Archive for the Travel Category

Foot Massage for Stress and Back Pain Relief


During these summer months, many people will spend more time outdoors. Add traveling and walking in flip-flops to the mix, and our feet can take quite a beating. We tend to overlook our feet, but it’s important to remember that they are our foundation. How we bear weight on our feet affects our alignment and the health of our muscular and skeletal systems. If you experience back or neck pain, the unsuspecting culprit might just be your exhausted and aching feet.

For healthy feet and body, consider a foot massage. A good massage can increase circulation to the feet, releasing toxins from the body. It also relaxes and relieves aching muscles through reflexology or trigger points that correlate to other parts of the body. Pressure points on the feet called the Solar Plexus are highly affected by stress, and when pressed on can help relieve stress and provide much needed relaxation. Best of all, an invigorating foot massage just feels great at the end of a long day.

Relax the Back understands the importance of taking care of your feet and our massagers provide all the benefits in the comforts of your own home at your own time. Here are four options to choose from:

  • The Infraped Foot Massager uses infrared heat to penetrate deep into the soles of your feet for cell for heat therapy and cell renewal
  • The Therapeutic Foot Massager provides a custom massage by allowing you to specify settings in one of three regions of the foot, toe, arch or sole.
  • The Human Touch CIrQlation Elite Foot & Calf Massager also massages your calves for increased circulation and pain relief.
  • An inexpensive alternative that requires no batteries or power, the Foot Log relieves pressure in aching feet with just ten minutes of use.

Regardless of how active and tired your feet are, incorporating a good foot massage into your day can help lead to a healthier and happier you.

Planning for Travel with Back Pain


We all need a vacation and those suffering from back pain may very well need it the most. Yet it’s all too easy to decide to stay at home when flare-ups and inconveniences keep you from having a good time. With a little planning, getting out of the home for a worthwhile break may be easier than you think. Here are some tips before you travel to help make your vacation as painless as possible.

  • Consult your doctor and get the okay to travel with your back condition.
  • Get the proper travel insurance to cover your needs, especially when going to a foreign country. Most provide great medical coverage and will provide peace of mind.
  • If flying by air, call the airline in advance and inform them of any special needs. They may be able to make certain accommodations such as providing wheelchair assistance and early boarding, having airline crew assist with luggage, arranging for special shuttles, etc. Also, try to book an exit window or aisle seat. This will give you more legroom to stretch and will make it easy to get in and out for walking breaks.
  • Research your destination to avoid any unwelcome surprises. For example, how much walking vs. driving will you have to do? Where is the nearest medical facility in case of emergency?
  • If staying at a hotel, call the hotel in advance to find out what type of mattresses are available to help make getting a good night’s rest much easier.

While the guidelines above will help you plan, our products will make getting to and around your destination more comfortable. Here are some products we recommend:

  • The Bucky Utopia Travel Pillow is our most affordable and compact travel pillow. It even comes with its own bag so you won’t lose it during your travels.
  • The LumbarCushion by Tempur-Pedic will provide much-needed support to your lower and mid back wherever you are seated. It’s also small enough to fit into your carry-on.
  • If you like to travel with your iPad, our foldable Cricket Notebook Stand will help ease your eyes and neck for comfortable viewing.

For more information, our previous posts on travel include more tips and product recommendations to help make your trip this vacation season more enjoyable.

Travel Products and Tips Your Back Will Love


During this season of heavy travel, many of us worry about the potential for back pain flair-ups and injuries.  Extended periods sitting in airplanes, cars, trains, sleeping in strange beds, or hauling around luggage are a few of the hazards that can ruin a vacation. Add to these risk factors the distance between where you are going and a trusted health care provider, and it can seem daunting.

Relax The Back travel products add a level of comfort and support that is virtually absent in cars, planes and other forms of public transportation. They are also a great addition wherever your journey takes you, from hotels to the homes of friends or relatives (who are sure to want to give them a try).

If you are wondering where to start, you may want to take a look at some of our most popular products :

  • The Self Inflating Backrest, the flagship of our travel line, is affordable, magnificently portable and works great in the car, on a plane or in any restaurant or home seating.
  • The Sacro-Ease is a durable seat support that can be customized the unique curve of your spine for maximum support.
  • Our U-shaped and other Travel pillows decrease the likelihood of cervical problems and travel insomnia.
  • The Theracane is a portable pressure point massager and one of our most popular products overall.

These and other travel products can be found on our website’s Travel section. In addition to any items you may bring along for comfort, remember these key travel tips:

  • Take frequent breaks from any sustained position. Stop the car or get up from the airplane seat every hour or two to walk around.
  • Stand up for at least one minute before attempting any lift after prolonged sitting, even if it is just to bend over for a bag under the seat.  This will actually cut the probability of injury to 1/10 of what it would be when lifting just after sitting.
  • Have porters or others do the heavy work if you have a history of back problems.

If you always think prevention, you can worry less and just relax (your back).

Back Friendly Travel

Taking a vacation is fun and exciting, but the fun and excitement can end before you ever get to your destination if you don’t take care of your back. Here are some tips to help you become a back friendly traveler.

Low Back and Neck Support
Long trips may cause upper and lower back pain but lumbar and cervical travel pillows can offer relief. Inflatable pillows are preferred for air travel because they can be adjusted easily in your seat and lay flat in your carry-on bag or luggage.

Luggage Weight
Do you know how much your luggage weighs? Most people buy luggage to fit their travel needs but rarely consider the weight of the bag. Check the weight of the bag before purchase. A pound or two less can make a big difference once the bag is packed.

