Category Archives: Physical Therapy

Chiropractic or Physiotherapy: What’s Right for Me?

Chiropractic or Physiotherapy: What’s Right for Me?

When managing and treating chronic pain or injury, it’s important to seek professional treatment to help you heal your condition and prevent further damage. But with so many different treatment options and approaches, it can be difficult to know which type of professional to see.

If you’re suffering from chronic backshoulder or neck pain, you may choose to pursue therapy to help correct spine, nerve and muscle issues. Two types of therapy can help you address chronic pain: chiropractic care and physiotherapy.

These treatment approaches have important similarities and differences to be aware of before choosing a therapy route. Here we’ll review the purposes of each treatment approach and the unique benefits each offers to help you choose between chiropractic care or physiotherapy for your chronic pain.

What Is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic care is a form of complementary therapy that treats the musculoskeletal system—your bones, cartilage, joints, muscles and tendons. The musculoskeletal system is what allows you to have mobility and protects your internal organs.

When an injury, illness or deformity affects any part of this essential system, a chiropractor can manipulate your body with their hands to provide pain relief and improve mobility. Chiropractors make targeted adjustments and realignments to your spine and joints, and many perform deep tissue work as well to target muscles and tendons.

For the most part, chiropractic care doesn’t claim to be a replacement for conventional medical treatment. Rather, it’s a form of therapy that works in cooperation with other medical professionals to improve the patient’s overall health.

What Is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy, also called physical therapy, is a broad term to describe any kind of therapy that encourages the body to rehabilitate strength and mobility. By contrast, chiropractic care is more specific, while physiotherapy can have more applications. Many physiotherapists can perform some of the work that chiropractors do, such as spinal manipulation and muscle release techniques.

But what does physiotherapy do exactly and how is it administered? When an injury or illness has impacted a patient’s mobility, balance or strength, a physical therapist works to restore their health gradually over time through different treatment techniques. Physical therapists may use techniques like joint manipulation, muscle stretching and various exercises, depending on the unique patient.

Physiotherapists can work in conjunction with other medical professionals to diagnose conditions and to put together a comprehensive treatment plan for a patient’s physical rehabilitation.

Chiropractic or Physiotherapy Treatment Approaches

Both chiropractic and physiotherapy are considered complementary treatments in that they are non-invasive and don’t require pharmaceutical or surgical intervention—they work alongside these treatments.

Though similar, the two therapies differ in:

  • Treatment methods and techniques
  • Diseases and conditions treated
  • Types of patients treated

Chiropractic Treatment Approach

In chiropractic care, professionals view the body as having an inherent interconnectedness as well as an ability to heal itself. Therefore, chiropractors use a non-invasive but hands-on approach to heal their patients.

Chiropractors assess each patient’s body individually and find spinal and muscular misalignments that may be causing pressure within the central nervous system, leading to chronic pain.

If you’ve got a back or neck injury, you may be wondering what does a chiropractor treat and whether it can help your condition. Chiropractors can treat several musculoskeletal, such as:

  • Sciatica pain
  • Neck, back and low back pain
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Whiplash and other car accident injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic headaches

Chiropractors can also use their knowledge to further specialize in areas like pediatrics, orthopedics, sports medicine and even nutrition.

Physiotherapy Treatment Approach

In physiotherapy, professionals diagnose physical abnormalities in patients and help them restore strength, improve balance and gain greater mobility and range of motion. Physiotherapists can also identify health risks in their patients and work with them to improve overall fitness and wellbeing.

Physiotherapists put together a personalized plan for each patient based on their underlying condition. Physiotherapists will focus on the long-term rehabilitation of their patient to restore health and prevent future injuries.

Patients can see a physiotherapist for several reasons, including:

  • Increasing mobility in aging adults
  • Sports injuries
  • Surgery recovery
  • Disease recovery such as from multiple sclerosis or stroke

Like chiropractors, physiotherapists may choose to also narrow their practice by specializing in sports medicine, occupational therapy, geriatrics and more.

