Archive for the Neck Category

Common Neck Pain Myths Debunked

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Neck Pain MythsWhether a dull ache or a sharp stab, many of us will experience some form of neck pain sooner or later. Solutions for relieving pain aren’t always the most straightforward, with some people finding relief quickly and others dealing with nagging pain for longer periods of time. Below we debunk some of the more common neck pain and treatment myths.

 

 

Myth: The best way to deal with neck pain is with rest

Truth: While short periods of rest can help ease acute pain of the neck or back, doctors generally do not advise more than one to two days of bed rest. On the contrary, general inactivity and rest can cause more pain and allow for an unhealthy cycle of pain/inactivity/more pain/more inactivity to occur. Physicians recommend for most conditions a long-term rehabilitation program consisting of physical therapy and exercise.

Myth: Pain is inevitable so I should just tough it out

Truth: Chronic neck and back pain (pain lasting more than 2-3 months) is very debilitating and can interfere with one’s ability to complete daily activities. If this is the case, treatment for pain must be sought out right away. Allowing the pain to worsen and go untreated can impede the healing and rehabilitation process by interfering with exercise. There is also a risk of increased psychological distress such as depression, stress, and sleeplessness.

Myth: The spine is easily injured due to sensitive nerves

Truth: Muscles, tendons, and ligaments that surround the spine provide a great deal of support, flexibility and strength. Smoking, lack of sleep or nutrition, and other generally unhealthy factors along with poor posture and body mechanics (ex. Improper lifting techniques) can harm the spine. Proper conditioning such as stretching, aerobic exercises, and strengthening are required in keeping the spine healthy and injury-free. Proper ergonomics and neck supports, such as Dr. Riter’s Real-EaSE Neck Support, can help keep neck pain at bay.

Myth: The pain must all be in my head since the doctor found nothing wrong

Truth: Regardless of a physician finding the anatomical cause of pain, pain is always real. It is especially important to proactively seek treatment for pain if one is suffering for more than 2-3 months. It is important to look at all options, , including nonsurgical treatment options, when searching for ways to help alleviate pain.

Ergonomic Workstations: Office Phone Habits

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Placement and use of your phone at the office is an important aspect of an ergonomic workstation. Being hands-free with a headset or a loudspeaker can help prevent injury and stress.

Phones add convenience to the workspace but they can also lead to strains and injury. Repeatedly reaching for a phone placed too far away results in shoulder, arm and neck strains. If you hold your phone between your shoulder and neck for prolonged periods of time, this too, can cause neck pain and stress.

Follow this ergonomic guide to avoid unnecessary strain and pain:

  • Place your phone in a spot close to you, where you will minimize repeated reaching.
  • Use a hands-free headset if you spend a lot of time on the phone.
  • Use speakerphone, provided you are aware of the volume level and you’re considerate of any co-workers around you.

For more information on Ergonomic workstations and solutions, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or visit your local Relax The Back location for a custom assessment on the proper phone placement for you.

Top 5 Gifts for the Busy Mom in Your Life

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Every year flowers are bought, breakfast in bed is made, and cards are given to Moms on Mother’s Day. But why not get her something that she can enjoy all year long?

Relax The Back has the perfect gift for any mother who could use more relaxation in their life. These products will help relieve back, neck, shoulder, and other physical pains she may have. Give a gift that will last her years to come and provide comfort and relaxation whenever she needs it.

Here are 5 of our favourite Mother’s Day gifts:

  • Kneading Back Massage Cushion – after a long day working at the office or around the house, give the gift of soothing massages anytime she wants.
  • Monitor Mount iPad Holder – for the tech savvy mom, this eases and minimizes eye and neck strain.
  • Original Backnobber II - a simple, portable tool for self deep-muscle massages that any on-the-go mom will enjoy.
  • Foot Log – busy moms who are on their feet all day, whether in the kitchen or running errands can relieve the pressure in aching feet anywhere, anytime in just ten minutes.
  • Wrap-Around Neck Pillow with Lavender – offer the hardworking mom a relaxing, spa-like experience with comfortable head and neck support.

To treat the mother(s) in your life to something truly special this year, visit us in-store, online (www.relaxtheback.com) and on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Tablets Can Hurt Your Neck

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As you’re reading this article, observe how you’re seated and viewing it.  Chances are you’re slumped over your chair with curved shoulders and your head tilted forward at an uncomfortable angle. If you’re accessing this on a tablet, the chances are likely higher. This poor posture called “tech neck” is caused by straining your neck forward to meet your screen. While we cannot deny the ever-increasing demands and convenience of mobile work and play, we can make sure that technology makes our lives easier and not worse.

Staying in this “tech neck” or “forward head posture” can cause muscle strain, disc herniation, pinched nerves, upper back pain, and vascular disease as slouching can reduce lung capacity. So what’s a plugged-in generation and workforce to do?

