I'm a pain doctor – here's 5 simple exercises WITHOUT popping painkillers | The Sun

WE all get a little niggle here, or a pain there from time to time.

But for some people, this pain can be extremely debilitating and it might feel like there is no respite from the discomfort.

Recent research has found that up to two thirds of adults are living with back pain.

This pain in particular is believed to cost the NHS in the region of £10billion a year.

It's also said to account for four in ten sick days.

Data from MindYourBack revealed that of the people who had experienced new back pain, more than half said they have lower back pain.

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This is compared with 23 per cent who have pain in the neck or shoulder blades.

Lower back and neck pain are common complaints when screens are not at eye level, or chairs fail to support the back, allowing desk workers to slump.

But if the painkillers are no longer cutting it there are things you can do to help.

Clinical lead for pain medicine at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Dr Deepak Ravindran said there is a connection to a person's mental state and their physical pain.

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Here we look at the different ways to manage the discomfort.

1. Internal safety system

Dr Ravindran said one of the most simple ways to activate your safety system, also known as the parasympathetic system, is breathing.

For this you can use the 3-4-5 method, he told the Daily Mail.

He explained: "A simple way to incorporate a breathing technique is a 3-4-5 approach where you would breathe in for three seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, and then breathe out for five seconds. 

"Even practising this for two to five minutes will help you take between 10 to 20 breaths which can often help in calming the nervous system down significantly. 

"Another technique which can be easy to start with is the 5-5-5 technique which would involve 5 seconds of breathing in, five seconds to hold, and then five seconds of breathing out."

2. Find focus

Finding focus on anything from an object to a word can help you relax and relieve pain, the expert said.

Dr Ravindran said that sometimes Christian rosary beads are used as an object of focus.

What this does, is it allows the nerves in our brain to move to a default network and shifts us to use flow circuits.

This in turn helps relax the nervous system and reduce physical pain.

3. Get zen

In recent years, mind-body practises have become popular, and Dr Ravindran said doing yoga or Tai Chi could help.

There are different levels for different abilities – with the pain being relieved with rhythmic slow movements.

These exercises can also help control your breathing, which is key to assist in pain relief.

4. Be selective

Language is a powerful tool and can influence our actions and our behaviour.

In his book, The Pain-Free Mindset, Dr Ravindran said the language we use can cause unsafe thoughts and actions – which can activate our immune system.

He explained that by journaling each day you can make points you are grateful for along with positive thinking that could help change your mindset when it comes to pain.

5. Practise mindfullness

Speaking to The Sun Dr Gill Jenkins, advisor to MindYourBackUK added: "Mind-body therapies such as meditation, breathing and relaxation therapy can also be helpful for pain relief.

"Combine both by sitting comfortably, outside if the weather permits and in a green space if you can.

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"Relax and focus on the grass or trees and let your mind empty for 10 minutes."

Dr Ravindran said that mindfulness doesn't just have to be about meditation and can also include physical activity such as running, jogging or going to the gym.

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