Stretching is an important factor when determining our overall health and wellness, yet it is often an overlooked part of our regular exercise routine. Whether you live an active life or a sedentary one, the benefits of stretching are far too important to neglect. Stretching not only helps improve joint range of motion and muscle tension relief, it can also improve your sleep. After a quick stretch routine, our bodies feel more relaxed helping us fall into a deeper sleep.
Here are a few other benefits of stretching including a great infographic of a stretch routine you can do after a workout or before bed.
- Flexibility: Stretching helps keep our body and muscles flexible, aligned and in working order. Increase range of motion to ensure good posture, balance and proper movement while improving mobility and reducing stiffness.
- Relaxation: Relieve tension to feel more relaxed. Stretching helps relax your body and your mind. You’ll be more focused and better able to manage stress.
- Pain Prevention: By improving the flexibility of our muscles and joints, we are able to increase our range of motion and prevent injury trigger points.
Consider incorporating this routine, or one that is similar, into your regular exercise regimen. Foam rollers, Inversion Tables, and our Back Support and Stretcher are great tools to help you stretch in the comfort of your own home. For more information on how to stretch using proper technique, try our definitive book or visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists for recommendations tailored to your specific needs and abilities.
Whether you are traveling for vacation or you are commuting to work, the products you surround yourself with can have a big impact on your overall health. By optimizing your traveling habits to fit your specific needs, you can increase comfort and prevent pain before it begins. These travel products will help you get to your final destinations with proper support.
Airline and train seats aren’t known for their outstanding lumbar support. Bringing along a back cushion will ensure you have extra spinal support during your travels. Those who suffer from a herniated disc or sciatica can benefit from using a back cushion. The Self-Inflating Back Rest is an easily portable lumbar support perfect for traveling or for use during your commute. The JazzRX is instantly adjustable allowing for maximum positioning flexibility and relief where you need it most.
Neck pillows and supports help you maintain posture while sitting or sleeping, while also relieving neck strain associated with standard seating. Travel pillows are light and portable so you can find comfort in airplanes, trains, or cars. While driving or flying, the Tempur-Pedic U-Shaped Travel Pillow eliminates pressure points while preventing back and neck pain. Staying at a hotel? The ContourSide travel pillow is soothing on the face while also providing jaw and ear pressure relief. You can rest comfortably and maintain proper posture wherever you go.
Promote a healthy back and remain pain-free with our wide variety of seat cushions. Seat cushions provide relief for those suffering from pelvis pain, coccyx pain, and sciatica. The Technogel Living Seat Cushion and the ContourSit Ergonomic Seat Cushion both provide additional spinal and hip support allowing you to sit in the ergonomically correct “S” curve position. These are ideal for cars with bucket seats. For those who require extra support to ensure comfort, the Sacro Ease Back Support provides personalized lumbar and seated support for lasting comfort while traveling. It is custom-bent to fit your specific needs and ideal for those who drive a Prius, or a car where the built-in seating may not provide enough support.
Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with a trained specialist and try out our travel products. Through one-on-one support, our team will help you find the product solution to ensure you are traveling comfortably without pain. Follow our 24-hour approach to comfort and wellness on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more tools to achieve ‘round the clock personalized relief.
Springtime 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.
During the winter months, do you often find that your pain worsens as the temperatures drop? People who suffer from sciatica may notice that pain seems to worsen in the cold and a recent study has found that these feelings are more than anecdotal.
Sciatica is a term used to describe symptoms caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve. This nerve begins in your lower spine, traveling down under your buttocks, and through your hips into each foot. Colder temperatures cause muscles to tighten and become tense due to a decrease of blood flow. Stiff muscles, especially those in the low back and sciatic nerve area, can lead to muscle strains and pains.
Common sciatica symptoms may include the following:
- Pain varying from mild aches and tingling to sharp, burning sensations that occur in one leg.
- Numbness in parts of the leg and hip
- Muscle weakness
- Pain triggered by prolonged sitting or standing
- Worsening pain from coughing or sneezing
- Pain beginning in the lower back or buttocks and continuing down the back of the thigh into the lower leg or foot.
Reduce Sciatic Pain
If the cold is causing you pain and discomfort, find relief with these tips:
- Hold/Cold Therapy: Try icing the area for the first 48-72 hours, followed by a period of heat to relieve pain and tension where you need it most.
- Stay Active: While we often want to stay indoors during the winter, make sure to maintain a regular exercise routine. Staying active helps keep sciatica pain away by relaxing away muscle stiffness and increasing circulation.*
- Stretch: Simple, gentle stretches done daily will help keep your muscles loose and warm. Try an Inversion Therapy Table to find relief at home.*
- Sleep well: Find total comfort with a Bed Wedge System. A bed wedge will provide support and reduce excessive pressure on your spine and sciatic nerve to help you sleep easier.
