Friday, January 15, 2010

Does Your Back Hurt?

Here are two sobering statistics about back pain:
1) 8 out of 10 people will suffer at least one episode of severe back pain in their lifetimes;
2) Non-specific back pain is second only to colds & flu as the reason why people miss work.

People with back pain have a choice to either suffer or seek relief. In seeking relief there are myriad books on the topic proffering various paths to relief. Late night television is cluttered with infomercials hawking products that are supposedly “proven.” And, there are many professional medical pathways from yoga to chiropractic to specialized surgical procedures. There are so many avenues out there that it can be overwhelming.

In recent years, the medical community seems to have come together in support of their patients in one major way: non-invasive, non-surgical pathways toward relieving back pain should be the first choice treatment path. Surgery should only be attempted if everything else has failed.

Since its inception in 1984, Relax The Back has been a leading resource for the relief and prevention of back and neck pain. The company has been serving the Phoenix metropolitan area since 1994.

Following are a few non-surgical methods many have used to relieve their back pain.

Spinal Decompression
The postures we put ourselves into in our adult lives contribute to the gravitational pull on our spines. Pressure on the intervertebral discs results in loss of body height and nerve pain. Many people experience this as sciatica. Others experience numbing in their hands and fingers.

Remember how freeing it felt as a young child swinging upside down from a monkey bar?

Spinal decompression allows the vertebrae to separate taking pressure off the nerves. Spinal decompression doesn’t have to be an expensive medical procedure offered only in a doctor’s office. There are many tools available for home use.

One of the most powerful tools available is the inversion table. Better versions of this product are extremely safe, do not necessitate the need for a helper and allow the user to set angles of inversion as complete inversion may be too extreme for some.

It may sound overly simple. But, our bodies—especially as we age—need help when going from a period of rest to a period of activity. Spending a few minutes each day stretching can be a great way to help soften stiff muscles. Exercise books are a resource for finding effective stretching techniques. Products such as stability balls, foam rolls and the Core Stretch can help people stretch safely.

Zero Gravity
When NASA first sent men into space, one of their first observations was the position bodies assumed naturally in micro-gravity. Akin to a relaxed fetal position, research has proven that these angles produce minimal stress on the body.

Holding the knees and pelvis at specific angles allows the major muscles in the core and legs to relax. When the muscles relax, they don’t pull against bones. We call this neutral posture. When combined with reclining the body, gravity is more evenly distributed across the body’s surface resulting in the release of pressure on the spine. Products such as recliners, adjustable beds, and some massage chairs have been developed to support both neutral posture and zero gravity.

Far-Infrared Heat

Unlike typical heating pads that heat the skin before they can get through to the muscle, far-infrared works from the inside. Healing pads, massage beds and chairs incorporating far-infrared technology have become increasingly popular in our society having started in Eastern cultures generations ago. Simply put, the technology relies on an invisible portion of the light spectrum to deliver powerful relief from deep within. And, because these products don’t make your skin feel sunburned, they can be used for extended periods of time safely.

Manage Stress

Whether it’s taking time to “smell the roses,” or to watch a comedy on TV, find something that takes your mind off your daily stressors. Plenty of anecdotal evidence exists suggesting that stress is a major cause of myriad health problems. Exercising, eating well, maintaining good postures and using products which are ergonomically designed all play a role in helping to manage stress.

A Trusted Resource

Relax The Back in Uptown Plaza has specialized in ergonomic products since 1994. Our first concerns are to understand the sources and causes of the pains our customers are in. From there, we provide education so our customers can make informed decisions to help support a better quality of life. If you have back pain, please come by and see what we can do to help.

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