The feedback I have been getting from you all lately has been quite gratifying! Each month, I write two posts, with information that I have thoroughly researched and I know it will help you lead healthier lives. Much of what I share has to do with living without pain because I believe that no one needs to live with back pain. Now I am seeing results that I love with comments like: “My neck was bothering me last week and I did your Alexander Shoulder Stretch and it went away!” “I use this strap stretch all the time to keep my piriformis pain at bay!” “Your relaxation technique is something I make sure to do every day and it’s made a HUGE difference in how my back feels!”
YAY!!!! That’s the idea – get to know what the actual cause of your pain is and then use the exercises I have given you to keep it away. As a teacher, I have to say I love hearing this feedback. 🙂
Today I have a few more tips on how to live without annoying pain in your back, hips, neck, and shoulders, etc.
The first one is the importance of magnesium.
Magnesium is the master mineral. 80% of the thousands of interactions in our bodies require magnesium.
Magnesium is absolutely required for normal muscle and nerve function. When you have too little, your muscles cramp and twitch and you become very fatigued. Magnesium not only helps muscles to relax, but also nourishes connective tissues and balances the nervous system – both of these are essential for maintaining our flexibility and strength.
Magnesium is also essential in preventing osteoporosis. I’ll bet your primary care doc didn’t mention that… Adequate levels of magnesium are essential for the absorption and metabolism of calcium.
According to Susan Brown, Ph.D., director of the Osteoporosis Education Project in Syracuse, New York, and based upon recent studies:
*Magnesium stimulates a particular hormone, calcitonin, that helps to preserve bone structure and draws calcium out of the blood and soft tissues back into the bones, preventing some forms of arthritis and kidney stones.
*Magnesium suppresses another bone hormone called parathyroid, preventing it from breaking down bone.
*Magnesium converts vitamin D into its active form so that it can help calcium absorption.
*Magnesium is required to activate an enzyme that is necessary to form new bone.
*Magnesium regulates active calcium transport.
Magnesium is also a natural anti-inflammatory. That means if you have a bit of arthritis that’s giving you some pain, taking magnesium can help. My friend Dr. Carolyn Dean is the leading expert on Magnesium and how deficiencies affect us. She recommends 450 mg a day.
It’s no surprise to me that Dr. Dean has developed her own magnesium supplement formulas. This is the only way that she can be certain we are getting what our bodies need in the most easily absorbable form.
I use her lotion as it’s easily absorbed into the body when rubbed into the skin so that even if I have a cramp at the time, it will go away instantly. Plus, I don’t care for the laxative affect of taking an oral supplement. She has both oral and the lotion formulas though, so which ever is appropriate for you is available! Here is a link to the one I like (the lotion) and once on her web site, you can see other options.
FYI, I am not getting a commission from these products, I am sharing these links with you because I use them myself and I believe they are the best versions out there!
Posture is the next topic for today. The best way to truly SEE your own posture is to take some pictures! Put on your bathing suit and take selfies front and back, right side and left side, or have someone take them for you, so that you can concentrate on standing your normal way. These pictures will show you whether your hips are in alignment; whether your chin is jutting forward; shoulders slumped or one higher than the other; or if you have lost that lovely little curve in your lower back. Of course, you can also just look in the mirror and get the same information, but it’s a bit difficult to see that little curve in your lower back in the mirror. Asking a friend to help with pictures is often the best way to see for yourself what may be causing YOUR back pain. Then, you can begin to work on YOUR specific challenge!
Today I’m sharing a video of how to use your mirror to check if you are “standing tall.” I never say stand straight when starting an exercise, because our backs are not supposed to be “straight.” We need that lovely little curve in our lower backs! I like the term “lengthen your spine” much better.
So, check out your own posture through photos and then practice lengthening your spine. Tie a string on your finger, or set up a timer to help you remember to stop a few times each day and take a moment to lengthen your spine. See if you can do it standing, sitting, driving your car, etc. Think creatively, and come up with ways to make sure that you check in with your body several times a day, until lengthening your spine becomes as natural as breathing in and out!
Best of Health,