Relaxation Techniques Relieve Arthritis Back Pain

There is no way better than another to relieve arthritis back pain. No one single technique is guaranteed to produce complete and consistent pain relief. You will often need a combination of methods which you will add to, and drop, over time.

Relaxation techniques have been proven to relieve arthritis back pain. Pain in your back causes stress and stress makes the pain worse and may prolong it. To help break this vicious cycle, try these relaxing techniques:

Try exercising in water. If you don’t have access to a warm-water pool, you can do warm-water exercises on a smaller scale in your own tub, Jacuzzi or whirlpool bath. Warm water is a good place to stretch and strengthen your back muscles, even for those who have difficulty exercising on dry land. Acting as resistance to help build muscle strength, the buoyancy of water makes exercise seem easier and more comfortable. In a recent study by Japanese researchers, exercise, whether on land or in water, decreases pain levels, increases the body’s production of inflammation-fighting hormones and decreases stress and anxiety, which can make back pain worse.

Try progressive relaxation where you tense and relax your body’s muscles from toe to head. Beginning with the muscles of your feet and calves, tense and gradually relax them. Continue upward until you have tensed and relaxed the muscles of your neck and face. Concentrate on deep breathing as you go.

Try guided imagery to take your focus off your stress and pain. Select a place in your house where you won’t be disturbed. Play serene background music. Search your memory for the most beautiful, the most peaceful pain-free place you have ever been. Or imagine it in as much detail as possible, the sights, the sounds, the feelings. Take as much time as you need; reach a state of calm and peace before you open your eyes. For extremely effective guided imagery, use self hypnosis techniques.

Consider biofeedback to learn how to control your body’s responses to pain triggers.

Try massage. Massage relieves stress, and is one of the most useful, and widely-used, therapies for back pain. Researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine, reported that chronic back-pain patients receiving two 30-minute massage sessions a week for five weeks reported less pain, anxiety, depression and better sleep than the control group. They also demonstrated better low-back flexibility and had higher levels of pain-relieving serotonin and dopamine.

Swedish massage is a full-body treatment using oil or lotion to massage the top layers of muscles. It focuses on muscles and joints to improve their function. There are several other types of massage, including deep-tissue massage, neuromuscular massage and myofascial release.

Try manipulation. Both chiropractors and osteopathic physicians use manipulation to ease back pain. The way they do it varies. Osteopathic manipulation often involves massaging the soft tissues (such as muscles) about the spine, while chiropractic manipulation involves the ligaments and vertebrae of the spine.

Restrict movement. People with a back condition that requires stability may benefit from a brace or corset at some time. Elasticized, close-fitting undergarments supporting the lower hips, lower back and abdomen can typically be worn under your clothing.

Corsets are adjustable and made of elastic while braces are sturdier and have metal stays. Both are used to reduce pressure on the discs, small, circular cushions of tissue that act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae. Also to provide back and abdominal support and keep the spine stable while it heals.