Benefits of Chiropractic vs. Physiotherapy

Chiropractic care and physiotherapy both offer benefits for people looking to heal and prevent back pain or injury. Many of their benefits overlap, which can make it difficult to choose between the two.

By looking at each therapy’s unique approach to treatment and the advantages each one offers, you can better decide whether chiropractic or physiotherapy is right for you.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is specialized, with practitioners providing relief for a variety of conditions. Chiropractors can offer the following benefits for people suffering from a range of musculoskeletal problems:

Personalized Treatment: In chiropractic care, the philosophy is that every body is different and therefore, requires tailored treatments. Chiropractors assess each patient and determine how best to adjust their bodies to provide relief. Patients may even find that they will receive unique treatments from one visit to the next.

Non-Invasive and Safe: If you’ve never undergone chiropractic care before, you may be wondering is chiropractic safe? Because chiropractic care is non-invasive, it means there’s a lower risk of complications compared to invasive treatments like spinal surgeries. Additionally, multiple studies have found that chiropractic care rarely creates any long-term side effects and that the potential benefits for healing low back and neck pain outweigh any risks.

Immediate Restorative Health: Many patients who see chiropractors report feeling immediate or near-immediate relief from their chronic pain. Undergoing spinal adjustments can help to alleviate pressure from nerves and muscles, which reduces the pain. Chiropractic adjustments can also have an immediate impact on mobility, coordination and function.

Benefits of Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy focuses on long-term support and restoration of your overall health and mobility. By seeing a physiotherapist for your back or neck injury, you can obtain the following health benefits:

Rehabilitation and Recovery: For patients who have suffered an injury or illness, physiotherapy can be a great, personalized way to rehabilitate your body and recover faster. Physiotherapists will work with you over time to ensure you’ve recovered properly.

Injury Prevention: Because physiotherapy focuses on strengthening and rehabilitating the body, the result is that the patient becomes stronger, increasing the ability to prevent future injury. Physiotherapists will identify issues and patterns in their patients and develop a care plan to avoid long-term problems.

Reduced Need for Surgery and Medication: Many physicians today will refer their patients to physiotherapists before administering conventional medical treatment. Getting the opinion of a physiotherapist can help the entire healthcare team make better-informed decisions about the patient’s needs, possibly reducing the need for more invasive treatments or pharmaceuticals.

Choosing Between Chiropractic or Physiotherapy

If you’ve suffered a recent injury or you’re looking to relieve chronic pain, it’s important to consider all your therapy options to help you increase your quality of life. Chiropractic care and physiotherapy are only two of several complementary therapies available to help you restore your health and prevent future injuries.

Additionally, you may find that incorporating both therapies into your personal wellness plan can benefit you. Or you may feel that one therapy is a better choice for you over the other. The decision is personal and much of it comes down to your current level of health and the underlying condition.

Achieving a Neutral Posture

Regardless of which treatment direction you choose, it’s essential to get in the habit of maintaining good posture. Neutral posture is a state of relaxed spinal alignment that eliminates or reduces pressure on your spine. Maintaining a neutral posture can help prevent spinal problems and muscle and joint pain, minimizing the need for ongoing therapy.

A neutral posture, combined with building physical strength and regular stretching is a necessary formula for preventing chronic pain. Support products from Relax The Back can help you achieve a neutral spine throughout the day, whether at home, work or on the go. Browse our selection of ergonomic support products today and help relieve back and neck pain.



How to Start a Morning Stretch Routine

How to Start a Morning Stretch Routine

Nothing feels better in the morning than sitting up in bed and stretching your arms toward the ceiling—except for an entire morning stretch routine.

Though a couple of morning stretches are almost instinctual, adding more targeted mobility stretches into the mix can help improve how your body feels all day long. A morning stretch routine may include 10 or fewer stretches that target different muscle groups in your body.

A stretch routine can warm up stiff muscles and get your body ready for all sorts of movement during your waking hours. Best of all, it requires no equipment and no gym membership to help you see benefits to your muscles. You can even perform many of these morning stretches in bed.

Benefits of Stretching in the Morning

Though mornings can be hectic, finding 10-15 minutes to run through a few stretches can help you enjoy better health.

