This article is based on a series of appointment with an NHS Physiotherapist, Bradford, West Yorkshire. I have translated the advice into my own simple and plain English. It can be used for any sort of pain and is not limited to back pain or back ache only. It may also help people having shoulder pain, neck pain, leg pain etc. etc.
What is Relaxation?
Relaxation may be defined as “an inner feeling of being calm and in control of a situation.” It makes us comfortable and at ease. It leads to take control of the situation and reduce our stress. It may help us to have good sleep at night and, of course, take the edge off our back pain.
Three Easy Ways to Become More Relaxed
1. Relaxed Breathing
This can be done in any position like lying down, sitting in a chair, on the bus, at work or even standing in the queue! The best is to do it lying down or sitting in a chair comfortably, but if you cannot do that, then you can do it anywhere and anytime.
Be comfortable and composed in whatever position you are and follow these steps.
- Place one hand on your upper chest.
- Place the other hand on your tummy and your little finger on your belly button.
- Breathe in gently. You may do so either through your nose or mouth.
- Concentrate on the hand which is on your stomach and feel the air gently going down.
- Gently breathe out through your nose.
- Make sure your chest is still while the hand on your stomach moves.
Do it regularly every day, once every hour, three or four relaxed breaths.
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise
Like Relaxed Breathing Exercise, the muscle relaxation exercise can also be performed in any position. Follow these steps:
- Start with relaxed breathing exercise.
- Push your feet down away and think your tight and firm muscles of the feet going soft and floppy.
- Next, move on to your knees and do as above.
- Next, move on to your hips. Nip them gently and let yourself feel all the muscles go soft and floppy.
- Check your breathing and feel relaxed. You have finished the lower part of the body and your next move is to the upper part.
- Slowly brace your shoulders.
- Push your elbows down.
- Spread your fingers.
- Close your eyes and give your eyelids a good rest.
- Separate your teeth.
- Let your lips go loose and also your tongue.
- Think everything of your body is loose, slack, floppy, and heavy. Think the whole weight of your body is taken off by the bed or chair.
- Repeat the breathing exercise.
3. Mind Relaxation Exercise
This can also be performed in any position as long as you are comfortable.
- Let your mind wander.
- Imagine yourself in the most comfortable situation like lying on the beach, or sitting in the sun in the garden etc.
- Imagine what you could do like smell, hear or touch.
Remember that relaxation takes practice and you need to practice it daily. It is even better to do it several times during the day. Almost anyone can do these relaxation exercises. But again, there is no learning without practices. Practice makes a man perfect (and a woman, too) lol.
- Don’t rush.
- Don’t try too hard
- If you suffer from asthma, heart or lungs symptoms, severe mental illness, post traumatic stress or other medical conditions, it is advised to seek the advice of your health professional.