Archive for the Pain Relief & Prevention Category

Foods That Fight Fatigue

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fight fatigueFeelings of tiredness, weariness, and lack of energy can creep up towards the end of our workday.  Studies show poor nutrition is one of the key reasons. Food fuels our bodies consequently, what we choose to eat will have an impact on the performance of our bodies.

Instead of reaching for energy drinks loaded with sugar, fight fatigue with these foods:

  • Oatmeal: Fuel up on quality carbohydrates in the morning with a bowl of oatmeal. Glucose is slowly absorbed through soluble fibers, which provides fuel for our brain and muscles as well as keeping blood sugar levels stable.
  • Melons: Up your H2O intake with food such as watermelon. They are a good source of energy and since they have 90% water they help to prevent dehydration.
  • Nuts: A healthy dose of magnesium, protein and fiber, nuts will provide energy and keep it stable throughout the workday.
  • Sweet Potatoes: With a quarter of a day’s worth of potassium and energy-stabilizing high-fiber carbs, sweet potatoes balance electrolytes and keep us hydrated. Potassium also helps fight fatigue by relaxing the body and lowering blood pressure.
  • Bananas: Low in calories, high in antioxidants and healthy carbohydrates, bananas break down blood sugar for fuel. Combine them with a healthy fat, such as peanut butter, for a well-rounded energy boost.
  • Leafy greens: Fight fatigue with iron-rich foods such as spinach. Lack of iron can cause feelings of sluggishness and fatigue. Iron helps maintain energy levels, keeps blood oxygenated and maintains healthy blood pressure.
  • Chia seeds: Known as a “running food”, chia seeds are packed with protein and fiber (5 grams per tablespoon) to keep blood sugar levels stable. Try them in yogurt, water, or a morning smoothie.
  • Whole wheat: Fiber rich foods like whole wheat English muffins or bagels keep energy levels stable while helping to fill you up. These foods also keep up stamina levels.
  • Protein: Fish, beans, eggs, poultry, soy, meat, and low-fat dairy products are good sources of protein. Protein controls the release of energy from carbohydrates and fats, preserves lean muscle mass, maintains cells and assists in growth.

10 Ways to Stay Active Throughout the Day

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Did you know that 1 in 10 premature deaths are caused by inactivity and lack of exercise? The World Health Organization (WHO) lists inactivity as the fourth biggest killer in adults. Research has shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time is degrading to our health, and that our bodies actually thrive on motion. While sitting through long commutes and working even longer hours can make staying active difficult, there are steps you can take to reverse the negative effects of inactivity.

Below, we have listed our top 10 ways to stay active throughout the day:

Ways To Stay Active

We’ve Got Your Back

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At Relax The Back, we know the importance of living life free of aches, pains, and daily discomforts. Many of us live a sedentary lifestyle working 9-to-5 jobs, commuting daily, and spending time in front of the television or computer when at home.  We are seeing little to no physical activity in our everyday life.

The decisions we make, from morning to night, have a lasting affect on our overall health and wellness. Over the next three months, we will be providing around the clock product solutions and tips for a pain-free and productive day. These tips and solutions will help you sleep better, maintain a healthy workspace, keep you moving throughout the day, and relaxing more at night. When it comes to relieving daily discomforts and improving home, office, and sleep comfort, we’ve got your back

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Taking Work to Bed

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Does working away on a laptop and spreadsheets in bed lead to more productivity and comfort than working behind a desk? A recent poll found nearly 1 in 5 employees spend two to ten hours working from bed in a given week. A mobile-security company polled its workers to find half of the 1,000 employees work from bed. Many claim to respond or read work emails, addressing colleagues that may work in different time zones. While this may be a comfortable theory, ergonomically speaking it is not a good practice.

WSJ looks at the negative affects of working in bed. Not only is it physically demanding on your body, it also has negative emotional and mental affects. Consider making your bedroom a device-free zone and make efforts to have a more productive day while at the office. However, if you believe you get your best work done this way, we recommend using a Bed Wedge System to properly support your back while you work.

Working in Bed

Tips for Living with Fibromyalgia

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Tips for Living with FibromyalgiaNearly 5 million people in the US alone suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms. Fibromyalgia is a common arthritis-related symptom that causes fatigue, abdominal pain, chronic headaches, insomnia, dry eyes, stiffness, and joint and muscle pain. Not only do sufferers of fibromyalgia experience physical pain, emotional and mental pain is also a result of this condition.

