Category Archives: Pain Relief Education

Winter Chores: 5 Tips To Prevent Pain This Season

As the temperature begins to drop, seasonal chores are beginning to show up on our to-do lists. Changing out the bed linens for warmer sheets and blankets, putting away your summer wardrobes, and clearing up the yard and gutters of leaves and, depending on where you live, shoveling snow.

 

The risk of back pain during this time of year increases due to the labor intensive work of raking leaves and clearing snow. Injuries and pain can also arise due to lack of exercise during the cooler months, slipping on wet surfaces, or bending and twisting while cleaning up outside.

Fortunately, there are different ways to combat the cooler weather. By implementing the following tips, we can help keep our body healthy while avoiding pain.

  • Dress the part: Wear layers to keep warm when going outside. Also, be sure to wear proper footwear when there is snow or water on the ground to avoid falls.
  • Move around: We tend to spend more time sitting during the fall and winter months. If you’re watching TV, make an effort to get up and move around, or try some stretching during commercial breaks. By moving throughout the day, even if it’s just around the house, you can keep muscles flexible to avoid tension and pain.
  • Eat healthy & stay hydrated: While we are in favor of indulging every now and then, by eating in moderation we can help keep extra holiday weight away. Back and knee pain are often a result of weight gain as it puts added stress on our joints and muscles.
  • Maintain a workout routine: Staying active will keep muscles strong. Core exercises work muscles that support the spine, keeping back pain at bay. Stretching often will help you stay limber while avoiding tense muscles. Try these simple exercises each night before bed.
  • Pay attention to form: Whether shoveling snow or raking leaves, keep your legs slightly bent, reaching with your arms instead of your back. Use your legs as the source of power to prevent straining your back muscles. Switch sides every 20 minutes to avoid muscle fatigue.

These tips can help you avoid pain and discomfort during the fall and winter months. From heat therapy products to foam rollers, to massage chairs, our trained associates are ready to help you prepare for the cold months ahead. Visit your local Relax The Back store locator to try out our products first-hand.

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National Spinal Health Month: Tips for a Healthy Spine

During the month of October, organizations across the United States focus on the importance of spinal health, different approaches to pain treatment, and how massage therapy can improve our lives.

The America Physical Therapy Association (APTA) raises awareness about the benefits of physical therapy as a safe, effective option for long-term pain management while recognizing and celebrating physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who help improve people’s lives through movement. While the American Chiropractic Associate (ACA) shares back injury preventing and strengthening tips during National Chiropractic Health Month. The end of the month turns to massage during National Massage Therapy Awareness Week (NMTAW) put on by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Massage therapy can be a beneficial part of a pain management plan.

These initiatives put a spotlight on the importance, as well as the benefits, of self-care and those who help provide solutions for lasting relief. By working to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion, we can keep our spine happy and healthy as we age. Doing so allows us to live the life we want to, free from back and neck pain.

These simple guidelines and tips can help you take better care of your spinal health:

Massage Therapy

  • Increase blood flow, endorphins, and flexibility with regular massages
  • Speed up healing, relieve tense muscles from head to toe, and find comfort, spinal support, and deep relaxation.
  • Massage chairshandheld massagers, and massage cushions allow for a therapeutic experience any time of the day, for any amount of time, in the privacy of your home.

Proper Ergonomics

  • Create a custom workstation to fit your needs and your body.
  • Look for spine-friendly office equipment. A standing deskergonomic office chair, or footrest create a healthy work environment.
  • Flexibility is key. Be sure to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.

Stay Active

  • Maintain a consistent exercise routine to help strengthen muscles, protect your spine, and prevent injuries.
  • Feel more energized and productive throughout the day when you get in your workout first thing in the morning.
  • Incorporate stretching into your daily regimen for increased flexibility in spinal muscles, tension relief, and increase blood flow.

Sleep Well

  • Create a sleep environment that promotes comfort, relaxation, and support.
  • A quality mattress and pillow ensures you’re getting a restful sleep by providing you with support where you need it most.
  • Improve your mood, personal performance, and cardiovascular health when you get adequate sleep.

Pain Awareness Month: Taking Care Of Your Back

Every September, the U.S. Pain Foundation sponsors Pain Awareness Month as a way to raise public awareness of the issues surrounding pain and pain management. Their goal is to break the isolation that often comes with chronic pain. At Relax The Back, we’re focusing on raising awareness for back pain and the importance of spinal health. Your spine is the foundation of your body and because of this an episode of back pain can also manifest itself as shoulder, neck, hip, or knee pain.

80% of Americans suffer from chronic back pain with eight out of ten people experiencing it at some point in their lifetime. With numbers remaining consistent year after year, it is clear back pain can affect people of all ages. Whether pain is caused by sciatica, scoliosis, a herniated disc, or just simply stress, there are simple solutions people can take to relieve pain and improve their overall health and wellness.

