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.
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.
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.
While the winter season continues, snow will pile up around homes, driveways and sidewalks. Colder temperatures paired with the strenuous activity of keeping those driveways and sidewalks clear puts you at a higher risk for aches, pains, and injury. Each year, nearly 11,500 injuries relating to snow shoveling are treated in the Emergency Room. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to prevent unnecessary pain during this time of year. Take a look at the infographic below to see how you can avoid injury during winter:
The neck, also called the cervical spine, supports the full weight of your head and allows for full range of motion and a high degree of mobility. Due to this mobility however, your neck is very vulnerable to injuries. Neck strain is a common complaint and rarely is it a serious injury. Pain can be caused by poor posture, sleeping in an awkward position or car accidents, to name a few.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to relieve some of the discomfort associated with neck strain. Neck therapy products can be used daily to reduce further pain and stress on the important muscles in your neck. Simple exercises for neck strain, like the ones found below, can also help to reduce and relieve pain:
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.
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.