*Be sure to talk with a medical professional before starting any new exercise routines.
When our bodies are properly aligned, our bones, rather than our muscles, support our weight. Reclining to a Zero Gravity position allows for our bodies to reach this state. Developed by NASA, the Zero Gravity, or “neutral position”, concept takes stress off of your spine by elevating your feet to the same height as your heart. Investing in back-friendly products and furniture that promote a neutral posture will improve back health and provide significant relief.
For more benefits, take a look at these 5 reasons to love Zero Gravity:
- Correct Spinal Support: Unnecessary strain and discomfort is avoided when our spine is properly aligned and supported. Zero gravity minimizes strain on your spine, muscles, and ligaments.
- Back Pressure Relief: By raising our feet to the same level as our heart, our spine is able to decompress to align in a natural S-shaped curve. This reduces tension in your lower back and cervical.
- Improved Circulation: Stress on the heart is minimized in this position. Oxygen-rich blood is able to reach fatigued muscles easier, which allows for faster recovery times.
- Expanded Lung Capacity: Being in a zero gravity position opens the angle between the torso and the thighs, thus improving breathing and increasing blood and oxygen.
- Recommended by Doctors (and astronauts): Zero gravity allows for a perfectly balanced state in which the body experiences an absolute minimum of internal and external stress. It is the optimal position to prevent and relieve back and muscle pain.
Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists and test out one of our Zero Gravity chairs. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more pain relief tips and products.
The holidays are fully underway, which means aches and pains due to overexertion are more likely to occur. Shopping and preparing for the holidays is not only stressful but it can also contribute to unwelcome muscle pain and fatigue.
Here are a few tips to prevent pain during the holidays:
- Stay hydrated: Water helps to lubricate and cushion joints and muscles. Inflammation and chronic muscles spasms can be linked to dehydration. Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces per day. If you weigh 150 lbs. aim to drink 75 oz. of water.
- Maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine: Don’t push aside your regular eating habits and workout routines. If you’re attending holiday parties, eat in moderation and beware of your nutritional needs. Perform gentle exercises such as these foam roller exercises to help keep muscles loose and prevent pain from happening.
- Stress less: Anxiety and stress can creep up during these busy times. Enjoy the holidays and reduce stress with these tips.
- Vary positions when wrapping presents: While there is no Ideal position for wrapping gifts, you should remember to vary positions as often as possible. Alternate wrapping one gift on a countertop while standing and another gift while sitting at a table. Avoid sitting on the floor to wrap gifts as this can cause unwanted aches and pains and promote poor posture.
- Make sleep a priority: Inadequate sleep can cause pain to worsen over time. It is important to make sure you are continuing to get quality sleep during these hectic holidays. Treat yourself to an early present and ensure better sleep with these sleep products. If possible, try to sneak in a nap during the day. You’ll increase alertness and stamina to help keep you going.
Visit us online at www.relaxtheback.com or stop by your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained associates for pain relief solutions this holiday season. Enjoy Black Friday savings now through December 1st!
Are you one of the 31 million Americans who have suffered from low-back pain at least once in their life? There are many factors that can be associated with back pain but one in particular is gravity. Over the course of the day, gravity compresses weight bearing joints and the spine, which can cause low back pain and discomfort.
Inversion therapy is an age-old practice that involves hanging at an angle to allow the body to be in line with the downward force of gravity. This position can aide in reversing the negative effects gravity has on the spine.
By hanging at an inverted angle, one can elongate their spine and relieve pressure that builds up throughout the day. Inversion therapy helps prevent and relieve pain in the neck and shoulders, chronic low back pain, herniated discs, and sciatica. It can also help with postural problems.
Benefits of using inversion tables include:
- Improve circulation
- Relieve stress
- Heighten mental awareness
- Increase flexibility/range of motion
- Improve posture
Once familiar with the different angles of the inversion table, simple exercises can be done to relieve pressure, realign the spine and pelvis, and increase mobility and flexibility. Hold these each for 1-2 minutes, slowly building up the amount of time and degree of inversion.
- For a full body stretch, raise your arms over your head.
- For a gentle back stretch, raise your back to a slight arch.
- For a side stretch, turn your body to one side, turn to the other side and repeat.
Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists and feel the benefits of an inversion table firsthand. While inversion tables generally provide relief and relaxation, it is best to speak with your doctor before use.
At Relax The Back, we know the importance of living life free of aches, pains, and daily discomforts. Many of us live a sedentary lifestyle working 9-to-5 jobs, commuting daily, and spending time in front of the television or computer when at home. We are seeing little to no physical activity in our everyday life.