Being proactive with spinal health can help reduce and prevent pain. The key to spinal health is having strong spinal muscles to support your frame. While it is true that physically active people are less likely to deal with back pain and discomfort, they are not risk free. Back pain can affect all people regardless of how active they are.

By incorporating conditioning and strengthening exercises into your routine, you can rehabilitate the spine, alleviate and prevent pain, and reduce severity of future episodes. Acting as a natural stimulus to heal the back, exercise keeps muscles, ligaments, and discs healthy as well as relieving stress and improving our mood and overall happiness.

At Relax The Back, we believe in helping people take control of their spinal health through stretching, strengthening, and supporting their spine throughout the day. Our spinal health product consultants are passionate about helping you get back to a healthier life. They will work with you to educate you on spinal health and create custom solutions based on your unique lifestyle. When it comes to relieving daily discomforts and improving home, office, and sleep comfort, we’ve got your back.

6 Exercises For A Healthier Back

Exercise plays an important role in keeping your body and mind healthy. Targeting specific muscles groups such as your back and core can help strengthen these muscles to protect your spine. Restful nights, rejuvenated days, refreshed mornings are some of the positive benefits of a healthier back and taking time for self-care.

There are simple ways to maintain a healthy back and counter the strain of sitting at the office and during our commutes. These exercises and stretches focus on promoting spinal health, increased flexibility, and improving overall wellness.

Exercise Benefits For A Healthier Back

  • Cat-Cow Variation: Relieve tension in the spine while reducing stiffness in the back and hips. Do 6-10 reps.
  • Bird-Dog: Improve balance and strengthen your core. Do 6-10 reps.
  • Child’s Pose: This restorative yoga position promotes a neutral spine. Stretch out along your side-body, relax tension in your shoulders and neck, and relieve pressure along your spine. Hold for 10-30 seconds.
  • Plank: This move works your entire body but the biggest benefit comes from strengthening your core and back muscles. Hold for 10-30 seconds.
  • Bridge: Stretch and strengthen muscles in your lower back, quads, hips, and abs. Do 6-10 reps.
  • Supine Knee-Twist: Stretch your spine and back muscles and open tight shoulders. Sink into this position a little more with each exhale to relax at the end of this exercise series. Hold each side for 10-30 seconds.

For more information on how to improve your overall back health, make sure to visit your local Relax The Back store. Our trained specialists will work with you one-on-one to find a product or solution that works best for your specific needs.

Fibromyalgia & Sleep: Solutions For A Better Night’s Rest

Each year on May 12th, the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association supports National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day to raise awareness and funds to help those living with chronic pain from fibromyalgia. 2%-10% of the American population suffers from this chronic condition that causes abdominal pain, fatigue, chronic headaches, joint and muscle pain and stiffness, and insomnia.

Sleep Problems

Sleep problems and fibromyalgia can be a vicious cycle. A majority of those suffering from fibromyalgia symptoms have issues with sleep. Whether it is lack of sleep, non-restorative sleep, restless leg syndrome, or difficulty staying asleep due to pain, not getting enough sleep intensifies pain symptoms.

Research has shown sleep and pain are linked. When we do not get adequate sleep, our pain tolerance can decrease making existing pain feel much worse. One study followed a group of healthy middle-aged women who were purposefully deprived of the deepest stage of sleep for three days. These women showed increased levels of fatigue and discomfort and a decrease in pain tolerance. This suggests sleep deprivation plays a key role in the development in fibromyalgia symptoms.

Solutions For Better Sleep

Improving sleep quality can have a lasting impact on fibromyalgia pain. Creating and maintaining good sleep hygiene can help you manage your symptoms. Try the solutions below for a better night’s rest. As always, consult your physician regarding any pain and sleep disturbances you may be experiencing.

  • Make sleep a priority. Too often do we put sleep on the back burner when other parts of life become hectic. It is even more important for those with fibromyalgia to maintain a consistent sleep schedule and to be sure they get enough sleep each night.
  • Think cool, dark, and quiet in the bedroom. Heat can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep and chronic pain has also been known to increase in the presence sound.
  • Maintain a regular exercise routine. Low-impact exercise activities such as yoga, swimming, or walking have been shown to help reduce pain symptoms.
  • Get fitted for a pillow. By using a pillow that fits your body type and sleep style, your head and spine will be properly aligned for maximum comfort and pressure relief.
  • Invest in a quality mattress. Your mattress is the foundation on which quality sleep is built. Tempur-Pedic mattresses adapt to the shape of your body, relieving pressure points and preventing you from tossing and turning throughout the night.
  • Gentle massage or other relaxation techniques can help loosen stiff muscles while easing your mind of stress or worries that may keep you awake. Find full body relief and relaxation with our massage chairs or use our handheld massagers for targeting relief where you need it most.

