Mindfulness and Pain Relief
Mindfulness and Pain Relief
Cognitive behavioural psychotherapist Steve Clifford explains the different components of pain and outlines the clear relationship between mindfulness and pain relief.
Pain is something that all human beings experience from time to time. If we look closely at pain, we see that it consists of three components:
- The sensory or physical component – how it feels in our body
- The affect or emotional component – how the sensation of pain makes us feel
- The cognitions or thoughts that go through our mind in relation to the pain
For example, if I stub my toe I will experience pain. At first it will be very acute and then gradually it will wane to a throb or dull ache. I am hardwired to respond this way, as nerve cells in my toe send messages direct to my brain. How I respond to the pain signals is all a matter of perception and this applies to the way we handle the thoughts and emotions that arise in relation to the pain.
Typical reactions are fearful thoughts, “Oh damn, I bet my toe is broken?” or “I expect I will have to go to casualty.” We might curse ourselves, “You silly fool, you should have been looking where you were walking!” You will notice from these responses that our mind either instinctively races to the future or reverts back to the past.
The power of the mind in dealing with pain
The Buddha once said that when we experience pain it is like being shot by two arrows. The first arrow is the pain itself, the second arrow is how we respond to the pain, usually cursing and doing everything in our power to block out the sensations. He said that you may not necessarily be able to remove the first arrow, but you can the second. In other words, by resisting or fighting it, contracting around or against it – mentally screaming out stop, no or go away, we experience “suffering”.
Mindfulness practice offers us a different way of relating to our pain experience. I have coined the following definition: “Mindfulness is a way of being, being in the moment.” It is this notion of being in the moment that is the key to managing pain.
Learning to respond, not react, to the ever-present flow of events and experiences gives us choices. Learning to respond with patience, openness and compassion allows us to let go of fear and stress. Learning how to stay in the moment, and not race into the future or dwell in the past, offers us a way to connect with calm and ease.
Concentrate on the breathing
Mindfully using the breath as an anchor or, as I like to say, connecting with “my invisible friend”, I can immediately connect to the present moment. I can “observe with awareness” the physical sensations in my toe as they ebb and flow, shift and change. I can also observe the thoughts I have in relation to the sensations I am experiencing. By bringing mindful awareness to the pain, I have stepped out of the “reacting” position, and have found a way of “responding” to the unpleasant sensations in my toe. I have an option, a tiny window of freedom whereby I can “choose” how I will “relate” in that moment – and in the next – and in the next.
By focusing on the breath and not getting caught up in my negative thoughts, I have “changed my relationship” to the sensations I am experiencing. In other words I have liberated myself from the reactivity of my mind; yes, I still feel pain but I experience it very differently, having “changed my relationship” to it.
Breathing with the pain, learning to bring “awareness” to the pain, being with the pain, I am able to be with things just as they are. Because our emotions are powerful, just using the term “pain”, rather than say, the term “discomfort” for example, we will re-connect with all those thoughts, memories, ideas, emotions, projections, and fearful associations we have about pain. The same is true of other words such as cancer, paedophile, murderer, death, etc. Words are just abstractions; they are not the thing itself. Learning to step back and change our relationship to this thing we call pain, can open the door to alternatives such as calm or peace or easing or letting go…
Until next time,
If you would like to learn more about managing pain through mindfulness meditation why not join my local mindfulness group where you can experience simple practices and learn mindfulness techniques along with others, to help you change your relationship to pain and develop skills to enhance your quality of life.
Alternatively, why not book an individual CBT session with me at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne.
By Steve Clifford – Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist.
Eastbourne Chiropractors advise against carrying infants in their car seat
Mums and dads are being advised not to leave their babies in their car seat when outside of the vehicle. The advice coincides with Lushington Chiropractic’s focus on posture this month.
The Chiropractors at Lushington in Eastbourne say that keeping your baby in a car seat for long periods can be detrimental to their posture. In a car seat, a child’s spine remains in a C-shape, preventing the natural curves of the neck and lower back from forming.