These tips can help you cope with the daily challenges of living with fibromyalgia:

  • Exercise Regularly: Many suffering from fibro become physically unfit due to pain, ongoing fatigue, and stiffness. However, according to the Arthritis Foundation, engaging in regular exercise is an important component in easing symptoms. Aerobic and conditioning exercises, such as swimming, biking, or walking, provide feelings of well-being and control. Exercise improves endurance, reduces pain, and keeps you fit.
  • Make Sleep a Priority: Ensure your bedroom is set up for optimal sleep conditions. Think cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in pillows, such as the ContourSleep Cervical Pillow, which provide support for your head, neck, and spine while easing fibro pain.. Pressure relieving mattresses, like TempurPedic, reduce pressure on tender points and improve restorative sleep.
  • Heat Therapy: Heat helps you to move more easily, relax tense muscles, and reduce pain. MediBeads Moist Heat Pads provide fast, therapeutic relief for up to 30 minutes. Soaking in a warm bath will also help relieve pain, increase levels of endorphins and decrease levels of stress hormones. Studies show a warm bath before bedtime aids in a more restful sleep. Combining heat therapy with a Kneading Back Massage Cushion provides similar benefits as a warm bath.
  • Find Family and Peer Support: If family members suffer from fibromyalgia, look to them for support and advice through this syndrome. Local support groups can provide this same type of guidance; half educational, half support system. Meeting others with the same condition can provide an emotional boost, as well as encouragement and pain relief tips. Don’t see a local group in your area? Start your own!
  • Minimize stress: Many people see their fibro symptoms flare when they are feeling nervous, panicked, or anxious. These stresses can play a big role in triggering these flare-ups. Consider adding meditation to your daily routine to help keep stress levels down. Learn to slow down and say “no” to engagements that may cause more stress than happiness.

 

Exercises for Neck Strain

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The neck, also called the cervical spine, supports the full weight of your head and allows for full range of motion and a high degree of mobility. Due to this mobility however, your neck is very vulnerable to injuries. Neck strain is a common complaint and rarely is it a serious injury. Pain can be caused by poor posture, sleeping in an awkward position or car accidents, to name a few.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to relieve some of the discomfort associated with neck strain. Neck therapy products can be used daily to reduce further pain and stress on the important muscles in your neck. Simple exercises for neck strain, like the ones found below, can also help to reduce and relieve pain:

neck pain exercises

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more pain relief tips or visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained associates who can offer recommendations tailored to your physical needs and abilities.

Gifts of Comfort for Moms and Grads

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Shopping for moms and soon-to-be grads can be stressful. Instead of only sticking to the traditional flowers, breakfast in bed, or money cards for your grad, consider giving a gift that will continue to provide comfort and relief throughout their busy lives.

At Relax The Back, we have the perfect gifts to help relieve and prevent back, shoulder, and neck pain while promoting overall relaxation. From body pillows to back massagers, here are our top 6 gifts for the mother(s) and soon-to-be grads in your life:

  • Kneading Back Massage – after a long day of working at the office or around the house, give the gift of soothing, heated massages anytime they want.
  • Theracane – for anyone on the go, this portable tool will melt away knots in their back and relieve muscle tension, stiffness and pain.
  • PureFit Wedge System – help your mom or grad find relaxation and the optimal rest position with a custom comfort wedge system.
  • Sit-to-Stand WorkTable – designed to fit wherever they need to be, this table offers a mobile workstation while providing sit-to-stand health benefits.
  • Snoozer Body Pillow – for ultimate ergonomic support and comfort from their neck to their lower back to their feet, this pillow also helps to alleviate pain from headaches, insomnia, fibromyalgia and more.
  • PureRelax Mattress Topper – give your hardworking mom or grad countless nights of quality sleep with this eco-friendly memory foam mattress topper.

Treat the women and soon-to-be grads in your life with something special this year. Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with a trained specialist who can help you find the perfect gift based on their specific needs. Also be sure to visit us online (www.relaxtheback.com) and on Facebook and Twitter.

Swim Away From Back Pain

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When the weather starts to warm up, consider incorporating swimming into your exercise routine. Unlike many forms of aerobic exercises, swimming is easy on the joints and spine since there is practically no impact on spinal structures. Water resistance allows for increased range of motion while strengthening weak back and neck muscles.