Visit a local Relax The Back store to speak with a trained associate who can help you find product solutions to reduce pain and provide relief wherever you are. From your home, to your office, to your daily commute, there are solutions to your pain needs. Try numerous products and begin feeling a difference before you even leave the store. Relief is a visit away.

Starting May 15th through June 11th, save up to $600 on Tempur-Pedic Mattress Sets, up to $400 on mattresses and $200 on adjustable bases.

4 Tips For Sleeping With Neck Pain

Is neck pain keeping you up at night? While there are some factors, such as arthritis and aging that are out of your control, there are a few ways to prevent neck pain so you can be on your way to a better night’s sleep.

Find your perfect pillow

A supportive pillow is essential for a good night’s sleep, free from pain. If your pillow is too low, or too high, it can cause your neck to become bent abnormally causing neck and shoulder muscles to strain. When a pillow fits our body type, our head, neck, and shoulders are aligned to relieve pressure points throughout the night.

Follow these guidelines based on your sleeping style when choosing your pillow:

  • Sleeping on your back: Look for a medium support pillow that maintains the natural curvature of your head, neck, and upper spine, such as the TEMPUR-Neck Pillow, throughout the night.
  • Sleeping on your side: Choose a pillow that is high with firm support to cradle the neck, head, and shoulders. The CountourSide Pillow by Relax The Back uses a memory foam contour and shoulder cradle to provide correct support for proper spinal alignment.
  • Sleeping on your stomach: This position is not recommended as it can cause strain on the back and neck muscles.

Put your phone away

Many of us are guilty of checking our phones before we go to sleep. This not only inhibits sleep due to the blue light our phones emit, blocking our body’s release of melatonin, it also leads to neck and shoulder strain caused by the position of our heads while looking down at our phones. Try putting your phone, and all other electronics, away 90 minutes – 1 hour before you go to bed. Alternatively, if this is unrealistic for you, download an app for your phone or computer, or use already installed settings, to turn your devices on “Night Shift” an hour before bed. This adjusts the color temperature on the screen to cut down on the blue light exposure.

Sleep hygiene

It can be a vicious cycle. Neck pain makes it difficult for you to sleep; lack of sleep can cause pain to worsen. Take a look at your current sleep habits. Be sure that you are going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including weekends. Avoid caffeine and alcohol a few hours before you go to bed and exercise on a regular basis. These, paired with a supportive pillow and mattress, can all help improve your overall quality of sleep.

Neck stretches before bed

Loosen tight muscles with simple neck stretches. Strengthening your neck with certain exercises can also help prevent pain making it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Visit your local Relax The Back location to be fitted for your perfect pillow. We have an assortment of products that can assist you, including Dr. Riter’s REAL-EaSE Neck Support, which is the most advanced neck support available. REAL-EaSE cradles your neck along the base of the skull for maximum pain relief and allows neck and shoulder muscles to rest in a fully relaxed position. We understand everyone has a different body type and sleep style. Through one-on-one support, we will help you find a pillow that fits all of your comfort needs. Stop by to test out the different styles, shapes, and brands.

If switching your pillow and sleep position, performing stretches, or improving your sleep hygiene do not provide relief, consider speaking with a physical therapist or your doctor. There may be an underlying chronic condition that should be treated.

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Is My Pain Sciatica? Ways To Find Relief

Is My Pain Sciatica? Ways To Find Relief

Sciatica is a term used to describe symptoms caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. It is a common reason customers visit Relax The Back seeking relief. The sciatic nerve begins in the lower back and travels down the back of the legs into each foot.

Sciatic Symptoms

Sciatica symptoms are highly variable. Common symptoms can 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.
  • Worsening pain from coughing or sneezing.
  • Pain triggered by prolonged sitting or standing.
  • Pain beginning in the lower back or buttocks and continuing down the back of the thigh into the lower leg or foot.

Sciatica is a symptom of other medical conditions such as spinal stenosis, herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, etc. Therefore, the underlying cause of your sciatic pain must be determined in order to tailor treatment and exercise programs to your needs.

Sciatic Relief Now

There are exercises and treatment options to help reduce pain in the near term. Find relief from pain while also working towards preventing pain in the future.

  • Stretch Often: Keep your muscles loose and warm with simple, gentle stretches done daily. Inversion Tables offer instant relief allowing your joints and spine to elongate and decompress.
  • Stay Active: Maintaining a regular exercise routine helps keep sciatica pain away. Work on strengthening your core and back muscles to provide support for muscles in your back.
  • Hot/Cold Therapy: When you first notice a flare up, ice the area during the first 48-72 hours. Follow up with a period of heat to relieve tension and pain. PROTOCOLD Reusable Cold Therapy Pads, the Deluxe Heat Pad, and the Far Infrared Back Wrap can help provide you with relief where you need it most.
  • Quality Sleep: Invest in a Bed Wedge System. Find customizable support in bed and reduce excess pressure on your spine and sciatic nerve so you can sleep easier.
  • Ergonomics: Maintaining proper posture and having an ergonomic workstation set up will help reduce pain. A footrest keeps your legs active while you work, improving circulation and reducing pressure on tired feet.

