BACK PAIN – What can you do to deal with it?Heidi Hadley
Lower back pain is a very common complaint and is affecting people of all ages, from children to the elderly. The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study estimated that low back pain is among the top 10 diseases and injuries that account for sick days globally. According to the study, the lifetime prevalence of non specific (common) low back pain is estimated at 60-70% in industrialised countries. Although the prevalence rate for children and adolescents is lower, this figure is steadily rising. The prevalence increases and peaks between the ages of 35 and 55. As the population ages, low back pain will increase substantially due to the deterioration of intervertebral discs in older people.
Pain not only impacts on one’s physical health but also their mental health. Constant pain creates a cycle which the sufferer feels helpless and trapped in.
Chronic pain will cause anxiety. This creates sleeping problems which leads to being unable to cope with other pressures and challenges. This in turn creates additional stress and triggers the subconscious behavioural patterns which cause further pain with a change in our posture, altered breathing patterns and a negative mindset.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. There is a way you can empower yourself with a knowledge and a skill set to relax habitually tight muscles, increase movement through your body and REDUCE PAIN. The Total Somatics approach to health and well being targets common muscles and movements which have been impacted by our daily habits. These poor postures or habits may have developed over the years from many hours at your work station. You may have invested in a stand up desk, but are now finding other muscles or joints ache. Why? Your body operates 95% of the time in your subconscious mind. So the same movements and poses you held whilst sitting can be evident when you are standing. For example, if you have developed hip pain from sitting for many hours, you may find that you waist and hip muscles will continue to be chronically contracted when you are stood up with with your new stand up desk. This is because the brain, which controls all muscular contraction, movement and coordination has continue to hold these muscles in a contracted pose. Due to the same movement patterns and habitual postures we hold, the brain basically switches to “autopilot” and continues to hold muscles in a contracted pose.
No amount of stretching can break this neuromuscular behaviour. Total Somatics teaches you how to break the “autopilot” message from the brain to the muscles. By pandiculating- contracting, releasing and relaxing the muscles we are able to “reset” the muscles with the involvement of the brain. This process to “reset” the muscles is critical for changes to your neuromuscular system. You are creating “cortical learning” and improving the way your mind and body communicate. Gentle movement sequences will retrain your muscles to contract and relax under YOUR CONSCIOUS CONTROL, not the subconscious or “autopilot” mode.
Total Somatics also teaches you mindfulness in your daily activities. This enables you to take the knowledge and skills that you have developed with the somatic movements and apply them and other information acquired through the program to your daily activities.
Start working SMARTER not HARDER with your soma/whole being and start living an improved quality of life with reduced pain and increased movement.