Although a professional massage every month or so is worth every penny and feels A-MAAAZING! It can become costly, so for the times between your visits to the practice, try following my seven tips to
relieve your stiff back and neck. If you regularly practice good habits, you can prevent future back pains and save on costs too.
1. Sleep with more than one pillow to support your back.
This will help to minimise future back pain and be mindful also of how you sleep. You will need to position one pillow for your head and neck support, making sure it is not too high and depending on how you sleep, another pillow to support the bottom half of your body which you can place either to support the small of your back or under your knees. If you can, try to sleep on your back as opposed to on your side, but if you have to sleep on the side, put a regular-sized pillow or body pillow between your legs. If you sleep on your abdomen, then using a small pillow, place under your pelvis and lower abdomen. (Check out a handy slideshow of these sleeping positions on MayoClinic.com)
2. Take a hot bath with Epsom salts
Put 1 or 2 cups of Epsom salts into your bath water for a luxuriously relaxing self-spa style treat when you are feeling particularly exhausted after a long day of work. Epsom salts are relatively cheap and are available from us and can be found in good pharmacies and some supermarkets. This will to help relieve stiff muscles as well as some of the stress around your spine that is causing you back pain in the first place!
3. Be inventive, make yourself a massage tool
Put two tennis balls into the end of a long tubular bandage or sock and tie the ends tightly. You can then sandwich the tennis balls between your back and a wall, then rub them against your knots. Another method is to lie down on the floor with the tennis balls beneath you but take care if your back is particularly sensitive as you have less control over the amount of pressure you apply using this method.
4. Apply heating pads or a wheat bag to areas on your neck and back
Heating pads are a useful device and can be easily found on Amazon or eBay. For a more cost-effective (and more comfortable solution, try making your own wheat bags using some soft material and sewing together to make a sock. Next, fill the sock with something like buckwheat before sewing up the remaining end. Heat this on a low power setting microwave for no more than one minute and place around your neck after testing that it is not too hot. Applying heat to a trouble spot helps loosen the muscles and relieve the stiffness. We have buckwheat or other useful grains in our shop as well as ready-made wheat bags if you prefer a quick fix.
5. Stack books beneath your desktop computer screen or laptop
When I am working in front of a screen, I stack three large books under my laptop so that your neck and head are level when you type. This helps to stop me from hunching over the laptop for long periods. It also ensures that I can maintain a proper posture which is extremely important if you want to reduce tension in your lower back and neck muscles. it will also reduce tension headaches and eye strain.
6. Maintain good posture.
Slouching adds a lot of extra stress to your back, which is why it is imperative to think about good posture in order to help prevent troublesome back pain. As a bonus, good posture will help you to look
and feel better giving you more confidence. It also lessens the possibility of poor digestion which is a significant cause of illness and degraded immunity.
7. Don’t sit in the same position for too long
Change your duty pattern by getting up, stretching and walking at least every 30-60 minutes. This is especially relevant if you have an all-day office job. Make sure that you drink plenty of water. During your lunch break, Go on a mini-walk. You’ll be surprised what fresh air and a little exercise can do to replenish your system.
Extra bonus tip
Do yoga! Oh, yes, I know this is so much easier said than done, but yoga is about flexibility and maintaining good posture not to mention getting your body moving. It helps to rest and calm the mind which extremely stress-relieving. Worth considering if you are planning on taking up a new fitness activity anytime soon. Do seek out a good yoga class and instructor though, as some yoga positions can cause bone damage.