It’s important that you speak with your doctor before performing any new exercises or health regimens. A spine specialists or a physical therapist can find the underlying cause of your pain in order to create a plan suited to your needs.

If you’d like more help in relieving sciatica while at home, at the office, or commuting, visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists. We will make sure you are equipped with the perfect product solutions and information so you can get back to living your life free from pain and discomfort.

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What Is Fibromyalgia and How To Cope

There are nearly 5 million people in the United States who suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms. While fibromyalgia is considered a common arthritis-related symptom, it is not a form of arthritis because it does not cause muscles, joints, and other tissues to become inflamed or damaged.

Fibromyalgia does cause significant pain, similar to arthritis, chronic headaches, insomnia, fatigue, abdominal pain, stiffness, and joint and muscle pain. Fibromyalgia sufferers not only experience physical pain, they also experience mental and emotional pain due to this condition.

While men and children can be affected with fibromyalgia, researchers have found that 80 to 90 percent of those diagnosed are women. Whether this is a result of shared environmental factors, hereditary genes, or both, there are no clear answers as to why this occurs.

While researchers are still searching for a cure for fibromyalgia, there are ways to resolve symptoms and cope with the daily challenges of living with this condition.

  • Make sleep a priority: Create an optimal sleep environment. Think cool, dark, and quiet. Quality pillows, like the ContourSleep Cervical Pillow, provide support for your head, neck, and spine while easing fibromyalgia pain. Invest in a pressure-relieving mattress, such as our TempurPedic Mattresses, which relieve pressure points and improve sleep.
  • Heat therapy: Heat helps to relax tense muscles, reduce pain, and allows you to move around more easily. Try soaking in a bath or using heat therapy products to ease tension, stiffness, and pain. Our MediBeads Moist Heat Pads provide fast, therapeutic relief for up to 30 minutes. Combine heat therapy with our Kneading Back Massage Cushion for deep tissue relief wherever you are.
  • Exercise regularly: Pain, fatigue, and stiffness can often cause a person suffering from fibromyalgia to put off exercising. However, engaging in regular exercises is a major factor in easing these symptoms. Exercise improves endurance, keeps you physically fit, and reduces pain. Conditioning and aerobic exercises, such as biking, walking, or swimming, improve your mood and provide feelings of control and well-being.

Read more about fibromyalgia in the helpful infographic below from Cleveland Clinic.

What is Fibromyalgia and How To Cope

How To Prevent Acid Reflux And Rest Comfortably

How To Prevent Acid Reflux And Rest Comfortably

Acid reflux affects over 350 Million people around the world. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid or bile flows up to the esophagus and irritates the lining of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Symptoms such as chest pain, heartburn, bloating, and nausea can cause discomfort and pain throughout the day and well into the night, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Common causes of acid reflux

  • Eating a large meal then lying on your back
  • Consuming certain foods or beverages
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy

Lying down with acid reflux

Gravity plays an important role in acid reflux. Whether you’re lying down to read a book, watch TV, or fall asleep, the acid in your stomach is more likely to enter your esophagus in these positions, causing heartburn. Regurgitation, the sour or bitter taste, often causes people to wake up or remain awake. Chocking or coughing can also occur when lying down if acid reaches the back of the throat.

Rest easy with neutral posture

Fortunately, there are ways to relax and sleep comfortably when dealing with acid reflux. Tilting the upper torso upward while having your head raised higher than your abdomen in a neutral posture position will help prevent or reduce acid or food in the stomach from traveling back up to the esophagus. Neutral posture refers to a stress-free position in which our bodies naturally curve to reduce pressure on our spine.

In addition to regularly exercising and avoiding foods and drinks that trigger symptoms, there are a number of product solutions to help you reduce and prevent acid reflux.

How we can help

If you suffer from acid reflux, our trained specialists can show you a number of products to help you find relief. When you visit a Relax The Back store, we’ll work with you to determine when symptoms arise throughout the day and night and provide you with product solutions that you can try out first-hand in our stores. Feel instant relief from back pain in our Perfect Chairs or learn how a bed wedge system can be customized to your comfort level.

5 Reasons You Have A Stiff Neck

5 Reasons You Have A Stiff Neck

Neck pain is never a pleasant experience. Tense, sore muscles make it difficult to do even the simplest everyday tasks. A stiff neck can also make it harder to get a restful night’s sleep. There are a number of different reasons you may be experiencing this pain. Thankfully, there are also numerous ways to treat non-severe neck pain.

