An Amazing Skin Care Product You Must Start Using Now

Majority of people are conscious of the fact that their skin needs good and proper care if they will ever be attractive. It is for this reason you will find a wide variety of lotions and creams on the market as they are being produced from time to time, but majority are yet to discover a powerful skin care product that can meet their needs.

If you have ever desired to know a sure way you can improve on your appearance, or how you can keep your beautiful look, or even if all you want is a skin care product that can fight skin wrinkles, you should opt in for an effective use of lime. It is an amazing natural skin care product yet unknown to many!

Lime is a natural product that has various functions to perform on the skin. It has been proven to improve facial appearance and can ensure a beautiful skin all over the body. Because of its cosmetic power, many body creams contain lime as an active ingredient.

Many believe honey to be the only natural beauty product in nature. As far as skin care is concerned, it may surprise you to discover that lime is as functional as honey. Both lime and honey are the best beauty treatment options. With the two, you are guaranteed of beautiful, shinning skin!

In fact, when used on your teeth, the juice will help to remove blemishes, thus giving you shining teeth. Of course, the look of your teeth is an element of beauty.

In a general sense, most beauty professionals advocate that the usage of skin creams should be reduced or be substituted with natural skin care products, if possible. This is to prevent any outbreaks of bad skin conditions like acne pimples. Really, it’s a proven thing that beauty products often bring about oily skin and clogged pores, and these are conditions that encourage bacteria actions that eventually lead to skin disorders.

However, as a way to combat those tendencies of your skin cream, lime can be used with cream and lotion in your beauty regime to cushion the side effects. Mixing some lime with your beauty products, most especially your cream would serve to neutralize the chances of skin irritations. Therefore, you can safely use skin creams and still be free from any skin disorder while ensuring a healthy, glowing skin.

Also, you can directly apply lime juice to your face or skin, leaving it for about 10 to 15 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water, then you can apply your moisturizing cream. Lime indeed cleanses, nourishes, and refreshes your skin. This is because it contains photo-nutrients. If you like, mix some lime juice with honey to form a great treatment for oily or dry skin.

In all, it’s not enough for you to know that lime is an amazing skin care product which is naturally available to you; you should apply it often and often to have and maintain a beautiful appearance.

What You Should Do When Sudden Back Pain Strikes

When an episode of back pain strikes it is tempting to contact a health professional straight away. But there are some self-help measures you can take at home that may ease the immediate pain without the need to resort to specialist help.

If back pain strikes suddenly or you feel that a problem is imminent, it is worth trying the following “first-aid” measures.

For acute pain, lie down for a while. You can lie on a bed, providing it is not too soft, or on the floor on a sleeping bag or blankets. Being in a horizontal position places the least strain on your spine. There is no right or wrong way to lie. You can lie on your back, on your front or on your side -whichever is the least painful.

If your muscles are in spasm it may take you a while to ease yourself on to the bed or down on to the floor. Try sitting on the edge of the bed and then rolling slowly on to it, or use a support to help you get to the floor. Whether you are on the bed or the floor, do not prop yourself up on pillows. Try to make do with a single pillow to support your neck.

If you are lying on your back you may find that a rolled-up towel or a pillow in the small of your back and two or three pillows under your knees make you more comfortable. If you are lying on your side, a pillow between your knees will support the upper leg and prevent it from flopping over forward, which can twist your spine. Lying in bed or on the floor will help relax muscles that are in spasm and you should find that the pain will ease slowly or disappear completely while you are in this position.

Although bed rest is comfortable and provides relief from back pain, it is not a good idea for more than a few days at most. There are two reasons for this. First, muscle strength diminishes surprisingly quickly if you lie in bed. Second, rest is not as effective as other treatments to which it has been compared for pain relief, rate of recovery and days lost from work. The answer is to keep yourself moving as much as possible. Once the severe pain has eased, change position frequently and try to get up and move around every half an hour or so.

Pain relief
When the words “pain relief” are mentioned, many people think only of pills. But there are other ways of alleviating pain that can work alongside painkilling drugs.

Do not be afraid to take painkillers during an acute episode of back pain. Drugs such as aspirin, paracetamol or one of the other over-the-counter preparations can ease your symptoms and so help break the vicious circle of muscle spasm and pain. Never exceed the maximum dose of a painkiller and if your acute pain continues for more than three or four days consult your doctor.

