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Preventative maintenance

Regardless of what we want to achieve in our lives, the most important step to achieving anything is to be healthy. Ill-health can stop us in our tracks, whether it’s a head-ache or a cold that makes us want to crawl into bed, a muscle or joint pain that stops us from exercising, or any number of chronic conditions that can leave us exhausted. If we can maintain a level of wellness then we can do more, achieve more, get more enjoyment out of life.

But how much time do we focus on staying well? Most people only think about their health when they’re experiencing some kind of problem. Preventative steps to stay healthy only seem to be on the agenda after some sort of illness that acts as a reminder we need to look after ourselves.

Most of us have got the message that we need to get our teeth checked regularly. We go to the dentist as much as twice a year, just to check that everything’s ok. That’s great! The mouth is a great breeding ground for bacteria, and keeping our teeth clean and problem-free is a challenge, so it’s absolutely right that we should visit the dentist just to make sure nothing is starting to go wrong. Often we’re not aware of the need for work to be done, we may not have noticed the onset of some level of decay, and we get problems fixed before they become problems. On the occasions we don’t, tooth-ache is one of those things that can really stop you in your tracks.

But why don’t we apply the same preventative care to other parts of the body? The most common issues I come across relate to backs. Most people I meet have some kind of pain that generates from the spine – be it lower back, the neck, or anywhere in between. Tension in the spine can cause headaches, shoulder and arm pain, knee and ankle strain, indigestion, to name but a few. Looking after the back is really important, yet often we give it very little thought. If we were to have a regime that included checking for tension in the spine on a regular basis we would see immediate improvements, plus we would be setting ourselves up well for the future.

Think about your back. Where do you feel pain? What makes it worse? What makes it better? If you spend a lot of time driving or sitting at a computer (or both) then the chances are you’re developing tension, and it’s important that you do something to release that tension. The human head is quite heavy, and holding it steady for a prolonged period needs to be counter-balanced by stretching and relaxing. Pilates, yoga, just a regime of stretches will help. There are many other options – osteopathy, Alexander technique, massage, reflexology, and so on.

So, look after your back and your back will be better able to support you in everything you want to do.

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