Here are a few common reasons you may have a stiff neck.

Causes of a stiff neck

  • Injury: Any accident that causes your head and neck to jerk around forcibly could lead to stiffness due to injured muscles and ligaments in your neck. A fall, car collision, or getting hit while playing sports are possible instances where this type of injury would occur.
  • Pinched nerve: A pinched nerve can be caused by accidents where you herniate a disk or by arthritis. In these cases, neck stiffness can radiate into your arms and your legs.
  • Stress: Every one’s body handles stress differently. While some may feel back pain, grind their teeth, or get tension headaches, others may carry their stress in the upper back and neck. Stress can cause muscle to become tense. If you are feeling stiffness in your neck, consider your stress levels as a potential cause.
  • Fibromyalgia: This common arthritis-related symptom causes joint and muscle pain, fatigue, and stiffness. If you suffer from fibromyalgia, try these tips to help cope.
  • Muscle Spasm: Repetitive activity or any movements that puts your neck in an awkward position for a prolonged amount of time can cause neck muscles to spasm. For example, having your computer screen placed too high causing you to look up to do work could cause neck stiffness.

At- Home treatment for neck pain

  • Ice and heat therapy: Within the first 48 -72 hours, use cold therapy tools, such as the PROTOCOLD Therapy Pads, to reduce inflammation. After this time period, soothing heat will keep inflammation down, improve blood circulation, and release tension in your neck muscles. Try our Far Infrared Heat Wrap to find relief.
  • Ergonomics: Proper workstation setup is key to having a productive, pain-free day. Everything from your monitor placement, to where you put your mouse, to the height of your chair will affect comfort levels as well as how much strain is placed on your muscles and joints. Here are a few tips to setting up an ergonomic workstation.
  • Exercise: Simple stretches can help relieve tension and reduce stiffness in your neck.
  • Pillows: Use a supportive pillow that is fitted to your body type to avoid strain and discomfort throughout the night. The proper pillow aligns your head and spine for maximum comfort and pressure relief.
  • Massage: Gentle massage helps to increase blood flow to neck muscles to release tension and provide comfort. Our Epulse Neck and Shoulder Massager’s body-hugging design provides targeted relief.

We recommend consulting a physician if your pain is extreme or you find your symptoms worsening. It is always important to speak with a doctor before starting any new routines or health regimens.

6 Common Back Pain Myths

6 Common Back Pain Myths

Did you know 31 million Americans experience back pain at any given time? There is a wealth of knowledge and information online regarding back pain however, finding the correct information isn’t always easy.

Below we are debunking a few of the most common back pain myths.

MYTH #1 Bed rest is the best solution until the pain goes away

TRUTH: Although resting for a day or two after an injury is expected, longer periods of bed rest can actually cause more damage to your back. Inactivity weakens the muscles and slows down your recovery time. Simple, gentle exercises for a few minutes a day will help keep your muscles actively engaged. Speak with your doctor or physical therapist to see what exercises you can perform.

MYTH #2 I work out regularly, I won’t get back pain

TRUTH: While physically active people are less likely to deal with back pain and discomfort than those who have a more sedentary lifestyle, they are not risk free. Back pain can affect all people regardless of how active they are. Sports like volleyball and golf are more likely to cause pain. Be sure to include conditioning and strengthening exercises for your back and abdominal muscles to prevent pain and injury.

MYTH #3 All back pain requires professional treatment

TRUTH: While there are many causes for back pain, there are also a variety of possible solutions to relieve pain. Studies have shown that stretching, yoga, and spine-friendly furniture, such as ergonomic chairs for the office and home and well-fitted mattresses and pillows, can provide the same amount of relief as medications.

MYTH #4 Surgery is the only option for long-term relief

TRUTH: Most back related pain can be treated with non-operative methods. Physical therapy and activity modification have proven to be incredibly successful in helping patients find relief and prevent pain in the future. Fitness and therapy products like the Mastercare Back-A-Traction Inversion Table or lumbar extenders have also provide lasting relief to customers. Spine surgery is a risky procedure and oftentimes, patients are overprescribed medication for simple back pain.

MYTH #5 Exercise is bad for your back

TRUTH: One of the most effective forms of back pain prevention and treatment is exercise. By strengthening the abdominal and back muscles, your spine is protected, lowering the risk of pain or injury – especially in the lower back. If starting a new routine, begin with gentle exercises that are low impact. As always, consult your physical before starting a new workout or stretch program.

