7 Exercises for Back Pain

Book review by Rachel Grunwell

Book title: McKenzie Method:  Treat Your Own Back – by Robin McKenzie

This post is sponsored by The McKenzie Method company #AD

If you have ever experienced back pain, you’d be interested in this helpful easy-to-read book…

This can empower you on how to avoid or manage self-care for your back.

This book is penned by the late Kiwi physiotherapist Robin McKenzie, who is renowned for developing the McKenzie method to help people self-manage low back pain.

An acronym for the McKenzie method is mechanical diagnosis and therapy (MDT). McKenzie passed away in 2013. But his work lives on. Medical professionals have used his method worldwide for decades and continue to do so.

This 120-page book distils myths about acute back pain, lists common causes, and then details exercises and remedies on how to manage symptoms. 

The book is short and easy to read (ie not too much medical or technical jargon). I like that anyone can pick this book up and read it with ease. The exercises are also easily explained and not too difficult to do. Many of them are yoga poses I teach as a yoga teacher, but they go by different names in the book.

The book shows you strategies on how to put your back “in” too if you have put it “out”. It also advises around how to try and avoid a recurrence.

McKenzie writes in the book that back pain affects nearly everyone at some stage and is a common ailment. 

He writes: “It is often described as fibrositis, slipped disc, lumbago, arthritis in the back or rheumatism and, when it causes pain extending into the leg, sciatica.”

Some common causes of lower back pain include sitting for a long time in a poor, flexed rounded position. You know, that slumped in a chair kind of position. Or prolonged forward bending (take note: gardeners, or anyone using a poor lifting technique when picking something up!)

McKenzie writes that when pains of postural origin are first felt they can be easily eliminated merely by correcting your posture.

If uncorrected, the habitual poor posture can cause changes to the structure and shape of the joints. Excessive wear can occur, loss of elasticity resulting in premature aging of the joints etc.

A key point of the book is teaching readers the importance around how to keep natural posture ie when you stand, there’s a natural inward curve in the small of the lower back just above the pelvis (called lumbar lordosis). The lordosis is lost whenever the low back is rounded ie sitting hunched over and bending forwards. It becomes an issue if the lordosis is lost for long periods.

McKenzie explains in the book that unless you do exercises to restore normal flexibility, your healed tissue can produce back pain or stiffness – possibly for years. The pain can then escalate if scar tissue forms and restricts movement and you feel pain whenever you stretch…

I found it interesting in the book that lots of people blame sports or vigorous activities for back pain. However, McKenzie writes that in fact often it is after the activity when people sit, slouch or collapse for long periods in a chair. So, it’s not the sport, but often the posture we do post activities.

Resting or sleeping in some positions can also fuel back discomfort. Even surface (a bad mattress) can be a problem.

The book helps guides readers through stretches to help remedy their discomfort – and what to do if pain persists.

There are stretches and varied advice in the book to combat different issues and there are many areas you can feel the source of the back pain. He shares tips on what to do to handle niggles, all the way up to acute back pain. There’s advice on when to apply certain exercises also in an emergency scenario if you get a sudden onset of acute pain…

Note. If pain persists, please seek the advice of a qualified McKenzie physio to get expert advice.

7 Exercises For Back Pain:

Exercise 1. Lying face down.
Exercise 2. Lying face down in extension.
Exercise 3. Extension in lying.
Exercise 4. Extension in standing.
Exercise 5. Flexion in lying.
Exercise 6. Flexion in sitting.
Exercise 7. Flexion in standing.
To find out more about the McKenzie method click HERE

Blog penned by Rachel Grunwell: Qualified coach, yoga + meditation teacher, wellness speaker and author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness. Follow Rachel on Instagram or her business Facebook page

The Number 1 De-Stress Tool I Share with Corporates

Rachel Grunwell plank yoga pose

By Rachel Grunwell

Feeling stressed, anxious, or sad? Firstly, I want to assure you that you are not alone. Life is a roller coaster – for everyone. It is full of ups and downs. We all have tough days. It’s part of being human.

I share lots of de-stress strategies in workshops with corporates. What’s my number 1 tool that I always share that’s science-proven? It’s called diaphragmatic breathing (or in simple terms, it is just plain belly breathing. This can powerfully help you to calm your nervous system in a matter of moments.

What do you do? Essentially… just sit, soften your shoulders, and take three, slow calming breaths into the belly area.

For example, you can count to four on the in-breath. Pause. Then, count to four on the out breath. Pause. Repeat this 2-3 times.

I hope this helps to re-set your body, mind and soul.  

Ps remember to reach out and talk to loved ones, friends, colleagues, anyone. Connection helps to uplift you too.