Stretching could help you:

  • Get your muscles ready for the day. As you sleep, lactic acid and other fluid gather around your muscles. Stretching can get that fluid back into place, helping you have easier movements later.
  • “Recalibrate” your nerves. The nerves around your muscles send signals to your brain to prevent you from hyperextending (over-stretching), which can cause injury. A morning stretch routine helps your body understand its range of motion.
  • Extend your range of motion. Speaking of range of motion, routine stretching can improve yours. Joints with better range of motion tend to be less painful and less susceptible to injury.
  • Improve your flexibility and prevent injuries. Stretching helps lengthen your muscles and improve their flexibility. A long, loose muscle is less like to suffer an injury than a tight, short muscle.
  • Ease stress. rush don’t get off to a good start. A quiet stretching routine, perhaps even to music that relaxes you, gives you time to calm your mind and think about how your body feels before a busy day.
  • Relieve muscle pain. If you wake up with muscle pain, stretching may help relieve it. Overnight, your muscles may get tight. A nice, slow stretch can release the muscle and help relieve pain.
  • Better posture. Again, stretching can lengthen muscles. This makes it easier for you to sit and stand with a straight back.
  • Increase blood flow. Stretching also sends blood straight to your muscles. Better blood flow helps muscles heal and grow, especially if you had a strenuous workout the day before.

Types of Morning Stretches

You can choose out of literally hundreds of stretches for morning stiffness, depending on your needs. For instance, if you reach over your head a lot at work, you should probably stretch your upper back and shoulders. If you sit at a desk, you should do stretches for back pain and neck tension to improve your posture as you sit.

Most morning stretches are going to be “static stretches.” These stretches involve pulling a muscle group out to its furthest point then holding it there for 15-30 seconds. These mobility stretches are good muscle lengtheners and can release any morning stiffness.

You might also choose to do some dynamic stretches. In these stretches, you gradually move your body to the edge of its range of motion through gentle swinging. These might help you if your muscles are not warmed up and need help getting ready to stretch.

If you have stretching equipment like a foam roller, you might also take part in passive stretching. During these stretches, an object (like the foam roller) or person holds your muscle in their stretch. These types of stretches are best for muscle spasms or muscle soreness due to a workout.

A combination of stretches can help you get your body ready for the day. For the best stretches, wait until your heart rate is up a little and your muscles are warmer before stretching. This may mean you should stretch after you have walked the dog or gone up and down the stairs a few times.

Stretches to Target Problem Areas

You can customize your morning stretch routine to target the areas of your body that tend to be stiff, sore or painful.

Stretches for Back Pain

A nice upward stretch is a natural way to start out your stretching routine. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed then reach your hands up toward the ceiling. Focus on lifting up every vertebrae in your spine and lengthening your neck as you look up at your hands. Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds.  You can also reach up and to the left or right to help stretch your sides.

To stretch out your lower back, like flat on your back on the floor. Put your arms straight out to your sides so you make a cross. Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor. Slowly let your knees fall to one side while keep your shoulders and upper back flat on the floor. You should feel a gentle pull in your lower back as you twist. You can push this stretch further back pushing your knees down toward the floor with your hand. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then slowly twist your knees over to the other side to repeat the exercise.

Using an inversion table daily, whether in the morning or the evening, can also help stretch your lower back.

Stretches for Neck Pain

To stretch out your neck, first slowly and gently roll it in circles stretching it as far out as you can as your roll. Be sure to keep your shoulders relaxed.

Next, tilt your head to the left side as if you are trying to touch your ear to your shoulder. Keep your shoulder down. You should feel a stretch in the side of your neck. You can extend this stretch by putting your left hand on top of your head and gently pulling downward. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat on the right side.

Stretches for Shoulder Pain

Get your shoulders warmed up by rolling them forward for a few circles, then backwards for a few circles. Scrunch them up to your ears, then push them back down as far as you can.

Stretches for Knee Pain

The key to stretching out stiff knees is to loosen up the muscles in the thigh—the hamstring and quadriceps.

