With the start of the New Year, we often find ourselves reflecting on the past year and looking forward to a fresh start. While we are always advocates of New Year’s resolutions that focus on being more active, making sleep a priority, and living a healthier lifestyle, we wanted to share a few other resolutions that can help you live well and improve your life in 2018.
Add one or all of these to your list this year and be on your way to a healthier, happier 2018.
- Get outside: Enjoy the outdoors. Studies continue to show the positive benefits of spending time outside. Go for daily walks in the morning or in the evening. Spend time by the ocean. Join a hiking group that meets on the weekends. Spending time outside can help you feel a heightened sense of well-being, relieve stress, and improve overall happiness.
- Make yourself a priority: Whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly, make time to check-in with yourself. Take note of how you are feeling mentally, physically, and emotionally. Go to your favorite workout class each week, try a new recipe to cook with your family, or journal before bed each night. Do more of the things that will help you feel happy and relaxed.
- Travel more: The world is full of amazing cities and destinations to visit. Whether flying abroad or taking a road trip across country, make it a priority to travel this year, and when you do, travel pain-free using our wide selection of ergonomic neck and back supports.
- Be present: It’s easy to get caught up with future plans, to get sucked into articles on our phones or computers, or to hold on to something in the past that doesn’t bring you joy. This year, vow to be more present in your everyday life. Let’s put away our phones, unplug daily, and be more in the moment.
- Find what makes you happy: Instead of looking for ways to improve our lifestyle or health based on what we believe to be “the norm,” include things that truly make you happy. Go to the spa to relax or set aside some time for a much-needed massage. If you enjoy walking or hiking instead of yoga, add a weekly hike to your schedule instead of signing up for unlimited yoga classes. Set yourself up for success, rather than failure, by finding activities and nutrition plans that work best for you.
We hope you had a wonderful holiday season. Happy New Year from all of us at Relax The Back!
While the holidays often mean time off of work, traveling to see friends and family when you have back and neck pain can be taxing. Sitting for long flights and car rides stiffens muscles in the back and the legs and puts stress on your spine. Lugging heavy suitcases also puts you at risk for low back injuries.
Paired with hectic holiday schedules, all of the hustle and bustle can cause unwelcome muscle pain and fatigue. Remember these tips during your travels this year to help reduce pain and stress.
- Sit with support: Airline seats do not have the best track record when it comes to proper lumbar support. Use an inflatable back cushion, such as the Self-Inflating Back Rest, to find adequate support during your flight. A TravelLite Seat Cushion will also relieve joint pressure and increase circulation during flights or long car rides.
- Move around: If possibly during longer flights, try to get up and walk about the cabin to stimulate blood flow. While seated, occasionally change positions to help avoid leg cramps, improve circulation, and prevent blood clots. Massage your legs and calves and try simple stretches to help loosen muscle tension.
- Pack light: Pack two smaller bags instead of packing one large, heavy suitcase. This will make lifting bags in and out of overhead bins, off baggage carousels, and in and out of the car much easier.
- Lift luggage in stages: Lift luggage slowly and in stages. Start by lifting your bag to the seat armrest, then to the top of the seatback, and lastly up and into the bin. Reverse this same pattern when removing your luggage. It’s also a good idea to ask the flight attendants for help if you feel you may strain muscles lifting your luggage.
- When lifting, never twist: Twisting is a common cause of lower back injuries. Be sure to pivot your feet so your entire body moves in the same direction instead of only twisting your back.
- Bring A Travel Pillow: When we travel, we don’t normally have our regular pillows to sleep on. Pillows at your final destination may not be as supportive as you need or are not the perfect fit for your body type, which can lead to pain. Bring a pillow, such as the ContourSide Pillow, that comes in two travel sizes.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more tips to reduce pain and stress this holiday season. Visit to your local Relax The Back store for production solutions to relieve pain during your travels or for great gift ideas for you and your loved ones.
Long flights or car rides can be daunting for those who experience back or neck pain. Standing, sitting, or lying in awkward positions for long periods of time is hard on your muscles, joints, and spine. Seats in airplanes, trains, buses, and cars can aggravate back and neck pain as they are not the most comfortable or ergonomically correct.
Here are a few steps that you can take to help reduce pain while traveling:
- Drink water: Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your trip. Water helps to lubricate and cushion muscles and joints. Staying hydrated will also help keep headaches away.
