Back pain can be classified as anything from tenderness, to discomfort and actual pain that occurs in the spinal area. However, everyone can agree that because the spinal cord is so sensitive it is very unwelcome to experience any sort of pain or discomfort related to it.
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Back pain is very common, with up to eight out of ten people experiencing some form of it during their lifetime. Women are more susceptible to this condition compared to men.
Regardless of the cause of the back pain and whether it is acute or chronic, the desired outcome of any treatment is obviously to find relief. Thankfully, there is a way to accomplish this through the use of reflexology.
What Makes Reflexology Effective For Relieving Pain?
Reflexology is classified as a complementary, alternative health therapy and is performed in a non-intrusive manner. It is not only relaxing, but also helps to increase blood circulation while assisting with improving the balance between all the systems and organs in the body.
Preparing For Reflexology Treatments
To help prepare yourself for reflexology treatment, especially for back pain, you can perform simple ankle rotation exercises and massages. Apply firm, but gentle, pressure while massaging your toes, ankles, calves and the soles of your feet. Flex your feet back and forth before rotating them to help your ankle loosen up.
Feet Reflex Points For Back Pain
Most of the reflex points for treating back pain can be found in the feet. For example, the soles of the feet, the inner edge of each foot, as well as the area around the ankle and heel, can all be used to treat lower back pain. Simply apply pressure to these reflex points to help find relief from back pain.
For your cervical spine, use the reflex points that are located along the line of the inside edge of your feet. While supporting your right foot with your left hand, start from the tip of your big toe and massage all the reflex points along this edge using your right thumb. Continue this process all the way from the toe to your ankle, pressing every reflex point along the way.
The soles and tops of your feet are reflex points for the shoulders and upper back, so these can be used for treating upper back pain. Start by using your thumb to apply pressure to the area beneath the base of your toes. Next, apply pressure to the sole of your foot by pressing your knuckles deeply into the reflexes. Since the area on the tops of your feet are more sensitive, use a lighter touch for the reflex points located there.
For general back pain, massage the lower arch-edge of your feet. Since this area is related to your lumbar area, a five to ten minute massage will bring relief.
Hand Reflex Points For Back Pain
When using reflexology on yourself, the feet reflex points may not always be the most practical, for example, if you are in an area where you cannot take off your shoes or if you are suffering from any injury or infection on your feet. In these cases you can use hand reflexology to achieve similar results and relieve your back pain.
The reflex points for the spine are located along the outside edges of your palms. Start with your right hand by applying pressure with your left thumb before switching to the other hand.
For the shoulders and upper back, the reflex points are situated just below the pinky and ring fingers on the top of each hand. You’ll also find reflex spots on the palm of your hand just below the middle and index fingers.
Finally, the reflex point for the upper back can be found on the outside of your hand, in the palm area below the base of the thumbs. For the best results, be sure to work on the reflex points of both hands.
Advice When Practicing Reflexology On Yourself
Reflexology is easy to do yourself if you know where the reflex points are located, but when doing so for back pain ensure that your lower back is properly supported, especially when seated in a chair.
You don’t have to be suffering from chronic back pain to experience the benefits of reflexology either. Simply performing the methods on yourself for a couple of minutes each day will help you to decrease your chances of experiencing back pain.
If you do continue to experience back pain after doing reflexology on yourself, it is advisable to visit a professional reflexologist. Not only will they be able to assist you, but you can also experience first-hand where and how much pressure to apply to each reflex point. This will help a lot when practicing reflexology on yourself again.
To make reflexology more effective it should be done in an environment that is calm and soothing. Everything from peaceful music, to aromatherapy and low lighting can enhance the experience and efficiency of the treatment.
Studies Relating To Treating Back Pain Through Reflexology
Because nursing is one of the jobs with the highest risk of musculoskeletal injuries, a study was performed to test the effectiveness of reflexology on nurses. The focus in particular was what effect reflexology would have on chronic low back pain intensity.
For study purposes, 50 male and female nurses, who all suffer from chronic low back pain, were divided into two groups. One group received reflexology treatment, while the other only received non-specific massage. Participants were then interviewed to complete a questionnaire. The intensity of their pain was also measured using a Numerical Analogue Scale to compare the levels before and after the interventions.
The study found that reflexology is extremely effective at reducing the severity of chronic back pain, and the reductions were significantly higher than those of the participants in the non-specific massage group.
Reflexologists Do Not Diagnose Conditions
While a reflexologist might be able to achieve better than what you can accomplish on your own, they are not there to diagnose medical conditions. Thanks to reflexology the body is able to nurture and repair itself, but it is not a substitute for medical care if you are in serious pain or have other underlying issues. Reflexology is also not a substitute for exercise or proper posture. Both of these are vital for strengthening your muscles and keeping your back in good shape.
When going for reflexology sessions, be sure to drink enough water, both before and afterwards. It is also wise to refrain from doing any weight-bearing exercises during the time period of your reflexology treatment, even if you experience decreased back pain. Of course, if any new pain or discomfort arises be sure to report these.
Because the results of reflexology are cumulative, you’ll experience more benefits from regular sessions. Those who experience a persistent form of back pain can also practice self-treatment at home to help ease the symptoms.