  • Take frequent breaks – About every 20 minutes, break your eyes from your screen to roll your shoulders and neck. Take a short walk – your work will be there when you return.
  • Bring the screen to you – Consider using ergonomically designed mounts such as the Monitor Mount iPad Holder to minimize eye/neck strain. For those who prefer to work on your favorite sofa, the Tablet Floor Stand works well as a freestanding table.
  • Stretch Your Neck – Some easy neck stretches include chin tucks, tilting your head side to side by bringing your ear close to the shoulder, rotating your chin towards each shoulder, and pushing your chin down towards your neck with your finger.

Tempur-Pedic Pillows for Your Sleep Personality

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Although known for their mattresses, Tempur-Pedic offers a quality line of pillows that can do wonders for your sleep. Whether you prefer ergonomically contoured shapes for more support or gentler, shapeable pillows for different sleep styles, there’s a match for you. To find your pillow match, start with your “sleep personality”:

  • Side Sleeper - Consider The TEMPUR-Side Pillow, which was designed by doctors for sleepers especially like you. It cradles your shoulder and neck when you sleep on your side for better alignment and support. You might also consider a body pillow, which is ideal for side sleepers as it provides extra stability and support for your entire body.
  • Back Sleeper – Ensure proper alignment of your head, neck, and shoulders for the perfect night’s sleep! The dual-lobe design of the TEMPUR-Neck Pillow will allow for just that.  It’s important, however, to choose the proper pillow thickness based on your shoulder dimensions so your head is neither too high nor too far back.
  • Stomach Sleeper - You may want something on the softer side like our TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow. It combines the traditional feather pillow feel with the support that only Tempur materials can provide. Aptly named, you’ll feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud.

Tempur-pedic pillows are designed to complement their mattresses, from more basic models to the luxurious ones. Whether you sleep on your side or your back, if you snore or have an injury, or if you just want a better night’s rest, Tempur-Pedic has a pillow for you.  Stop by your local Relax The Back store to get properly fitted for a pillow by one of our trained associates. It’ll make all the difference.

 

 

Sciatica

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Many Relax The Back customers come to us seeking pain relief for various back and neck conditions. One of the top reasons is Sciatica – a term used to describe symptoms caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. This nerve originates in the lower back and travels down the back of legs into each foot.

Common symptoms include:

  • Varying pain (mild aches/tingling to sharp, burning sensations) that most often occurs in one leg
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness in parts of the hip and leg
  • Worsening pain made by coughing, sneezing, sitting, or standing

Because sciatica is a symptom of another medical condition (i.e. degenerative disc disease and lumbar spinal stenosis), the underlying cause should be identified and treated. Doctors will run a physical and neurological examination to look for limitations of movement, balance difficulties, and what exacerbates and relieves pain. During the exam, your doctor will test your reflexes, muscle strength, sensations, or other signs of neurologic loss. Your doctor may order imaging studies such as plain x-ray, CT, or MRI to study and confirm your diagnosis to direct your treatment plan.

Usually, one or more non-surgical treatments are very effective at relieving symptoms. These include:

  • Medications to reduce inflammation and pain – this includes over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Cold/heat therapy – Try ice for the first 48-72 hours, followed by heat. We recommend our Moji Back Pain Relief System, which can be discretely worn under your clothes. It helps relieve pain and tension with both heat and cold therapy precisely where you need it most.
  • Therapy – Incorporate stretching via inversion therapy to increase flexibility. Inversion allows your sciatic nerve to elongate thereby reducing pressure.
  • Ergonomics – Maintain a good posture at rest and work. Check out our top recommendations for a whole body approach to an ergonomic workstation.
  • Sleep in fetal position – It’s best to sleep in a semi-fetal position with a pillow between your legs. Our Snoozer Body Pillow provides comfort and ergonomic support from your neck to your feet for a deep, relaxing sleep.

5 New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier Spine

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If 2012 was marred by back and neck pain, add these 5 resolutions to your list. Remember, your spine connects many nerves, muscles and ligaments throughout the body, making spinal health key to your overall health.

1. Resolve to cherish sleep
While sleeping, your spine finally has an opportunity to relax and repair itself. Try sleeping in a neutral position on your back or on the side to avoid forcing any extra curves into your back. Make sure you have a supportive pillow and mattress to properly and comfortably sleep in a neutral position. This way, your body can take full advantage of restorative sleep and more easily be able to relax.

2. Resolve to stretch
Tight muscles can cause imbalances in bodily structure, increasing the risk of injury and causing pain. In particular, tight muscles around the spine cause spinal stress instead of providing adequate spinal support. Also, tight hamstrings can pull the pelvis out of its normal alignment with the spine, causing back and joint pain. Consider stretching your spine via inversion therapy – effective and only takes a couple minutes.