And keep believing in the power of love and kindness. Always.

For more wellness tips follow Rachel on Instagram and Facebook. Rachel is the author of Balance: Food, Health + Happiness. She’s an award-winning journalist. Wellness expert. Coach. Qualified yoga a + meditation teacher. Rachel is also a key note wellness speaker and runs wellness workshops for corporates.

Rachel Grunwell personal coaching

Yoga Hero Pose – beginner to advanced

Quad goals… This pose stretches your quads (front of your thighs) and ankles. The first pic is the beginner version of the pose. Note: Not everyone can tolerate the internal rotation and so if you feel any strain… just come out of the pose. The advanced version is for those who have done yoga for a while, and have the flexibility. This can take time to ease into… For this pose, hold it for 30 seconds – two mins (depending on how long you have to stretch). Breathe through it. Remember to smile 🙂

beginner…
advanced hero pose

For more health and fitness inspo connect with Rachel via Instagram or the InspiredHealthNZ facebook page

3 De-Stress Tips for Busy Executives to Sleep Well and Perform Well

by Rachel Grunwell  
Life can be busy and we can hold onto a lot of stress. So, it’s important to take time to pause , unwind and to re-set. If you don’t take time for self-care, then you can wind up facing “burn out”. If this stress carries on for too long, it can snowball.

Too much stress can lead to poor sleep and poor concentration. It can then spiral into things like anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

Stress chemicals can stay in your brain and body if not addressed. Worse still, your sensitivity to stress can increase if it continues to accumulate. So the trick is to embrace calming strategies into your life so you can perform at your best.

Stress can be scary. It results in chemicals throughout your body and brain. This includes adrenalin, noradrenaline, serotonin, histamine, corticotrophin-releasing hormone and acetylcholine. These chemicals activate the fight-or-flight response in the body so it gets into ready-to-run mode. This in turn impacts on you being able to have clear, logical thinking, your digestion working optimally (ie the ability to lose weight is hard!) to not being able to function well in your work or life…

I’m a qualified coach, and yoga + meditation teacher. I co-lead the Mindful Moments retreats at the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua. Here, clients get to tap into an amazing weekend getaway. They learn diverse strategies to de-stress. So there’s bound to be one technique that resonates to fit into your every day life back home. On the edge of Lake Rotorua, it’s a blissful setting. Clients also get a chance to dip into the relaxing and rejuvenating waters of the 28 pools on site. The pools are of varying temperatures. This alone will calm your body, mind and soul. The retreat also includes mindfulness and meditation training. A spa treat treatment is part of the weekend too. There’s a walk in nature in the Redwoods Forest, nourishing lunches, and restorative yin yoga. Lastly, there’s a wellness workshop where retreat-goers learn lots of science-backed wellness strategies from my book Balance, which includes 30 global experts on how to live healthier and happier. I promise you’ll leave this retreat empowered with more knowledge and how to kick-start your own health journey and goals.

Here are 3 de-stress tips I share for busy executives on these retreats:

1. Take time to find “flow”. What I mean by this, is I encourage you to do something you love. This could be exercise, knitting, painting, playing music or going for a walk in nature, for instance. This “me time” helps you to feel calm, happy and to harness your monkey-mind.

2. Have a night time ritual to help you unwind before bed-time. And of course get the mobile phone’s blue light away from your face.

3. Practice mindfulness . This helps you to live life more in the moment and to feel happier, rather than anxious.

Find out more about the Mindful Moments retreats. The retreat dates for 20/20 are now live. Click HERE

Rachel is the Polynesian Spa’s ambassador and co-leader of the spa’s Mindful Moments retreats. She is a wellness expert, coach, yoga + meditation teacher, and author of Balance: Food, Health + Happiness, which boasts 30 global wellness experts sharing science-backed advice on living healthier and happier. Find out more about the book HERE

Fiji – for a blissful escape or adventure. Read about two top locations

Fiji – for a blissful escape or adventure. Read about two top locations…

CASTAWAY_Hero Image_ credit_Matt C Bauer-

pic of Castaway Island – courtesy of Matt Bauer

Visiting Fiji conjures up: Blissing-out on white-sand beaches. Swimming in azure, tropical waters. Devouring mouth-watering paw-paw, pineapple and coconut. And smiling while saying “bula!” to everyone. But there’s more to experience in this paradise too. Writer Rachel Grunwell shares some unique experiences at two top locations.

Read More

5 Quick Stretches For Runners – post run

rotorua marathon stretch inner leg

By Rachel Grunwell: Award-winning journalist. Good magazine’s wellness columnist & smoothie chick. Multi-Marathoner. Qualified Yoga Teacher. Blogger. Mum. The order of importance is in reverse.