There is evidence that babies left in car seats for a long period of time may have difficulty breathing because of the pressure created by this unnatural sitting position. While modern car seats offer important safety and security during travel, parent should be aware that babies should not be left in them for extended periods of time. This means taking regular breaks on long journeys and transferring babies to an appropriate pram when away from the vehicle.
A car seat can affect your back health, too
It should also be highlighted that carrying a baby in a car seat by hand is difficult and potentially dangerous for the parent. Car seats may come equipped with handles but they are cumbersome and difficult to carry by one’s side. Most people lean forward and twist when they get the seats in and out of the car. The spine is strong and stable but it does struggle to cope with the combination of leaning and twisting under a substantial load. Even the lightest of babies can put stress on the spine when combined with the weight of the seat itself.
When walking around, a good quality sling or wrap is much better for you and baby if you need to carry them. Make sure that the sling is of sufficient quality and that the baby is held within it properly: get a sling that puts their hips in a correct position, like you have a little koala hanging on to you, then the weight is distributed properly which helps to encourage proper musculoskeletal development.
Timothy Littlefield, et al., Car Seats, Infant Carriers, and Swings: Their Role in deformational Plagiocephaly Journal of Prosthetics & Orthotics 15 (July 2003): 102-106.
Wall-Scheffler C, Geiger K, Steudel-Numbers K. Infant carrying: The increased locomotory costs in early development. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 2007; 133: 841-846. Doi: 10,1002/ajpa.20603
Hunziker UA, Barr RZ. Increased Carrying Reduces Infant Crying: A randomized Controlled Trial. Pediatrics 1986;77(5): 641-648
This article was written by James Revell (Doctor of Chiropractic) at Lushington Chiropractic
Lushington Chiropractic is a multi-award winning chiropractic and sports massage clinic in Eastbourne town centre. We provide a range of treatments from expert chiropractic care to nutritional therapy, counselling, acupuncture, podiatry, sports massage and relaxing massage.
We genuinely care about our patients and improving their quality of life. We have an extremely professional and dedicated team who deliver the highest service and have over 80 years expertise between them.
Suffering with back pain, neck pain, muscle spasms or joint aches then call today to see why over 8,000 local people have already chosen Lushington to help them: 01323 722499.
Sugar Vs Artificial Sweeteners
Sugar Vs Artificial Sweeteners
The largest proportion of disease within the western world is that caused by excessive inflammation. Dietary sugars and refined flours are the biggest triggers of inflammation. Eating refined sugar weakens your immune system and promotes yeast overgrowth and yeast overgrowth plays havoc with your immune system – it is a vicious circle. It also causes spikes in your insulin levels causing disruption with your bodies biochemistry leading to chronic and persistent inflammation.
With this in mind, many people often ask if trading in their sugar intake for artificial sweeteners will benefit their health. But the answer is that sweeteners present many of the sale pitfalls as sugar. Yet many shoppers are sucked in by advertising slogans such as “no sugar”, thinking that what they are eating or drinking is better because there isn’t sugar present.
READ the ingredients LABEL!
The truth is that you should try to AVOID most sugars and natural sweeteners as much as possible. This includes corn syrup, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, maltodextrin, dextrose, molasses, rice milk, white grape juice, fruit juice sweetened, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, date sugar, cane sugar, corn sugar, beet sugar and lactose.
Artificial sweeteners also cause insulin spikes as well as disrupt the normal hormonal and neurological signals that control hunger and the feeling of fullness after eating (satiety). They are likely to cause a slowing of your metabolism, and trigger you to consume more foods and more calories – all these things lead to weight gain.
You should not consider artificial sweeteners to be a healthier substitute for sugar. My advice is to start being more aware of what is in your food and drink and stay away from Aspartame, Sucralose, and sugars such as Xylitol and Malitol unless you want to slow down your metabolism, gain weight, and become addicted.
