Archive for the Back Category

8 Tips for Traveling with Back Pain

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Travel with Back Pain

Traveling can be hard on your muscles, joints, and nerves. Prolonged sitting puts stress on the spine and stiffens muscles in the back and legs and lugging heavy suitcases puts you at risk for low back injuries.

These tips can help you reduce pain and stress while traveling:

  • Pack Light: Instead of packing one large, heavy suitcase, pack 2 smaller bags. This will make lifting bags into and out of the trunk of your car or overhead bins, and off of baggage carousels much easier.
  • Lift luggage in stages: Move slowly and in stages when lifting luggage into the overhead bin. In separate motions, start by lifting the bag to the armrest of the seat, then to the top of the seatback, and finally up and into the bin. Remember to reverse this pattern when you remove your luggage.
  • When lifting, never twist: Pivot your feet so that your entire body moves instead of only twisting your back. Twisting is a common cause of lower back injuries. If possible, avoid lifting all together by asking for help from a flight attendant.
  • Relief with ice and heat: Bring a Ziploc bag and ask a flight attendant for some ice or stow a cold pack in your carry on. Place between your lower back and your seat for 20 minutes to reduce inflammation caused by lower back pain. A heatable self-massage ball such as Dr. Cohen’s Acuball Kit can provide post-travel relief.
  • Move Around: Change positions occasionally when seated to help avoid leg cramps and improve circulation. Massaging your legs and calves and doing shoulder rolls will also help.  Consult your doctor for a few safe and easy hip and hamstring stretches you can do while traveling. During long flights and if possible, try to get up and walk about the cabin to stimulate blood flow and help prevent blood clots.
  • Get aisle seat: An aisle seat allows you to easily get into and out of your seat. This makes it easier for you to move about the cabin.
  • Sit with support: Airline seats are often worn out with poor lumbar support. Place a small rolled-up blanket or use an inflatable back cushion, like a Self-Inflating Back Rest, to find proper lumbar support during flight. Using a U-Shaped Travel Pillow will also provide proper support.
  • Drink water: Be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water as it helps cushion and lubricate joints and muscles.

 

Exercises for Upper Back Pain

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Upper back pain may not be the most common spinal disorder but when it occurs it can still cause substantial pain and discomfort.  This pain can be caused through strain, poor posture, or sudden injury. Most complaints come from those who work at computers most of the day. Whatever the cause of pain, doing exercises such as these can help ease and prevent pain and discomfort:

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.

Exercises For Low Back Pain

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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.

 

 

 

Office Work Habits: Chair Habits

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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:

  • Use a removable back cushion if your chair does not have a lumbar support.
  • 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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits of a Personalized Sleep System

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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:

Lifestyle 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.

Medical Benefits

  • 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.

Office Stretches

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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.

Importance of Stretching

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 

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.

 

 

Spinal Stenosis

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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.
  • Cold/heat therapy – Applying heat and ice with our Moji Back Pain Relief System can relieve some of the flare-ups.
  • 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.