From the category archives:

Treatment

Plain and simple, standing up, sitting and lying down would not be possible if it weren’t for the vertebral column. Made up of the vertebrae, the nerves (including the spinal cord and nerve roots) and the soft tissues (including invertebral disks, muscles, ligaments and spinal fluid), the spine, when working properly, allows pain free activity and rest.

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Treating pain, whether acute or chronic can be a different experience for everyone. Allergies, other health issues and belief systems make dealing with pain a very individual discussion between a patient and health care professional. Consider talking to your doctor before taking any kind of over-the-counter-drug especially if you are already taking prescription medication of any kind or if you have other health issues, such as high blood pressure. If pain lasts longer than a few days and self-care is not reducing pain, seek advice from a professional. It is better to be safe than sorry.

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If you have an office job, odds are high that you sit in front of a computer for a good part of every day – even if you don’t have an office job; people of all ages spend at least an hour or two a day in front of a computer. Spending that time sitting in a comfortable and ergonomically correct chair is key in preventing minor back pain (that could eventually lead to more serious problems). There are some general rules to follow when it comes to proper body posture in a chair and aspects to the chair that can help you follow the rules.

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Sitting down and propping up your feet after a long hard day can feel wonderful. Add a gentle massaging action to that and it is heaven. Chair massagers can provide added relaxation after a long day or relief from throbbing pain from a sore back. The massaging action from the chair can increase circulation and blood flow to the area, which helps to circulate oxygen and carries away toxins. One of the great things about chair massagers is that a person can completely relax into the chair (especially if the chair also allows you to raise your feet). Some handheld types of massagers can leave residual tension in the arm that is holding up the massager; the chair doesn’t have that problem. People also like the idea in investing in a chair massager for convenience and economy – as compared to paying a massage therapist.

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If you suffer from back pain, it is likely that you are always looking for relief options. If you are already exercising, stretching and keeping your weight down, but still have occasional soreness, the personal handheld massager might be just the relief you are looking for. Increasing the blood flow to an area helps to circulate oxygen and nutrients and to carry away toxins, and massage increases blood flow by stimulating circulation. So massage not only feels good, but also provides physiological help as well.

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Compared to how many people experience back pain every year, spine surgery is rarely the initial treatment. For a majority of patients, surgery is considered only after a course of treatments that combine self and doctor-steered-care. There are emergency situation where surgery necessary or considered early on, but most conditions are resolved non-surgically. Most commonly, doctors advise somewhere between 3 to 6 months (sometimes longer) of recovery treatments before even considering spine surgery.

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Back pain can come in many forms and can be in the upper or lower region of the back. Upper back pain often comes from a traumatic injury such as a car accident or sports injury. However, most of the back trouble that people have is lower back pain since that is where the wear-and-tear occurs. Many different treatments are available for low back pain, depending on the cause and how long the person has been experiencing it.

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Many people experience back and neck pain. Whether a person sits at a desk for a good part of the day or performs heavy lifting, back pain is likely to knock on the door at some point in their adult lives. There are several things that can be done to help prevent back pain, like practicing good posture, going to a chiropractor, or strengthening the muscles of the back. If a person sits at a desk using a computer all day, then prevention can come in the form of an ergonomically correct desk chair. Sometimes all that is needed is the quick relief that comes with rest and relaxation, so personal handheld massagers and massage chairs can help to relieve a tired and sore back. This article takes a look at some options for self-managing minor back pain.

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When thinking of your core, consider the area around your trunk and pelvis. When you have good core stability the muscles in your legs, hips and buttocks, lower back and stomach work together. Strong core muscles make it easier to do most everything – stand, sit, recreate, run up stairs. Core exercises help you strengthen the muscles in your trunk and pelvis. They also help your balance, since the core is also your center of gravity.

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Keeping muscles strong enough to support the body’s weight is the main goal in preventing back injury. A large but sometimes underused muscle mass are the abdominals. Weak stomach muscles can lead to slouching or swayback. In order to stand upright and keep the back in proper alignment, the muscles of the abdomen need to remain able to support a great deal of weight.

