Updated: May 12
- Do strengthening exercises (join a pilates or yoga class). Often if some of your muscles are weak, other muscles will overwork and go into spasm.
- There is not such as thing as a bad muscle. If a muscle gives you pain, there is a reason for it. Let's take an example, if you are sitting on the computer all day, with your neck pulled forward and your shoulders curved in, than it is quite possible that your lower back or gluts are trying to pull everything back and they might eventually go into spasms. Be an investigator and try to find out what is causing your pain. You need to address posture and imbalances rather than just relaxing tense muscles, as this would only lead to temporary relief.
- For long-lasting pain reduction, postural imbalances such as a rotation in the pelvis or a tilt in the cervical area, need to be addressed.
- If you have a sedentary life your gluteus maximum (the largest and most superficial of the three gluteal muscles) will be very weak and smaller muscles such as the gluteus minimum and the piriformis, which is the main hip external rotator, will overwork and get pain. So make sure you you work those gluts! You might make your partner happier too!
- Finally let's look at the power of the mind. There is a big thing in neuroscience called neuroplasticity, which is the ability of the brain to delete neural pathways that are no longer useful and to strengthen other ones. Neural pathways can travel from the brain to the body and back again. There's a lot of studies showing that when we experience pain in an area of our body, a related area in the brain gets bigger because you'll be probably be thinking about that pain a lot. Sometimes even when your injury has healed, you might still experience pain because the area of the brain related to that part of the body has been conditioned and the neural pathways are very strong. You'll have to spend some time to rewire your mind and relate to your pain in a different way, starting by focusing on your healing. Guided imagery and meditation are ideal tools for this.
- Keep moving but stay away from high impact exercises (e.g. running and jumping) whilst you are healing. You can leave these types of exercises to when you feel more confident in your body's abilities. Walking, cycling, a gentle workout at the gym, core strengthening activities are your best companion whilst you will be also receiving therapeutic treatments.
- Be patient. Problems are there for a long period of time because there a lot of mechanisms involved in keeping them there. When you start to feel pain you might think that it is because of something you might have done the day before but what is actually happening, is that issues have been building up for months or even years and when you feel pain, you have reached the threshold of what your body can sustains. Healing is a process, not a three treatments quick-fix scenario. It often involves set backs and flares up. Be patient.
- Last but not least, if you have a very stressful life, you have to look at the causes of your stress and try to reduce them. Have a look at the chart below for insights on what constitutes a balanced lifestyle. What is your score? 1-3 Suffering; 4-6 Surviving; 7-10 Thriving.
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