MYTH #6 Back pain is unavoidable as I age

TRUTH: Back pain may be more prevalent with age however, there are ways to reduce the risk by looking at the common causes. Studies have found a number of causes that lead to age-related back pain. Inactivity, smoking, being overweight, high stress, inadequate sleep, and poor posture can all lead to major pain problems in the long run. By addressing these risks early on, you can prevent back pain and discomfort as you get older.

While many people may suffer from back pain, no two people will have the same experience with pain or recovery. At Relax The Back, we understand back pain can affect people differently. When you visit our stores, our trained specialists will work with you to determine what is causing you the most pain and product solutions to provide the most relief. Personalized comfort, personalized relief. Find a Relax The Back location near you and say goodbye to back pain.

5 Ways To Reduce Back Pain During The Holidays

The holidays are filled with family gatherings, gift exchanges, relaxation, and parties. While it is a wonderful time of year, it also provides ample opportunities for back pain to flare up. From holiday shopping, cooking, traveling, and decorating, all of the hustle and bustle can contribute to unwelcome muscle aches and fatigue. Here are a few ways that you can reduce back pain during the holidays, so you can truly enjoy this time spent with friends and family.

5 Ways To Reduce Back Pain During The Holidays

  • Maintain a healthy diet, exercise, and stay hydrated: We know it can be easy to get wrapped up in holiday treats and merriment however, sticking to your workout routine and healthy eating habits will help keep excess weight off. Treat yourself every now and then but be thoughtful when eating. Excess weight puts pressure on joints and your spine, leading to pain and discomfort. Chronic muscle spasms and inflammation can be triggered by dehydration.
  • Vary wrapping positions: While there isn’t one ideal position for wrapping gifts, varying positions as often as possible will help reduce unwanted aches and poor posture. Alternate wrapping one gift while standing near a counter and another gift while sitting at a table.
  • Make sleep a priority: It is very important to make sure you continue to get adequate sleep during these hectic holidays. Lack of sleep can cause pain symptoms to worsen over time. Treat yourself to an early present and sleep easier this year with one of our great sleep products. If you can, sneak in a nap during the day. This helps increase alertness and stamina when you need it most.
  • Make a plan: With a little planning, most holiday stress can be prevented. Plan ahead and ask for help when it comes to holiday activities that require heavy lifting. Bringing gifts to the post office, hauling heavy shopping bags around, or moving boxes of decorations, can all lead to straining your back muscles. Ask for a helping hand to prevent injury.
  • Put products to reduce back pain on your wish list: Ask for gifts that will provide lasting comfort and relaxation this year. Here are some gifts for every body and budget to help you get started.

Need more help finding products that offer relief and relaxation? Head to your local Relax The Back location to speak with a specialist. They will help you pick out the perfect gift for your loved one, or yourself. And be sure to enter our ‘Tis The Season of Relief Giveaway going on right now! Pick your giveaway prize on Facebook each week. Visit our page to enter.

8 Tips To Avoid Pain During Cold Months

8 Tips To Avoid Pain During Cold Months

As the temperatures begin to drop, you may notice aches and pains starting to flare up or feel worse than usual. Some studies and polls have shown that pain worsens during cold or damp weather. When it’s cold, your muscles become tense, your nerve endings are more sensitive, and there can be a change in joint fluid thickness. All of these can lead to flare-ups or aggravated pain.

Fortunately, there are a number of different ways to combat the cold. While we cannot control the temperatures from dropping, we can implement a few of the following tips to help keep our body healthy and avoid pain during the colder months of the year.

  • Maintain A Workout Routine: Whether at home or in a community gym, staying active will help prevent pain by keep muscles strong and flexible. Core exercises are great as they work the muscles that support your spine and keep back pain at bay.
  • Stretch Often: In addition to maintaining a regular workout routine, stretching throughout the day helps you stay limber while avoiding tense muscles. Try simple stretches when you wake up in the morning and right before you go to bed at night. Decompress and stretch with a Lumbar Extender or Core Stretch
  • Dress The Part: Wear proper footwear outside when there is water or snow on the ground to avoid falls. Also, be sure to wear layers and dress warm.
  • Move Around: From watching TV to staying warm near a fire, we tend to spend more time sitting during the colder months. Move around during commercial breaks or do some stretching after finishing a warm cup of tea. Moving throughout the day, even just around the house, can help you avoid pain.
  • Eat Healthy: While easier said than done, eating in moderation will help keep extra holiday weight away. When our bodies gain weight, stress is put on our joints and muscles, which can lead to back and knee pain.
  • Stay Hydrated: We don’t often think about water as often when it’s colder out but it is just as important, if not more important, to drink plenty of water during this time of year. Keeping our joints and muscles lubricated is key to avoiding and preventing pain.
  • Try Heat Therapy: If you are experiencing pain and discomfort, heat therapy is a great way to relieve aches and tension. Our Far Infrared Deluxe Pad provides long lasting relief from your neck down to your toes.
  • Pace Yourself: From racking leaves to shoveling snow, cold weather chores can take a toll on our bodies. Take breaks often and pay attention to form to avoid straining muscles in your back, neck, or knees.

