Return to Home Page Exercises can be handy Back pain In my late forties, I developed low back pain, which soon became chronic. A colleague of mine (a fellow sufferer), on hearing, seemed very amused, almost pleased. "Aha! You've got that for always, now, believe me!" After a number of years, during one particularly severe bout, my doctor prescribed some powerful pain killers. He explained that when a back muscle gets strained and torn, it remains permanently tense, ready for any further demand beyond its strength, leading to the typical continuous backpain. I decided that the answer must be to strengthen my back muscles, to the point where they no longer got torn by an awkward but apparently innocuous movement - "Ouch! My back just went!" I devised a daily exercise, starting gently and working up to my current regular regime. I later added another type of exercise, and then another, and these three exercises keep me free from backpain, at the cost of a couple of minutes or so of my time, each morning. The back muscles would become weak again if I never did the exercises, but this cannot happen overnight. In fact, a fortnight's holiday (usually fairly energetic) with no exercises, poses no problem. I have found these exercises suitable for me, but cannot say whether they will be suitable for you. Before trying them, you should consult your doctor. To view the exercises and indicate that you have noted this warning, click I AGREE Supra-spinatus tendonitis This came on later, in my mid fifties, around 1990. The worst symptom was severe pain in my arm at nights, making sleep impossible. Treatment under the NHS - ultrasound and exercises - effected little if any improvement. Fortunately, at that time I was still employed, and my firm's group health insurance scheme was available. A consultation (£90.00 for a few minutes of the consultant's time, and a cortisone injection, fortunately I wasn't paying) determined that I was suffering from acute supra-spinatus tendonitis in my right arm. Being right-handed, a dodgy right arm is not a good idea. The cortisone did no good, but a subsequent course of private treatment, involving manipulation and infra-red laser therapy, did the trick, resulting if not in a complete cure, at least a solution of the sleep problem. The supra-spinatus tendonitis is no longer a problem, but would come back if I did not keep it at bay with some more daily exercises I devised. The infra-red laser equipment used by the physiotherapist, mentioned above, had an output of only 5mW, although much higher power equipment is now available. I developed my own infra-red source for treating supra-spinatus tendonitis, and use it occasionally to put things right, if the arm is starting to get a little uncomfortable at night. The design was published in Electronics World as "A look at light", June 1997 pp. 466-471, and republished in Ian Hickman's "Analog Circuits Cookbook" 2nd Edition 1999, ISBN 0 7506 4234 3, Newnes Butterworth-Heinemann. In time, the problem seemed more to be in my shoulder joint that in a tendon, but the exercises for the supraspinatus tendonitis shown below, seem to work for the shoulder as well and only take about a minute or so. In addition, I take one tablet of glucosamine 500mg and chondroitin 400mg, and one of MSM 750mg - the former every other day and the MSM on the in-between-days. This has proved most effective; sleeping on my right side is no longer a problem. I have found these exercises suitable for me, but cannot say whether they will be suitable for you. Before trying them, you should consult your doctor. To view the exercises and indicate that you have noted this warning, click I AGREE The exercises for supraspinatus tendonitis/shoulder, together with those against back pain, occupy about three minutes of my time each day, a small price to pay for a normal, pain-free life. Useful tip Keep your leg muscles in good shape! Just recently I noticed that I was walking upstairs like an old man, whereas I always used to bound up them two at a time. So I vowed to go back to doing just that - difficult at first, but it soon came back to me, as the muscles regained their tone. So why not do the same, and keep your legs active. If you are going upstairs anyway, this exercise takes no extra time at all, indeed, you will actually save a little time every time you go upstairs!
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