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Reasoned Considerations


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ALERT! ALERT! My back is killing me!

By June 20th 2021

Illustration: My back is killing me!
Illustration: My back is killing me!

Are you familiar with such a question?

Do you remember hearing or saying MY [fill in the blank] IS KILLING ME?

There could be a number of body parts that we could use to fill in the blank.

A few thoughts come to mind when hearing such a statement. It might be: I hope it’s not too painful; can I help? Can you cope?

When asked to grade on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high) my [x] is killing me, answers very often vary between 5 to 10. A rating is very personal and my 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 might not be your 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10. The important thing is that whatever ‛is killing me’ can be rated by an individual and that ‛pain to lot of pain’ is an ALERT.

What do figures tell us?

You are very likely to have said ‛My back is killing me!’ at some point in your life as more than 80 per cent of the general population suffer from back pain during their lives, the same proportion of us getting a cold. In 2019, 16.9% of people in England were estimated to be suffering from back pain (Statistica).

The total cost of chronic back pain to the economy is estimated at over £10 billion per year.

Beyond those figures, what matters to us is the effect back pain has on our everyday life.

Vignette: Nose at carpet level

For years, at intervals, I got stuck, unable to unfold myself - literally my nose at carpet level while getting up the stairs ‒ and in pain. It got to the point where the low back pain episodes would recur too often.

I consulted GPs, specialists, had X‑rays and scans done. Nothing was structurally amiss. Nowadays, people with low back pain are dissuaded from having scans and x‑rays because a structural abnormality does not equate back pain and vice versa: back pain does not equate structural abnormalities.

My getting stuck was all down to me! I was moving too much!

I had an introduction to the Alexander Technique (not in connection with back pain) and understood that bending forward and bending backward at the same time meant I was moving too much and that I was creating stiffness. My getting stuck was all down to me.

I have been working with this idea for over 8 years now.

Do I still have back pain? Yes

Have I ever been stuck as I used to? No

Do I continue improving? Yes

Does this improvement require work on my part? Yes


What do we know and what we do not know about back pain?

Lower back pain is more than just a mechanical dysfunction and psychosocial factors are extremely important as well.

Causes could be of a different nature: traumatic, not traumatic, post traumatic, linked to a systemic condition, linked to malignancy or be unknown.

The cause of most back pain is unknown and cannot always be tied to a specific cause. There are gaps in our knowledge for the time being.

Most back pain does get better. It just takes a little time.

It is always recommended to seek medical advice to check things out.

Let’s stop and consider what we are doing

It pays to heed it and what our body is telling us.

It pays to stop and consider it.

It pays to find out whether or not we (AS I WAS and still am from time to time), yes WE, could be creating or making our pain worse.

The latter, though it is painful and no denying the pain, could be a blessing in disguise: if we are creating our pain or making it worse, then we know that if we change what we are doing there could be less to no pain.

So, if you have a whatever ‛is killing you’, consider that this is an alert, and that part of the solution might lay in your hands.

Enable yourself

There are a few actions we can all take to help ourselves:

It is important to be mobile and keep moving; walking is recommended.

It is important to continue with your activities.

Relaxation is encouraged, especially in the acute phase (why not try massage, reflexology, meditation, etc. or a combination).

Learn to move differently following a process to avoid finding yourself in the same situation a few weeks or months down the line.

You might want to look at some research:

Reflexology and back pain

The Alexander Technique and back ache (scroll down you will find the heading #1: It helps with back pain)

NICE and back pain

Statistica


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The other end of the lorgnette: Seeing things differently

By June 10th 2021

seeing things differently
Illustration 2 of seeing things differently

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A Ponder: When one door closes, another one opens

By May 30th 2021

quote by Graham Bell
Quote by A. Graham Bell: When one door closes...

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When a Wellbeing Session is a Safe Place

By May 20th 2021

Illustration: a wellbeing session can be a safe place
Illustration: a wellbeing session can be a safe place

Wellbeing sessions have a way of helping us find ourselves in the present. As you know, there are different kinds of wellbeing sessions and you have to find something that is for you. Today, I write about how sometimes a reflexology session can be a safe place.

Vignette 1: Bad meeting

One time, a wellbeing improver arrived for her reflexology session. The first thing she said after I welcomed her was something like I am so glad I am here. I knew I would need my reflexology session. My meeting at school went as bad as expected. The situation was fraught and there was some underlying anger.

My wellbeing improver was clearly upset. Furthermore, her shoulder blades were throbbing as a result of the stress she was under. She settled into her session rapidly.

When she left, wellbeing improver:

did not feel so bad and she was calmer; she also looked more peaceful. Her reflexology session brought her emotions under control and helped her put things into perspective so that she would be able to cope at home.

her shoulders did not feel so jammed. There was a decrease of physical discomfort, brought about by a strong emotional response to a situation. This also helped with the emotional pain she was going through.


Wellbeing improver knew she might find it difficult to deal with her emotions. This was true and she had planned to use her reflexology session as a tool to be able to cope better with her situation. There is a proactive way of knowing what reflexology can do for her and of using it to deal with life better.

Vignette 2: Upsetting news

One day, a wellbeing improver called. She wanted to know if I could see her straight away. I was able to and I could hear she was upset. She was given some bad news: she had just heard she had lost her baby. Hearing such a thing is always very hard, especially when, as a mother, she did not suspect anything was wrong. To compound it all, she had to go for a procedure later on in the week unless she miscarried before.

Having found previous treatments so beneficial, I somehow instinctively knew what I needed at that crushing time. Reflexology really helped me cope with all I had to face, and it was enhanced by Sylvie's natural compassion. You may forget what someone has said but not how they made you feel.

She was relieved I was able to see her. The reflexology session was entirely designed to calm her down and relax her. At the end of our work together, wellbeing improver had calmed down, was more composed and more relaxed in her frame of mind.

She knew the coming days would be hard. She now felt she could go home able to see and tend to her two young children

Vignette 3: Some time down the line

Four years ago, I gave reflexology to another wellbeing improver. She said she was in a bad place and could be emotional when expressing her concerns. She was always more relaxed and more serene at the end of her time with me and, gradually, she felt better and better physically and emotionally.

She liked reflexology as a safe touch and was feeling a connection as if I was touching her inside . She also liked our friendly talks.

She moved away and we reconnected recently via video conference and telesessions.

She told me recently: I do not know if you realise that when I met you, you saved my life .

It was also important to me that you were happy to chat through the session. As I lived alone, and at that point in my life, very lonely and unhappy our sessions provided an added benefit for me – they contributed to my mental wellbeing.

The pain and the issues did not go away but a safe place was offered to take a step

In these real-life stories, none of the issues went away, none of the mental pain went away.

What their reflexology sessions did was to offer these three wellbeing improvers a safe place for them to be themselves and to find a kind of anchor for them to move forward one step.

That one step was enough for the three of them to be the starting point they needed. I always find it very humbling when wellbeing improvers have that kind of trust in myself and the services I offer.

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The other end of the lorgnette: Seeing things differently

By May 10th 2021

seeing things differently
Illustration 1 of seeing things differently

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References:
Man's Supreme Inheritance, Alexander, FM [1910] 1996, Sixth edition reprinted with minor corrections December 2002, Mouritz.
This page was last modified on Jun 20 2021 7:51am