10 Nov 2022

Osteopathic advice for a pain free life

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At northlondonosteopaths Alan Nevies and his colleagues are always keen to share the latest good advice in how to keep pain free and mobile at all stages of life. In the Times 2/9/22 an article with the tantalizing headline “How to live pain-free” outlined the suggestions of osteopath James Davies to achieve this elusive goal. He advocates a manageable approach by doing short, simple techniques and exercises that help “future proof our bodies” ie prevent chronic problems that are seen as inevitable as we get older but can actually be prevented quite simply. The more general suggestions included the following:

Massaging your face and scalp every day to reduce tension. Starting at the nose use small circular movements to massage along the cheekbones towards the ears. Massage around the hairline and scalp in small circles all around the head focusing on the temples and the back of your ears.

Avoid sitting for long periods. Take regular breaks and move about to relieve the strain on your back.

Consider changing the pillow and mattress you use for sleeping. The right pillow should keep your spine straight while you sleep. A flatter, firm pillow will be better for most people than very plump pillows or double pillows. An additional flat pillow can be placed underneath your stomach or knees to help relieve pressure on your lower back if you have lower back pain.

Use a foam roller to release tight muscles. Lie with the roller at the top of your back, fingers behind your head and feet flat on the floor with knees bent. The straighten and bend your knees to roll along your back.

Try to take a 15 minute sauna every week (check with your Doctor that you do not have any conditions which make this harmful). Studies have shown that the heat of a sauna helps to reduce stress and anxiety, lowers blood pressure, boosts circulation and improves respiration.

Have an ice bath or cold shower first thing in the morning. (check with your Doctor first that you do not have any existing conditions which make this harmful) There is evidence that ice baths help to reduce inflammation and speed up recovery time from exercise.

Alan Nevies and his colleagues at northlondonosteopaths may have suggested some of these ideas previously but by doing some of these movements on a regular basis and keeping as mobile as possible we may be able to age gratefully, gracefully and pain free!