1. Retrain the brain
While many try to treat back pain at the source, a brand new treatment is now targeting the brain. With MRI scans and sensory motor retraining with specific exercises, Neuroscience Research Australia’s Dr James McAuley says he’s amazed by its success in clinical trials. ‘We were hoping to help people, but we weren’t prepared for how well these treatments are helping,’ he explains. For more information, visit neura.edu.au/health/back-pain.
2. Try Tai Chi
Does your pain extend to your neck? A recent study by Harvard Medical School has shown that tai chi is effective in combating neck and upper back pain. Tests have shown that 12 weeks of tai chi can lead to a significant reduction in pain and an improvement in posture. While tai chi is not necessarily better than specific neck pain exercises given by a physiotherapist, the rituals involved also provide the added bonus of meditative relaxation.
3. Get Ergonomic
Spending every day in an office chair may not be the best thing for your back – it can actually make the pain worse by not providing the support you need. In the US and Canada, the new Core Chair – an active sitting chair that encourages movement – has just been introduced. In Australia, there’s a large range of ergonomic chairs available for work and home, including kneeling chairs, saddle chairs, ball chairs, and ‘sit-stand’ seating that may provide relief. Visit badbacks.com.au.
4. Take a placebo
A study from Harvard Medical School showed that being knowingly prescribed a placebo – rather than another medicine – can still help patients deal with chronic back pain. While it won’t work for everyone, results show that using a pill with no active medicinal ingredients can actually help, when combined with the ritualism of the doctor-patient relationship.
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