Category Archives: Back Pain

Tips, products, and exercises on how to relieve back pain.

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.

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.

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.

6 Techniques For Pain-Free Gardening

gardeningSpringtime and warmer weather are officially here, which means more time spent working out in the yard. While gardening is a therapeutic and leisurely activity, it can lead to muscle aches and pains. Back pain is especially common after having spent less time being physically active during the cold winter months. Kneeling over to weed, dig, mulch, and plant, moving wheelbarrows, and wrangling hoses puts strain on your shoulders, spine, and low back.

Fortunately, there are techniques that help prevent pain so you can continue enjoying and cultivating your beautiful yard.

  • Avoid repetition: Stiffness and soreness is often linked to repetition of the same task over and over again, for long periods of time. Break up your time spent in the garden to reduce muscle strain and feeling overwhelmed. Set aside time to alternate between different tasks: weed for an hour, rake for an hour, plant for an hour, water for an hour.
  • Stay hydrated: Aim to drink 6oz of water every 20 minutes if you are working hard and sweating. Drinking plenty of water will help you maintain energy levels throughout your gardening while also keeping joints and muscles lubricated. Be sure to take breaks every 30 minutes to an hour to cool off and rest inside or under shade.
  • Lift with your knees: When lifting heavy objects like bags of soil or a wheelbarrow, lift with your knees to avoid lower back strain. Try using a posture support like the Cybertech Spine Brace. This spine brace encourages proper posture while helping prevent back injuries.
  • Invest in quality tools: Look to add tools to your collection that are ergonomically designed with cushioned grips. Using old, broken, or rusty tools will make simple jobs even more difficult.
  • Work on hands and knees: Keeping your spine elongated in this position reduces strain. Your shoulders should be over your wrists as they bear most of the weight and responsibility when reaching and supporting your body.
  • Stretch and ice: Incorporate gentle stretches after each gardening day to help you avoid strained muscles and stiffness the next morning. If you are feeling a slight muscle strain, apply an ice pack, such as the ProtoCold Reusable Therapy Pads, to the sore area to help reduce inflammation.

Still feeling aches and pains after a day of gardening? Visit your local Relax The Back location to see our wide range of products and speak with a trained specialist. Based on your specific needs, they can show you products to try in-store to feel the difference they can make in your daily routine. From kneading back massagers, to a Theracane, to an inversion table, our experts can help you find product solutions to prevent pain while gardening and reduce muscle tension and strain after a day of work.

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6 Tips to Prevent Pain While Golfing

golf pain

Golf is one of America’s all-time favorite sports. Like many sports, golf can cause back pain and discomfort. Many golfers will experience some form of back pain at some point during their lives. Even the pros, such as Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson, have complained of back pain when playing. Many different muscle groups are activated when you swing a golf club. Keeping these muscles stretched, flexible, and well-rested is key to injury prevention.

These steps can help you prevent pain and ensure you’ll never miss a tee time:

  • Warm up: Remember a few easy stretches you can do before hitting your opening tee shot to warm up muscles and prevent injury. These stretches from com only take about 2 minutes. In addition to helping get your muscles ready for the game, they can help you play better golf.
  • Take it slow: If you’re new to the sport or haven’t played in a while, try not to overexert yourself. Start with short sessions on the driving range while working your way up to a full round of golf.
  • Incorporate conditioning exercises: A strong core, which includes muscles in your abdomen, back, buttocks, and pelvis, helps keep back pain and injuries away. Add conditioning exercises to strengthen your core as well as exercises that focus on rotation to prepare your body for the twisting motions of swinging a golf club.
  • Stretch: It’s important to have a balance of strength and flexibility when it comes to the game of golf. Having a regular stretching routine before and after the game will help alleviate muscle tension and prevent future strains. Foam rollers are also a great way to release muscle tension and improve flexibility.
  • Invest in an inversion table: Inversion tables help to relieve shoulder, back, and hip pain while improving flexibility and decreasing pressure on our spines. Studies have show that golfers who use Inversion Tables, like the Teeter Hang Ups, averaged 3 fewer strokes per round, increased drive speed by 69%, and improved their total distance by an average of 10%.
  • Rest: With any sport or physical activity, rest is essential. Give yourself some time to recover between games.

