Whether you threw your back out over the weekend or had been nursing a chronic injury for decades, these simple suggestions can help you get out of pain and back into your life.
Pain is often exacerbated by cellular dehydration, so as cliche as it sounds, one of the best ways to prevent or manage pain is by drinking enough water. In Chinese Medicine, we advise avoiding cold and icy drinks. Here’s why: if I were to dump a bucket of cold water on you, what would you do? Tense and contract, which is what your muscles and vascular systems are doing when you drink cold water. In Chinese Medicine, there’s a premium placed on drinking room temperature water and warm fluids. Cold drinks compromise your circulation, so oxygen, nutrients, and essential cells that clean up inflammation aren’t delivered to your tissues as efficiently as they should. Water is the element of the Kidneys, which are like the batteries of the body, so by hydrating adequately, you are ensuring your system is fully charged.
Try this: An excellent place to start is by making sure you’re getting eight 8-ounce glasses (room temperature or warm) of water per day. Toss a lemon in your water for extra benefits! Lemons are sour, and sour is the flavor of the Liver in Chinese Medicine, which plays a crucial role in nourishing the tendons, promoting circulation, detoxing pathways, and regulating the nervous system.
Acupressure is the non-needling sister to acupuncture and a great way to take your health into your own hands. Our bodies are insanely intelligent, and applying manual pressure to specific points allows the body to initiate the underlying physiologic processes needed to thrive on its own. Acupressure decreases inflammation, improves mobility, and reduces pain.
Try this: In the space on your hand between your thumb and pointer finger is an often tender point us acupuncturists use to relieve pain anywhere on the body. It’s one of the most important acupuncture points for pain. Because it’s so powerful, it has been used as an analgesic during surgery in Western medical hospitals. Apply pressure to this point for thirty seconds to a minute continually throughout your day. Not only is this point effective for pain, but it’s also great point for reducing stress, improving digestion, immunity, and smoothing irregular periods.
3. Move! (correctly.)
How you move through the world is one of the most important ways to stay pain-free. A common trend for patients with back pain patients is abnormal gait patterns (how you walk). The feet inform the hips and back. Neck pain patients typically have exaggerated forward head posture and rounded shoulders from sitting at a computer all day or raised shoulders from wearing a backpack on long walks. When your muscles engage to compensate, pain is sure to follow. Interestingly, your emotions also encourage specific pain patterns in your muscles, or can even make you more prone to them. Try to pay attention to how your thoughts are moving with or against your daily experiences.
Try this: Develop a daily conscious movement or stretching practice. Tai Chi and Qi Gong are great ways to give your muscles and joints extra mileage by reinforcing structural correction and fluidity. Inviting movement or posture with proper form into your life will support the natural internal environment of your body, while at the same time giving it the permission and space to balance itself for optimal health.
At Six Fishes, pain is the #1 complaint that prompts people to schedule. Don’t let pain