Tag Archives: stretching

Importance of Stretching + A Stretch Routine For Better Health

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.

8 Tips To Avoid Pain During Cold Months

8 Tips To Avoid Pain During Cold Months

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

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

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

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

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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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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.

 

 

 

Knowing the Difference: Strain vs. Sprain

When you’ve got a sore and swollen ankle after falling the wrong way, you’re left wondering if you’ve got a strain or a sprain. Although these two words seem interchangeable, they are injuries that involve different parts of your body.

In the case of a strain, you’ve stretched/torn a muscle or tendon. Tendons are tissues that connect muscle to bone. For this reason, you often hear people “pull a muscle” or “strain a muscle.” Most commonly, hamstrings (during sports) and the lower back (lifting heavy objects) are common muscle strain sites.

In the case of a sprain, you’ve stretched/torn a ligament. Ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect bones to joints. Sprains occur when a joint is forced beyond its normal range of motion, which most commonly occurs when turning or rolling ankles and wrists.

What are the Signs?
Although signs and symptoms will vary depending on the severity of the injury, both strains and sprains share and differ in symptoms.

Common signs include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Instability
  • Limited ability to move the affected joint/muscle

For Sprains:

  • Bruising

For Strains:

  • Muscle spasms and weakness

How are they treated?

For severe cases, see a doctor immediately. But for most mild cases, remembering RICE can help minimize the damage and help recovery:

  • Rest – Limit any physical activity using the body part within the first 24-48 hours after the injury.
  • Ice – Within the first 48 hours, ice the sprain or strain 30 minutes at a time every 3-4 hours. Consider using Reusable Cold Therapy Pads which delivers cold therapy at temperatures that comply with medically accepted protocols.
  • Compression – Use compression to help reduce the swelling. These include bandages such as elastic wraps, special boots, casts, and splints. The wrap should be snug, but not entirely cut off circulation. So if your extremities (fingers and toes) become cold, blue or start to tingle, it’s time to re-wrap! For an all in one therapy system, we recommend the VitalWrap System with a universal 6” wrap, hold, cold and compression therapy.
  • Elevate – Try to get your injury higher than your heart if possible. Use pillows under arms or legs to elevate while staying comfortable at night. Consider a body pillow that provides extra support and stability for all areas of the body, not just the head and neck.

No one is immune to sprains and strains, but here are some to help reduce your injury risk:

  • Exercise to build muscle strength, including stretching to increase flexibility
  • Always wear properly fitting shoes
  • Nourish your muscles by eating a well-balanced diet
  • Warm up before any sports activity, including practice, to loosen up
  • Use or wear protective equipment appropriate for sports and other strenuous activity

 

 

Importance of Stretching

While we all know that regular exercise is important for our overall health, stretching is often an overlooked part of our routine. And for those with back pain, the benefits of stretching are far too important to neglect whether you’re active or sedentary. Here’s why you should stretch:

  1. Flexibility: The spine is a complex structure comprised of muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones. Stretching helps keep all the parts flexible and in good working order. Rather than being stiff and less mobile, you’ll have an increased range of motion to ensure good posture, balance and normal/proper movement.
  2. Stress-relief: Stretching helps relieve tension and can make you feel relaxed. Use it as a way to not only relax your body but also your mind.  You’ll be more focused and better able to manage stress that could result in back pain.
  3. Painrelief and prevention: Stretching improves the flexibility of surrounding lower back muscles, reducing lower back pain and muscle soreness. The combination of flexible muscles and increased range of movement prevents injury trigger points that would otherwise remain. 

Now that you know about the importance of stretching for spinal and overall health, consider incorporating it more into your exercise routines. It’s an important way to prepare the muscles for vigorous activities. That’s why stretching exercises should also be done before and after a workout to prevent muscle strain and soreness and to help avoid injuries. For spine stretches, consider using our Lumbar Extender Plus. Or for more information on how to stretch using proper technique, try our definitive book or see our trained associates in-store for recommendations tailored to your physical needs and abilities.

 

Benefits of Yoga for Back Pain Relief

Many suffering from back pain find yoga intimidating, especially when imagining back bending. But yoga is more than just body twisting – it’s a mind-body practice that combines poses, deep breathing, and meditation. Yoga is also very much a personal practice, and can be easily modified to fit your abilities and limitations with the help of simple props.

Physical Poses
The fundamentals of physical yoga teach you precise alignment and posture to correct any bad and harmful habits in body movement. Overall, stretching and holding poses help increase flexibility, muscular strength and joint mobility while specific poses work to strengthen abdominal and lower back muscles for much needed back support.

Deep Breathing
Yoga incorporates slow and deep, diaphragmatic breathing that balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which can reduce your perception of pain.

Meditation
Meditation helps you relax, focus, and manage stress that could result in back pain and tension. It can also improve your mental and emotional health to help you keep up with the demands of a busy life impeded by back pain.

Use of Props
Simple props such as pillows, blankets, blocks, and foam rollers can help you hold modified poses according your ability. This allows your body to relax and strengthen in comfortable positions. Relax the Back’s Exercise and Therapy Foam Rollers in particular can be used for abdominal and spine stretching and balance exercises in yoga.

As with any physical activity, the addition of hot and cold therapy can relieve stress on your muscles and body that Yoga may cause. Consider using a Therabeads Moist Heat Pad for muscles aches, arthritis pain and tension. To stay cool, try substituting your yoga mat with the Shield Life Cool Pad.

You should also exercise caution. There are many variations of yoga and finding the right regimen can be confusing. To maximize the healing benefits of yoga, consider practicing with an experienced yoga teacher who can help address your problems and tailor poses and sequences to your needs.