Are you one of the 31 million Americans who have suffered from low-back pain at least once in their life? There are many factors that can be associated with back pain but one in particular is gravity. Over the course of the day, gravity compresses weight bearing joints and the spine, which can cause low back pain and discomfort.
Inversion therapy is an age-old practice that involves hanging at an angle to allow the body to be in line with the downward force of gravity. This position can aide in reversing the negative effects gravity has on the spine.
By hanging at an inverted angle, one can elongate their spine and relieve pressure that builds up throughout the day. Inversion therapy helps prevent and relieve pain in the neck and shoulders, chronic low back pain, herniated discs, and sciatica. It can also help with postural problems.
Benefits of using inversion tables include:
- Improve circulation
- Relieve stress
- Heighten mental awareness
- Increase flexibility/range of motion
- Improve posture
Once familiar with the different angles of the inversion table, simple exercises can be done to relieve pressure, realign the spine and pelvis, and increase mobility and flexibility. Hold these each for 1-2 minutes, slowly building up the amount of time and degree of inversion.
- For a full body stretch, raise your arms over your head.
- For a gentle back stretch, raise your back to a slight arch.
- For a side stretch, turn your body to one side, turn to the other side and repeat.
Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists and feel the benefits of an inversion table firsthand. While inversion tables generally provide relief and relaxation, it is best to speak with your doctor before use.
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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Nearly 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.
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.
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.
Spring is officially here, which means more time spent working in the yard. While gardening can be a leisurely, therapeutic activity, it can also lead to aches and pains. Hauling wheelbarrows, wrangling hoses, and constantly kneeling over to weed, mulch, and plant puts strain on your lower back, spine, and shoulders. Fortunately, there are techniques and tips to help prevent pain and keep you enjoying your favourite hobby:
- Lift with your knees when picking up heavy objects such as a wheelbarrow or bags of soil. Avoid lower back strain by lifting with your knees and hips, as they are better equipped than your back when lifting heavy objects. A posture support like the Cybertech Spine Brace encourages proper posture, which also helps prevent back injuries.
- Invest in quality tools. Old or broken tools with lot of wear and tear can make simple jobs a lot more difficult, so the next time you see that rusty rake, think about investing in a new set of tools that are ergonomically designed and have cushioned grips. In the end, taking tool shortcuts can only cause more damage than good.
- Weed on your hands and knees to keep your spine elongated for less strain and pain. Pay attention to the placement of your shoulders over your wrists as they bear most of the responsibility when reaching, grasping and supporting your body weight. If you begin to feel unnecessary, uncomfortable tension, slowly ease out of your current position to avoid straining any muscles.
- Stay hydrated will help you maintain energy throughout your gardening work as well as keep muscles and joints lubricated. Try to drink 6-oz of water every 20 minutes if you are working hard and sweating. Also, try taking a few minutes every half hour to cool off and rest in the shade.
- Plan a circuit to avoid repetition. Stiffness and soreness can be linked to repeating the same task, over and over again, for long periods of time. Set aside time to alternate between tasks: weed for an hour, plant for an hour, rake for an hour, water for an hour. Breaking up your time spent in the garden into different to-dos will reduce muscle strain as well as help keep down feelings of being overwhelmed.
- Stretch and ice after you’ve completed your tasks for the day. Gentle stretches will help you avoid strained muscles and stiffness the next morning. If you are feeling a strain in a muscle, apply and ice pack, such as these reusable cold therapy pads, to the sore area before bed. It will help reduce inflammation.
As always, we recommend you talk with your healthcare provider to determine if gardening is safe for any pain conditions you may have. For more tips on pain prevention and relief, follow us on Facebook and Twitter or visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists.
While the holiday season brings time off of work, it can also bring about aches and pains due to overexertion. All of the hustle and bustle can contribute to unwelcome muscle fatigue and pain. Here are some simple tips to help you prevent pain during the holidays, so you can truly enjoy your time with friends and family:
- Exercise: Don’t forgo your workout routine for the holidays. Take advantage of your time off to try a new exercise program or put in some extra time at the gym. Frequently performing gentle exercises like these low back exercises or foam roller exercises can also help keep muscles loose and prevent pain from happening.
- Maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated: If you’re attending holiday parties, know your nutritional needs and eat in moderation. Protein, fruits and vegetables provide nutrients for effective healing of soft tissue and muscles. Whereas excessive sugar can turn into fat, which hinders the healing process. Also be sure to always stay hydrated. Chronic muscle spasms and inflammation can be triggered by dehydration.
- Adequate Sleep: Even when it seems like you have a never ending “to-do” list, making sure you get enough sleep should be a priority. Insufficient sleep can cause aches and pains to worsen over time.
- Stress less: The holiday rush often times leads to feelings of stress and anxiety. Follow these tips to help reduce stress so you can relax and enjoy the holiday season.
A comfortable workspace can make a big difference in your physical health, productivity, stress level and energy throughout the day. If most of your work takes place at a desk, you are likely to suffer from pains and strains, loss of productivity and loss of alertness.
With proper office ergonomics you can avoid these pains and strains and stay comfortable at work. From proper chair height to monitor angles, follow this visual guide to office ergonomics and be on your way to a happier, healthier workspace.
For more information, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter or visit your local Relax The Back location to get an ergonomic office assessment from one of our trained neck-and-spine experts.