According to the Mayo Clinic, back pain is incredibly common and a top disability cause around the globe.
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While some back pain cases come from an injury, many people have pain that isn’t traceable to a specific event, such as an injury. This type of pain is often difficult to treat and can leave you frustrated and impact your quality of life.
Whether you have back pain all the time or just bouts, you can try a pressure-point alternative medicine known as reflexology for both long and short-term relief. As per the Mayo Clinic, this method revolves around applying pressure to points around the body that correspond to systems and organs, and it can be an effective stress-reliever. Try the following simple ways to use reflexology to start living a more pain-free life.
1. Use Your Foot Reflex Points
Treating the right area is key, so for your lower back pain, start with your feet. Apply pressure to the reflexes on the soles of each foot and the area around your ankle and heel. Don’t forget the inner edge of your feet, as that’s where your spine’s reflex points are. Support your right foot using your left hand, and use the right thumb to work all the spine reflex points on your foot’s inside edge, and do the reverse for your left foot. Get from the tip of your big toe all the way down to your ankle.
Use pressure on the reflexology points on your soles and the top of each foot just above the base of the toes. These points are for your upper back and shoulders, and they can help with upper back pain. Make sure you use lighter pressure on bony, more sensitive areas to prevent discomfort.
To prepare your legs for reflexology treatments, try ankle rotation and massage. Use firm but gentle pressure and rub your ankles, calves, feet soles and toes. Flex each foot forward and backward, and rotate each one to help loosen your ankle.
For general back pain, you can target the lower part of your arch edge for five to ten minutes. This will help access your lumbar area points.
You’ll also need to target your sciatic nerve. This nerve’s reflex points are just in the back of your ankle bone and go up in a straight line for about 3.9 inches. Sciatica can cause sharp pain down your leg because the nerves are compressed. Working with the reflex points for this nerve can help improve blood flow to the area. Simply use your thumb and index finger to apply gentle pressure to the area. Move the thumb and finger back and forth, bringing the digits together and then sliding both of them apart.
2. Take Advantage Of Hand Reflex Areas
Hand reflexology can be very convenient at times, as you may not be able to take your shoes and socks off and do a full foot treatment. It also works if your feet are infected or injured.
Apply pressure using your thumb to the outside edge of each palm to contact the spine reflex points. Start with your right hand and then do your left.
For your shoulders and upper back areas, the top of your hand is where you need to go. Apply pressure to the spot right below your ring and pinky fingers on the top of each hand. After you’ve done that, move to your palms. The area you need to hit here is right below your middle and pointer fingers. There is also another reflex point just for the upper back on the outside of your hand, on your palm and just under your thumb’s base. Make sure you work points on both of your hands, as your left shoulder reflexes are at your left pinky’s base and your right shoulder reflexes are at your right pinky’s base.
Some Quick Tips
- Keep in mind that not all of your back’s reflexes are on the soles of your feet. Some major reflexes are on the bottom part of your legs and the top part of each foot. Spread your focus around so you don’t miss key areas.
- Work reflex areas for your brain, which are your toes and fingers, to help encourage endorphin release. Endorphins are “feel good” chemicals your body releases to help block pain, and they’re completely natural.
- Always make sure you keep your lower back supported anytime you’re sitting in a chair. If you have to, use a rolled towel or pillow to support this area. There are even special back-support pillows available if you think you need extra support.
- You can still try reflexology for a few minutes each day even if you don’t have chronic pain. The more often you practice, the more beneficial it becomes, and you can even think of reflexology as a form of preventative medicine.
- Consider seeing a professional reflexologist if you have a lot of back pain. You can still continue your self-reflexology in between your regular appointments. If you go with professional treatment, pay attention to the areas the reflexologist works and how much pressure they are using, as this will help you tweak your own methods. Apply what you observe during your professional sessions to your own at-home ones.
- Keep your head supported with a pillow so that your head stays aligned with your spine.
- Create a soothing environment for your self-reflexology treatments. Pick a quiet spot in your home, and try lower lighting, calming aromatherapy and soothing music to help enhance your sessions. The key here is to be focused, peaceful and relaxed.
- Use a firm mattress for sleeping – one that is under ten years old if possible. A mattress in poor condition can contribute to back pain and posture problems.
- Remember that every person is different, so the time it will take for you to notice improvement depends on many factors, including your age, health, stress levels and nutrition habits. A single reflexology session may alleviate most of your back pain, or it could take as many as ten times.
And Some Warnings
- A lack of exercise and poor posture can work against all your back pain relief efforts. Abdominal muscles that are weak won’t offer your back enough support, so consider working on strengthening them. Try things like taking a short walk each day and trading the elevator for the stairs.
- Speak to your doctor if you have experienced a serious back injury, as you may need more medical assistance.
Start your reflexology sessions today by carving a dedicated time slot for them. A full session can take under 15 minutes, something you may be able to manage even if you have a busy schedule. By assigning your sessions a certain time each day, you’ll be more likely to keep doing them and get into the reflexology habit!