NHS explain the best ways to treat back pain
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The internationally recognised osteopath, performance coach and recovery specialist who works with a multitude of high-profile clients has spent his career creating a winning ethos of relieve, restore, and perform, which is based on his own experience. Starting out his career as a budding athlete for Great Britain, before a heartbreaking injury changed his career path, James is now set to release his first book, Body, which aims to provide everyone with his top tips on how to live pain free through adopting and maintaining a holistic approach to health. It is the same advice that James continues to use for huge celebrity clients such as David Beckham, Joe Wicks, Kylie Minogue and Phillip Schofield.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, James shares some of his top advice aimed at individuals who are struggling with, or are worried about developing, chronic pain in several parts of the body, including the neck, legs, shoulders and hips and knees.
“Our ancestors will not be proud of us now because our body isn’t really designed to always be on the phone or driving for long periods,” James begins, when asked about the reasons why so many of us are developing chronic pain.
“We always seem to be in a rush and that load on our back is not very good. Just these things that seem to be normal are actually not very good for our bodies.”
Although not expecting society as a whole to completely change the routines that we now depend upon, James aims to help people identify the clues that their body is giving them and then to do the correct thing to help correct it.
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“You might feel a twinge that might be a one out of 10 pain wise, but if you don’t do anything about it, it is just going to get worse,” he explains.
“Then all of a sudden it is going to be an eight out of 10 and many patients don’t realise it. They need to be shown the clues to solve the case, like sleeping with only one pillow might be the cause of their neck pain. Or not stretching before a two- to three-hour long journey every day.
“It just creeps up on you and then suddenly the brain goes ‘I can’t let you ignore this anymore. You need to do something about it.’ And it takes away your function to be able to do something like standing or sitting, these primary functions that we need.”
When typed into the NHS website, the medical body describes chronic pain as “persistent pain is pain that carries on for longer than 12 weeks despite medication or treatment”. Normally triggered by an injury or following an operation, chronic pain can also affect individuals living with a health condition such as arthritis or diabetes.
Setting out to debunk some of the myths and misconceptions attached to pain, such as its involvement in ageing and that individuals can just suck it up and live with pain, James goes on to say: “I think the biggest misconception is that as we age, the so called glory days are finished and that we cannot have that full range of motion anymore.
“I tell people, ‘Of course you are going to get aches and pains and there is wear and tear on the body but there are things that you can do.’ I feel like as a nation we don’t fully express ourselves or our movements anymore. And if we don’t do that, that is when our bodies will cease and lead you to develop conditions such as arthritis.
“I’ve got to travel across the whole world and you have people in other countries who are in their 90s and can do a full squat. So it is the bad habits that we have and we don’t know that we are doing them, and all of a sudden you can’t move your hips or wrists.”
In addition to not being physically active, James warns that many people do not know that stress is the “biggest killer”. He says: “Stress can have a massive effect on the physicality of you. One common thing that I see is that the traps at the top of your neck and on your shoulders become tense if you are stressed.
“You need a level of good stress, but you need to find a balance for yourself and everyone is different and unique. I don’t want to give individuals a solid general answer as that is the problem, what can work for 70 percent of the population might not work for the remaining 30 percent.”
As well as his ethos of relieve, restore and perform, James promotes a 360 approach which incorporates: sleep, posture, activity, calm and energy. He says: “In theory if you address all of those things in your life, you are going to be better off and your health and wellbeing will be on another level.”
Although it may sound hard, James breaks down his advice with some top tips for how individuals can live pain free, no matter what their age. These tips include:
- Do not be hard on yourself
- Be realistic.
In order to try and help others get started on implementing simple yet effective exercises into their daily routines, using the tips above, James added: “If you are brushing your teeth and you just want to stretch, something is better than nothing.
“I want it to be a common thing and for people not to be embarrassed. For example I travel a lot and I might be filling up my car with petrol and I say to myself ‘that is going to be the perfect time to stretch’ even if people are laughing at me. If I can stretch my calves they are going to feel really good when I am doing that two-hour journey.
“My best advice is to try and find something that is a fundamental practice like brushing your teeth or watching your favourite TV show, take two minutes to stand up off the sofa and stretch. It doesn’t have to be an hour-long yoga session, you need to get into good habits and then you will be more likely to do it.”
James’ advice comes highly recommended by numerous high-profile clients, many of whom have given testimonials for his book. David Beckham said: “James is the man; he has revolutionised the way I feel about my body.”
And couple Marvin and Rochelle Humes added: “The man with the healing hands! Mr James Davies, what an absolute legend. Anytime we have issues with our bodies, James is there literally at the drop of a hat. Never have we had a therapist who is so genuinely concerned for our wellbeing and speedy recoveries. We cannot thank James enough for the countless times he has fixed our aches and pains. One of the nicest man we know, and we feel honoured to now call him a friend, everyone needs a James in their lives.”
Finally, acting legend Sir David Jason added: “Thank you for your expertise, I am back! (pardon the pun!) I look forward to more of your treatment again.”
Body by James Davies is published by HQ, HarperCollins on September 1, in hardback, eBook and audiobook.
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