To stretch your quads, hold onto the back of a chair with your right hand for balance. Bend your left knee, bringing your foot up to your butt. Grab your foot with your left hand and pull it higher until you can feel the stretch in the front of your leg. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then switch legs.

To stretch out your hamstrings, lie down on the floor on your back. Lift your left leg straight up into the air, keeping your leg as straight as possible. Put your hands behind your knee and pull your leg forward while keeping it as straight as possible. You can also roll your ankle to stretch it out at the same time. Hold for 10-15 seconds then switch legs.

Stretches for Hip Pain

Both inner and outer hips can get tight during the day, so it is important to target both in your morning routine.

For your outer hip, stand next to your bed. Bend your left knee, turning your leg sidewise so it is parallel to the ground (as if you were going to put your left ankle above your right knee). Lay your leg on your bed, keeping your hips square to the bed. You can put your hands on your bed to help balance yourself. Slowly lean forward until you feel the stretch on the outside of your left hip. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then repeat on the right side.

A nice low lunge can stretch out your inner hip while challenging your leg muscles. For this lunge, put your left foot forward and bend at the knee. Point your right toes so your foot is flat on the floor. Now lunge forward, putting your weight on your left foot. Keep your torso upright so that you feel a stretch in the front of your left hip (you can put a chair by your side to hold onto if you have trouble keeping your balance). For an extra stretch, use your hands to push your hips forward further. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then repeat on the right side.

Start Your Day Right With Morning Stretches

A great morning stretch routine can prepare you physically—and mentally—for a new day whether you sit at a desk, lift heavy boxes or drive a car for hours. By taking a few minutes out of your morning to stretch out those stiff muscles, you’ll feel better all day long.



Neutral Posture: Taking Pressure Off Your Spine

Neutral Posture: Taking Pressure Off Your Spine

As NASA researchers have learned from astronauts, spending more time in neutral spine position can decrease chronic back and neck aches, muscle pain, stiffness and numbness as well as increase your work productivity. Here at Relax The Back, we believe in bringing you products that allow you to achieve a 24-hour neutral spine position, so you may reap its many health and productivity benefits. But first, you’ll want to know what neutral posture is and why you need it.      

Static Posture vs. Neutral Posture

In our sedentary society, our spines are under constant pressure. We spend most of our daily activities, including sleeping, in a static posture. As a poor posture condition, static posture can create spinal compression, tension and pain throughout our bodies.

In fact, 80% of us experience chronic back and neck pain resulting from working, relaxing and sleeping for many hours in a static posture. 

We sit up to 8 hours slouched at our computers or hunched over paperwork at our desk jobs. We spend another 2 or more hours lying on the couch watching television, or stuck in one cramped position while driving or commuting. Our spines fall out of alignment and, instead of our bones supporting our body weight, our muscles are forced to. This puts strain and tension on our muscles and can result in pain and cramps.             

Additionally, many of the physical activities we do throughout the day, like lifting and carrying heavy objects incorrectly, can strain and create pressure on our spines. And when we sleep, our mattresses sag and our pillows flatten. Consequently, our necks and spines are not properly supported for at least 6 to 8 hours each night. Unaligned spines during sleep can cause the vertebral discs to compress on, leading to pinching and irritating the nerves surrounding them.     

As a result, you can wake up with a stiff or painful neck and lower back, overall muscle tension and even numbness or tingling in your hands and feet.

Benefits of a Neutral Posture

Researchers found that astronauts in space had virtually none of these physical complaints. It was discovered that their bodies naturally assumed a proper spine alignment as they free floated throughout their space capsule’s environment.

Researchers discovered that a neutral posture is our body’s naturally preferred position. It’s a stress-free state in which our body naturally curves our spine.

A neutral posture is similar to the relaxed position we assume floating in water while swimming. A neutral posture puts zero pressure on your spine. It opens all the spaces between your vertebral discs creating an equal space between them.   

How to Find Neutral Spine Position

When you’re going through your daily activities, spending as much time in proper spine alignment will help improve your health by boosting circulation and reducing stress and tension. When you feel your best at work, you’ll also boost your productivity.

Here are some things you can do to help you achieve neutral posture at least two-thirds of your day.  


