Did you know 31 million Americans experience back pain at any given time? There are many causes of back pain but the good news is there is relief out there. While we have previously highlighted the benefits of using foam rollers for back pain, we’d like to highlight another way to relieve pain.
Among other relief methods, gentle back exercises and stretches like the ones below can help prevent and ease low back pain:
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more pain relief tips or visit one of our trained associates at a local Relax The Back store for recommendations tailored to your physical needs and abilities.
More than 50% of office workers say their chair is the #1 thing they would change. A chair that can be appropriately adjusted and one that is well designed is a vital part of any ergonomic workstation. A well-made chair should support your legs, back, and arms while reducing forceful exertions, contact stress and awkward postures.
Chairs that are made poorly can cause back pain and fatigue as well as restrict circulation in the legs and cause swelling, numbness and pain. Inappropriately adjusted armrests can cause awkward postures or fail to provide sufficient support.
Follow this ergonomic guide to avoid unnecessary strain and pain:
Consider a backrest that is easily adjustable and is able to support your back in a variety of seated postures.
The seat should be height adjustable and wide enough to accommodate various hip sizes.
If the seat is not height adjustable, providing a footrest can help elevate the knee to relieve pressure on the back of legs.
Use a height adjustable lumbar support so it can be appropriately placed to fit the lower back.
Armrests should support lower arm and allow upper arms to remain close to torso.
If armrests interfere with workspace or cannot be adjusted, remove them or stop using them.
Chairs should have a strong, five-legged base.
For more information on Ergonomic workstations and solutions, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or visit your local Relax The Back store to receive a custom adjustment of the proper Ergonomic workstation.
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.
Whether you’re a couple with different sleep habits and needs or an individual looking for a more comfortable night’s rest, you might want to consider an adjustable bed. Adjustable beds allow you to personalize your own sleep system, providing that perfect position to ensure a very convenient, comfortable, and even therapeutic experience. Here are the numerous benefits:
Massage: Enjoy a relaxing massage to ease tension and anxiety as most adjustable beds provide massage options.
Reduce or Eliminate Snoring: Sleeping with your head raised slightly will decrease or eliminate snoring. It will also help with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Watching TV, Reading: Spend more time being comfortable as adjustable beds make it very easy to watch television or read in bed.
Back Pain Relief: Raise and/or lower your head and feet any way you want, including the zero gravity position which is the most ideal position for rest. This position redistributes pressure across different parts of the body, which can help reduce back pain.
Heart Health: Raising your legs while asleep allows your heart to work less difficultly.
Increased Blood Flow Circulation: The adjustable positions and massage feature promotes increased circulation and blood oxygen levels.
Swelling: Raising your legs above your heart can help with swelling
Adjustable bases are simple to operate, and you can even program it to automatically recline into a pre-set position, so all you have to do is push a button and fall asleep. Learn more about which adjustable base model is the right one for you. And now through May 5, 2013 you can SAVE up to $400 on TEMPUR-Ergo™ Advanced.
Sitting for long periods of time can cause key muscles in the body to become tight and ultimately weak. Here are some tips to get moving in the office:
Think and work on your feet: Standing while working helps promote increased circulation, mental alertness, core strength, and relieves stress on your back and legs for a productive, pain-free workday. Our Sit-to-Stand desk quickly, quietly, and conveniently converts from a low of 26” to a high of 55” for flexibility in work habits.
Take stretch breaks: Take hourly stretch breaks, focusing on leg and feet stretches right at your desk. Try standing on tiptoe or on one leg, and do small lounges to work the calf muscles and knees.
Walk the talk: Instead of emailing a coworker who’s nearby, walk to his or her desk to discuss in-person or suggest a mobile meeting where you walk and talk.
Climb: Ditch the elevator, and take the stairs wherever possible. Stair climbing is a vigorous activity that counteracts the slowdown of metabolic activity that happens when seated.
In addition to these activities, try these great stretches to counteract the effects of prolonged sitting. Jeremy Shore from Livestrong.com shows you a few easy and effective office stretching techniques.
While we all know that regular exercise is important for our overall health, stretching is often an overlooked part of our routine. And for those with back pain, the benefits of stretching are far too important to neglect whether you’re active or sedentary. Here’s why you should stretch:
Flexibility: The spine is a complex structure comprised of muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones. Stretching helps keep all the parts flexible and in good working order. Rather than being stiff and less mobile, you’ll have an increased range of motion to ensure good posture, balance and normal/proper movement.