Applying heat to the painful area of your back can often be helpful, especially for lower back pain. A hot water bottle in a cover or wrapped in a towel and placed at the small of your back while you are lying down or sitting can be soothing. Alternatively, use an electric heating pad. If you feel an attack of back pain coming on, try taking a hot shower to relax you before applying a hot water bottle or pad. Hot baths can also be soothing and relaxing for a painful back but during an episode of acute pain it may be difficult to lower yourself into the bath – and even more difficult to clamber out again.

Treating Chronic Back Pain with Osteopathy

Commonly recommended for the treatment of hack problems, osteopathy has become accepted by mainstream medicine to such an extent that is no longer considered an “alternative” therapy. In the United States in particular, osteopaths have the same professional status as medical doctors.

The physical manipulation of the skeletal system to maintain and regain health is believed to have been practised first in ancient Egypt. Throughout history a great number of manipulative techniques were developed in China, Japan, India and North and South America.

Hippocrates, in ancient Greece, described manipulation of the spine, as did Galen, the Greek-born physician of ancient Rome. The Dark Ages and Middle Ages in Europe saw healers known as bone-setters, who combined massage, manipulation and herbal remedies to treat the sick. The ancient manipulative healing techniques continued to be practised by the Arab civilizations of the Middle East.

However, as with many other traditional therapies, manipulation was all but forgotten in the excitement surrounding the rise of modern, drug-based medicine in the 19th century. Then, in 1874, Andrew Taylor Still devised osteopathy and manipulation was given a new lease of life.

Born in Virginia in 1828, Still was a conventional physician for 20 years and served in the Union Army as a surgeon’ with the rank of major during the American Civil War. In 1864, a year before the end of the war, three of Still’s children died in an epidemic of spinal meningitis. This tragedy rocked Still’s faith in conventional medicine and set him on the path toward a new form of holistic therapy to which he would devote the rest of his life.

Osteopathy and your back
Surveys of people using complementary therapies in Europe and the United States show that back pain and pain from other joints in the body are by far the most common reasons for seeking help outside conventional medicine. In addition, surveys of user satisfaction with complementary therapies invariably put osteopathy and chiropractic top of the list. In fact, these therapies are now almost wholly embraced by conventional practitioners as the most effective treatments for back pain. If your back pain is due to a mechanical problem, then these two forms of treatment are probably the therapies of choice for you.

Osteopaths regard the body as an integrated unit and believe that a problem in any area can have a knock-on effect causing dysfunction and pain elsewhere. For example, they believe that if a misaligned vertebra puts pressure on nearby nerves, this can lead to dysfunction of various internal organs as well as the glands that produce the body’s hormones. So, according to this view of the human body, once the misalignment in the spine is corrected the body is able to heal itself.

Osteopathy in practice
When you first consult an osteopath the practitioner will make his or her diagnosis of the cause of your back pain in two different ways.

In common with most other complementary therapists, the osteopath will first want to build up as complete a picture as possible of you and your symptoms. You will be asked when the problem started, where exactly you feel pain, whether it is permanent or intermittent, and you will be asked to try to describe the pain. Osteopaths believe that it is important to take into consideration all aspects of your health and lifestyle before making a diagnosis.

The osteopath will then carefully examine not only the painful area of your back but also the rest of your body, to determine whether problems elsewhere are causing or contributing to your pain. You may be developing problems in areas you would not normally associate with your back. The osteopath will check the movements of your joints and observe how your body responds to the normal demands of everyday life, such as sitting down, standing up and walking.

Once the diagnosis has been made, the osteopath will use various manipulative techniques to correct the problem. They can include flexing, stretching and massage. He or she may also suggest ways in which you can help yourself between consultations. Osteopathy is especially suitable for the treatment of back and neck pain, sciatica, sprains and strains and headaches.

Treating Back Pain with Yoga

Many people in the West used to think of yoga as an exotic practice from the Orient. Today, however, it is widely accepted and many enjoy its benefits.

The vision of yoga as something alien and Eastern dates from its introduction into the West toward the end of the 19th century. But now, a century later, it has gained wide acceptance and is recognized for its value to mind and body.