A neutral posture is one in which you maintain a 128-degree angle between your torso and thigh and a 133-degree angle between your hamstrings and calves.

You can achieve this while sitting by doing the following:   

  • Feet on the floor (or a footrest), don’t cross your legs
  • Hips slightly higher than your knees with a small gap between your knees and seat
  • Lower back is supported
  • Head, neck, shoulders, elbows, hips in alignment
  • Shoulders relaxed
  • Elbows bent at a 100-degree, or more, angle
  • Wrists straight
  • Fingers slightly curled and relaxed
  • Get up to stretch, take a brief walk around every 30 to 60 minutes


Standing with poor posture often causes the most pressure on your spine. You can avoid this by doing the following:    

  • Let the balls of your feet bear the most of your weight
  • Keep your knees slightly bent
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart  
  • Allow your arms to hang naturally at your side
  • Keep your shoulders pulled backward, head level
  • Shift your weight from toes to heels in long periods of standing


As mentioned, sleeping on sagging mattresses or pillows can create spinal pressure and result in morning stiffness and pain. Maintaining a good sleep environment with the proper mattress and pillow can help you prevent spinal pressure by helping you achieve proper spine alignment.

The following sleep tips can help you stay in neutral position throughout your sleep time:    

  • Don’t sleep on your stomach. Doing so encourages spinal pressure from lack of support.  It also keeps your neck in a twisted position for several hours.   
  • Use specifically designed bed wedges atop your mattress at the head to elevate your head and one at the foot of your bed to elevate your knees.      
  • If you like to sleep on your side, use a knee spacer pillow to alleviate pressure on your lower back and relax leg muscles. Knee spacers also take pressure of knee joints to prevent morning stiffness.   
  • Adjustable bed bases allow you to mechanically elevate the head or foot of your bed to keep your spine in neutral position as well as improve circulation.  
  • Whole-body pillows help to take pressure off your lower back and support an overweight frame. Especially good for pregnant women or men with larger, pendulous abdomens.
  • Lumbar pads help pad the bones, muscles, tissues surrounding the hips and lower back to prevent pressure and pain while sleeping.  
  • Travel pillows support your neck correctly if you sleep while on a plane, train or bus.  
  • Memory foam mattresses adjust to your specific body weight and shape and support you throughout the night.  
  • Memory foam pillows keep your head and neck supported correctly throughout the night to prevent neck strain and pain.  


Spending time watching television or reading in a chair can keep you in neutral position when using the right recliner. A zero-gravity reclining chair removes tension from your spine. It elevates your feet to the same level as your heart, relieving strain on your spinal vertebrae from the pull of gravity.


Posture-strengthening exercises will help offset static posture activities you do during the day. Strengthening exercises include core-stabilization to strengthen your torso, pelvis and back muscles.

Try the following strength-building exercises:

  1.  Bridges. Lie with your back flat on the floor, knees bent. Lift your pelvis off the floor 20 reps.  
  1.  Planks. Lie prone on the floor, supported by your elbows, hands down, resting on your tiptoes. Hold this position to the count of 20. Extend the count by 10 until you reach 60.  
  1.  Back extensions. Lie prone on floor, resting your head on your hands. At the same time, lift your feet/legs and head creating an arch in your lower back. Lower, then repeat 20 reps.    
  1.  Side lying leg raises. Lie on your side, point your toes, slowly raise your leg as high as you can. 20 reps, then switch sides.   
  1.  Hip flexor stretch. Sit on the floor in a “butterfly” position, legs spread, knees out to side, soles of feet touching in the center. Bounce your hips to the floor and back for several reps, stop, then repeat.   
  1.  Standing thigh stretch. Stand with your feet 2-3 shoulder widths apart, your left foot pointed slightly out. Stretch your left foot out, bend knee, your torso bending back onto your right hip.  Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides, repeat on your right side.