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Performing exercises to elongate and strengthen the support muscles of the spine can help prevent back pain and injury. When muscles in the legs and back are tight and/or weak it can cause lower back pain. Muscle strain (muscles that are torn or overstretched) is a problem that most adults experience at some point in their lives.

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Core strength – people sometimes think that the term core strength means strong abdominal muscles. Actually, core strength not only means strong abs, but the back as well. There are many different muscle groups involved in keeping us upright and well-aligned. Practicing core strength produces good posture. This means that the vertebrae are sitting properly on top of one another and the nerves of the back (including the spinal cord and the nerve roots) are not being pinched or otherwise irritated therefore reducing or eliminating back pain and injury. Simply, strengthening the core means toning and lengthening the stomach, back, hip and leg muscles.

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The lower back is the area that has the burden of carrying most of the weight of the body. As muscles are overused they can become fatigued and less able to provide the support necessary to keep the back in its proper alignment. Muscles and ligaments both support the boney structure of the back called the spinal column. Overused muscle can lead to back strains (torn or overstretched muscle) or back sprains (torn ligaments). In many cases, inflammation will occur to protect the strained/sprained area. Inflammation can lead to muscle spasms and other back pain. Weakened muscles leave other parts of the back susceptible to injury.

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Proper spine alignment (proper posture), whether it be sitting, standing or lying down, can reduce the severity of an episode of back pain or eliminate it altogether. Proper posture means lining up the vertebrae so that the natural curve in the spine is realized. This is also called neutral alignment. Neutral alignment can be obtained by evenly strengthening the core. People often think of abdominals as the core, but a good core workout will include work on both the stomach and back. Strong muscles are the body’s defense against the strain of gravitational pull and defense needs to come from both at the front and the back.

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The legs are large muscle masses that are meant to take on a lot of weight. When the legs are strong, they are able to take on much of the weight that the back would otherwise have to carry. The hamstrings are the muscles on the back of the thigh that if tight, can actually exacerbate back pain. Elongated hamstrings allow the legs their full range of motion which allows the body to stand upright and in proper posture. Tight hamstrings can lead to swayback.

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Strengthening the back muscles is just as (if not more) important as abdominals when it comes to maintaining back health. The spinal column runs along the inside and has muscles at both the front and the back to support it, so naturally both sets of muscles should be toned. The lower back takes on the brunt of the body’s weight while sitting and standing. The vertebrae in that part of the back are larger to accommodate this weight, but there is still a higher risk of lower back injury because of this burden. Every day use, such as lifting, twisting and bending can fatigue back muscles and, over time, be the cause of short term problems (acute pain), such as a back strain or sprain, or long-term conditions (chronic pain), such as herniated disks, osteoarthritis, or less frequently spinal stenosis. While most all American adults experience back pain at some point, maintaining good back health can decrease or eliminate it altogether.

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Preventing back pain or maintaining an already strong back can mean fewer doctor visits, less medication and less missed activity. Back pain is the second highest reason Americans call in sick to work after the common cold. Having the strength needed in back muscles is just one step in a healthy back. Knowing the biomechanics of the back can also help keep a back injury-free. What is proper posture? How does the back interact with the neck, buttocks, or legs?

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The back carries the weight of the head, neck and body. Strong and properly elongated back muscles allow for good posture, which in turn can help to prevent back pain and injuries. Additionally, because the back carries the weight of the body, tension can gradually build that could lead to chronic conditions such as herniated disks. Disks that provide cushioning for the vertebrae can bulge out from between and cause inflammation or muscle spasms. Emotional distress can also lead to subconscious tension being held in the muscles. Releasing tension can not only prevent back injury, but it can also ease pain from already injured areas by strengthening and lengthening the muscles. The Cat and Camel stretch is great for releasing tension in the lower back:

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In the treatment of back pain there isn’t just one remedy; treating the symptoms by several different means can be very effective. Besides the more well-known remedies, like pain killers, icing and exercise, electrical stimulation has also been successful in pain management. Transcutaneous (or “through the skin”) Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) works by transmitting electrical impulses via electrodes placed on the skin. The electrode pads are carefully placed to target the areas which are causing pain. A physiotherapist or healthcare professional can advise on the most effective placement of the pads. The chronic musculoskeletal pain of the back is one type of pain that responds very well to the TENS machine.

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