Yet cutting down on sugar and sweetened food is easier said than done. Many people are addicted to sugar and will find it hard to cut it out completely. As a very general guideline, you should aim to eat food that contains lower levels of sugar – often indicated when sugar is no higher than 4th or 5th on the ingredient list. For optimal health, however, it is advisable to avoid all sugars on a permanent or semi-permanent basis.
Is it possible to cut out sugar and sweeteners?
The first few days are always the hardest when cutting sugar from your diet. Often, people relapse because missing out on sugar leaves them feeling grotty while the body tries to stabilise blood sugar levels. In fact, it is not much different than someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol kicking the habit.
But it seems more socially acceptable to go back on to the sugar than it does to relapses after going cold turkey. Keep working on it every day and keep this in mind PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION.
Getting the help and support of an experienced healthcare professional such as a chiropractor is a great start if you are looking to make a change to your lifestyle and nutritional intake. Due to the holistic nature of chiropractic care, chiropractors are well versed in nutrition and the best techniques to achieve a healthy balanced lifestyle.
If you are based in Eastbourne and are looking to make an appointment with a qualified chiropractor, visit Lushington Chiropractic or call us on 01323 722499.
Walkies! Tips for prevention of back pain while walking your dog
Dogs come in all shapes, sizes and strengths, which is perhaps one of the reasons why we love them so much. But the huge variety of dog breeds can present different challenges to an owner. Small dogs and puppies can put strain on your back as you bend down to pet them and groom them, while larger dogs can pull like a train on the lead during what should be a sedate and relaxing walk.
In particular, it is the sudden and sharp movements of your pooch when they spot a bird or the neighbourhood cat that can cause damage. An unexpected jolt to the arm, shoulder and back mimics many of the symptoms of whiplash – something you don’t consider when you first adopt a new four-legged friend.
Here are a few hints and tips to allow you and your furry companion to keep training, exercising and playing together safely.
Avoiding back pain while walking your dog
Warming up is as important before your morning walk as it is if you are heading out to run a marathon. By doing some simple standing and stretching exercises before taking out your dog, you can get the blood moving around the body and loosen up those muscles. It is always advisable to warm up first especially if you are taking your dog outside for training classes. Once you stop to run through some drills with your pooch, it is easy for your muscles to become cold and tight – so the minute you get moving again, you put yourself at greater risk of injury.
Bend your knees
When you are bending down to your puppy or dog, always make sure you bend your knees. This may seem obvious but so many of us don’t do this. The resulting strain on the joints and muscles can turn into long-lasting injuries if you aren’t careful.
Although you may not be lifting heavy weights when you play with your dog, it can be surprising how many bending movements are involved while playing fetch or adjusting the lead. It’s also true that coaxing puppies during training can leave you in any number of awkward positions.
Avoid lifting your dog
This will help to save your own back and it also benefits the dog psychologically. Dogs like to explore places themselves and carrying them too frequently can jeopardise their sense of identity. No matter how small, a puppy or small dog can easily cause back or even shoulder or neck strain.
Wear sensible footwear
It is important to understand that your choice of footwear is important when getting out to walk your pooch. Shoes should provide comfort and cushioning, protecting against injuries such as twisted ankles and blisters. Selecting the right kind of trainer or walking shoe can make a significant difference in the long term.
It is always best to try and keep your dog on the same side for obedience and walking but there is nothing to stop you changing directions, generally doing things to keep the dog focused and your muscles evenly worked. Walking the same road in the same direction can be boring for both you and your dog but that road camber can risk ankle and knee muscle imbalances.
Take regular breaks
Small dogs and puppies can get fatigued quickly so it is a great excuse to take regular breaks during the play sessions or walks and catch your own breath. With larger dogs you can incorporate ten minutes of doing command training to keep their mind focused on you. But as we’ve mentioned above, remember to stay loose if the weather is chilly.
Go off road
Like many runners are advised, vary the terrain that you walk on. Although not all public places are dog-friendly, you are usually safe with them on a lead and showing good behaviour. Take them to different places: try the beach and walk on that shingle or sand, explore the many woods and forests – all have different terrain underfoot along with getting on the grass. Variation will help to strengthen your ankles and be a welcome break for your lower body from the unforgiving tarmac.
