6 - Master Your Back Program - Skills

Goals Information Skills Drills Questions Review

 Skills to Master

You are in the final sessions of Back Care Boot Camp. The focus of this session is on mastering your back program, which starts with your state of mind. That's right! In order to master your back program, you need to master your mind. How are you responding to your back pain? Have you resumed normal activity? Are you fearful?

Stop for a moment. Do you realize that the major factor in disabling back pain is fear? Fear is actually dangerous, especially if you are fearful that you'll hurt yourself again, that you won't get better, or that you won't get back to normal living. The way you respond to your situation can be more disabling than back pain itself.

Realize that you've gained knowledge that can help you combat this downward spiral. You've learned that most episodes of back pain are short-lived, are not serious or life-threatening, and are manageable. So relax. And breathe. Literally! This is precisely where mastering your back begins.In this skills section, you'll gain tools to change the way you think about your back pain - skills that will help you gain control, change your mindset, and employ the discipline you'll need to master your back program!

Relax Your Mind and Body

Take a moment right now and analyze yourself. Are you anxious and tense? Or are you relaxed and happy? Stress from back pain can throw you off and alter your focus. Your response to your situation matters. It can make the difference between taking control of your back pain, or having back pain take control of you. The relaxation response can help.

Engage the Relaxation Response

By engaging the relaxation response, you change the way you think. You begin to regain control and the focus you need to successfully master your back program. Only you can take charge. You must decide to stop and get focused. Until you do, you won't get the full benefit from all the other information you've learned in Back Care Boot Camp to help you take care of your back. So stop right now. Regain your focus. Engage the relaxation response.

Rationale

The relaxation response is a skill for your body and mind. By combining healthy breathing and calm thoughts in a relaxing atmosphere, your body and mind both benefit. Your body benefits because muscles relax, blood pressure drops, and pain eases. Your mind benefits because stress calms, focus clears, and thoughts become streamlined. When you engage the relaxation response, you'll be in a frame of mind that enables you to deal with your situation and successfully apply all the other helpful skills you've learned to help you master your back.

Description

There are many ways to engage the relaxation response. Most involve one to two daily sessions of relaxed breathing and focused thinking in calm surroundings. It's a simple, nearly effortless way to allow your body a few moments to unwind. As you relax the body, you relax the mind. This form of meditation doesn't require a big change in your beliefs. It is not religious and requires only a small time commitment. Follow these steps to engage the relaxation response:

  • Choose a word, phrase, or prayer to focus on.
  • Get comfortable - wherever you are. If you're at home, you could sit in your favorite chair. You may prefer to lie down in a comfortable position.
  • Use your diaphragm to breathe. Feel your abdomen rise and fall rhythmically.
  • Recite your word, phrase, or prayer with each breath you take.
  • Begin to relax your muscles one by one, starting with your toes and feet, and then your lower legs. Slowly work your way muscle by muscle to the top of your head.
  • Ignore worries, deadlines, fears, and thoughts about the day.
  • Continue for 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Collect your thoughts. Allow new and focused thoughts to gain a foothold before you rise and go about your daily tasks.

Recommendations

Find a model of relaxation that fits your beliefs. There are many resources available to assist you. Session Eight provides a brief overview of some options. Talk further with your doctor or therapist for other helpful ideas.

Concerns

People who don't engage the relaxation response may miss the full benefit of all the skills in Back Care Boot Camp. If you don't take the time and effort to gain control of your situation, these other tools lose some of their effectiveness.

Plan for the Future

The outlook is positive for a healthy back. Even if back pain should someday strike again, which it might, you know what to do and the steps to take. The information and skills you've learned are designed to reduce your chances of future pain and problems. Mastering your back program requires making a plan for the future. Are you planning to stop smoking? Will you begin a fitness program? Should you join a health club? Begin developing your plan now. You'll need to complete it by the time you finish Back Care Boot Camp.

Making a Plan



Rationale

Taking care of your back is your business. Make it your business by creating a workable plan, one that will keep you moving toward improved spine health. By picking a routine that fits your lifestyle, chances are good that you'll stick with your routine.

Description

A lifelong approach to spine health should center on activities you enjoy. There are many activity choices - everything from support groups and yoga to water therapy and personal training. Start by learning about all the resources available. Pick an activity you enjoy. Ideally, you'll be able to locate programs and services near you. You can identify them by consulting the health section of your local newspaper, by looking in the phone book, and by talking with your doctor and therapist.

Recommendations

Use the form called Making a Plan to help you narrow down your choices and to establish your future plan. Present your completed plan to your therapist during your last session. By doing so, you will have demonstrated mastery of your back program, and you will be ready to graduate from Back Care Boot Camp.

Concerns

You've gained momentum to this point in Back Care Boot Camp. By not crafting a workable plan, this momentum will stop. You may even limit your options for a healthier tomorrow. The key to keeping your back healthy is to participate in an ongoing and active routine, one that you enjoy and that will keep your interests for the years ahead.



Goals Information Skills Drills Questions Review






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