As I was reading about Blue Monday yesterday I was mildly surprised to find out that it was made up in 2005 by a now defunct travel agency as a marketing ploy to sell more holidays. However, that notwithstanding, it can’t be denied that the end of January is not the happiest time of year.
Clinical studies reveal that chronic pain, as a stress state, often induces low mood. With 80% of adults experiencing lower back pain at some point in their lives, this is a very widespread problem.
Which came first?
Whether January or back pain causes low mood or vice versa, can be difficult to decern. Low mood can cause frequent and unexplained pain. Just as back or chronic pain can cause restlessness, stress and other emotions associated with low mood. The fact that it is the end of January simply serves to compound the problem. Regardless of where the pain comes from, it is important to learn how to take care of yourself and your back, in order to prevent back pain from occurring at all.
Rather than waste time debating the cause of the pain how about simply taking control and working to manage, reduce and cure your pain? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Enlisting exercise into your daily routine is absolutely crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you are a gym-goer, make sure you consult a trainer to make sure you have proper form and aren’t overdoing it. Additionally, make sure you warm-up, cool-down and stretch after every session. Stretching allows for posture improvement, blood-flow and tension reduction — stretching the hamstrings and hip flexors, muscles that are attatched to the pelvis, can also help reduce back pain.
Exercise will also help to flood the brain and body with endorphins that will help to improve mood (see below for accessing the drug cabinate in your brain).
When people are busy, they can often forget to eat properly, putting deadlines and workloads first. However this can leave you with little energy and in a bad mood, as food is ultimately fuel for your mind and body. Healthy, whole foods are pertinent to long-lasting energy, maintaining a balanced mood and helping your body fight pain. Along with drinking more water, try adding more fruits and vegetables and reducing refined sugar to give your body the boost it needs.
Did you know that you have a free drug cabinate in your brain? It is possible for your own brain to produce powerful analgesics (even morphine!) but there is a nack to accessing it. You see your brain is constantly assessing your situation and making a judgement on if it is worth giving you pain. Bearing in mind that your brain will give you pain when it feels that you need to protect yourself. It will give you a lot of pain when it feels at risk.
So how do you access this drug cabinate? The easiest way is for you to make yourself feel safe and confident about your pain. You can do this through building a good support network, improving your understanding of what is going on in your body and setting achievable goals for exercise. Distractions from participating in enjoyable hobbies also help a lot. The aim is to reasure yourself that you are safe rather than dwelling on the risks.
To gain some understanding and reasurance it may be benefitial to seek the help of a professional such as a chiropractor. Chiropractors specialise in pain reduction, which can sequentially improve the overall health. Rather than using medicine, they use their hands to restore the structural integrity of the musculo-skeletal system. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5494581/