Whatever you do; don’t stop walking
Walking is a great natural exercise and is very beneficial for your body. Walking does not involve the same impact forces on the body that jogging does yet it can go help to strengthen the supportive muscles of the pelvis and lower back. Walking can also burn as many calories if you put in enough of a pace to feel slightly out of breath. While there are plenty of things you should consider when managing back pain, don’t miss the opportunity to get the blood pumping and keep your cardiovascular system in good working order.
The extra effort that you put into the walk the more fatigued your dog will become, which can be important if you don’t want an overly energetic and mischievous canine in the house for the rest of the day.
Hope you have found these helpful and if you have any tips or advice to share we would love to hear. Contact Lushington Chiropractic on 01323 722499.
Want Stability? Exercise with Swiss balls
Do you want to work on your stability and get a workout at the same time? Exercising with a Swiss ball could be the solution you’ve been looking for. In this article we will look at the best ways to use a Swiss ball (sometimes known as a stability ball or Yoga ball) to improve your health.
The stability ball is a piece of exercise equipment used for strength training, improving balance and core stability. It is popular not just with chiropractors but with many sportsmen and women who understand the benefits of this form of training.
You may have seen people simply sitting on Swiss balls at their office desks instead of using a chair. In fact, I am often asked if using a stability ball at work is a good idea. People see that there is chance to work their core during a time of the day that is typically considered to be sedentary, so feel that there is potential for improving strength as well as health and posture by using one. We all know that having stronger abdominals and a better core helps to protect the lower back and reduce pain. So it should be a great idea, right?
Unfortunately, not all the time. There are some drawbacks to a Swiss ball that you should be aware of. If you have been having chiropractic treatment and have been told you need to improve your posture because you normally sit with flexion in your lumbar spine and lots of forward head carriage, then a Swiss ball may sound appealing. From the bad posture in the office chair, you may manage to sit with good posture on the ball for 5 minutes ( if you are lucky). But the reality is that for the rest of the day, when your attention is on work rather than spinal alignment, you will naturally return to an incorrect position on an unsteady surface.
A study in the “Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association” by chiropractors Larry G. Merritt and Celynne M. Merritt showed that two people who reportedly suffered from lower back pain improved when they began consistently sitting on a stability ball.
However, I find that a lot of the people I see suffering with lower back pain do not have the core muscles to sustain the increased amount of workload required to sit properly on a stability ball as an office chair.
What I do find useful is to have a low back “support”. I have put support in ” because that is what it should provide you – support. Sitting correctly does require you to practise. You need to be conscious of your spinal position and what the muscles are doing around your trunk. All of this takes time to become normal for you. Here are some key points to bear in mind:
Drawbacks of a Swiss ball
- The ball doesn’t have any arm rests to help support some of the load of the body
- Your lower back has no support so muscle around your spine may get tired after only a short period
- The ball may be the correct size for you but that may not be the correct size for your worktop/desk space
- Using a Swiss ball is about creating instability, so if you already have balance issues it may be too much for you initially
- The ball could roll away
Proper Sitting Techniques
Getting started with your stability ball
If you are between 4 feet 11 and 5 feet 4, select a ball that is 55 cm in diameter. If you are between 5 feet 5 and 5 feet 11, use a ball that is 65 cm in diameter. If you are over 6 feet, choose a ball that is 75 cm.
Start slowly when you first begin using a stability ball. Just 1 – 2 minutes at a time can be enough in the first few days, before you steadily build up your strength. Ensure that you retain good posture throughout. Remember: without a low back support you are likely to work the trunk support hard so try not to contract the muscles around the low back too hard. The trick is to sit upright and well but stay relaxed in those muscles. Your muscles will build strength and endurance and it will become easier for you to sit correctly for longer.
You should also seek approval from seniors before bringing your ball to work.
What else can I use my ball for?
