Being a Health and Safety training company, our courses focus on teaching people the right skills to deal with emergency situations, and how to prevent those from arising. But what about those little niggles that we all get in our everyday life, that are not severe enough to warrant seeing a health professional? Ailments such as aching feet from being on your feet all day, a headache that just won’t go away or stomach aches can all have a negative impact on your everyday life.
We’ve drawn up a list of self-help tips to combat those small niggles and pains that don’t rely on you taking any pain relief medication.
The benefits of exercise on your overall health are well known and research has shown that there is a direct link between regular exercise and a reduction in illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Although vigorous exercise has the most benefits, gentle exercise is better than none, so consider including gentle exercise into your daily routine. Could you walk to the shops instead of taking the car, take the bike to work or take the stairs instead of the elevator? Instead of staying in the office in your lunch break, could you go for a brisk walk around the block? Incorporating exercise into your daily routine is the best way to turn it into a habit and stick with it long term.
If you’re used to exercising and are experiencing muscle soreness from a particularly heavy workout, the recommendation is to continue with moderate exercise and loosen the muscles up, rather than resting.
Focus on your breathing
There are various breathing techniques that can help you relieve stress or deal with aches and pains. When in pain most people start to, hold their breath and shallow breathe. By actively trying to breathe more deeply, the body relaxes, and much of that tension is released. Breathing exercises can be done lying down or even sitting at your desk, such as this one recommended by the NHS:
Make yourself as comfortable as you can. If you can, loosen any clothes that restrict your breathing.
If you’re lying down, place your arms a little bit away from your sides, with the palms up. Let your legs be straight, or bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.
If you’re sitting, place your arms on the chair arms. If you’re sitting or standing, place both feet flat on the ground. Whatever position you’re in, place your feet roughly hip-width apart.
- Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
- Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five. You may not be able to reach five at first.
- Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from one to five again, if you find this helpful.
- Keep doing this for three to five minutes.
Everybody has a different way of ‘relaxing’ – for some it’s quiet time such as doing meditation exercises, listening to music, taking a bath or going for a walk; others find it more relaxing to speak to a friend over the phone, do gentle exercise or cook. Try different things to see what makes you ‘switch off’ and make time in your schedule to include these relaxation activities.
When in pain your body tenses up so by adding a few simple stretches into your everyday life you can counteract the tension and relieve the pain. A regular stretching routine can also prevent pain from building up and becoming worse. You can incorporate a few simple stretches at your workplace including a neck stretch or back stretch, which don’t require you to get out your yoga mat. This blog post by Bupa offers some great ideas for desk stretches to ease aches and pains.
This might be easier said than done but it can temporarily help alleviate pain. Do something that will take the mind off the aching sensation by reading a book, talking to a friend or listening to a podcast. Hobbies such as sewing, jewellery making, photography, painting or learning a language are great for distraction as they give your mind something else to focus on.
Adjust your posture
Ailments such as lower back pain or aching wrists are closely related to spending prolonged periods of time sitting at desks and staring at computer screens and devices. A simple adjustment to your posture like straightening your back or sitting forward on your chair can help alleviate pain straight away. Specific equipment is also available such as ergonomic office chairs, sitting wedges, standing desks and footrests.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Staying hydrated helps with a wide range of ailments such as headaches, constipation, fatigue and keeps joints and cartilage supple. It helps to maintain brain function, overall mood and helps control our overall body temperature. The official recommendation by the NHS is to drink at least 2 litres of water per day.
Disclaimer: This blog post does not constitute medical advice. Please see a health professional if you suffer from any health conditions.