Although therapeutic, this aquatic exercise can also cause back pain. Likely causes are hyperextension, or over stretching, of the back and jerking motions in the neck during certain strokes. To prevent further injury, practice proper form and technique.

Freestyle (Front Crawl): Keep your body lying flat in the water and hold lower abdominal muscles up and in, and keep your head straight rather than lifted. When taking a breath, slightly roll your body along with your head to reduce neck strain. Inexperienced swimmers or those with severe back pain should consider using a snorkel or breathing device.

Breaststroke: A wider stroke helps strengthen back muscles and reduce pain. Make sure to gently raise the head and neck during breaths.

Backstroke: Start slowly and gradually increase the length of distance to avoid neck muscle fatigue associated with the backstroke.

Remember to properly stretch beforehand and avoid overdoing your workout. Using Exercise and Therapy Foam Rollers can help massage sore muscles and enhance flexibility and strength before and after your workouts. Be sure to speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise to determine if swimming is right for you.

Tips to Prevent Back Pain While Golfing

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Preventing Pain when Golfing

Golf is a favorite hobby among many men and women. Unfortunately, back pain is a common injury among the golf community. Many golfers will experience some form of back pain at some point during their lives, with one report stating nearly 80% of amateur golfers have back related injuries. There are many different muscle groups involved when swinging a golf club, as it requires a smooth, repetitive motion. Keeping these muscles stretched, well rested, and flexible is key to injury prevention.

Follow these steps to ensure you never miss a tee time:

 

  • Take it slow: If you haven’t played golf in awhile or are new to the sport, don’t overexert yourself. Start with short sessions on the driving range, working your way up to a full round of golf.
  • Incorporate Conditioning Exercises: Strengthening your core muscles, which include the muscles in your back, abdomen, buttocks, and pelvis, with conditioning exercises can help prevent injuries. Add exercises that focus on rotation to prepare your body for the twisting motions of swinging a golf club.
  • Don’t forget to stretch: A balance of flexibility and strength is required in the game of golf. Having a regular stretching routine will help your muscles remain flexible. Foam rollers are a great way to enhance flexibility and strength. Maintaining a routine before and after a golf game will help alleviate muscle tension and prevent strains or sprains.
  • Invest in an Inversion Table: A recent study by GolfTest USA showed golfers that use Inversion Tables, such as the Teeter HangUps, averaged 3 fewer strokes per round, improved their total distance by an average of 10% and increased driver speed by 69%. Inversion Tables help to improve flexibility while relieving back, shoulder, and hip pain.
  • Take a breather: Swinging a golf club isn’t a natural motion and putting your body through this day after day puts strain on your muscles. Allow some time for you to recover between games. If you are experiencing back or neck pain, be sure to consult your doctor before stepping back on the course.

A Brief History: The Evolution of Ergonomics

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In the 1940s, an advancement of machinery and equipment during and post-World War II lead to a disharmony between people and the equipment they were using. There was an increased risk of human error and poor user performance. In order to avoid negative effects of human limitations, equipment had to be designed to take advantage of human capabilities consequently, establishing the scientific discipline we know today as Ergonomics. While the early focus of ergonomics was on aviation and aircraft controls, it has become a standard practice in designing computers, cars, and other consumer products.

With 33% of work-related injuries being caused by poor work station setup, occupational ergonomics is a top priority for many employers and employees. Over the years, there has been a shift in the way companies look at ergonomics. Companies were reactive when addressing proper ergonomics, oftentimes waiting to react to injuries or employee complaints, whereas today, the approach is proactive. Companies use tools, equipment, and best practices to prevent injuries and reduce the level of exposure. Companies are now encouraged to have integrated design phases, which take equipment, products, layout, and standard ergonomic guidelines into account when designing workspaces. Another shift in the discipline has been the method of assessment. Years ago, employees would attend classroom training sessions, in-person evaluations by a certified staff member, and chair-fitting rooms. Today, there is a stronger emphasis on employee-driven, in-office assessments. Chairs and workstations offer full range of adjustability, workstation design is based on computer use, and employees are able to assess and adjust their own workstations.

Here at Relax The Back, we continue to learn and improve our knowledge on ergonomics, and the tools and equipment that can be used to reduce and prevent injuries.  Read more information on ergonomics or visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists about a free workstation assessment.