The word yoga means “yoke” or “union” in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India. The aim of yoga is to unite mind, body and spirit.

Yoga is not just an exotic keep-fit technique, although many people do initially take it up for its physical benefits. It is a complete philosophy that aims to bring the individual into harmony with the universe. In this respect, yoga is less a therapy than a way of life.

No one really knows how old yoga is but archaeological evidence suggests it probably orginated in India some 5,000 years ago. Although yoga can lead to “religious” experience, it is not a religion in itself. Its methods have been incorporated into Hinduism but they have also found their way into Buddhism and, to a lesser extent, into some mystical forms of Islam and Christianity.

The literature of yoga is contained in a collection of texts, some of which are extremely ancient. The earliest written references to yoga appear in the Vedas, the oldest existing sacred Hindu literature dating from around 1550 bc.

Scientific Study
Yoga is one the most scientifically studied of the complementary therapies. Research shows that it can be beneficial for a vast range of medical problems, including back and neck pain.

The various posture exercises, the asanas, are the best-known aspect of yoga but they are just one of eight stages, or “limbs”, of physical and mental training designed to achieve union. The asanas, in conjunction with breathing-control exercises, known as pranayama, are believed to unify and balance the muscular and skeletal systems before acting on a deeper level to harmonize the functioning of all the body’s internal organs. Gradually they help to link mind, body and spirit and this eventually leads to the union of the individual consciousness with the universal truth – or God – a stage practitioners refer to as enlightenment.

Spiritual or Physical?
Yoga has helped many people in the West overcome all kinds of problems and to live fuller, more contented lives. For some it has also provided a gateway to religious or spiritual experiences. If the spiritual goals of yoga do not immediately appeal to you and you are simply looking for a way to ease your back pain, regular practice of the asanas and pranayama can still help you.

This is because the asanas work progressively to exercise and stretch every muscle in the body, including those not normally reached by traditional Western forms of keep-fit. If you perform yoga regularly, the muscles are thought to become more flexible and general suppleness increases. Underlying patterns of tension are worked out and the individual bones of the spine and the rest of the skeleton are gently realigned to their natural positions.

A Cleansing Process
On a deeper level, the twisting, stretching, bending and then holding of postures involved in the asanas are believed to massage the body’s internal organs, rinsing them in fresh, oxygen-carrying blood and draining them of old, oxygen¬ depleted blood. The efficiency of blood circulation and of the respiratory and digestive systems are all improved. Meanwhile, the pranayama, or breathing-control exercises, help to unify mind and body and to control and focus the life-force. The overall effect is improved health and energy levels, and a calmer, clearer mind.

Sit Properly to Avoid Back Pain

More and more people spend a large part of the day sitting down, whether at home or at work. The sitting position places more strain on the spine than either walking or lying down, so it is important to sit correctly if you are to avoid back pain. Well-designed furniture can help to keep your back fit.

The spine has a natural S-shape that is most pronounced in the lumbar region – the area known as the small of the back. If you sit correctly, your spine naturally assumes this S-shape and most of your weight is supported by the bottom of the pelvis. But if you slump in your seat, the lumbar spine and pelvis form a C-shape, putting great pressure on the joints, discs and muscles of the lower back.

The right furniture
Although many office workers spend up to 40 hours a week sitting in the same chair, some standard office furniture is not designed with the comfort of the back in mind. A good office chair needs to be fully and easily adjustable, and should work well with the rest of the furniture. The benefits of a new and supportive chair will be reduced if the arm rests prevent you from sitting with your legs under the desk or your feet flat on the floor, for example.

A well-designed hard chair can be just as comfortable as a soft one, and will be more likely to encourage a sitting posture that is beneficial to your back.

‘Kneeling” chair
A chair on which you “kneel” allows you to sit in a posture that preserves your hack’s natural S-curve and distributes your body weight evenly between your knees and buttocks. Some designs have an integral rocking action that allows for continual changes in posture.

Leaning forward
If your work involves a lot of reading, writing or bending over a desk, a sloping work surface such as those used by draftsmen and architects is ideal. If this is impractical, prop up your reading matter against a few books or filing trays. Leaning forward over a desk places great strain on the discs in your umbar region.