Other general exercises that help strengthen the core and spine include:  

  • Simple walking. But, be sure to walk with good posture by keeping your shoulders straight, head up and your stomach held toward you.
  • Low impact aerobic exercise. Helps elevate your heart rate, improve circulation without putting pressure on the spine. It also relieves stress, muscle tension and stiffness.  Low impact exercise includes dancing, walking on a treadmill, using an elliptical, or stair-stepping machine, swimming or bicycling.

Correct movement. Just moving properly throughout your day can help you prevent the strain of poor posture on your spine. Many of us sit, stand, bend forward, stoop and squat throughout the day. It’s important to move smoothly and fluidly as you change positions. Avoid sudden jerking, twisting motions of your spine and too-deep squats that put pressure on the lower back, hamstrings and calves.

Weight Maintenance

Maintaining a healthy weight helps your spine, back and neck more than you may realize. A heavy, pendulous abdomen, a heavy rear, or large, pendulous breasts, can pull your spine out of balance, putting strain and tension on neck and back muscles which causes pain.

Too much overall body weight makes it difficult for your body to move fluidly and smoothly, causing you to put strain on lower back, legs and feet.     

Maintaining a Neutral Spine for Better Health

Staying in neutral posture most of the day allows your spine to move freely without pressure on vertebral discs. Nerves can then exit between them without becoming pinched or irritated.  They’re then free to send the proper signals to all the organs of your body, muscles, ligaments and tendons in the correct manner. As a result, you stay healthier and reduce the risk of chronic injury or illness.

Neutral spine position allows your body to perform in the tension-free, fluid movement that nature intended. And, you can go through your day without pain and stiffness, feeling great, enjoying your activities and increasing your productivity.



Ice vs Heat: Which Is Better For Pain?

This October, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is raising awareness of the dangers of opioid use and addiction while looking at safer alternatives for treating chronic pain.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend physical therapy as a safe, nonopioid alternative to pain management. Relax The Back was founded on the principles of the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnostics and Therapy (MDT). We strongly believe in the power and importance of movement and self-care.

MDT emphasizes active involvement and educating patients in order to minimize visits to the clinic and diminish pain quickly without turning to medications. Through back and neck care education, patients are able to self-treat the present problem and minimize the risk of a relapse. This also allows patients to manage the pain themselves when symptoms occur.

One easy, natural, and affordable option for treating back and neck pain is ice and heat. Cleveland Clinic has put together this infographic to show when ice or heat is better for your specific pain. Understanding your pain symptoms will help find relief at home.

We offer a wide selection of hot and cold therapy products that can relieve tension and stiffness, relax muscles, and bring relief to everyday life. Stop by your local Relax The Back store or visit us online at to learn more about our product solutions.

Ice vs Heat Which Is Better For Pain Relief

Back Care Essentials For Pain Relief


Back Care Essentials For Pain Relief

October is National Spinal Health Month. Our spines are our core, connecting muscles, ligaments and nerves throughout our body. This means spinal health a key component in your overall health.

Studies indicate poor posture is a main cause of back and neck pain. Poor posture can cause damage to the vertebrae, joints, and spinal discs due to increased pressure being placed on the spine. This can lead to neck and back pain as well as pain in weight bearing joints such as your knees and hips. Poor posture has other effects on your health such as decreased energy levels because of restricted blood and oxygen flow and digestive problems such as acid reflux.

Fortunately, there are non-surgical solutions when it comes to treating most back and neck pain symptoms. Founded on the principles of the McKenzie Method, we believe maintaining a self-care routine and actively learning how you can better your back and spinal health is the best way to achieve long lasting improvement of back and neck pain.

Add our back care essentials into your self-care routine for lasting relief.

  • Theracane ($30) Release muscle tension where you need it most through targeted pressure.
  • Roam Rollers (as low as $15) Improve flexibility and strength while relieving muscle stiffness and tension.
  • Treat Your Own Back/Neck Books ($9/each) Learn the importance of how different positions when seated, reclining, and sleeping affect our spinal health.
  • Real EaSE Neck Support ($23) Find deep relaxation and comfort in your neck and shoulder muscles.
  • Medibeads for Relax The Back (as low as $24) Soothe aching muscles with heat therapy.
  • The McKenzie Original Lumbar Roll™ ($16) Alleviate lower back pain wherever you are. Our portable lumbar cushion provides firm support and spinal alignment.

