REMEDIAL masseuse and movement therapist Adrienne Golembo, has set up The Building Better Backs and Bodies (B4) Programme as a comprehensive method of dealing with back pain, based on the philosophy of learning how to use the body correctly in all situations.

Adrienne suffered with back problems for over 20 years and originally developed B4 to cope with her own pain She says: "As a chronic back pain sufferer I found myself on a roller coaster of therapies ranging from physiotherapy, surgery, osteopathy, chiropractics, acupuncture, and many other alternative therapies. I was also living on a cocktail of various different medications. I eventually got fed up with this lifestyle and gradually started to work out a regime which completely changed my life."

Having eliminated her own back problems, Adrienne set about helping others by establishing the B4 back programme.

"The first thing I do is to get the person into a position that relieves the pain straight away," says Adrienne. "If you're in pain you often feel as if there's nothing you can do to get out of it. Your muscles can go into spasm and relaxing them totally allows them to have the chance to heal. We do a lot to achieve mental relaxation but forget about how important it is to be totally physically relaxed.

"After I have made the patient comfortable, I do a full assessment of their environment. If you don't know what you're dealing with or what's correct for the person you can't help them."

Although I do not have back pain, Adrienne has come to give me and my home a complete one and a half hour assessment.

Adrienne follows me from room to room demonstrating as we went how I should stand to clean my teeth, how I should boil a kettle and how to employ a gentle rocking motion to open and close my kitchen cupboards. She even shows me the best position for a blissful night's sleep and how best to wash my six-year-old son's hair and help him to get out of the bath.

Beyond the home she tells me how I should stand when queuing or waiting for the bus, with one foot just in front and knees slightly bent. She demonstrates how I should keep my limbs loose and allow my body to sway with the motion when on a moving train.

Adrienne points out that patients receive a manual and CD for exercises which combine core stability, general joint mobility, relaxation and strengthening techniques. Back pain sufferers also attend support classes, which she says: "work the body to get everything moving" and cover everything from mobilising and stretching, to relaxing and strengthening.

"Patients learn about how their own body works on both the right and the left side," says Adrienne. "I teach them to take responsibility to alleviate, control and prevent neck and back problems for themselves."

Adrienne says the classes, which she runs at Esporta Riverside and LA Fitness in Northwood, are especially useful for people with Parkinson's Disease and for people with cardio-vascular obesity.

"Persistent back pain in particular, has a serious impact on peoples' lives," adds Adrienne. "It frequently reduces peoples' quality of life and adversely affects their family and social relationships. Many people are resigned to the idea that they will have to live with back or neck pain for the rest of their lives.

"The B4 Programme teaches back pain sufferers to examine the situations which may specifically aggravate back problems and introduces methods of reducing and eliminating these risk factors."

As she tells me this, I am lying in what Adrienne terms the complete relaxation position for me. I have my legs up on the sofa and a cushion under my lower back, one under my neck and another two under each arm. Not one single part of my body feels tense and I begin to realise what she means by total relaxation.

Adrienne says there is a unique position for everyone to achieve this state and, in back pain sufferers in particular, muscle relaxation is vital to allow time for the essential healing process to occur.

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