Computer posture
If you work at a c
omputer, the keyboard should be in front of the screen. Adjust your seat to place the keyboard roughly at elbow height while allowing your feet to rest firmly on the floor. Your forearms should be reasonably horizontal, and you should be looking slightly downward.

The seat should support your thighs, but the front edge should not dig into them. Adjust the backrest to support the small of your back. If your chair does not provide sufficient lumbar support, try placing one or two cushions behind the small of your back.

Looking down and sideways to copy from documents can lead to neck and back strain. Try using a copyholder to hold the documents beside the screen.

Qigong for Back Pain Relief

Based on the principles of Taoism, the ancient religion and philosophy of China, qigong focuses on learning how to feel and move energy within the body with the help of gentle, sometimes almost static, exercises.

Qigong is generally held to be the precursor of t’ai chi and certainly predates it by many centuries. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that qigong was being discussed and practised in China as long ago as 600 bc. By the 16th century ad, qigong was closely associated with Taoist and Buddhist monasteries in China – the fusion of its principles with the martial arts at the time being practised by the monks is believed have resulted in the development of t’ai chi.

Qigong is still practised daily by millions of people in China. Despite its deceptively simple-looking exercises, qigong is complex and it can be difficult to find out how to begin with this therapy. Its thousands of years of history have encouraged the development of different schools, or approaches.

Qigong exercises direct the practitioner’s attention to the movement of qi, or the life force, within the body in order to build up what the Chinese refer to as great “inner strength” in a flexible, relaxed body. This contrasts with the “external strength”, in the form of well¬-toned muscles, developed by practitioners of martial arts such as karate.

Qigong and Your Back
Unlike its more active cousin, t’ai chi, qigong is unlikely to physically strengthen weak or damaged muscles and ligaments, but it can benefit back-pain sufferers in other less direct, but often just as effective, ways.

As back pain can be a result of chronic muscular tension, qigong is an excellent method of combating stress and promoting both mental and physical relaxation. Regular practice can help prevent a recurrence of the back problem. Back pain can also be a symptom of illness or chronic disorder elsewhere in the body. Qigong is reputed to have a beneficial effect on various chronic conditions, especially those that involve dysfunction of the immune system.

Practicing Qigong
There is one principal difference between the Eastern movement and balance therapies, such as qigong and t’ai chi, and the Western “keep-fit” approach to exercise. The Eastern therapies are concerned with generating and conserving energy, while the Western approach concentrates on using up energy and shedding it as burned calories, as well as on strengthening muscles.

As with t’ai chi, qigong aims to avoid placing stress on the muscles and joints. However, unlike the flowing sequence of movements in t’ai chi, qigong practice can involve standing still for considerable periods of time, concentrating on the movement of qi throughout the body. Other qigong movements involve gentle stretching or bending exercises that aim to promote the flow of qi to and through specific parts of the body.

The relative simplicity of some qigong postures means that it is possible to teach yourself the basics from a book. However, to benefit properly from both the physical and mental aspects of the discipline, it is important to find a good teacher.

Treating Back Pain with Homeopathy

Perhaps the most widely practiced of all complementary therapies is homeopathy. Yet it remains one of the most controversial since, despite years of scientific investigation, no one can explain how it works.

This principle of treating like with like has a long and distinguished tradition in medicine. The ancient Greek “Father” of medicine, Hippocrates, was familiar with the concept, and it has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine, the natural medicine practiced in India.

A German physician and chemist, Dr Samuel Hahnemann, developed the principle into a coherent therapy and published the first homeopathy textbook in 1810. Hahnemann’s interest in the subject was aroused by quinine, the anti¬malarial medicine extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree. He noticed that quinine given to a healthy person produced the same symptoms of fever and rigor (shaking) as malaria.

Hahnemann set about systematically testing the properties of over 4,000 substances. Experimenting mainly on himself, Hahnemann took high doses of each substance and recorded his reaction to it, a process known as proving. The basic ingredients of homeopathic remedies are still proved by being tested on healthy volunteers today.

