If you’re noticing the effects of not being able to have your regular massage during the coronavirus pandemic, here are some ways you can help manage back, neck and shoulder aches and pains at home until I can welcome you back into my treatment room again.
1. Stay Active
Your spine is designed to move, so although it can be tempting to lie down if your back is aching, it is actually better to stay as active as possible. Carry out your daily activities such as housework, and go for gentle walks to keep moving. Once your back is feeling better, you can do other forms of exercise within your fitness levels. Always listen to your body and build exercise up slowly; suddenly going from being inactive to doing strenuous workouts is likely to cause an injury and make your back feel worse.
2. Watch Your Posture
If you are working from home at a computer, try to make sure your workspace is as comfortable as possible. Your monitor should be at a correct height and position so that you don’t have to lean over or stoop down to look at it. Ensure your chair is comfortable and has adequate support for your lower back. Sit up straight and keep your shoulders relaxed, with your feet placed firmly on the floor. Take regular breaks from the computer to stay active, whether that’s walking around the house while the kettle boils or doing a quick household chore.
You may find it helpful to use cushions or pillows to support your back when sitting down, and placed under your knees when lying down. If you’re doing something that requires heavy lifting, always bend from the knees and not your waist.
3. Stretch Regularly
Regular stretching can help to reduce tension, improve mobility and strengthen the muscles. You can look on YouTube for some simple stretches for back pain, or you could try some yoga. Yoga is excellent for improving flexibility, increasing muscle strength and tone and correcting posture. Many local yoga instructors are now running their classes online, and again YouTube is great for finding routines that suit you.
4. Apply Heat
Having a warm bath or shower (or relaxing in a hot tub if you were lucky enough to find one before the lockdown began!) can help to relieve aches and pains. Applying heat locally to the affected muscles with a heat pad, hot water bottle or wheat bag also helps to relieve tension, boost the circulation and ease pain.
5. Use Essential Oils
There are lots of essential oils that can help to relieve muscle aches and pains. You can use them to make your own oil blend that can be massaged into the affected muscles or added to a warm bath. Some of the most effective essential oils for muscular aches and pains are:
- Black Pepper
- Rosemary (avoid if you have epilepsy or high blood pressure)
- Clary Sage (avoid if you have epilepsy)
Use a single oil or mix two or three to use in your blend. I will be happy to advise you on which oils to choose if you are unsure, as there are other factors to consider such as whether you want to feel relaxed or energised and whether you have any other health or wellbeing concerns. If you would like to purchase any essential oils please get in touch to see which ones I have left in stock.
To make your blend, pour some carrier oil such as sunflower, sweet almond, grapeseed, melted coconut or olive to a dark glass bottle then add your chosen essential oils. Always follow the recommended blending dilutions on your essential oil bottle, but as a guide stick to no more than a total of 2-3 drops of essential oils per 5ml of carrier oil (if you are pregnant please contact me for advice on which oils are safe to use). Massage your blend into your muscles as needed, or add some to your bath for a muscle relaxing soak.