During the winter months, do you often find that your pain worsens as the temperatures drop? People who suffer from sciatica may notice that pain seems to worsen in the cold and a recent study has found that these feelings are more than anecdotal.
Sciatica is a term used to describe symptoms caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve. This nerve begins in your lower spine, traveling down under your buttocks, and through your hips into each foot. Colder temperatures cause muscles to tighten and become tense due to a decrease of blood flow. Stiff muscles, especially those in the low back and sciatic nerve area, can lead to muscle strains and pains.
Common sciatica symptoms may include the following:
- Pain varying from mild aches and tingling to sharp, burning sensations that occur in one leg.
- Numbness in parts of the leg and hip
- Muscle weakness
- Pain triggered by prolonged sitting or standing
- Worsening pain from coughing or sneezing
- Pain beginning in the lower back or buttocks and continuing down the back of the thigh into the lower leg or foot.
Reduce Sciatic Pain
If the cold is causing you pain and discomfort, find relief with these tips:
- Hold/Cold Therapy: Try icing the area for the first 48-72 hours, followed by a period of heat to relieve pain and tension where you need it most.
- Stay Active: While we often want to stay indoors during the winter, make sure to maintain a regular exercise routine. Staying active helps keep sciatica pain away by relaxing away muscle stiffness and increasing circulation.*
- Stretch: Simple, gentle stretches done daily will help keep your muscles loose and warm. Try an Inversion Therapy Table to find relief at home.*
- Sleep well: Find total comfort with a Bed Wedge System. A bed wedge will provide support and reduce excessive pressure on your spine and sciatic nerve to help you sleep easier.
*Be sure to talk with a medical professional before starting any new exercise routines.
When you have throbbing back pain, sleep may seem like an impossible feat. Aches and discomfort not only prevent you from falling asleep but they also make it difficult to stay asleep. If you are one to lose sleep due to pain, you are not alone. Two out of three people with chronic pain have trouble sleeping, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
While there is no universal sleep position to alleviate pain, there are a number of positions that can help you rest easy. A general rule to follow is to listen to what your body is telling you. Try out different positions until you find one that relieves the most pain.
Sleep Positions To Relieve Back Pain
- Side Sleepers: Sleeping on your side allows your spine to elongate, which helps prevent back and neck pain. Placing a pillow between your knees, such as the ContourSleep Knee Spacer, will add additional spinal support. When your spine is in a natural, ergonomic position, tense muscles begin to relax, hip, leg, and joint pain is decreased, and circulation is improved throughout the night.
- On Your Back: While this may not be the most popular sleep position, only 8% of people sleep on their backs, it is the healthiest option for most. Sleeping on your back allows your spine, head, and neck to rest in a neutral posture. If you are experiencing lower back pain, try a Bed Wedge System or an adjustable base. These will help maintain the natural curve of your lower back and provide great support while in bed, reading, or just relaxing. A small, rolled up towel placed under the small of your back will provide additional support.
- On Your Stomach: This position can lead to pain throughout the night, as it is difficult to keep your spine in a neutral position. If you must sleep on your stomach, you can reduce strain on your back by placing a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis. As with any sleep position, be sure to choose a pillow that reduces strain on your back and neck.
A key element of a good night’s rest is a sleep environment that promotes comfort and relaxation. Be sure to visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists. They can help you find the perfect pillow and mattress for your specific needs.
When our bodies are properly aligned, our bones, rather than our muscles, support our weight. Reclining to a Zero Gravity position allows for our bodies to reach this state. Developed by NASA, the Zero Gravity, or “neutral position”, concept takes stress off of your spine by elevating your feet to the same height as your heart. Investing in back-friendly products and furniture that promote a neutral posture will improve back health and provide significant relief.
For more benefits, take a look at these 5 reasons to love Zero Gravity:
- Correct Spinal Support: Unnecessary strain and discomfort is avoided when our spine is properly aligned and supported. Zero gravity minimizes strain on your spine, muscles, and ligaments.
- Back Pressure Relief: By raising our feet to the same level as our heart, our spine is able to decompress to align in a natural S-shaped curve. This reduces tension in your lower back and cervical.
- Improved Circulation: Stress on the heart is minimized in this position. Oxygen-rich blood is able to reach fatigued muscles easier, which allows for faster recovery times.