Stress-relief: Stretching helps relieve tension and can make you feel relaxed. Use it as a way to not only relax your body but also your mind. You’ll be more focused and better able to manage stress that could result in back pain.
Pain-relief and prevention: Stretching improves the flexibility of surrounding lower back muscles, reducing lower back pain and muscle soreness. The combination of flexible muscles and increased range of movement prevents injury trigger points that would otherwise remain.
Now that you know about the importance of stretching for spinal and overall health, consider incorporating it more into your exercise routines. It’s an important way to prepare the muscles for vigorous activities. That’s why stretching exercises should also be done before and after a workout to prevent muscle strain and soreness and to help avoid injuries. For spine stretches, consider using our Lumbar Extender Plus. Or for more information on how to stretch using proper technique, try our definitive book or see our trained associates in-store for recommendations tailored to your physical needs and abilities.
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.
As a specialty health care retailer, we take our job seriously when it comes to providing solutions to customers seeking relief and prevention of back and neck pain. One pain culprit we commonly hear about is spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the spinal canal. It’s most commonly caused by wear-and-tear changes in the spine related to aging. For those with spinal stenosis under the age of 50, genetics diseases affecting bone and muscle development play a role. Spinal Stenosis can be difficult to diagnose (an MRI or x-ray may be required), as people who develop it usually have no history of back problems or recent injury. Often, unusual leg symptoms are the best clues as stenosis may pinch the nerves that control muscle power and leg sensation. These include back, neck, and leg pain, including numbness in the posterior, thighs or calves, and difficulty maintaining balance while walking.Treatment options for spinal stenosis pain relief include:
Physical Therapy – Exercises for stenosis pain relief are designed to increased flexion strength. Follow these simple stretches as demonstrated by Madden Physical Therapy.
Postural changes – Leaning forward while walking helps flex the spine and relieve some of the symptoms.
Medications: In the case that pressure on nerves is caused by inflammation, take over-the-counter pain relievers.
Surgery: If other treatments do not ease the pain and the pain becomes worse, surgery may be the next option to recreate space in the spinal canal. Talk with your doctor about how much relief surgery can provide.
Explore one of our more than 100 stores for additional information and a personal assessment by one of our trained associates.
Most women experience back pain during pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you should expect suffering when you’re expecting. Regardless of whether you or your loved one is pregnant, it’s helpful to understand the common causes and treatments to make pregnancy more exciting and less stressful for the whole family.
Throughout pregnancy the body undergoes many changes, taking a toll on the body via:
Weight gain – On average, women gain about 30 lbs, which the spine has to support. The growing baby and extra weight puts pressure on important blood vessels and nerves around the lower back.
Postural changes – As the belly grows, the center of gravity moves forward, which can lead to gradual shifts in posture and the way you walk and move.
Hormone changes – Pregnancy results in the body making the hormone called relaxin, which loosens the connective tissue around the pelvic area in preparation for birth. This same hormone can cause the ligaments and joints in the spine to stretch and become loose, leading to more instability and pain.
The good news is that backache during pregnancy can be easily treated, and should gradually subside closer to when you give birth. Here are our top pregnancy back pain relief tips:
Exercise – Regular exercise can help strengthen your back and abdominal area to help address some of the body changes mentioned above. Your doctor can recommend exercises, but safe activities for pregnant women include walking, swimming, and stationary cycling.
Watch your posture – When sitting, make sure to use chairs with good lumbar support or take our Self-inflating back rest wherever you go for optimal comfort. Use a footrest to elevate your feet slightly, and don’t cross your legs as it can cause your pelvis to tilt and exacerbate strained muscles.
Wear the right shoes – Put the high-heels away in your closet and stay away from completely flat shoes. Opt for comfortable shoes with adequate support to keep your body in proper alignment.
Maternity belt – Talk with your doctor about a maternity belly support belt to help take the burden of a growing belly off your lower back.
Sleep on your side – Avoid sleeping on your back and instead, turn to your side to help with weight distribution. For extra support, look for J or U-shaped body pillows that will help accommodate your belly. We recommend our Snoozer Body Pillow, one of our most popular items especially amongst pregnant women!
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
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.