For those who suffer with back pain on a regular basis, the thought of taking physical activity is one that brings to mind negative thoughts and feelings. So when wanting to become more active it is often the case of not just finding some activity that is pleasurable but most importantly overcoming the belief that exercise will make the back pain worse.

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Below some helps and hints towards becoming more active:

Smile… When you smile your natural pain killers, endorphins, are released.

Set yourself goals for each day/week/month – it doesn’t matter how small, provided you have something to work towards.
Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t. Ask yourself what you are going to do to-day that is special for you – and make sure you do it. Do this every day.
Things that may help you deal with your pain: Have a warm bath. Think about your posture and improving it. Have a positive attitude.

Enjoy time with friends, laugh. Relaxation. Physical activity.  Stress can cause an increase in the tension of your muscles. This in turn has a direct effect of increasing your pain levels.  So by         learning to relax and reduce your stress levels this in turn can help to reduce your pain.

Stress also makes your heart beat fast and raises your blood pressure, and will also make you feel tired.

Stress Triggers

Everyone has their own personal triggers or stressors which cause the adrenaline of the stress response to be released. For example:

Being late for an appointment.
Losing something.
Upsetting something.
Having an argument.
Children misbehaving.
Your computer playing up.
The telephone – ringing or not ringing.
Getting anxious, angry or depressed.
Pain flare-ups.

Aim to try and take a little more activity every day. Be realistic about what you can do, start small so maybe just walking a few houses down from your house rather than going out for an hours walk.

Aim to do this every day. Think about the way you get into and out of a chair. Do you sit upright  or slouch ?

When walking are you standing as tall as you can? Try gently pulling in the tummy muscles as if you are trying to pull your tummy button away from your waist band. Make sure you breathe, and     never hold your breath. Keep the shoulders down and relaxed, by doing this you help keep tension out of your neck.  Check your reflection in shop windows, ask yourself am        I  looking forward or am I looking down?

For many who suffer with back pain, swimming is often a great way of staying fit.  Swimming, especially in warm water, will support the weight of the body so easing the pressure in not just the back but all the joints of the body.  It will keep joints mobile,  as swimming encourages the body to        use its full range of movement.

Inactivity is one of the worst things we can do for keeping our backs in good condition.

Our body was designed to be moved to keep strong and healthy. Although there is a time and place      to rest this should not be the predominant activity of the day ie sitting.  Its through activity that our bodies can stay healthy, eliminating toxins and waste products, keeping bones and muscles      healthy and strong.

Bed rest and inactivity will cause the body to weaken and become stiff.  For example if you break      your leg it will be put in plaster, when the plaster is removed 6 – 8 weeks later, the muscles of the broken leg will have wasted and the size difference is quite clear to be seen.

Being over weight puts extra strain on back and can cause postural imbalances, which can affect the natural curves in the back.

Every day activities can also be responsible for back pain.  Think about how you live your life, how      you stand, do you find yourself standing on one leg or carrying the body weight though both of your legs?

It is importance to have good support for your back in chairs,  having the correct height of a chair.   If you do a lot of driving make sure that your pockets are empty, no heavy wallets or keys as this can        also cause back pain.    When you feel tired it is easy to slump.   If working at a desk check that the work station is properly arranged, that you are not over reaching for things.    Most importantly don’t     sit down for too long, move around.  Try answering the telephone standing up!

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