Hahnemann then tested the substances in diluted form on patients. He selected patients who were suffering from a particular set of symptoms and gave them a substance which could cause similar symptoms in a healthy person. He observed that they got better. A person suffering from abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, for example, may have been given Nux vomica, a substance extracted from the poison nut tree which, in large doses, caused the same symptoms. At the same time he realized that finding out as much as possible about his patients before prescribing improved the success of his treatment.

Hahnemann noticed that patients often got worse before they got better and, in order to avoid this reaction, he began to experiment with steadily reducing the dose of the substances. This led to the development of the most controversial principle of homeopathy. Hahnemann found that steadily reducing the dose of active ingredients by increasing the dilution of substances and shaking the mixture at each stage increased the effectiveness of the remedy while reducing its side effects. This process, known as potentization, is used in the manufacture of homeopathic remedies today.

Manufacturing Remedies
Extracts from the natural ingredients, for example herbs, are dissolved in an alcohol solution and left to stand for anything up to a month. During this period the solution is shaken from time to time. Then the solution is strained off.

The strained solution is known as the mother tincture. This tincture is then systematically diluted to produce homeopathic remedies of various strengths. At each stage of dilution the solution is potentized by being shaken vigorously, a process known as succussion. The remedies are then made up into tiny pills – called pillules – granules or powders of the different strengths.

Homeopaths believe that succussion causes the active ingredient to release its “energy” into the liquid in the solution. This, they maintain, alters the basic structure of the liquid, leaving an imprint, rather like a footprint, of the original active substance on each of its molecules. Therefore, even at dilutions at which there is no longer any physical trace of the original active ingredient, the liquid still retains an “energy memory” of it and this is sufficient for the remedy to be effective. Indeed, it is the highest dilutions that are the strongest remedies and it is this “less is more” effect that causes the most controversy about homeopathy in orthodox scientific circles.

The strengths of homeopathic remedies are classified as follows. A tenfold dilution is indicated by the symbol x, a hundredfold dilution by the symbol c and a thousandfold dilution by the symbol m. While over-the-counter homeopathic remedies are sold at dilutions of 6x, most homeopaths prescribe much stronger remedies at a thousandfold dilution.

A Visit to a Homeopath
Homeopathy operates on the fundamental principle that each person is an individual and needs personalized treatment. When prescribing, homeopaths take into account a person’s personality, emotional and physical condition, likes and dislikes, as well as their symptoms. This is why a typical first homeopathic consultation often takes more than an hour and people with the same symptoms are often prescribed different remedies.

Homeopaths believe in the “laws of cure”. These state that remedies start to work from the top of the body to the bottom, from the inside out and from major to minor organs and that symptoms clear in reverse order of their appearance. The “from the inside out” effect is known as the law of direction and means, for example, that as symptoms of asthma improve, a skin condition such as eczema may develop. Conventional medicine now recognizes a strong link between asthma and eczema: if one member of your family is asthmatic another has an increased risk of eczema or hayfever.

Homeopathic remedies are prescribed one at a time and, during a course of treatment, may be changed according to the way your symptoms progress. It is perfectly safe to take the remedies along with conventional medicines, although some drugs can reduce the effects of homeopathy. Alcohol, coffee, tobacco, strong mints, strong perfumes and aromatherapy oils, such as tea tree oil, can interfere with the efficacy of homeopathic remedies. For the best results take a remedy on a “clean” tongue – do not eat, drink or brush your teeth for 15 minutes before or after taking it.

Many people use homeopathy as a self-help technique at home for simple ailments. But the holistic nature of homeopathy means that buying remedies to treat yourself is likely to be less successful than consulting a trained practitioner.

Today there are more than 3,000 homeopathic remedies and homeopathy can treat almost any health problem, although its effectiveness is said to depend on the individual. There are numerous remedies which may be prescribed for back pain. No two people are likely to be given the same remedy, even if they have similar sorts of back pain.

Preventing Back Pain with Exercises

Keeping fit is one of the best ways to prevent back problems from happening in the first place or, if you have already experienced back pain, of ensuring that it does not return.

Regular exercise helps to keep the muscles in your back strong and the joints flexible, thus preventing it from being damaged by the stresses of everyday life. An additional benefit is that if you do injure your back, recovery will take place more quickly if you are fit and healthy.