When you visit us in-store, we can help you find product solutions for your specific needs. Head to your local Relax The Back location to speak with one of our trained specialists and try out our inversion tables or our numerous fitness and therapy products first-hand to see what works best for you. You’ll leave the store with a better understanding of how you can relieve pain and discomfort at home or on the go.

If you are experiencing back or neck pain, be sure to consult your doctor before stepping back on the course or starting any new stretching routines.

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Back Pain During Pregnancy

pain during pregnancyBack pain during pregnancy is common for most women; between 50% and 80% experience some form of pain. Your growing baby and hormonal changes can be tough on your back. Hormones affecting the joints and relaxing the ligaments in your pelvis, changes in your center of gravity, and weight gain associated with a growing baby add stress to your lower back and spine.

Find Relief

From exercise to proper posture, there are a number of ways to relieve back pain:

  • When sleeping use a pillow, such as the Snoozerpedic Body Pillow or the CountourSleep Knee Spacer, to provide support where you need it most.
  • Regular exercise can boost flexibility, strengthen muscles, and ease stress on your spine. Walking, stationary cycling, and swimming are safe exercises for most women. Speak with your doctor before starting any new exercise regimens.
  • Lumber support cushions provide extra support, reduce upper and lower back pain, and promote proper posture.
  • Heating pads can ease muscle spasms, pain, and tension.
  • Cold therapy helps to reduce inflammation.

How We Can Help

When you visit your local Relax The Back store, our trained specialists will work with you one on one to find a product solution to fit your specific needs. Whether you have pain in your upper or lower back, or discomfort and aches in your legs, a specialist will show you a selection of products to relieve pain as well as ways to maintain relief throughout your pregnancy.

As always, before beginning any type of back pain treatment or exercise, be sure to consult your doctor.

 

The McKenzie Method for Back and Neck Pain

mckenzie method

Robin McKenzie, a pioneer of musculoskeletal disorders and their treatment, believed that self-treatment was the best way to achieve long lasting improvement of neck, back, and extremity disorders. In 1950, he developed the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnostics and Therapy (MDT). The McKenzie Method is recognized worldwide as the standard for managing pain as well as the basis on which Relax The Back was founded. This system consists of the following:

  • Assessment: A well-defined algorithm leads to simple classification of spinal-related disorders and is unique to MDT. 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, MDT 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.

We offer an assortment of books to help you take control of your neck and back pain. Our books focus on the McKenzie Method; providing pain relief techniques to help relieve soreness and pain no matter where you are.

If you suffer from daily pains and discomforts, or work as a physical therapist, visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained associates. They can help you find fitness and therapy tools to help relieve and manage pain for you or your patients. Learn more about the McKenzie Method and the McKenzie Institute International at McKenzieMDT.org.

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5 Exercises for a Healthier Back

Exercise plays an important role in staying healthy and pain-free. Regular strength and stretching routines can help you maintain a healthy back while preventing future back pain and injury. Fitness Magazine editors put together an 8-minute Better Back Workout to help reduce stiffness and pain while also strengthening and conditioning back muscles. Set aside some time to try these exercises for a healthy back. Even if you aren’t experiencing pain now, these exercises can help keep pain away before it starts.

Benefits of each exercise

  • Cat-Cow Variation: Relieves tension in spine; reduces stiffness in back and hips
  • Bridge Pose: Stretches lower back, hips, quads, abs; strengthens abs
  • Extended Leg Pose: Strengthens abs; stretches hamstrings
  • Butterfly Pose: Tones abs, inner thighs, pelvic floor
  • Cobra Leg Lift: Strengthens pelvic and back muscles

Find more information on how to do each exercise for a healthy back here.

Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise or treatment program. If you are experiencing back pain, visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists who can help you find products to relieve daily pain and discomfort.

healthy back

5 Tips For Everyday Back Pain

​Tips for Everyday Back Pain

There are many causes of back pain. Usually, the pain is centered in the lower back. According to Gunnar Andersson, MD, PhD, professor and chairman emeritus of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, the weight of our upper bodies puts loads on our lower back causing mechanical stress and strain to this part of our body.

Roughly 2% to 10% of people who experience back pain will develop chronic low back pain, affecting their daily living for at least 3 months. The following tips can help you manage and prevent back pain. Incorporate these into your daily routine to find relief:

  • Support your spine while asleep: Two out of three people have trouble sleeping due to chronic pain. A quality mattress and pillow will reduce pressure on your spine, improve circulation, and relieve muscle tension while providing proper neck and spine alignment. Be sure to find a mattress and pillow that fit your specific sleep positions and body type.
  • Cold therapy: Best if applied soon after an activity that causes stiffness or pain, or after an injury occurs, a simple ice pack or cold therapy pad is proven to treat pain in your back.
  • Heat therapy: Some people find more relief with cold therapy, others with heat. Heat therapy provides healing benefits as well as relief from pain. Try a heated massage cushion for ultimate relief and comfort. Alternate between cold and heat therapy to find which one works best for your individual needs.
  • Proper alignment at work: When your spine isn’t properly aligned extra pressure is placed on muscles and ligaments. Whether sitting in an ergonomic office chair or using a standing desk, this guide to perfect posture can help you prevent back pain.
  • Hamstring stretches: Tight hamstrings can limit the motion of your pelvis, which causes strain in your lower back. Making time to perform hamstring stretches once or twice a day can lengthen hamstrings and ease tension and stress in your lower back. Talk with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any new routines.

Stop by your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists who can help you find the perfect product to address your pain. Also, through July 31st receive a $20 instant credit when you come in for a free pillow fitting!

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Beat the Heat and Back Pain

Wheat and back painith the official start to summer only a few weeks away, the weather is starting to heat up. For those living with chronic pain, high temperatures are harder to tolerate. Changes in weather affect everyone in different ways. It’s important to listen to your body so, you can know how to prepare and react when the forecast calls for warmer temps.

These simple tips can help you beat the heat and back pain this summer:

  • Stay inside: Perhaps the easiest way to keep pain at a minimum is to stay indoors when conditions outdoors become unbearable. If you must be outside, be sure to take breaks in a cool area and try not to overexert yourself.
  • Adjust the AC: Since temperature and humidity can each play a role in elevating pain levels, keep your home cool and humidity low. Dehumidifiers can help control the humidity in your home.
  • Cooling Products: From your home to your office, you can find cooling comfort wherever you are. A layer of cool gel in Technogel Pillows and Living Supports disperses body heat, offering cool, refreshing comfort while sleeping, working, or commuting. Select Tempur-Pedic Mattress models come with TEMPUR-Breeze cooling material that dissipates heat to help keep you cool at night.
  • Swimming and Water Therapy: Swimming routines for back pain are beneficial in numerous ways. Cool off in the water while you strengthen weak back and neck muscles with an aerobic exercise that is easy on the joints. Water Therapy programs can also help those with conditions such as osteoarthritis, muscle strains, and back and neck pain.
  • Drink H20: It’s equally important to stay hydrated during these summer months. Drinking plenty of water will help keep chronic pain at bay.

Be sure to visit your local Relax The Back location to speak with one of our trained specialists who can help you stay pain-free and productive this summer.

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5 Tips for Back Pain Relief at the Office

5 Tips for Back Pain Relief at the Office

After the common cold, back pain is the second most common cause of missing work. Back pain, whether sharp, dull, or achy, can make it difficult to concentrate at the office. While many occupations can contribute to or worsen back pain, there are tips you can follow for back pain relief at the office.

There are a number of causes of back pain at the office. Poor posture, repetitive movements, and exerting too much force on your lower back are the most common causes of pain.