Follow InspiredHealth’s Facebook page & Instagram

(with giveaways like Fitbits, healthy food, fitness books + health wisdom).

5 Stretches For Runners – perfect for after your run

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Why Runners Need to Take the Lunge…

lunge 1lunge 2

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Award winning writer, wellness columnist for Good magazine & Indulge magazine, qualified yoga teacher and PT. Follow Rachel via InspiredHealth’s Facebook & Insta to go in the draw to win health-inspired giveaways like a Fitbit watch coming soon!
Laughs & lunges for runners… they’re both recommended!
Laugh lots – because life shouldn’t be so darn serious all the time. Don’t run with a face like you are about to get a tax audit, just saying. Life is better when you smile and get in some belly laughs.

Read More

Why Workplace Happiness Matters – plus 7 tips to reduce sitting time

rach headshot by Pablo Creative

Article by Rachel Grunwell: Director of InspiredHealth, collaborating with businesses to inspire Kiwis to live healthy and happy. Award-winning writer. Magazine wellness columnist for Good magazine & Indulge magazine. Wellness expert often on radio. Yoga & meditation teacher, teaching de-stress skills to Kiwis to uplift performance. Qualified fitness consultant. Co-leader of health retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. 

To learn learn mindfulness and de-stress techniques, find out more about attending a health retreat with Rachel at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa click HERE.

Why Workplace Happiness Matters – plus 7 tips to reduce sitting time

Read More

Mindful Moments Retreat – book now!

PolySpa 3

Switch off from your busy life and experience two days on our Mindful Moments Retreat to bring your mind, body and spirit into balance. Surrounded by the natural elements of Rotorua and Polynesian Spa’s therapeutic alkaline and acid waters, you will be guided through yoga, mindfulness, meditation and wellness workshops.  We will also be taking time to indulge in world-renowned Polynesian Spa therapy treatments.

Mindful Moments is hosted by our highly experienced Spa and Retreat Manager Helena Keenan and inspirational Polynesian Spa Health and Wellness ambassador Rachel Grunwell.

This unique geothermal bathing and soul soothing retreat originated here at Polynesian Spa in 2016 and has established itself as a must do health and wellness experience for those wanting to unwind, relax and reset.

RETREAT DATES & COSTS

 

2018 

Saturday 11th August – Sunday 12th August

Saturday 8th September – Sunday 9th September

Saturday 10th November –  Sunday 11th November

 

$479.00 per person

 

INCLUSIONS

Relaxation & Mindfulness Techniques

Mindfulness & Meditation Session

Therapy Treatment

Yoga Class hosted by Rachel Grunwell

Wellbeing Workshop

Entry to the Deluxe Lake Spa

Morning Tea

Lunch

Transport to Walk Location

Premium Retreat Gift Bag

 

THERAPIES

CHECK OUT THE THERAPIES YOU HAVE A CHOICE FROM:

Natures Gift Mud Massage

Polynesian Spa Signature Mud Wrap

Polynesian Spa Signature Aix Mud Therapy

*Please note the Pure Source Mud Polish will be used for the AIX Therapy*

ACCOMMODATION

We can offer exclusive rates for The Millennium Hotel Rotorua to those joining us on a Mindful Moments Retreat for accommodation rates please contact us upon booking. Bookings will need to be made directly with the hotels reservation team and Terms and Conditions will apply to the booking, these are at the discretion of The Millennium Hotel Rotorua. 

There is also a wide selection of hotels, luxury lodges, lake-side bachs, charming motels available in Rotorua to check options click here.

POLYNESIAN SPA RETREAT LEADER: HELENA KEENAN

helena

Helena’s personal experience with Meditation began in 1992 developing for her a deep interest in the Wellbeing benefits of Meditation. Further studies and reading into Mindfulness Meditation created a goal to pursue formal studies in this area. Eventually the opportunity to study Mindfulness Meditation Teacher training with Dr Ian Gawler arose and in 2009 Helena completed her first training course in this field. More recently Helena has completed further studies with Ian Gawler and Ruth Gawler in Australia in the practices of Guided Imagery and Contemplation. Now settled in Rotorua, Helena brings a diverse and extensive skill-set to Polynesian Spa. 

Website: www.polynesianspa.co.nz

Facebook: PolynesianSpa

Instagram: polynesianspa

YOGA INSTRUCTOR: RACHEL GRUNWELL

Rachel is an award-winning writer, speaker, wellness columnist & healthy recipe creator (Good magazine), qualified yoga teacher, blogger & influencer.

Website: www.inspiredhealth.co.nz

Facebook: InspiredHealthNZ

Instagram: inspiredhealthandfitness