October also celebrates Physical Therapists and Chiropractors for their work in restoring movement in people’s lives. They are an excellent resource for those requiring a conservative, non-surgical, care specialist.

National Physical Therapy Month: #ChoosePT


October is National Physical Therapy Month. Each year, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) recognize and celebrate physical therapists assistants and physical therapists who help improve people’s lives through movement. Physical therapists also help people who are suffering from osteoporosis, stroke, sprains, arthritis, and so much more.

This October’s campaign is focused on choosing physical therapy over opioid pain medication. #ChoosePT raises awareness of America’s opioid epidemic and the dangers of prescription opioids while providing information on safer alternatives for treating chronic pain conditions.

Since 1999, sales of prescription opioids have quadrupled even though the amount of pain that Americans report has not changed overall. In relation, as many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long term, for non-cancer pain, struggle with addiction. These are just a few of the staggering statistics of opioid use in America.

In response to these recent studies the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidelines and recommendations for prescribing medication. It is understood that if properly dosed, prescription opioids are an appropriate treatment option in certain cases such as cancer treatment, palliative care, end-of-life care, and certain acute care situations.

For other pain management situations, Physical Therapy is recommended as a safe, non-opioid alternative. Move Forward PT provides a few reasons why patients should choose physical therapy over pain medication:

  • If the risks of opioid use outweigh the rewards: Potential side effects of opioids include, but are not limited to, depression, overdose, addiction, and withdrawal symptoms when stopping use. With these risks in mind, the CDC guideline states, “opioids should not be considered first-line or routine therapy for chronic pain”.
  • If patients want to do more than mask pain: Physical therapists treat pain through movement, helping patients improve or maintain their mobility and quality of life. Physical therapy offers benefits that will help patients live a pain-free and active life for many years while opioids offer a short-term solution to reduce the feeling of pain.
  • If pain is related to low back pain, hip or knee osteoarthritis, or fibromyalgia: The CDC explains there is “high-quality evidence” that supports exercise as an effective treatment plan for these types of conditions.
  • If pain lasts 90 days: If you are suffering from pain symptoms for 90 days or more, it is considered “chronic”. This leads to an increased risk for continued opioid use. The CDC guidelines recommend and prefer non-opioid therapies, such as physical therapy, for chronic pain.

If you’re suffering from pain and discomfort, consult your doctor and ask about all treatment options including non-opioid therapies. The APTA also makes it easy to find a physical therapist in your area.

Follow along all month on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more physical therapy tips and information.

Acupressure Therapy: Key Pressure Points For Relief


Acupressure is an ancient alternative medicine technique that involves applying physical pressure to key healing points along the body. It is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The goal is to bring relief to areas causing pain, tension, and stress-related ailments. These points run along energy-carrying pathways called meridians. They are the same pathways used in acupuncture, which involves applying pressure and heat to these same points with thin needles.

When the balance of the pathways is disrupted, pain and discomfort can occur. By pressing on the acupuncture points, we can help restore health and balance to these pathways. Acupressure therapy is commonly used to relieve sinus headaches, allergies, and back pain, reduce muscle tension, and improve quality of sleep. While massage therapists and other “bodywork” practitioners often use acupressure techniques, there are some that you can learn and try for yourself.

Take a look at the graphic below to find key pressure points that will relieve certain ailments and pain. Applying pressure for 10 to 30 seconds to these areas can help you find relief.

Acupressure Therapy: Key Pressure Points For Relief

National Physical Therapy Month: #AgeWell

physical therapy

Each October, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) commemorates National Physical Therapy Month to recognize physical therapist assistants and physical therapists who help restore and improve motion in people’s lives. Physical therapists can also help with arthritis, obesity, osteoporosis, stroke, sprains, and much more.

This October, the #AgeWell campaign focuses on healthy aging and the different ways physical therapists can help individuals gain and maintain movement, overcome pain, and preserve their independence. The APTA will also highlight the different actions adults can take to prevent or delay many conditions and health issues associated with aging.