If you experience back pain at the office, find relief and prevent future pain with these five tips:

  • Stretch Daily: There are many benefits of daily stretching. Increase flexibility, relieve pain and tightness, and increase range of motion by incorporating stretches into your daily routine. Office stretches can offer relief right where you need it most.
  • Maintain Posture: Keep posture in mind while at the office. Maintaining posture helps prevent low back pain as well as improve muscle tone and circulation. Follow these tips for maintaining proper posture in different positions.
  • Move Often: Set timers or alarms as a reminder to move during the day. Staying in any position, sitting or standing, for prolonged periods of time can cause muscle stiffness and pain. Plan to move around for a few minutes, every hour.
  • Proper Ergonomics: Setting up an ergonomic workstation will help ensure you’re working the least compromising position. Lumbar support cushions, ergonomic office chairs, and standing desks provide proper ergonomic support at different price points.
  • Listen to your body: If there are days where you are feeling under the weather, take breaks when needed. If you’re sitting for long periods of time and you start to feel pain, stretch or stand up for a few minutes. Changing positions occasionally throughout the day can help you stay comfortable at the office.

Turn Back Pain On Its Head With Inversion Therapy

Inversion Table

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.

Swim Away From Back Pain

When the weather starts to warm up, consider incorporating swimming into your exercise routine. Unlike many forms of aerobic exercises, swimming is easy on the joints and spine since there is practically no impact on spinal structures. Water resistance allows for increased range of motion while strengthening weak back and neck muscles.

Although therapeutic, this aquatic exercise can also cause back pain. Likely causes are hyperextension, or over stretching, of the back and jerking motions in the neck during certain strokes. To prevent further injury, practice proper form and technique.

Freestyle (Front Crawl): Keep your body lying flat in the water and hold lower abdominal muscles up and in, and keep your head straight rather than lifted. When taking a breath, slightly roll your body along with your head to reduce neck strain. Inexperienced swimmers or those with severe back pain should consider using a snorkel or breathing device.

Breaststroke: A wider stroke helps strengthen back muscles and reduce pain. Make sure to gently raise the head and neck during breaths.

Backstroke: Start slowly and gradually increase the length of distance to avoid neck muscle fatigue associated with the backstroke.

Remember to properly stretch beforehand and avoid overdoing your workout. Using Exercise and Therapy Foam Rollers can help massage sore muscles and enhance flexibility and strength before and after your workouts. Be sure to speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise to determine if swimming is right for you.

Tips to Prevent Back Pain While Golfing

Preventing Pain when Golfing

Golf is a favorite hobby among many men and women. Unfortunately, back pain is a common injury among the golf community. Many golfers will experience some form of back pain at some point during their lives, with one report stating nearly 80% of amateur golfers have back related injuries. There are many different muscle groups involved when swinging a golf club, as it requires a smooth, repetitive motion. Keeping these muscles stretched, well rested, and flexible is key to injury prevention.

Follow these steps to ensure you never miss a tee time:

 

  • Take it slow: If you haven’t played golf in awhile or are new to the sport, don’t overexert yourself. Start with short sessions on the driving range, working your way up to a full round of golf.
  • Incorporate Conditioning Exercises: Strengthening your core muscles, which include the muscles in your back, abdomen, buttocks, and pelvis, with conditioning exercises can help prevent injuries. Add exercises that focus on rotation to prepare your body for the twisting motions of swinging a golf club.
  • Don’t forget to stretch: A balance of flexibility and strength is required in the game of golf. Having a regular stretching routine will help your muscles remain flexible. Foam rollers are a great way to enhance flexibility and strength. Maintaining a routine before and after a golf game will help alleviate muscle tension and prevent strains or sprains.
  • Invest in an Inversion Table: A recent study by GolfTest USA showed golfers that use Inversion Tables, such as the Teeter HangUps, averaged 3 fewer strokes per round, improved their total distance by an average of 10% and increased driver speed by 69%. Inversion Tables help to improve flexibility while relieving back, shoulder, and hip pain.
  • Take a breather: Swinging a golf club isn’t a natural motion and putting your body through this day after day puts strain on your muscles. Allow some time for you to recover between games. If you are experiencing back or neck pain, be sure to consult your doctor before stepping back on the course.