While pain is a common complaint during this time of year, these tips to avoid pain during the fall and winter months. Visit your local Relax The Back location to speak with a trained expert who can help you prepare for these colder months with products that will provide lasting relief. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more pain relief tips.

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Simple Stretches for Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common complaint among many Americans. Neck pain can be caused by a previous injury, poor posture when using computers, tablets, or smart phones, or even sleeping in an odd position. Not only is the pain bothersome, it can also lead to headaches and more pain in the upper back.

If you’re suffering from neck pain at the office, your workstation setup may be the culprit. Using pillows that are not fitted to your body type will also lead to strain and discomfort throughout the night and into the next day. Injury from an accident can flare up during weather changes, times of stress, or when your neck is being overworked instead of resting the muscles.

Simple stretches for neck pain can help relieve tension and aches almost instantly. PopSugar put together a great guide to follow the next time you’re experiencing neck pain.

While these stretches can help with relief in the short-term, there are further measures you can take to relieve pain and discomfort in the long-term. Visit a local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists who can help you find lasting relief from neck pain. Let them show the proper desk set up to prevent pain throughout or day and fit you for a pillow that fits your size and the way you sleep to ensure your best night’s sleep. Our neck therapy products, supportive pillows, and massage tools are just a few of the many solutions we can offer.

Simple Stretches for Neck Pain

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.

Autumn Raking: Avoid Back Pain This Fall

Autumn Raking: Avoid Back Pain This Fall

With summer officially behind us, seasonal chores are beginning to show up on our to-do lists. Changing out bed linens for warmer sheets and blankets, bringing in jackets and scarves and putting away your summer wardrobe, and clearing the yard and gutters of leaves and debris.

The risk of back pain during this time increases due to raking leaves and other labor intensive yard work. Lack of exercise during cooler months, bending and twisting to clean up leaves, or slipping on wet surfaces from rain, can all lead to injury and pain.

Avoid back pain and injury this fall with these autumn raking safety tips.

Autumn Raking Safety Tips

How To Prevent Eye Strain

How To Prevent Eye Strain

Our eyes are a complex organ encompassed by muscles that can be overworked. Studies show that 50% to 90% of people who work on computers have some symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

CVS, also known as Digital Eye Strain, is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion injuries. It is not one specific issue but a range of eye strain and vision-related problems. CVS occurs when our eyes are focused on a computer or display for long, uninterrupted periods of time, following the same path over and over.

Common symptoms include headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, eye strain, and neck and shoulder pain.

Here are a few steps you can take to help prevent the onset of CVS and reduce eye strain.

Take breaks often: Every hour or so, take a break from looking at a screen. Walk over to the office kitchen for coffee or water, say hello to a colleague nearby, or do a lap around the office. Moving around will help you feel more energized while giving your eyes a much needed rest from the glare of a screen.

Modify your workstation: Setting up an ergonomic workstation will help prevent eye strain and fatigue. Light levels along with monitor distance and placement reduce headaches, eye fatigue and neck strain. Place desk lights, such as the Humanscale Element Disc Light, over paper documents and away from your monitor to prevent glare. Monitors should be arms distance away, at least 20 inches, and the center of your screen should reach eye level. Using a monitor arm allows for effortless adjustments.

Observe the 20-20-20 rule: If you work on a computer all day, you can reduce eye strain with this rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break to shift your focus on something 20 feet away. Make this rule work for you. If every 30 minutes is better, try a 30-20-20 approach. It’s more important to give your eyes a break than to stick to 20 minutes. Find a schedule that works with the way you work.

Blink: It sounds simple enough, nevertheless people tend to blink less frequently when working on a computer. This leads to dry, red eyes. Making a conscious effort to blink more will keep eyes moist.

If you are experiencing eye strain, neck pain, or headaches at the office, visit your local Relax The Back location to speak with one of our trained specialists. They can assist you with a workstation setup to prevent pain throughout the day.

Image source.

13 Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

yoga poses

The negative effects of stress on the mind and body are no secret. High blood pressure, anxiety, depression, headaches, and increased risk of stroke or heart attack are just a few of symptoms that can be caused by stress. While stress is a natural part of life, too much of anything, especially stress, can be harmful to your overall health and wellness. Eventually, it will take a toll on your emotional and physical state.

Fortunately, there are ways to manage the stresses of everyday life. Yoga offers many benefits beyond increased flexibility and strength. Studies have found that a consistent yoga practice can lead to an increase in serotonin levels and a decrease in the stress hormone, cortisol. Through breathing exercises and yoga poses, you can lower your blood pressure, improve focus, and release tension and anxiety.