If you’re wondering if seeing a physical therapist is right for you, we’ve gathered a few reasons why it’s a good option:

  • Physical therapists can improve mobility and motion by creating personalized treatment plans to help reduce the risk of injury, prevent falls, and improve one’s balance.
  • Specific exercises based on your injury, no matter which part of your body is injured, can help you manage pain and discomfort, without expensive medications or invasive methods.
  • Research has shown that physical therapy, combined with comprehensive medical management, can be just as effective as surgery when it comes to relieving stiffness and moderate to severe pain from back, neck, and knee injuries.
  • In addition to helping with illness and injuries, a physical therapist can create a plan based on your specific fitness goals to help restore health and wellness, as well as prevent injuries.

Follow along all month long as we provide more tips and information on aging well with the help of physical therapists. Find more information on physical therapy at  The American Physical Therapy Association also makes it easy to find a physical therapist in your area.

7 Myths About Physical Therapy

Each October, physical therapists and physical therapists assistants are recognized for their hard work and dedication to restore and improve motion in people’s lives during National Physical Therapy month (NPTM). Lead by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), this month is intended to recognize the work of these trained specialists who help people restore or improve mobility, reduce pain, and stay fit and active throughout their lives.

At Relax The Back, we want to thank physical therapists and physical therapists assistants for all that they do and for referring our products to patients to aid in pain relief.  The role physical therapy can play in our lives is sometimes misunderstood. These misconceptions can discourage people from seeking out a physical therapist in their area.

Move Forward PT is debunking some of these myths to help people find pain relief in their daily lives:

Physical Therapy Myths

Why Physical Therapy?

Often we do not think about or appreciate our ability to move freely and without pain until physical impairments or disabilities occur. These may be due to illness, injury, or muscle stiffness, to name a few.  Physical therapists are trained to restore mobility and functional ability, as well as prevent injury and assist in overall health and wellness of their patients. If you are wondering if physical therapy can help you, here are some reasons why it is a good choice:

  • Avoid Surgery: When it comes to relieving stiffness and moderate to severe pain from knee, back, and neck injuries, research has shown that physical therapy, combined with comprehensive medical management, is just as effective as surgery.
  • Eliminate Pain: No matter which part of your body is in pain, physical therapy can alleviate and help manage pain and discomfort through specific exercises based on your injury, without invasive methods or expensive medications.
  • Improve Mobility and Motion: Physical therapists create personalized treatment plans to help improve one’s balance, reduce the risk of injury and prevent falls.
  • Health and Wellness: In addition to helping with injuries and illness, a physical therapist can create a plan specific to your fitness goals to help restore your health, as well as prevent injuries.

Physical therapists can also help you with arthritis, obesity, osteoporosis, stroke, sprains, and much more. Find more information on physical therapy at  The American Physical Therapy Association also makes it easy to find a physical therapist in your area.


National Physical Therapy Month & The McKenzie Method

Each October, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) commemorates National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) as a way of recognizing the impact physical therapist assistants and physical therapists make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives.
Earlier this year Robin McKenzie, a pioneer of musculoskeletal disorders and their treatment, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. Robin developed the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnostics and Therapy (MDT) in 1950.
The McKenzie Method is based on the idea of self-care and patients managing their own pain. The MDT system consists of the following:

  • Assessment: A well-defined algorithm leads to simple classification of spinal-related disorders and is unique to MTD. Disorders are addressed according to their unique nature with mechanical procedures utilizing movement and positions.
  • Treatment: In order to restore function and independence, minimize visits to the clinic and diminish pain quickly, MTD uniquely emphasizes active patient involvement and education.
  • Preventive measure: Educating patients to self-treat the present problem minimizes the risk of relapse and gives patients the skills to manage the pain themselves when symptoms occur.

Robin believed that self-treatment was the best way to achieve long lasting improvement of neck and back pain. MDT is recognized worldwide as a standard for management of low back pain as well as the basis on which Relax The Back was founded. Robin made great strides in the field of physical therapy and his legacy will live on through the McKenzie Institute International. You can find more information on the McKenzie Method and the McKenzie Institute International at