If you are a back-pain sufferer it is tempting to blame your condition on some physical problem that will be fixed as soon as you find the right treatment for it. In many cases this is true. Pain caused by joint problems and damaged discs can be relieved by the right therapy. But for many the truth may be that their backs hurt because their busy, sedentary lives have resulted in heir becoming overweight and out of shape: their muscles are too weak and they are too heavy.

When you bend, lift, twist and carry, your back and stomach muscles have to work at full stretch against your body weight and the pull of gravity. If your muscles are weak from disuse they are much more likely to be over-stressed when suddenly called upon to perform a little harder, when you have to carry heavy objects, lift things in and out of the car or do some gardening, for example. Being overweight may increase this stress.

A Simple Solution
One way of reducing back pain is to get more exercise. Even if your back pain is due to a structural problem and is alleviated by the right therapy, do not just give a sigh of relief and forget about it. Ask yourself why the problem occurred in the first place. Was it due to an accident or similar event outside your control or was it because you were out of shape when you tried to lift the end of the sofa? If it was the latter, getting fit will help prevent it from happening again. Most experts agree that once you have had one bout of back pain you are much more likely to suffer another in the future. They also agree that regular exercise is the best way of preventing recurrences.

Obviously, if you are still in pain it is not sensible to take up running or swimming now. Although everyday activities such as walking should be resumed as soon as possible, even if it hurts, you must give your back time to recover before taking up any sporting activity. Once the acute pain has disappeared, there are a variety of exercises that can be performed at home every day that are invaluable for strengthening the back muscles.

These exercises will normally be given to you by a good physiotherapist or osteopath. You may well want to carry on doing these after you have recovered.

If you suffer from recurrent simple back pain or have just recovered from your first episode, then it is common sense that certain sports are not suitable ways of getting fit. These are contact or high-impact sports such as rugby, football and basketball. It is fine to play these when you are fit but if you want to strengthen your back rather than damage it, it would be advisable to get into shape doing something else.

Prescription Drugs for Back Pain

In addition to pills and injections, you may find that externally applied products – such as a heat spray or gel, cold pack or hot or cold compresses -offer you relief from pain.

Several types, or classes, of drugs are commonly used to treat back pain. Some have to be prescribed by a doctor but many can be bought over the counter in any pharmacy and some are available in supermarkets.

The number of drugs on the market that can be used for back pain may, at first sight, appear bewildering but the majorities are painkillers and fall into two distinct categories: analgesics, such as paracetamol, and non-steroidal anti¬inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. Both types act as painkillers but work in different ways.

The use of drugs, and painkillers in particular, is one of the subjects that seems to polarize people. Some will put up with quite severe discomfort rather than “pollute” their body with anything resembling a drug. Others reach for the pill bottle at the first twinge of pain. As with most things, the most sensible path is probably somewhere in the middle.

If you are suffering serious back pain, don’t be afraid to take a painkiller. Taken correctly for a short period of time, painkillers can reduce muscular spasm and help you cope during the acute phase of a bout of back pain. Healing is helped by a positive mental attitude and it is hard to be in this frame of mind if you are in constant, severe pain. Once the pain is under control, you are in a better frame of mind to start thinking about tackling its cause.

However, it is important not to treat yourself with painkillers as a substitute for seeking professional medical advice. You are in pain for a reason and it is important to find out what that reason is and to do something about it. Masking recurrent bouts of back trouble with painkillers is not solving the problem and you may well be courting greater problems in the long run if potentially serious conditions are ignored and left untreated.

Side Effects
The effectiveness of any drug has to be balanced against its unwanted side effects. All drugs have side effects, even those that are generally considered to be very safe and are easily bought in the local pharmacy or supermarket.

People vary greatly in their sensitivity to the side-effects of drugs. A drug that is perfectly tolerable for one person may make another feel unwell. As a general rule, the more powerful the drug and the longer you take it, the more likely you are to experience some of these unwanted side effects.

Others Drugs for Back Pain
Two other types of drug are sometimes used to treat back pain: muscle relaxants and antidepressants. Both types of drugs have to be prescribed by a doctor.