The decisions we make, from morning to night, have a lasting affect on our overall health and wellness. Over the next three months, we will be providing around the clock product solutions and tips for a pain-free and productive day. These tips and solutions will help you sleep better, maintain a healthy workspace, keep you moving throughout the day, and relaxing more at night. When it comes to relieving daily discomforts and improving home, office, and sleep comfort, we’ve got your back
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Nearly 5 million people in the US alone suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms. Fibromyalgia is a common arthritis-related symptom that causes fatigue, abdominal pain, chronic headaches, insomnia, dry eyes, stiffness, and joint and muscle pain. Not only do sufferers of fibromyalgia experience physical pain, emotional and mental pain is also a result of this condition.
These tips can help you cope with the daily challenges of living with fibromyalgia:
- Exercise Regularly: Many suffering from fibro become physically unfit due to pain, ongoing fatigue, and stiffness. However, according to the Arthritis Foundation, engaging in regular exercise is an important component in easing symptoms. Aerobic and conditioning exercises, such as swimming, biking, or walking, provide feelings of well-being and control. Exercise improves endurance, reduces pain, and keeps you fit.
- Make Sleep a Priority: Ensure your bedroom is set up for optimal sleep conditions. Think cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in pillows, such as the ContourSleep Cervical Pillow, which provide support for your head, neck, and spine while easing fibro pain.. Pressure relieving mattresses, like TempurPedic, reduce pressure on tender points and improve restorative sleep.
- Heat Therapy: Heat helps you to move more easily, relax tense muscles, and reduce pain. MediBeads Moist Heat Pads provide fast, therapeutic relief for up to 30 minutes. Soaking in a warm bath will also help relieve pain, increase levels of endorphins and decrease levels of stress hormones. Studies show a warm bath before bedtime aids in a more restful sleep. Combining heat therapy with a Kneading Back Massage Cushion provides similar benefits as a warm bath.
- Find Family and Peer Support: If family members suffer from fibromyalgia, look to them for support and advice through this syndrome. Local support groups can provide this same type of guidance; half educational, half support system. Meeting others with the same condition can provide an emotional boost, as well as encouragement and pain relief tips. Don’t see a local group in your area? Start your own!
- Minimize stress: Many people see their fibro symptoms flare when they are feeling nervous, panicked, or anxious. These stresses can play a big role in triggering these flare-ups. Consider adding meditation to your daily routine to help keep stress levels down. Learn to slow down and say “no” to engagements that may cause more stress than happiness.
When the weather starts to warm up, consider incorporating swimming into your exercise routine. Unlike many forms of aerobic exercises, swimming is easy on the joints and spine since there is practically no impact on spinal structures. Water resistance allows for increased range of motion while strengthening weak back and neck muscles.
Although therapeutic, this aquatic exercise can also cause back pain. Likely causes are hyperextension, or over stretching, of the back and jerking motions in the neck during certain strokes. To prevent further injury, practice proper form and technique.
Freestyle (Front Crawl): Keep your body lying flat in the water and hold lower abdominal muscles up and in, and keep your head straight rather than lifted. When taking a breath, slightly roll your body along with your head to reduce neck strain. Inexperienced swimmers or those with severe back pain should consider using a snorkel or breathing device.
Breaststroke: A wider stroke helps strengthen back muscles and reduce pain. Make sure to gently raise the head and neck during breaths.
Backstroke: Start slowly and gradually increase the length of distance to avoid neck muscle fatigue associated with the backstroke.
Remember to properly stretch beforehand and avoid overdoing your workout. Using Exercise and Therapy Foam Rollers can help massage sore muscles and enhance flexibility and strength before and after your workouts. Be sure to speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise to determine if swimming is right for you.
Golf is a favorite hobby among many men and women. Unfortunately, back pain is a common injury among the golf community. Many golfers will experience some form of back pain at some point during their lives, with one report stating nearly 80% of amateur golfers have back related injuries. There are many different muscle groups involved when swinging a golf club, as it requires a smooth, repetitive motion. Keeping these muscles stretched, well rested, and flexible is key to injury prevention.
Follow these steps to ensure you never miss a tee time:
- Take it slow: If you haven’t played golf in awhile or are new to the sport, don’t overexert yourself. Start with short sessions on the driving range, working your way up to a full round of golf.
- Incorporate Conditioning Exercises: Strengthening your core muscles, which include the muscles in your back, abdomen, buttocks, and pelvis, with conditioning exercises can help prevent injuries. Add exercises that focus on rotation to prepare your body for the twisting motions of swinging a golf club.