8 Tips for Traveling with Back Pain

Travel with Back Pain

Traveling can be hard on your muscles, joints, and nerves. Prolonged sitting puts stress on the spine and stiffens muscles in the back and legs and lugging heavy suitcases puts you at risk for low back injuries.

These tips can help you reduce pain and stress while traveling:

  • Pack Light: Instead of packing one large, heavy suitcase, pack 2 smaller bags. This will make lifting bags into and out of the trunk of your car or overhead bins, and off of baggage carousels much easier.
  • Lift luggage in stages: Move slowly and in stages when lifting luggage into the overhead bin. In separate motions, start by lifting the bag to the armrest of the seat, then to the top of the seatback, and finally up and into the bin. Remember to reverse this pattern when you remove your luggage.
  • When lifting, never twist: Pivot your feet so that your entire body moves instead of only twisting your back. Twisting is a common cause of lower back injuries. If possible, avoid lifting all together by asking for help from a flight attendant.
  • Relief with ice and heat: Bring a Ziploc bag and ask a flight attendant for some ice or stow a cold pack in your carry on. Place between your lower back and your seat for 20 minutes to reduce inflammation caused by lower back pain. A heatable self-massage ball such as Dr. Cohen’s Acuball Kit can provide post-travel relief.
  • Move Around: Change positions occasionally when seated to help avoid leg cramps and improve circulation. Massaging your legs and calves and doing shoulder rolls will also help.  Consult your doctor for a few safe and easy hip and hamstring stretches you can do while traveling. During long flights and if possible, try to get up and walk about the cabin to stimulate blood flow and help prevent blood clots.
  • Get aisle seat: An aisle seat allows you to easily get into and out of your seat. This makes it easier for you to move about the cabin.
  • Sit with support: Airline seats are often worn out with poor lumbar support. Place a small rolled-up blanket or use an inflatable back cushion, like a Self-Inflating Back Rest, to find proper lumbar support during flight. Using a U-Shaped Travel Pillow will also provide proper support.
  • Drink water: Be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water as it helps cushion and lubricate joints and muscles.

 

Exercises for Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain may not be the most common spinal disorder but when it occurs it can still cause substantial pain and discomfort.  This pain can be caused through strain, poor posture, or sudden injury. Most complaints come from those who work at computers most of the day. Whatever the cause of pain, doing exercises such as these can help ease and prevent pain and discomfort:

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more pain relief tips or visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained associates who can offer recommendations tailored to your physical needs and abilities.

Back Pain during Pregnancy

Experiencing back pain during pregnancy is not uncommon for most women; between 50% and 80% experience some form of pain. Hormonal changes affect the joints and relax the ligaments in your pelvis, your center of gravity changes, and weight gains associated with a growing baby adds stress to your spine and lower back.

From proper posture to staying as active as possible to heat therapy, consider the following ways to help relieve your back pain:

  • Stay as active as possible with regular stretching and exercise routines
  • Practice proper posture at all times when standing and sitting
  • When sleeping, use a pillow, like the Dreamweaver By Snoozerpedic Body Pillow, to put support where you need it most
  • Wear comfortable shoes – avoid high heels
  • Use a lumbar support cushion while seated
  • Only with your doctor’s consent, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Heat therapy to ease muscle tension, spasms, and pain
  • Cold therapy to reduce inflammation

It is important to note that before you begin any type of back pain treatment or exercise, you should speak with your doctor. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more pain relief solutions. Or visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists.

Exercises For Low Back Pain

Did you know 31 million Americans experience back pain at any given time? There are many causes of back pain but the good news is there is relief out there. While we have previously highlighted the benefits of using foam rollers for back pain, we’d like to highlight another way to relieve pain.

Among other relief methods, gentle back exercises and stretches like the ones below can help prevent and ease low back pain:

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more pain relief tips or visit one of our trained associates at a local Relax The Back store for recommendations tailored to your physical needs and abilities.