Muscle Relaxants
These are believed to relieve back pain by relaxing the painful muscle spasm that often follows back injury. Because these drugs have their effect in the brain, they can make you sleepy and impair your concentration. So if you have to drive or operate machinery they may not be suitable for you.

The muscle relaxants should only be taken for a short period of time – not more than two weeks at the most. Once the muscle spasm has eased you should stop taking them, as with some drugs of this type, particularly tranquillizers, there is a risk of addiction.

It may seem a bit odd to take an antidepressant drug when you have a physical problem like back pain. But research shows that antidepressants can be an effective treatment for long-term or chronic pain. There is a close link between chronic pain and depression in that depression can manifest itself in the form of pain and long-term pain can cause depression.

More Serious Back Pain
More than 95 percent of back pain is simple back pain, which responds to rest, simple painkilling drugs and manipulation or physiotherapy. Even if you belong to the remaining 5 percent of cases, there are still a number of procedures in conventional medicine’s arsenal that can be called upon if necessary to help alleviate your suffering.

If your pain is not eased by any of the normally prescribed medications, pain-relieving drugs can be injected directly into the affected area of the back. Normally doctors use a corticosteroid -which alleviates pain by reducing inflammation and swelling – mixed with a local anaesthetic. These injections are unpleasant but they can give welcome relief from severe pain.

If you have severe pain caused by a problem such as a prolapsed disc that is not responding to other treatment or medication, a similar mixture of drugs can be injected directly into the spinal canal near the base of the spine. This is known as an epidural.

An epidural blocks the pain signals travelling between the site of pain and the brain, numbing the area around the prolapse; it also reduces inflammation.

This is a safe, but highly skilled procedure that is normally only carried out in hospital by an experienced anaesthetist. However, many back-pain sufferers have found that an epidural has given them several weeks’ relief from pain.

Side effects are rare, although some people have suffered from nausea, dizziness or headaches following an epidural. These effects are temporary and can be controlled with other drugs.

Massage for Back Pain Relief

The benefits of massage have long been recognized. Around 2,400 years ago in ancient Greece, the physician Hippocrates recommended “a scented bath and an oiled massage every day ” as the way to health.

Massage as a structured therapy is thought to have originated in China and Mesopotamia more than 5,000 years ago. It continued to be an important part of conventional medical practice for hundreds of years and it was not until the rise of “scientific” treatments in the 19th century that it slipped out of the textbooks.

Most methods of massage used today stem from the work of Per Henrik Ling, a Swede, who came across Oriental forms of massage while visiting China in the 19th century. Ling brought these techniques to Europe and developed what is now known as Swedish massage. This system employs four basic techniques: effleurage or stroking, percussion, petrissage or kneading, and frottage or friction. All these massage techniques are easy to learn and form the basis for most types of therapeutic massage.

A masseur will probably use a massage oil or aromatherapy oil to carry out the strokes smoothly, without pulling at your skin. Any pure vegetable oil or baby oil will be effective in lubricating the skin.

Touching and Your Skin
One of the most natural, instinctive forms of human communication is touching. The skin, with its millions of tiny nerve endings, is the largest organ of the body. Touch develops early in life – it is the unborn child’s principal way of investigating its surroundings. Research shows that babies and young children who are not touched and stroked are less likely to thrive.

Regular body massage can reduce anxiety, unlock tense and cramped muscles, ease stiff joints and generally results in increased vitality and a heightened sense of wellbeing. Massage as a therapy can be beneficial for a wide range of conditions and is excellent for back and neck pain. Other conditions that massage may help include muscle or joint pain or stiffness, anxiety and depression, stress-related disorders, headaches and migraine.

A massage can last for anything from a few minutes to half an hour or more. If you are giving a massage at home choose a quiet, warm room with subdued lighting. The person to be massaged, or receiver, should lie on a firm couch or on a mattress or blankets on the floor. You should wear comfortable, loose clothing that does not restrict your movements. Use large towels or bathrobes to cover areas of the receiver’s body that are not being massaged. You can use oil – either a carrier oil or diluted essential oils – or talcum powder to reduce friction during the massage. If your hands are cold rub them together to warm them up before beginning. Keep your strokes rhythmic and flowing and try to merge one stroke into the next. If you are giving a full body massage, begin with the back before moving on to other areas.