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Relaxation (back pain management programme)

Patient information A-Z

Close your eyes, uncross your legs and make sure your arms are loose by your side.

Begin to think about your breathing, bringing your breathing right down to your diaphragm (the thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen). As you breathe in, feel your tummy rise slowly up and as you breathe out, feel your tummy go down with your upper chest staying nice and still.

I am going to count back from ten to zero, and by the time I reach zero, you will be as relaxed as you want to be, yet awake and alert.


  • Let your breathing become gentle and relaxed.
  • Notice the points where your body touches the support that you are sitting or lying on.
  • Let those points relax and let yourself sink down into the support.
  • Each time you breathe out relax a little bit more.
  • Your body should begin to feel heavier.


  • Let the back of your head relax as you rest it gently on the support.
  • Feel the gap between your eyebrows and hairline widening.
  • Imagine your worry lines being smoothed away.


  • Now concentrate on your eyes.
  • Imagine the creases around your eyes being smoothed away.
  • Let your eyes feel relaxed and at ease.


  • Let the skin on your cheeks relax.
  • Release any tension or tightness in your cheeks. When relaxed they should feel smooth and warm.


  • Allow your jaw to become relaxed.
  • Let your tongue rest gently behind your lower teeth so it is not touching the top of your mouth.
  • Your lips should be gently touching.
  • Your teeth should be unclenched and slightly apart.


  • Feel your neck and shoulders relaxing with your shoulders dropping away from your ears.
  • Focus on your right arm, feel the tension flow away and your arm becoming relaxed.
  • Imagine the skin on the palm and the back of your right hand becoming warm and relaxed.
  • All fingers are all warm and relaxed.


  • Now focus on your left arm. Feel the tension flow away and your arm become relaxed.
  • Imagine the skin on the palm and back of your left hand becoming warm and relaxed.
  • All fingers are all warm and relaxed.


  • Concentrate on your hips and buttocks.
  • Feel them sinking deeper and deeper into the support and becoming totally relaxed.


  • Concentrate on your legs and feet.
  • Let them feel completely relaxed.
  • Allow your toes to roll outwards and your legs to sink deeper into the support.
  • They feel heavy and warm.


  • The whole of your body is now relaxed.
  • Breathe in and out gently and allow yourself to become more and more relaxed.
  • Your body is heavy and warm.


  • Enjoy feeling relaxed with no tension.
  • If there is any part of your body that feels tense, focus on it and relax it.

(Pause for approximately two minutes)

I am now going to count from zero to ten. When I get to ten you will be ready to open your eyes……one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten. When you are ready open your eyes and focus on your surroundings, move your fingers and toes gently, stretch your arms and legs and take a couple of deep breaths.

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Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151