Those of you, who know us, know that we want to put you right, as quickly as we can and get you back to managing yourself. We believe taking responsibility for your own health and well-being is the only way to do it and we are just an aid to help you do that.
What we want to do here is help you avoid coming back to us too often. Whether it has taken you one or two sessions with us to become pain-free, or regular, frequent treatments over a period of months, many people ask us what’s next. For each of you there will be individual advice but it usually falls into these categories.
- Sleep and rest. Quite often, if you have been in pain, it will have interfered with your sleep. Good, deep restful sleep is vital for health and well-being as so many things happen during sleep: muscle and soft tissue repair, memory consolidation, boosting our immune system, regulating and releasing hormones such as cortisol (to help us wake up and be alert) and ghrelin and leptin (which regulate appetite) and dreaming. Proper sleep with help improve your pain threshold helping you to manage your pain better. To get the most from your sleep, it can be useful to set up a bedtime routine so your body begins to unwind and prepare for a deep sleep. Avoid phones, computers and tv last thing at night as the blue light may stimulate hormones that wake us up in the morning.
- Keep up your homecare advice. As part of your treatments with us, we will explore activities or patterns in your life that may be causing or contributing to your pain levels. You may not have been aware of these even being an issue. We will help you find real, quick and practical ways of changing or coping with those activities or patterns that are causing problems. This advice is aimed at helping you to remain pain-free and to enjoy your life.
- Get active and stay active. Our bodies were built to move, not stay in one position or one activity all the time. Find time in your day to fit in even a small amount of activity that you enjoy and can manage. Do it well, with warm-ups, cool-downs and stretches to stay injury-free, but you will begin to feel the difference in your muscles, joints and mood and also enjoy better sleep. You would be a surprised at the benefit of a 20 min walk.
- Learn to relax and manage stress. Relaxing properly is a skill and one many of us don’t know or forget from time to time. Giving your body and mind adequate time to rest and relax is essential. Quite often if you cannot relax before bed your sleep will be disrupted or not restful, leaving you feeling fatigued in the morning. If you think you don’t know how to relax, try Yoga or meditation classes or a treatment like massage or reflexology. Any of these will introduce you to what it feels like to be relaxed, which will make it easier for you to find your own way back again. When you find ways that work, write them down and have the list somewhere obvious that you can turn to when you are stressed.
- Seek help before the pain returns. When your new habits are slipping, or are no longer working for you: when you feel that the stretches you have been given are no longer giving you relief, before you feel the pain returning, seek help. Don’t let yourself slip back to that level of pain. Listen to the signals and get treatment then. This will help you avoid the full level of pain you experienced before, keep you moving forward and in control. Ask yourself is there any extra stress recently? Have you been in one position or activity for long periods of time? Have you stopped doing your stretches and exercises? Are you sleeping well? Answering these questions will help you recognise why you have slipped back into pain and where you need to turn for help. At this point, treatments will help you get back on your feet quickly and will motivate you to do those things that have been working for you up to now.
And when you are pain-free and you have all these points working in your favour, it’s time to do the most important one of all…
6. HAVE FUN AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE!