Now that Summer is winding down, I hope you’ve found some time to relax and enjoy a few of the warmer days. Sadly, now that the Summer break’s over – it’s time to get to business and get back to work.
Interestingly, over your break you may have found that that your familiar little niggles in your neck or back tended not to surface. But, now that you are back to work – it seems that they are also back from holiday and ready to remind you that you still have pains. What’s that all about?
As discussed in osteopathy frequently asked questions, our body has an amazing ability to adapt and fix itself when something goes wrong. When an area of your body becomes distressed, your body will try to fix it by guarding the area and utilizing another area to perform the same task. In this way, you may feel a niggle for a day or two, and then it feels like the niggle has disappeared and fixed itself. Voila!
Well, we wish the pain had fixed itself. But actually, the masked pain causes a chain reaction of compensating and masking which will eventually lead the pain to reveal itself via other areas of the body.
When you feel relaxed, it is easier for your body to initiate this masking compensation. Another part of the body will take on the extra work – and because your relaxed body is generally happy with the World, this adaptation passes relatively unnoticed.
However, when you are less relaxed – e.g when you return to work and a regular routine of increased responsibility – these adaptations suddenly become more noticeable. When we are stressed, the majority of us will feel tension in the neck and shoulders or lower back. Any small change can disrupt an already aggravated area.
So what can you do to get back to the Zen state you were in on your holiday?
How to Treat Your Pains
The easy answer is go another holiday, but for most, that isn’t a realistic solution. Of course, the osteopaths at Inlign Osteopathy in South Yarra can treat the source of your pain, but in the meantime, it’s important to find some time in your day for relaxation exercises.
A simple technique that I like to use to reduce stress is ‘7 breaths’. It’s as simple as finding a quiet spot (or you can even do it at your desk) and taking 7 deep breaths.
With each breath, try and breathe deeper into your rib cage. It is important to not only breathe in deeply, but also to let all the breath out. By the last breath you will feel nice and relaxed and will be better able to focus on your task ahead. This is also a nice exercise to do before bed at night if you have trouble getting to sleep.
These relaxation exercise help to sooth your body. While it’s true that they don’t treat the symptoms of your pain (like an osteopathy treatment) they can be an excellent free technique to calm your painful areas.