Sitting is not the only exercise that can be done on the ball. It is a great piece of equipment to have and there are so many exercises that you can do with them. Like any new exercise routine, you should always consult a qualified professional first.
How one of our patients achieved dramatic pain relief and was able to return to work
A patient here at Eastbourne Chiropractic was recently unable to work due to chronic back pain. But with our help they were able to comfortably return to work in just weeks.
A very nice gentleman has recently been visiting us here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne to get help with chronic back pain. In just a few short weeks we helped him achieve a remarkable recovery.
Here is how this particular gentleman’s story goes:
He came to see me last week because he was suffering with debilitating low back pain that had been keeping him off work for a number of weeks. The gentleman was taking pain medication daily and had also been prescribed anti-depressants, such was the severity of his issue. It was obvious from the initial consultation that the patient was largely depressed due to the fact that he was incapacitated and unable to work – as it turned out, he had a job that he loved and wished to return to action as soon as physically possible.
The mental strain of such injuries are often overlooked but they can be hugely significant. Not only can depression cause an individual to feel low and lack energy, it can also make them less inclined to be proactive during the rehabilitation process. As health practitioners we may not directly treat the mental condition but we must work with patients to find a positive frame of mind – one that helps them to work hard on their recovery and tackle the underlying issues.
In the case of this gentleman, he had always been a very active person and so the impact of being incapacitated had hit him hard. The nature of his injury left him unable to partake in his weekend hobbies of scuba diving and getting under the hood of his Land Rover.
As with all new patients a full history and examination was performed, including orthopaedic, neurological and chiropractic tests. A diagnosis of bio-mechanical back pain was reached and care started.
I am pleased to report that within just four adjustments, this particular patient was back at work without using any pain medication whatsoever. He immediately came off the anti-depressant medication when he returned to work and was able to return to his normal daily life. The gentleman was thrilled with the progress as, day by day and adjustment after adjustment, he kept improving.
The patient recently dropped in a written testimonial that was very touching and can still be found in the testimonial book we keep here at Lushington Chiropractic. When you next visit us, we recommend that you take a look through the comments and reviews that guests have left, so you can gain an insight into the practice and the experiences that many of our patients have had. You will find that each member of the team has their own section for you to read and this gentleman’s testimonial is one of the many quotes you can find in the book at our chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne.
Please feel free to come and relax by the fire and have a flick through the folder at your leisure. As always, we aim to create a relaxed and welcoming environment. Don’t forget that you can also leave comments below if you wish to share your thoughts on any of the articles you read here on our Back Blog.
Lushington Chiropractic is a multi-award winning chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne. We provide a range of treatments from expert chiropractic care to nutritional therapy, podiatry, acupuncture counselling and more. We genuinely care about our patients and we have a passion for improving their quality of life.
Life with Chiropractic
Life with Chiropractic
I found these words below from a Youtube video I came across entitled “Chiropractic life care”. I think that it describes the meaning of being healthy so beautifully and highlights how amazing our bodies are. It so eloquently explains how the team at Lushington feel about the work we do at our chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne that I wanted to share it with you:
There is intelligence in the universe –
It’s In Everything And Balances All Perfectly
We Are It’s End Result
Its crowning achievement
Made us, runs us and heals us
It Quickens Our Hearts
Heals our cuts and bruises
Changes Our Food
Every function of our body
With every tissue and cell
Except When It Can’t
Because of interference
May Locate and remove interference
A Gentle Nudge
Turns the power back on
We May Help To Reconnect Your Body
To the intelligence within it
We call this Chiropractic
Chiropractic is about so much more than just back pain. Many people think that by performing work on the spine only the back can benefit from chiropractic. Yet the reality is that chiropractic can help the whole body, from your head to your toes. Our bodies are amazing and, thanks to qualified chiropractors, it is possible to give the body a nudge to heal itself and ‘turn the power back on’.
I have seen many patients coming through our doors here at Lushington Chiropractic to tell the wonders of those gentle adjustments on their bodies. Every day our chiropractors are helping to change lives and sharing their knowledge to help patients achieve a better and healthier way of life.