- Don’t forget to stretch: A balance of flexibility and strength is required in the game of golf. Having a regular stretching routine will help your muscles remain flexible. Foam rollers are a great way to enhance flexibility and strength. Maintaining a routine before and after a golf game will help alleviate muscle tension and prevent strains or sprains.
- Invest in an Inversion Table: A recent study by GolfTest USA showed golfers that use Inversion Tables, such as the Teeter HangUps, averaged 3 fewer strokes per round, improved their total distance by an average of 10% and increased driver speed by 69%. Inversion Tables help to improve flexibility while relieving back, shoulder, and hip pain.
- Take a breather: Swinging a golf club isn’t a natural motion and putting your body through this day after day puts strain on your muscles. Allow some time for you to recover between games. If you are experiencing back or neck pain, be sure to consult your doctor before stepping back on the course.
Spring is officially here, which means more time spent working in the yard. While gardening can be a leisurely, therapeutic activity, it can also lead to aches and pains. Hauling wheelbarrows, wrangling hoses, and constantly kneeling over to weed, mulch, and plant puts strain on your lower back, spine, and shoulders. Fortunately, there are techniques and tips to help prevent pain and keep you enjoying your favourite hobby:
- Lift with your knees when picking up heavy objects such as a wheelbarrow or bags of soil. Avoid lower back strain by lifting with your knees and hips, as they are better equipped than your back when lifting heavy objects. A posture support like the Cybertech Spine Brace encourages proper posture, which also helps prevent back injuries.
- Invest in quality tools. Old or broken tools with lot of wear and tear can make simple jobs a lot more difficult, so the next time you see that rusty rake, think about investing in a new set of tools that are ergonomically designed and have cushioned grips. In the end, taking tool shortcuts can only cause more damage than good.
- Weed on your hands and knees to keep your spine elongated for less strain and pain. Pay attention to the placement of your shoulders over your wrists as they bear most of the responsibility when reaching, grasping and supporting your body weight. If you begin to feel unnecessary, uncomfortable tension, slowly ease out of your current position to avoid straining any muscles.
- Stay hydrated will help you maintain energy throughout your gardening work as well as keep muscles and joints lubricated. Try to drink 6-oz of water every 20 minutes if you are working hard and sweating. Also, try taking a few minutes every half hour to cool off and rest in the shade.
- Plan a circuit to avoid repetition. Stiffness and soreness can be linked to repeating the same task, over and over again, for long periods of time. Set aside time to alternate between tasks: weed for an hour, plant for an hour, rake for an hour, water for an hour. Breaking up your time spent in the garden into different to-dos will reduce muscle strain as well as help keep down feelings of being overwhelmed.
- Stretch and ice after you’ve completed your tasks for the day. Gentle stretches will help you avoid strained muscles and stiffness the next morning. If you are feeling a strain in a muscle, apply and ice pack, such as these reusable cold therapy pads, to the sore area before bed. It will help reduce inflammation.
As always, we recommend you talk with your healthcare provider to determine if gardening is safe for any pain conditions you may have. For more tips on pain prevention and relief, follow us on Facebook and Twitter or visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists.
While the holiday season brings time off of work, it can also bring about aches and pains due to overexertion. All of the hustle and bustle can contribute to unwelcome muscle fatigue and pain. Here are some simple tips to help you prevent pain during the holidays, so you can truly enjoy your time with friends and family:
- Exercise: Don’t forgo your workout routine for the holidays. Take advantage of your time off to try a new exercise program or put in some extra time at the gym. Frequently performing gentle exercises like these low back exercises or foam roller exercises can also help keep muscles loose and prevent pain from happening.
- Maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated: If you’re attending holiday parties, know your nutritional needs and eat in moderation. Protein, fruits and vegetables provide nutrients for effective healing of soft tissue and muscles. Whereas excessive sugar can turn into fat, which hinders the healing process. Also be sure to always stay hydrated. Chronic muscle spasms and inflammation can be triggered by dehydration.
- Adequate Sleep: Even when it seems like you have a never ending “to-do” list, making sure you get enough sleep should be a priority. Insufficient sleep can cause aches and pains to worsen over time.
- Stress less: The holiday rush often times leads to feelings of stress and anxiety. Follow these tips to help reduce stress so you can relax and enjoy the holiday season.
A comfortable workspace can make a big difference in your physical health, productivity, stress level and energy throughout the day. If most of your work takes place at a desk, you are likely to suffer from pains and strains, loss of productivity and loss of alertness.
With proper office ergonomics you can avoid these pains and strains and stay comfortable at work. From proper chair height to monitor angles, follow this visual guide to office ergonomics and be on your way to a happier, healthier workspace.
For more information, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter or visit your local Relax The Back location to get an ergonomic office assessment from one of our trained neck-and-spine experts.