Smaller Bags
Traveling light is easier when your bag is small. Consider taking 2-3 small bags instead of one large bag on your trip. Also, consider using a backpack as your carry-on. Backpacks distribute weight equally to both shoulders to reduce back pain.

Luggage Wheels and Handles
Luggage with smaller wheels can easily tip over causing shoulder, elbow, wrist, and low back pain. When purchasing wheeled luggage opt for the bigger wheels to improve the balance between you and your bag.

Wheeled luggage is the best way to travel but the handles are often too short. Consider purchasing a luggage handle extender to prevent twisting your low back and neck, over-rotating your shoulder and hyper-extending your elbow.


About the Author
Christine E. Wright, Ph.D., LOTR, has been an adult rehabilitation Occupational Therapist for 17 years and an academic educator for 11 years.
Contact Information:
Christine Wright, Ph.D., LOTR
School of Allied Health Professions
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center – Shreveport
Shreveport, LA 71130

Avoid Airline Fees – Bring Your Own Travel Pillow

Wrap Around Neck Pillow from Relax The Back

Save money on airline travel by bringing your own pillow.

Airlines love to charge. Love it. Headphones, snacks, wifi service – even your luggage. Last year, airlines collected $7.8 billion in fees. It is any wonder consumers are getting fed up?

One way you can cut down on these nickel-and-dime charges is to bring your own travel pillow. It makes no sense to pay $6 for a pillow when you can bring your own. Besides the price, the pillows the airlines hand out are ill-suited for comfort on a long flight and wear out easily.

Relax The Back, however, offers a variety of pillows designed to support your neck and back and help you fall asleep on long flights.

The Wrap Around Neck Pillow curls around your neck and provides a gentle cheek cushion, while aligning your chin and neck. It also releases a pleasing lavender aroma to help you relax. The Wrap Around is designed to create a “spa-like” experience, and over the course of an 11-hour flight, it’s probably as close to a spa as you’ll get.

Tempur-Pedic makes an excellent travel pillow. Over the years, Tempur-Pedic has become almost a synonym for quality, and the famed mattress maker’s U-Shaped Travel Pillow is no exception. This pillow is designed for riding in a car, train, or plane with a great degree of comfort. It does a great job of surrounding and cradling your neck proper support. I recommend this one highly for frequent flyers or commuters traveling by train.

If you prefer to sleep on your side there is a pillow designed especially for that – the JetRest Memory Foam Pillow. This ergonomic pillow has an L-shape design that cradles your head so you can rest comfortably on one side. Although it provides support for one side, it doesn’t neglect your head and neck. Its rectangular body gives you a firm but flexible upright support to those areas. For frequent flyers (or anyone else who steps on a plane), it comes with a convenient carry bag as well.

These products may not make it “cheap” to fly, but they can reduce the final tally. They’re also much more comfortable than airline pillows, which are often… not. So, the next time you fly, I recommend you save a few bucks and fly with your own travel pillow. That way you can concentrate on relaxing and not pulling out your wallet or purse over and over and over….

Review: McCarty’s Sacroease Back Support

McCarty's Sacroease Back Support

Reduce tension on your back while driving with a Sacroease.

Calling all Lexus, Mercedes Benz and BMW owners – your luxury car may not be complete without a proper ergonomic back support.

I love my Lexus. On the days I get it washed and detailed, it’s like riding in a luxury hotel suite. As someone with a heavy daily commute, that’s a wonderful thing. Still, I have to admit, its seating is a little less than luxurious. I did some research and discovered that Mercedes Benz and BMW drivers often have the same complaint. It seems that luxury cars are well-known for high-performance engineering, but they leave a little to be desired in the ergonomic seating department.

After an informal poll, I found that a LOT of vehicles, luxury automobiles included, make it difficult to maintain good posture. Most seats, whether made with rich, Corinthian leather or not, encourage bad posture by not supporting the lower back and spine. This often results in drivers, like me, hunching over the steering wheel, their backs contorted into a “C” shape.

But, rather than gut my Lexus to put in all-new seating, which would have been way too expensive, I decided to try the Sacroease, from McCarty. The difference was immediate and profound. Instead of driving hunched over, the back support practically forced me to maintain a healthy posture. It helped me to sit in an ergonomically correct “S” curve when driving. It also provided support behind my back and under my hips.

According to back specialists, this kind of support takes the strain off your spinal discs, allowing fluid to flow in the spine. Occasionally, I’ve noticed an uncomfortable swelling in my lower back after long road trips. After using the Sacroease, however, I found that my back could “breathe” better and my muscles felt less tense. Since I’ve started using it, I’ve also experienced fewer pinched nerves, which in the past have affected my entire body.

But perhaps the biggest difference has been less road vibration. No matter how often I replace my car’s shock absorbers, gravel, potholes, bumps, dips and other road hazards make it rattle like a mini earthquake. With the Sacroease, though, I’ve noticed that a lot less. It seems that the road vibrations are absorbed by the rubber support, not my spine and hips.

I will say that one advantage the Sacroease has over other posture correction products is its customization. It’s not made one-size-fits-all like other wood or plastic travel supports. It’s made of a bendable metal that I went to my local Relax The Back to have fitted to my body’s unique contours. Relax The Back remains one of the few specialty retailers that provides this service, but you have to do it in-store.

One last reason I recommend trying the Sacroease is that it comes with a five-year warranty, the same as my Lexus. In that way, my vehicle, back support, and me are made for each other.