Reflexology and Back Pain

Reflexology is extremely effective for any type of back pain, whatever its origin. When the right areas of the feet are treated with the right amount of pressure, the results are truly amazing. Nerve flow to the area of the back causing the pain is improved and, over several sessions – in a matter of a few weeks in most cases, can even be optimized. The same goes for the blood and the lymph flows to the problem area of the back. There are unfortunately no valid medical studies to this day regarding the benefits of Medical Reflexology for back pain. But there are tens of thousands of accounts from Reflexologist’s and patients alike.

With regards to non-specific back pain (that is 90% of cases) things are more difficult to measure. A person can feel an incredible amount of pain in the back even though there is absolutely nothing wrong with that back other than the muscles being weak. Bad posture habits combined with a lack of activity combined with an attitude of fear of hurting your back even more lead to weak muscles which were easily prone to spasms . As a result, muscle spasms cause pressure on the surrounding pain nerves and activate them. Both the muscle spasms and the activation of the pain nerves can trigger off 3 vicious circles which all lead to more pain and more muscle spasms. From one person to another this will be different and the levels of pain will also be different . The tolerance of pain from one patient to another is a very subjective matter. So, when there is nothing really wrong with a back other than the pain nerves having a big “pain bash”, it is very difficult for scientists to measure improvement. And, for scientists, a patient’s word is promising but not sufficient to prove the benefits of a treatment. Nonetheless, the results are so staggering that the right studies will come along in due time to prove what all reflexologist’s already know to be true.

If you’ve tried everything else and you really are in pain, give it a try. You have little to lose. REFLEXOLOGY CAN DO NO HARM ; there are no detrimental side effects to it. None. Saying Reflexology could be harmful is as stupid as telling someone they shouldn’t take a walk on the beach barefoot!

 Living Without Back Pain

If you suffer from chronic or recurrent back pain and you want to learn how to live with little or no back pain, then returning to regular PHYSICAL ACTIVITY and STRENGTHENING YOUR BACK MUSCLES must become your new way of life – your new religion, if you wish.

Most back sufferers make one gigantic mistake: they overprotect their back. They wrongly assume that avoiding any moves or activities which they think could potentially bring harm to their back is the way to go. The reality is that this constant overprotective behavior actually aggravates the problem and can never be considered a life-long solution to back pain. Rest and caution are indicated when an injury just occurred. They can never be a way of life if you wish to live with little or no back pain.

Our ancestors have been extremely active walking, running, climbing, hunting, fishing, gathering, building, etc. We have inherited backs that were designed for a life of activity, backs which have the possibility to become extremely strong and support us in those activities – instead of letting us down. But in the past 200 years we’ve become a species which does little else but sitting. As a consequence, our backs have grown weaker and weaker, and studies have clearly shown that, FOR THE WEAK BACK, SITTING IS ONE OF THE MOST STRENUOUS POSITIONS. Sitting poses little problem for the strong back but it can be catastrophic for the weak back. You can easily understand how a person who does not exercise, who does not have any activity allowing those back muscles to become stronger, and who sits all day – at work, at home in the evening, and during transport – would end up with chronic back pain. It’s almost unavoidable.

• Medical studies have demonstrated that 85 to 90% of back pain cases are the result of weak muscles and repeated or prolonged bad posture. Only 10 to 15% of back pain cases result from a serious injury or illness, or from structural degeneration or deformation of the spine.

• Lack of physical activity combined with an abundance of sitting leads back muscles to become weak. Weak muscles easily overload and force you to adopt bad postures , especially in the strenuous sitting position. When muscles overload, they spasm, and in doing so, compress on the surrounding pain nerves. When one part of the back hurts, you try to find a position that allows you to stop feeling the pain but in fact, what you are doing, is overloading a new set of muscles which are also going to spasm and compress and activate the surrounding pain nerves. And thus the pain spreads throughout the back and into the shoulders and the neck, sometimes even causing headaches. It may even keep you awake at night. And since your muscles don’t get a chance to rest properly, they spasm even more. The result: pain nerves are relentlessly activated. For more details on the mechanisms of pain nerve activation read Understanding Back Pain .

By overprotecting your back, the only thing you are achieving is making the problem worse. Your muscles will keep getting weaker. No pain-killer, no operation, no miracle cure can prevent that. As your muscles weaken more and more, they will have a tendency to overload easily in the wrong situations more and more, something you do not want.

Tips and Facts

Upper Back Pain and Headaches

Muscle spasms in the upper back area can often result in headaches. If pain killers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle-relaxers don’t help – or not enough -, try putting a well frozen icepack on your head. You can wrap the icepack in a thin cloth if it makes it easier to hold. The cold will reduce the inflammation and bring relief. Do this several times a day for a good ten to fifteen minutes. If you can, relax while you do this: lie down or sit in an area with little or no noise, close your eyes and just enjoy the relief.

Exercising your back regularly and strengthening it will ensure a better blood flow to the problem area, hence less muscle spasms over time. This could help the headaches disappear completely.

In and Out of Your Car with Lower Back Pain

Many people with chronic low back pain struggle immensely to get in and out of their cars. Getting in or out is a 3-step operation that needs to be carried out slowly in order to avoid or minimize pain. You need to learn to find support on the objects around you.

Getting in the driver’s seat (2 possibilities – each 3 steps):

Hold on to the top of the open car door with your left hand and to the top of the steering wheel with your right hand.

Really grab the steering wheel with force with your right hand – or with both hands -, lift your right leg, and slide yourself in the seat slowly . Do not try to do the moves in an accelerated manner. By using your steering wheel as support and by moving slowly, you put much less strain on your lower back and you minimize the chances of injuring yourself.

Lift your left leg inside the car. You can still use your steering wheel for support if you need to. Close the door – also slowly. Always use the objects around you which can give you support: car seats, dashboard, handles… Any time you find support, you put less strain on your lower back. (In the same way, you can use walls and cabinets for extra support when you need to bend over to pick up something from the ground.)

OR (if the above solution is still too painful)

1- First, sit sideways in the car seat, that is, with both legs still outside the car. Try to avoid letting yourself fall into the seat. Instead, try to support yourself with the side of the car, the seat, the wheel… whatever feels comfortable to you to lean on in order to control the entire sitting movement. When you let yourself fall backwards into the seat, you completely lose control over the move. That’s when things can go wrong.

2- Now grab onto the steering wheel with your right hand -or both hands- and slowly turn your body into the driving position. SLOWLY is the keyword here.

3- Lift one leg after the other to bring them into the car. You need to decompose the movements, the idea being that you do only one thing at a time. This minimizes the chances of hurting yourself exponentially. As the moves become more mechanical, you will be able to do them faster. Close the door slowly.

Getting out:

1- First of all keep your hands free . Focus first on getting out of the car pain free. Whatever you need to take with you can wait until you are out of the car. Open the car door slowly. Then grab the steering wheel with the right hand.

2- Turn your body slowly towards the outside so as to get out of the car while using the steering wheel as anchor point and support. Then get your legs out one by one. Put your left hand on the side of your seat or on the side of the car – or wherever it feels comfortable for you.

3- Push yourself up using both hands, the right one on the side of the steering wheel and the left one wherever you have decided is the most comfortable point of support for you.

Remember, the idea is to decompose the entire movement and do only one thing at a time. When you move quickly and do several things at the same time (for instance: twist your body and sit with your hands full), you stop controlling your movements. In every instance where you know you’re likely to feel pain it is important that you do those moves slower so as to control the movements . And don’t forget to use objects around you for support.