I am truly fascinated as to how the art of adjustments helps to heal our bodies and want to share the wonders of chiropractic with everyone.
I myself have chiropractic for my neck and back, which gets quite tense at times. These adjustments help to relieve the tension in my muscles and reduce the number of headaches I get – something that was a problem before I started treatment. I now take more interest in my body to understand how it works, what powers it and how the decisions I make can help to heal and maintain it.
We all have the ability to lead healthier, more balanced lives, which involves listening to our bodies and trusting our long-term wellbeing to highly skilled and qualified healthcare professionals. The chiropractic team at our clinic in Eastbourne are committed to taking a holistic approach to healthcare. This means that they not only pay attention to the symptoms that you present with; they also take the time to learn more about your broader health in order to get to the root of any problems and treat underlying issues. By paying attention to everything from nutrition to sleep to the working environment of patients, it is possible to achieve clear and noticeable improvements in health.
From the very first day that patients attend their first appointment to the day they are given a clean bill of health, the Lushington team are dedicated to being supportive, helpful and caring. It is this philosophy that has made us the award-winning clinic we are today.
Suffering with back pain, neck pain, muscle spasms or joint aches then call today to see why over 8,000 local people have already chosen Lushington to help them: 01323 722499.
Happy Without Back Pain
Happy without back pain
Job satisfaction is important to all of us. Getting up and going to work in the morning is made much easier if you love what you do, or if there is a sense of fulfilment that can be achieved during the day.
At our chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne, we are fortunate to be able to see the results of our hard work on a daily basis. It is very rewarding to witness how good service and effective treatment can improve people’s lives. From the front desk to the treatment table, everyone at the clinic pulls in the same direction to maintain the very highest standards for our clients. That is what makes working here at Lushington so special. And what brings so many people to our door that have historically been reluctant to seek medical assistance because of white coat fever.
On Monday, a new client came to me at reception, sat down and openly shared her happiness at how for over 25 years she finally enjoyed a day at work without being hampered by back pain. She hadn’t expected to see swift results for her long-standing problem but after getting treatment she was so happy that she had given chiropractic a try. In fact, she was quite overwhelmed at how quickly the adjustments had benefited her and allowed her to enjoy the day.
It was lovely to hear this lady share her story with me and it reminded me why I find being a clinic assistant so rewarding. You just never know when someone is going to open up to you and it is thrilling to hear that the team around you are doing such a fantastic job.
We always love to hear how our guests are doing with their chiropractic care and also their own personal changes. If you have a story to share about the benefits of chiropractic care, we would love to know how chiropractic has helped you, either in person or on our Facebook page.
More about our Eastbourne chiropractic clinic
Lushington Chiropractic is a multi-award winning clinic in Lushington Road, Eastbourne. Here we provide a range of treatments from expert chiropractic care to nutritional therapy, podiatry, acupuncture counselling and more. We genuinely care about our patients and we have a passion for improving their quality of life – whether it be an individual suffering from back pain or an elderly person with osteoarthritis.
Our highly qualified and genuinely caring team have over 80 years’ experience between them. We are an extremely professional and dedicated team who deliver the highest level of service to the people of Eastbourne. In fact, we are proud to say that our patients often compliment us on the genuine, friendly atmosphere here.
Chiropractic is a well known treatment for back pain and neck pain but by focusing on the root of a problem we can help relieve a wide range of dysfunctions, reducing discomfort and aiding a patient’s broader wellbeing. By making spinal adjustments and improving alignment we can encourage the body to work better. Our treatments are gentle, effective and suitable for all ages from birth to ninety.
As reputable and respected chiropractors in Eastbourne, we work closely with local GPs, consultants and private healthcare to create a more integrated system of healthcare.
Whether you’re suffering with a simple muscle spasm in your back / neck or have a more serious injury or long term problem we’re here to help you.
Call today to see why over 8,000 local people have already chosen Lushington to help them: 01323 722499.
Clinic Assistant – Claire