higher chance to thrive.
- One Big Thing A Day. Consider doing only one thing a day for a while. This might mean only seeing one friend group / attending one event, at the weekend. Or, after work not piling on extra stuff like going shopping, or going out socialising. At this time your body needs a rest. Think of it like this – your brain says “I need to do go out and have some fun to relax”. But the body says “I have had enough of the brain being so ‘pushy' – it always wants to do things. Right now me and the body need to just rest, quietly to re-centre”
- Creating Time. a)If you are in employment, think about giving-up a week of your annual leave, for chilling – R&R for the mind, body and soul. You wouldn’t run a car year after year without giving it a service, why wouldn’t you do that for your beautiful struggling body that is crying out for a rest. b) If you are home-based, think about ‘banging the drum' and asking for help from family or friends. Tell them you need to create a small window of about 1 week – you, your body and your mind need a rest. People are more willing to help – if you ask them and you plan it.
- Need Another Holiday? If you feel like you need a holiday to recover from your holiday it may be your are asking too much from your body. Perhaps keep a day off before and after your vacation. Do not think of it as a waste of a day – it is a quick win on the path to recovery. You might also like to review how effectively you are using the free time you do have.
- Think Of Your Body More Than Once A Week. Try to create space and time each day, and several times a day when you think about calmness and harmony. Don't rely on a ‘once a week' exercise or yoga class, it may help but it won’t cut it when you are trying to shake off long-term health problems. Long term issues need focus every day.
- Get back into a routine. Your ‘body-clock’ needs it. Remember, as with a small child, you need to feed him at a certain time, take him to the park at a certain time, have a play-time at a certain time, put him to bed at a certain time etc, for him to thrive. You can’t leave a child to eat late, stay up later, and expect him to be fresh and as fit as a fiddle by the end of the week. Why would you cut corners with your own wellbeing? We all need routine and that routine is life-long. We all need to revert to that routine during times of difficulty to regenerate.
- Too Much Stress In Your Brain? Time to de-clutter the emotion, by taking the steps you need to take, to lessen the load on your mind. It might mean facing up to an issue, speaking to a relevant person, pulling away from a toxic situation, keeping a low profile, avoiding social media, picking which battles to fight. Just give your brain a break! You may need to crack the whip and ask for help from family / friends for a lump of time – just long enough for you to come up for air. If all else fails see your GP or Counsellor if you cant do it alone.
- Lastly, when u feel better ‘bank it’. Resist the temptation to throw caution to the wind and ‘get back to normal’. Continue to be good (ie taking care) with your back pain or neck pain for at least 6 – 8 weeks after you feel better. That is a great rule of thumb to follow, as often you will feel better than you are a certain stage during healing.
Remember the above is not forever, but a recovery programme. You may need to do this for a month, or longer in many cases, to get your health back. If you ever feel you have slipped into the quagmire of pain that you cannot shake off, and you are still in the prime of your life, it’s likely it’s not your healing that’s at fault – more likely its your body, mind and soul may have lost it’s harmony – you may be doing too much and need to slow down.
Professional Help (From An Osteopath)
Lastly I like to remind our patients your osteopath is not there just to ‘rub your back’ but there to guide you, to identify what changes would be most productive, and then to help you through the changes with an appropriate healing plan.
Managing longer term pain is a personal journey. If you would like to work with me, or discuss your specific case, please call 02089462331 or see below.
Remember “if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got”. Make Change Happen From Today.
Please remember the information in this blog is generic. If you would like to work with me, why not book a consultation ?
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