3. Resolve to be active
Different types of exercise protect the spine in different ways. For example, abdominal exercises strengthen the core area, which support and protect the spine. Cardio helps shed extra weight that drags down on ligaments, muscles, and tendons of the lower back. Exercise helps the healing process, so for those sidelined by injury, make it a priority to stay active within your physical means.

4. Resolve to create a spine-healthy work environment
For full-time office workers, lower back pain may be a result of poor workplace ergonomics. From sitting on a chair with good back support to avoiding prolonged sitting, all systems, levels, and angles must work together for an ergonomic workstation. For more information, check out our infographic on how to design your workspace for maximum movement, flexibility, comfort, and productivity.

5. Resolve to stay hydrated
We all know water is vital, but don’t underestimate its importance to the spine. Our spinal discs can shrink over time if they don’t get enough water, resulting in less “padding” and increased likelihood of spinal ruptures or bulges. Resolve to choose water as your accompanying beverage of choice at meals, and sip liberally throughout the day.

Is Your Workspace a Pain in the Back?

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Is your workspace designed for maximum movement, flexibility, comfort and productivity? Relax The Back believes that work should never be a pain. Visit your local store and ask our trained neck-and-spine experts how to construct an ergonomic office. If you’re far from one our locations, check out these important guidelines and conduct your own ergonomic assessment:

Relax The Back Ergonomic Office Setup

Don’t Shop Till You Drop: 4 Quick Tips for a Pain-Free Shopping Season

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Top Tips for Pain-Free Holiday ShoppingThe holidays are here, and so is the shopping frenzy. Although strolling through stores can be fun, lugging heavy shopping bags or hunching over to wrap gifts can strain your back or neck. Before you head to the mall, follow these quick tips to avoid soreness in your joints or muscles.

 

  • Make an organized list – Don’t wander aimlessly around the store until your feet and back hurts. Create an itemized list and go after them. Also, don’t hesitate to ask staff where to find a particular item. It will save you time, energy, and wear and tear on your joints and muscles.

 

  • Wear comfortable shoes – Walking around the mall for hours in high heels or crumbling running shoes is not good for your feet or your back. Wear comfortable clothes or walking shoes in good condition. When you’re crossing the parking lot loaded with retail bounty, you’ll appreciate a pair of quality footwear.

 

  • Take advantage of free wrapping – If free wrapping is offered with your purchases, take it. It will save you time and help you avoid hunching over to wrap your gifts later.

 

  • Gift wrapping tips – If you do decide to wrap gifts yourself, create a “wrapping station.” Keep wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, scissors, tape, cards, pens, and anything else you need within an arm’s length. That way you can comfortably wrap gifts without having to reach, which can strain your back or neck. For best results, wrap your gifts while standing at the kitchen table. Standing promotes movement and good posture.

 

If you’re still experiencing pain or just want extra comfort during the holiday season, please stop by one of our stores or visit us online at www.relaxtheback.com. Because even Santa’s helpers can use a little help!
Happy Holidays!

Epulse Neck & Shoulder Massager

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If you have tired muscles, back pain, or pain from injuries, then the Epulse Neck & Shoulder Massager may be right for you. It provides a wealth of benefits, with a body-hugging design that allows for a comfortable massage.

After a hard day at work, or an intense workout, the flexible design of the Epulse can relieve aches in your neck, shoulders, thighs or almost anywhere you need relief with up to 20 pre-programmed rhythmic massages. This kind of massage can help improve blood circulation and provide a deep, penetrating muscle massage. Part of what makes the Epulse so unique is its drum-massage technology, which can provide a deeper, more-targeted massage than traditional handheld massagers.

The Epulse also offers tapping massage and shoulder massage with a heating function to increase its effectiveness. And, for those of you who come away from massages sometimes a little too sore, don’t worry. The Epulse comes with a built-in eight-minute timer, so you can get a healthy massage without overdoing it.

One of its chief benefits, though, is its convenience. Unlike many massagers, the Epulse is a breeze to use. It features a one-touch control panel so you can program the exact kind of massage you need. Whether you need to unwind, rejuvenate, or recover from an injury, the Epulse can be programmed to meet your needs.

Some of the many other benefits of massage include:

  • Reduce neck & lower back pain
  • Increased flexibility
  • Reduce spasms and cramping
  • Stimulation of the immune system
  • Relieve migraine pain

The Epulse provides benefits like these that can have you feeling your best in no time. In fact, many proponents of the Epulse have reported a greater sense of calm, stress-reduction, and overall well being. If you need a good neck and shoulder massage, then be sure to give the Epulse Neck & Shoulder Massager a try.