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March 3, 2010 > Tips for pain-free living

Tips for pain-free living

Submitted By Esther Gokhale

Anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, physical therapy and surgery are not always the answer for back pain. Also, massage, yoga and popular chiropractic techniques aren't usually the best solution, either.

After years of studying cultures with low incidents of back pain, I found that re-establishing natural posture and movement patterns, address the root cause of pain which leads to regaining and maintaining a pain-free back. Here are tips for movements that address natural posture, based on the Gokhale Method that has helped thousands find a way to pain-free living:

When you're in bed - Stretch lying - Use your arms to help stretch your back out as you lie down for the night. Bend your knees and hoist yourself up on your elbows. Press your elbows towards your feet so your back is lengthened. Lay yourself down with this extra length in place. This allows your back to heal itself as you sleep.

When you're carrying a purse - Carry the purse closer to your spine than your belly button. Use your elbow to nudge the bag or straps towards your back. This way, there's less pressure on your back, the purse doesn't slide from your shoulders as easily and the weight of the purse helps settle your shoulder backward instead of forward.

When you're at your computer - Come in close so you are not tempted to hunch your shoulders and/or body to reach the keyboard. Roll your shoulders back so they are in a good starting position and then come in towards your keyboard so you can reach with just your forearms reaching ahead of you.

When you are brushing your teeth - Hinge from your hips and keep your back as straight as possible. Check your profile in the mirror to see how you're doing. Hip hinging benefits your body by strengthening your back muscles and stretching your hamstrings. Do not hunch forward as this will damage your spinal discs, nerves and ligaments.

Pain specialist Esther Gokhale has a wellness center in Palo Alto. She is the author of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back.

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