If you’re looking for ways to keep calm and reduce stress, take a look at the infographic below from Health Perch. They offer step-by-step instructions for 13 yoga poses that relieve stress.

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Scoliosis Awareness Month

​scoliosisThe Scoliosis Research Society observes National Scoliosis Awareness Month every June as a way to highlight the importance of early detection, public awareness of scoliosis, its prevalence within the community, and the growing need for education. Scoliosis is a spinal condition, not a disease, that affects the alignment of the spine causing it to curve to the side in a “C” or “S” shape. There are many causes of scoliosis, including congenital spine deformities (those present at birth, either inherited or caused by the environment), neuromuscular problems, genetic conditions, and limb length inequality. This spinal condition affects nearly 6 million people in the United States.

While scoliosis develops predominately in infants and adolescents 10-15 years of age, adults can be diagnosed with this condition.

Early detection of scoliosis in adolescents is important as it can reduce the need for surgery in the future. Non-surgical treatments, such as bracing, can be used to treat the curvature of the spine while slowing or stopping the progression altogether. Bracing early has been found to be an effective, non-operative treatment. Not only does the patient benefit from this treatment, there are potential cost savings for the health care system as well.

For adults, scoliosis symptoms could be caused or intensified as they age. It is also possible that adult scoliosis is the progression of an early childhood condition that was not diagnosed or treated before.

Scoliosis Treatment in Adults

Treatment for adult scoliosis focuses on alleviating pain and restoring function while correcting the curvature of the spine. Exercise, periodic observation, and over the counter pain relievers can help manage adult scoliosis.

When a diagnosis occurs, one of the first treatments is to prevent further curvature of the spine. By stopping the progression of scoliosis, adults can sustain many daily living activities by maintaining range of motion, preventing deformity of the rib cage, and reducing pain during certain movements like bending and lifting.

Exercise is a crucial preventive measure. Strengthening the muscles in the back through exercise helps maintain the spine’s proper shape and allows the spinal column to have adequate support. There are a number of back strengthening exercises that you can do to improve the strength of your muscles.

A spinal muscle exercise performed by lying in the prone position and performing alternating shoulder flexions and hip extensions. (source)
A spinal muscle exercise performed by lying in the prone position and performing alternating shoulder flexions and hip extensions. (source)

Products for Scoliosis

Depending on the severity of the curvature, postural positioning through customized cushioning can also help stop the progression of scoliosis. Postural supports, such as the Contour Lumbar Cervical Back Cushion and the ContourSleep Cervical Pillow, can maintain spinal curvature or assist in the correction of curvature through individualized adjustments.

Always speak with a health care physician or occupational therapist before starting a new exercise routine or using a new product. Occupational therapists are often involved in the selection and fabrication process of customized postural cushions.

If you experience pain due to scoliosis, visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists who can work with you and your health care provider to find a solution that provides relief. We have a collection of products that offer proper spinal support, improve posture, relieve pressure on the spine, and sooth sore muscles.

Come on in, We’re here to help!

franchise relax the back

30 years ago, Virginia Rogers had a vision. Two years after the first Relax The Back location opened, she bought the store and began to transform the business into what it is today. What started as one retail store in a small house in Austin, TX has grown to 90+ stores across the United States and Canada.

After finding relief from chronic back pain with the help of Relax The Back products, Virginia wanted to share her knowledge to help others live pain-free. Since the early days of our first location, many franchisees have started as customers, like our first franchise owner, professional basketball player and former Antonio Spur, Coby Detrick, who found relief using our products and wanted to help others find the same relief.

Built on the McKenzie Method of neck and back pain, we truly believe in patients taking control of their spinal health through self-treatment. We pride ourselves in being more than a retail store but a place to provide solutions to your pain and discomforts. Through individualized attention, we pin-point specific pain relief needs to find the proper solution. At Relax The Back, we become a partner with our customers to help them find relief.

“With continuous follow up we make sure they are happy with the solutions and focus on other areas of their day that we can help with other products to continue their relief.” – Bob Duncan, Birmingham, AL

Often seen as an extension of care by physicians and physical therapists, our ties with the medical community have strengthened our ability to provide product solutions to improve our customers’ outcomes.

“’Go to Relax The Back and let them help you find a good chair.’ That’s it. We are trusted.” – April Vance, Nashville, TN

During the month of May, we are celebrating our franchise owners and their businesses who continue to help our communities live a pain-free lifestyle.

We are also celebrating #DreamSmallBiz during National Small Business Week.

National Small Business Week is a time to reflect and recognize thesmallbiz contributions of America’s small business owners and entrepreneurs. We are proud to be one of the many small businesses that are the heartbeat of our local neighborhoods!

Visit your local Relax The Back location to take part and learn more about what makes us different. Come on in, we’re here to help.

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