Stress, tension, even anxiety and back pain fight us in a vicious circle. Not only can the stressors cause the back pain but then, in turn, being in chronic pain aggravates the stressors which causes more discomfort. Around and around it goes. Thankfully, there are some simple techniques that may be helpful to relax back pain away.
Some relaxation techniques like biofeedback and hypnosis will require professional assistance, of course. But let’s take a look the ways we can help ourselves. Generally speaking, these methods are typically safe for everyone to try and see if they provide relief. But there are rare circumstances, especially for those who suffer from mental disorders, where speaking with your doctor first would be appropriate.
5 Easy Relaxation Techniques
1) Deep Breathing – One method is to simply lie down and inhale for 4-10 seconds and then exhale for the same 4-10 seconds. Repeat the breathing for 5 minutes or so. You can rest your hand on your abdomen and feel the depth to ensure you’re breathing from your diaphragm. I recently came across a blog post that did an awesome job at illustrating belly breathing. Please check out: Relaxation Techniques: Diaphragmatic Breathing.
2) Yoga – Not only can the stretches and poses involved in yoga help with back pain, it is a discipline that focuses on relaxation and acceptance. Consider taking a class taught by a qualified instructor, at least at first, to get the most benefit for your efforts. The disciplines of Iyengar and Viniyoga are generally considered to be the best for helping with back pain.
3) Self-Guided Imagery – The easiest way to practice this is to start off by breathing slowly and deeply. Then imagine yourself at a peaceful place of your choice for 5-10 minutes. Allow yourself to “feel” all the positive sensations of actually being there. If you’re imagining being at beach, for example, you’ll want to hear the sound of the water, taste the salty air, touch the sand and so on.
4) Audio-Assisted Relaxation – My favorite method by far. Look for a CD or download that includes deep breathing, relaxation, imagery and even positive affirmations (if you want additional help with stress) segments. Many also include a subliminal messaging “track” with music or sounds. It doesn’t have be specifically for back pain. You can use one that’s for relaxation, stress relief or even to improve your self-image (like the one I have).
5) Mindfulness Meditation – Most practice this by sitting cross-legged on a cushion on the floor but you can also lie down if you like. It is important that you are in a space that is completely silent and free of distractions. Begin by noticing your breathing rhythm. As whatever feelings and thoughts enter your mind, just notice them and let them pass by without reacting. Return to noticing your breathing when they’ve passed. Start off with 5 minutes a day and work up to 20-30 minutes.
Of course, like all other possible solutions for back pain, relaxing may work for some and not for others. But the way we are all under some level of stress nowadays, I feel like trying any of these is a no-brainer. Please drop in any comments or share your favorite relaxation technique.
Hang in there,