Neck, shoulder and back pain are often stress-related and should therefore be treated holistically.
The successes are sometimes astonishing: tense course participants are initially more agile after just a few teaching units. “Some of them cannot lie flat on their backs with their legs stretched out at first,”. “At the end of the exercise, this often goes without any problems.” Others cannot lift their arm sideways above shoulder height – and then comb their hair again. “By training self-awareness, those affected can fundamentally improve their mobility and posture,”. This is particularly beneficial for patients whose pain is due to functional disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
The method founded by the Israeli physicist Moshe Feldenkrais is one of the various forms of treatment with which good results can be achieved with painful muscle tension. Especially with neck and back pain, the movements carried out carefully and under guidance have proven their worth. “Many participants report that tension in the lumbar spine, in particular, is significantly reduced,”.
It’s Not A Question Of Age
Painful muscle tension in the shoulder, back and neck area are among the most common complaints and by no means only affect the elderly: 16 percent of women and almost 12 percent of men in the 15 to 25 age group already suffer from back pain. The causes are a lack of exercise and wrong body postures, but also stress and psychological stress. Anxiety disorders and depression are often associated with tension and cramps in the neck, shoulder and back region.
“When faced with stress and inner tension, many people unconsciously pull their shoulders up or clench their teeth,”. “And if the muscles are permanently tense, there will eventually be pain and hardening.”
The muscles tense when stressed is a physiologically sensible reaction: this reflexive behavior made it possible for our ancestors to fight or flee when in danger. “Today, many people are under constant stress and are permanently tense,” .”They can no longer switch off, and their muscle tension is constantly increased. But they often only notice that when it starts to hurt.”
The Body Feeling Is Lost
To avoid the pain, those affected take relieving postures, which leads to new tension – and thus to bother again. This creates a vicious circle that patients can no longer get out of on their own: The pain becomes chronic. “Pain patients often have no more physical awareness and do not even feel how tense their muscles are,”. The first goal of therapy is, therefore, to make them aware of the tension.
The muscle tension is measured electronically and made visible on a computer screen. Through relaxation techniques and visualizations, patients try to relax their muscles consciously and, over time, get a better body feeling.
Awareness Of Tension
Klaus-Dieter Moritz takes a similar approach but manages without any technology. “In the course of life, unfavorable movement patterns and bad postures are imprinted, which the body automatically calls up again and again,”. They increasingly restrict mobility. Over time, chronic tension and posture-related signs of wear and tear develop on the joints and spine. “With mindful movements, patients become aware of their established patterns and discover healthier energy-saving alternatives,”. Not only physical mobility should be improved, but also the intellectual ability to learn and create. “For Moshe Feldenkrais, a flexible brain was more important than a flexible body,”.
However, the exercises must be instructed by a qualified teacher and are pretty time-consuming. To achieve quick results, .By consciously tensing and relaxing individual muscle groups, they train their body awareness. Physiotherapists also work specifically with such relaxation techniques. “The trick is to restore the balance between tension and relaxation,”.
Little Medication Available
This is all the more important because the tension can hardly be treated with medication: Several muscle-relaxing agents such as tetrazepam or flupirtine have since been withdrawn from the market due to massive side effects. And anti-inflammatory drugs such as diclofenac should only be taken for a short time and with due consideration of possible contraindications. “That is why we approach the problem in multimodal pain therapy from different angles,”.
However, those who expect pleasantly, feel-good massages will be disappointed: Instead of being “treated”, the patients have to do something themselves.: “This is a challenge, but it shows good results in the long term.” For physiotherapists, too, exercise is the method of choice for muscle tension: “Physical activity balances out one-sided postures, clears the head and provides the necessary relaxation,”. Whether people walk, cycle or swim is not so important. “The main thing is that they enjoy it and that they stick with it.” In the case of painful tension, physiotherapists also put together individual exercises designed to stretch the muscles in a targeted manner and strengthen slack, neglected areas.
The Attitude Also Influences The Psyche
Ute Merz also pays attention to the posture of her patients: “A bent, one-sided relieving posture not only increases the complaints but also harms the mental state.” Regular exercise usually improves posture – and with it, the mood. First, he deliberately lets them exaggerate lousy posture. “The goal is a stable and at the same time flexible posture, which in turn has a positive effect on the psyche and self-esteem.”
The importance of the psyche: “For the body to relax, the soul must first relax.” If psychosocial problems are in the foreground, patients often benefit from accompanying psychotherapy or stress management training. “However, they have to be willing to change something in their life – such as reducing stress and exercising more.” How they do it is a question of personal preference: “For some people is an excellent one fitness studio the right thing to do, others prefer to relax with yoga or train their body awareness in a Feldenkrais course. “