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    Posted January 9, 2014 by
    Crowthorne, United Kingdom

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    Top 6 Tips to Keep Pain at Bay!

    1) Stretch! – Most people complain of stiffness first thing in the morning, but most don’t stretch it away! Animals are a great example. Cats around the world stretch to their little heart’s content when first waking! Stretching should be the first thing you do in the morning, and as often as you like in the day.

    2) Tip the rear-view -- Do you have a long journey ahead of you? Tip your rear view mirror up so that you have to sit up straight to see out of it. This will keep you from slumping and getting tight in the shoulders.

    3) Stay Mindful – Spend long hours at your desk? It is easy to become so caught-up in our work that we forget about ourselves! Hours will go by, then suddenly you realize you are in a stressed, tight, hunched over ball. When beginning body awareness treatments with clients, I always recommend them to set a mindfulness bell to go off every 30 mins-1 hr on their phone or computers at work. When this bell goes off, you FREEZE immediately. Take note of your posture, your legs, and your MINDSET. Anything that is isn’t how it should be, fix it. A lot of people are quite shocked at how stressed they are each time that bell goes off.

    *(If managing Stress is your issue, don’t worry, we will tackle that in the next article!)

    4) Relax in Line – When finishing work, the first thing most people want to do at the end of the day is throw themselves on the couch. Not usually in the most graceful of fashions, either! This is an example of when Relaxation becomes totally counter-productive. Some people tuck their legs under them and to the side. This is causing one side your waist and the opposite side in your neck to contract, and an “S” pattern in your spine. NOT so great for back or neck pain! Make sure your back, legs, and neck are in a straight line to keep yourself comfortable.

    5) Avoid Tummy Time! – Sleeping on your stomach and/or with your arm under your pillow has got to be the WORST sleeping position known to man! It causes extreme torsion of the low back, neck, and with the arm raised, causes the traps the contract when you wake. 9x’s out of 10, my chronic neck/back pain sufferers are sleeping in this position. Once we change just simply this, things change for them. So how should you sleep? Option 1: on your side, with (usually) 2 pillows under your head to keep your shoulders straight, and a pillow between your knees to keep pressure off your knees, and to keep your hips aligned. Option 2: On your back with one pillow under your head, and 1-2 pillows under your knees. I usually think it is best to start with Option 2 to keep you from accidentally slipping onto your tummy in the night!

    6) Move it! – Pain feeds on fear and anxiety. Plain and Simple. The more you worry or think about your pain, the more exacerbated it is going to be. The less you move, rather out of laziness or out of fear of hurting yourself, the tighter that joint gets. So keep moving! If you spend long hours sitting, find an excuse to get up every hour and walk around for 5 minutes. You should also try and get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. This doesn’t need to be intense; Start with a walk and build it up. My favourite is Yoga to maintain flexibility and peace of mind.

    Brittany is a Chronic Pain, Stress, and Anxiety Expert based in Crowthorne, UK

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