- Expanded Lung Capacity: Being in a zero gravity position opens the angle between the torso and the thighs, thus improving breathing and increasing blood and oxygen.
- Recommended by Doctors (and astronauts): Zero gravity allows for a perfectly balanced state in which the body experiences an absolute minimum of internal and external stress. It is the optimal position to prevent and relieve back and muscle pain.
Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists and test out one of our Zero Gravity chairs. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more pain relief tips and products.
When you look back on 2014, was part or most of the year spent dealing with aches and pains? Other than the common cold, back pain sends more people to the doctor than any other condition. Living with less pain can be an attainable goal. Add these resolutions for a pain-free year to your list and vow to have a healthier year while managing your pain.
- Make sleep a priority: Over time, lack of sleep can lead to serious health risks. Invest in a supportive pillow and mattress to help your body take full advantage of restorative sleep. Create a sleep environment that promotes comfort and relaxation to ensure the best night of sleep possible. Adequate, quality sleep helps improve mood and personal performance, cardiovascular health, and recovery time from injuries, to name a few positive effects.
- Be active: There are numerous exercises that can protect the spine in different ways. Maintaining a regular workout routine can help prevent future injuries while also helping you feel more productive and energized throughout the day. Focusing on exercises that strengthen the abdominal muscles will support and protect your spine. Cardio exercises will aid in losing weight that can drag down muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the lower back. Follow these tips to stay active throughout the day.
- Create a spine-healthy, ergonomic workspace: 33% of work-related injuries are caused by poor work station setup. Sitting for long periods of time takes a toll on our bodies. Back, neck, and shoulder pain can be avoided with a proper ergonomic workspace. Resolve to end these aches and pains by creating a space that allows for maximum flexibility, comfort, movement, and productivity.
- Stay hydrated: Water is vital when it comes to the spine. Over time, our spinal discs can shrink if they do not get enough water. This results in an increased likelihood of ruptures or bulges due to less “padding”. Staying hydrated will also help with concentration, digestion, and injury prevention.Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces throughout the day. For example, if you weigh 130 lbs. aim to drink at least 65 oz. per day.
- Stress less: From anxiety, depression, physical pain, and chest pain, stress can present itself in many different ways. These tips to relax and de-stress can help reduce the negative effects stress has on the body and mind and improve your overall quality of life.
Gifts of comfort come in all sizes. Whether you are buying for your daughter, father-in-law, or family friend, we have gift ideas that everyone will be happy to find in their stocking on Christmas day.
Below we’ve listed our favourite stocking stuffers to help relieve pain and discomfort this holiday:
- Sleep Mask by Tempur-Pedic ($29): Soothing sleep makes the perfect gift! Cool and comfortable, this mask is made with pressure-relieving TEMPUR material, so you can nod off in total darkness. Perfect for loved ones who travel often.
- ErgoTravel Keyboard ($40): This waterproof, flexible, and worry-free keyboard prevents strain on arms, wrists, and back while providing ergonomic support for your hard-working loved one.
- Moji 360 Foot Massager ($39): Know a loved one that can never have too many foot massages? The Moji 360 mimics the touch of a professional massage therapist to revitalize sore, tired, and aching feet.
- Self-Inflating Back Rest ($40): For work, at the movies, or in the car, this lumbar support is easy-to-use and easy-to-store. This is a gift that keeps on giving, long after the holiday season.
- TEMPUR All-Purpose Pillow ($49): This pillow’s unique “peanut” shape allows for multi-purpose ergonomic support. Its space-saving size makes it a perfect travel neck roll, lumbar cushion, or leg spacer.
Add these great gifts to your loved ones (or your own) stocking this year. Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with a trained specialist who can help you find the perfect gift based on specific needs. Also be sure to visit us online (www.relaxtheback.com) and on Facebook and Twitter.
The holidays are fully underway, which means aches and pains due to overexertion are more likely to occur. Shopping and preparing for the holidays is not only stressful but it can also contribute to unwelcome muscle pain and fatigue.
Here are a few tips to prevent pain during the holidays:
- Stay hydrated: Water helps to lubricate and cushion joints and muscles. Inflammation and chronic muscles spasms can be linked to dehydration. Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces per day. If you weigh 150 lbs. aim to drink 75 oz. of water.
- Maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine: Don’t push aside your regular eating habits and workout routines. If you’re attending holiday parties, eat in moderation and beware of your nutritional needs. Perform gentle exercises such as these foam roller exercises to help keep muscles loose and prevent pain from happening.
- Stress less: Anxiety and stress can creep up during these busy times. Enjoy the holidays and reduce stress with these tips.
- Vary positions when wrapping presents: While there is no Ideal position for wrapping gifts, you should remember to vary positions as often as possible. Alternate wrapping one gift on a countertop while standing and another gift while sitting at a table. Avoid sitting on the floor to wrap gifts as this can cause unwanted aches and pains and promote poor posture.
- Make sleep a priority: Inadequate sleep can cause pain to worsen over time. It is important to make sure you are continuing to get quality sleep during these hectic holidays. Treat yourself to an early present and ensure better sleep with these sleep products. If possible, try to sneak in a nap during the day. You’ll increase alertness and stamina to help keep you going.
Visit us online at www.relaxtheback.com or stop by your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained associates for pain relief solutions this holiday season. Enjoy Black Friday savings now through December 1st!
‘Tis the season for giving and Relax The Back would like to give back to our community. Over the next 7 weeks we will be giving away products during our “Gifts of Comfort” Giveaway. We hope these products will help you enjoy the holidays, and beyond, in relaxation and ultimate comfort.
To enter, simply visit our Facebook page and Like or Comment on the given week’s giveaway prize to be entered to win. A new giveaway prize will be revealed every week. Winners will be selected weekly, at random, prior to the new prize being announced. You may enter as many times as you wish.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for our holiday promotions and tops to stay pain-free and stress-free this holiday season! See official Terms and Conditions for more information.
At Relax The Back, we truly believe nothing brings joy like the gift of comfort. Show your loved ones how much you care with a gift that keeps on giving. We’ve put together a list of our favorite affordable gifts that are sure to relieve pain and discomforts, aid in relaxation, and bring comfort to all members of the family. If you’re wondering what to get friends and family this holiday season look no further. Here are some great affordable gifts to wrap up relief:
- Theracane ($35): Relieve stiffness and pain as you control the pressure to massage deep into tense muscles. Perfect for anyone on the go.
- CoreStretch ($70): Perfect for the office or while on vacation, the CoreStretch helps you safely stretch muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your back, shoulders, hips, and legs. Reduce pain, enhance mobility, and increase flexibility with this lightweight, portable tool.
- Slatted Footrest ($69): Footrests help align feet with the rest of the body to help reduce strain on your back and neck muscles.
- Lumbar Extender ($99): 5 minutes, 2 times a day is all you need to relieve back pain with the Lumbar Extender. Targeted pressure is applied along your vertebrae to release tension and enhance muscle relaxation.
- Neck & Shoulder Massager ($149): Find relief after your holiday travels with the powerful percussive action of this Neck and Shoulder wrap. With built-in heat and 20 automated programs, you’ll loosen muscles and quiet aches.
- Haven Foot Massager ($249): Give tired feet a comfortable treat with total reflexology. The Haven Foot Massager uses rejuvenating rollers, kneading air massage, optional deep heat therapy and two tension-relieving programs.
- Sit-to-Stand WorkPad ($299): Give the gift of mobility in the workspace. This ergonomic work stand can be rolled anywhere. The single-handed height adjustment allows for immediate and effortless transition from sitting to standing.
Treat your loved ones (or yourself) with something special this year. Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with a trained specialist who can help you find the perfect gift based on specific needs. Also be sure to visit us online (www.relaxtheback.com) and on Facebook and Twitter.
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.
If you have had episodes of pain lasting longer than six months, you may be one of the 100 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain. Pain levels and consistency can vary from person to person. While some may suffer mild, continuous pain, others may have unbearable, sporadic pain.
Symptoms of chronic pain can include feelings of stiffness, soreness, and discomfort, mild to severe pain that doesn’t go away, and shooting, aching, or burning pain. Fatigue, sleeplessness, and a weakened immune system may also occur.
Cleveland Clinic pain and wellness specialists offer 9 ways to tame chronic pain without medications or procedures.