- Sit with support: As we mentioned, seats in planes and cars are often uncomfortable and worn out with poor lumbar support. Bringing a lumbar cushion such as our Self Inflating Back Rest will provide support during long car rides and flights. Using a U-Shaped Travel Pillow will give your neck the proper support it needs while also providing comfort. If you’re planning a long road trip and your car has bucket seats, the TravelLite Wedge Seat Cushion will allow for proper spinal alignment. This seat cushion allows you to sit in the ergonomically correct “S” curve position, with added support under your hips.
- Pack light: Heavy luggage can cause unnecessary strain on your neck and back muscles. Instead of packing one large suitcase, pack 2 smaller bags. Lifting bags into and out of your trunk or overhead bins, and off of the baggage carousel will be much easier. Also, when lifting your bags be sure to lift in stages and never twist your back. Instead, pivot your feet so that your entire body moves. If possible, avoid lifting by asking for help from a flight attendant or a passenger nearby.
- Get up and move: Occasionally changing positions can help prevent leg cramps, blood clots, and stiff muscles. Try this every 20-30 minutes, if possible. Movement helps stimulate circulation, which brings oxygen and nutrients into the muscles. This helps to prevent aches from sitting for long periods of time. When available, book an aisle seat to make getting up and out of your seat easy and accessible. If you’re driving, make pit stops to get out of the car and move around.
- Stretch: Speak with your doctor prior to your trip for safe and easy hamstring and hip stretches that you can do while traveling. Stretching will loosen muscles and provide relief during long periods of sitting.
During these summer months, many people will spend more time outdoors. Add traveling and walking in flip-flops to the mix, and our feet can take quite a beating. We tend to overlook our feet, but it’s important to remember that they are our foundation. How we bear weight on our feet affects our alignment and the health of our muscular and skeletal systems. If you experience back or neck pain, the unsuspecting culprit might just be your exhausted and aching feet.
For healthy feet and body, consider a foot massage. A good massage can increase circulation to the feet, releasing toxins from the body. It also relaxes and relieves aching muscles through reflexology or trigger points that correlate to other parts of the body. Pressure points on the feet called the Solar Plexus are highly affected by stress, and when pressed on can help relieve stress and provide much needed relaxation. Best of all, an invigorating foot massage just feels great at the end of a long day.
Relax the Back understands the importance of taking care of your feet and our massagers provide all the benefits in the comforts of your own home at your own time. Here are four options to choose from:
- The Infraped Foot Massager uses infrared heat to penetrate deep into the soles of your feet for cell for heat therapy and cell renewal
- The Therapeutic Foot Massager provides a custom massage by allowing you to specify settings in one of three regions of the foot, toe, arch or sole.
- The Human Touch CIrQlation Elite Foot & Calf Massager also massages your calves for increased circulation and pain relief.
- An inexpensive alternative that requires no batteries or power, the Foot Log relieves pressure in aching feet with just ten minutes of use.
Regardless of how active and tired your feet are, incorporating a good foot massage into your day can help lead to a healthier and happier you.
We all need a vacation and those suffering from back pain may very well need it the most. Yet it’s all too easy to decide to stay at home when flare-ups and inconveniences keep you from having a good time. With a little planning, getting out of the home for a worthwhile break may be easier than you think. Here are some tips before you travel to help make your vacation as painless as possible.
- Consult your doctor and get the okay to travel with your back condition.
- Get the proper travel insurance to cover your needs, especially when going to a foreign country. Most provide great medical coverage and will provide peace of mind.
- If flying by air, call the airline in advance and inform them of any special needs. They may be able to make certain accommodations such as providing wheelchair assistance and early boarding, having airline crew assist with luggage, arranging for special shuttles, etc. Also, try to book an exit window or aisle seat. This will give you more legroom to stretch and will make it easy to get in and out for walking breaks.
- Research your destination to avoid any unwelcome surprises. For example, how much walking vs. driving will you have to do? Where is the nearest medical facility in case of emergency?
- If staying at a hotel, call the hotel in advance to find out what type of mattresses are available to help make getting a good night’s rest much easier.
While the guidelines above will help you plan, our products will make getting to and around your destination more comfortable. Here are some products we recommend:
- The Bucky Utopia Travel Pillow is our most affordable and compact travel pillow. It even comes with its own bag so you won’t lose it during your travels.
- The LumbarCushion by Tempur-Pedic will provide much-needed support to your lower and mid back wherever you are seated. It’s also small enough to fit into your carry-on.
- If you like to travel with your iPad, our foldable Cricket Notebook Stand will help ease your eyes and neck for comfortable viewing.
For more information, our previous posts on travel include more tips and product recommendations to help make your trip this vacation season more enjoyable.