Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Exercises For The Upper Back (Pain)

Upper back pain is the pain which surfaces between your neck and the lower back. Upper backpain may not be as common as its counterpart, low back pain or lumbar back pain, but it can cause intense pain when it does surface. The commonest causes of upper back pain include injury to the muscles (myofascial pain) or ligaments attached to the vertebrae and joint dysfunction. It may also result from poor posture over a period of time, a sudden twisting motion, or simply overuse.

Why Exercise Your Upper Back?

Doing upper backpain exercises cam help you in numerous ways. These exercises can greatly reduce the uneasiness caused by backpain ailments and help prevent recurrence of upper back pain. Muscle strain is the major cause of pain in the upper back, and upper backpain exercises are particularly helpful in such cases.

Upper backpain exercise, before or after any physical activity, can relax the muscle tissue leading to reduced tension which helps alleviate strains and damage to the tissue. Further, upper backpain exercises increase the spine’s suppleness, which provides for reduced occurrences of upper back pain and helps relieve back pain if you are currently suffering from it.

Exercises for Your Upper Back (Pain)

Here are some exercises specific to upper back pain. Prolonged use of these exercises may lead to permanent relief from upper backpain – use them at your own risk.

Upper Backpain Exercise 1: Mid Trap

• Lie on the ground on your stomach and place a pillow under the chest
• Put your arms away from the body making an angle of 90 degrees with the trunk
• Raise your arms upwards slowly, at the same time squeezing the shoulder blades
• Lower the arms and repeat 10-15 times
Upper Backpain Exercise 2: Pectoralis Stretch
• Position yourself in the doorway and rest your hands on the doorframe
• Lean forward and let the chest muscle stretch, stay like that for 15-20 seconds and let go
• Repeat about 5 times

Upper Backpain Exercise 3: Arm Slides

• Back up against a wall
• Hold the arms along the wall with palms facing outward
• Raise the arms up and down against the wall to stretch the muscles of the upper back and arms
• Repeat about 15 times

Upper Backpain Exercise 4: Scapular Squeeze

• Put the arms up on the side of the body with palms facing forward and elbows bent
• Move stretch the arms backward as far as possible and stay like that for some time
• Repeat about 15 times

There are also some general exercises which alleviate upper back pain. Swimming is one such exercise, as it tends to strengthen the upper back area. Your physician may also recommend some specific exercises, the purpose being to increase the strength and suppleness of the upper back.

There are also other methods to a healthy upper back. A change in posture, proper sitting/standing/walking technique goes a long way in preventing a back problem.

When Does Exercise Itself Become The Cause?

In rare cases, exercise may be a cause of upper backpain. Athletes often do not warm up properly and cool down through proper stretching before and after work outs. Such prolonged misuse may lead to severe back pain problems in the future.

A healthy upper/lower back is an asset. Take proper diet, exercise regularly, properly, stay active. Take care of your upper/lower back, and the back will back you in the long run.

Shubhanyu Jain is the co-founder of Inmistia and the Editor of Inmistia Oneness. His site provides valuable information and tips on health-related issues. This site touches various topics related to personal health, suggests tips for various health disorders. Visitors will revel in the sheer abundance of information available on the site on everything related to their health. Visit Inmistia Oneness for more information.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Cause of Lower Back Pain... Five Primary Problems


The Cause of Lower Back Pain... Five Primary Problems

by Stephen O'Dwyer

A Holistic View Points Toward Skeletal Muscles

It is often stated in conventional literature that the cause of lower back pain cannot be precisely identified. This perspective derives from a mechanistic, non-integrated view of the body which has been our legacy since the scientific revolution. When the body is viewed as a collection of isolated parts rather than an elegant, integrated whole, the causes of lower back pain become a bewildering thing.

However, a holistic view of the body can begin to sort out the confusion. By evaluating the relationship between the body's overall structure in gravity and it's function in movement, the causes of lower back pain begin to reveal themselves.

A holistic perspective guides us to one of the most overlooked sources, not only of lower back pain, but chronic pain in general. That source is skeletal muscle.

As Drs. Janet Travell and David Simons made explicitly clear in their exhaustive 2-volume work, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, a vast proportion of chronic pain in the body is not due to problems with damaged nerves, disrupted bursae, and degenerative joints, but dysfunction in the soft tissue, especially skeletal muscles.

The cause of lower back pain can be broken down into five primary problems which interconnect with one another. The following breakdown is adapted from the St. John Neuromuscular Therapy training, a method of postural analysis and clinical massage therapy focused on musculoskeletal alignment and treating compensatory muscular patterns.

Five Primary Problems

1) Ischemia (pronounced: Iz skeem ee ah)
The first cause of lower back pain is ischemia. "Ischemia" means lack of blood. Without adequate blood to provide nutrients and oxygen, soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia build up lactic and other toxins and become painful. Ischemia occurs when muscles are chronically contracted over a period of time. The most prevalent cause of lower back pain, by far, is muscular strain and spasm due to ischemia.

2) Trigger Points
The second cause of lower back pain is trigger points. A trigger point is an area of the soft tissue which, after chronic contraction and reduced blood flow, becomes an area of high neurological activity. For example, fibers in an ischemic muscle (a muscle with low blood) can become an active trigger point in response to biochemical changes in the tissue. Active trigger points cause referred sensation to other parts of the body. That sensation can be pain, tingling, numbness, thermal sensations (hot or cold), weakness, a general achy quality, or the feeling that "it just doesn't feel right." For example, you might have a trigger point in a muscle of your lower back which refers sensation down into your buttocks, or even down the leg. This is NOT same thing as the referred pain caused by nerve compression and nerve entrapment which will be covered next.

3) Nerve Compression and Nerve Entrapment
The third cause of lower back pain is nerve compression and entrapment. Nerve compression is the pressure put on a nerve by a bone or an intervertebral disc. Nerve compression occurs when the spine becomes misaligned for some reason (faulty movement patterns, injury, chronic muscular tightness) and one of the discs between the vertebrae get squeezed on one side so that it bulges out the other side. If the bulging puts pressure on a spinal nerve, then you've got pain! Nerve entrapment is when a nerve is caught or pinched by the soft tissues. For example, the sciatic nerve (the largest nerve in the body) runs down through the buttocks and can become entrapped by the piriformis muscle when that muscle is very tight. This can result in pain down the back of the leg.

4) Structural Imbalance, aka Postural Distortion
The fourth cause of lower back pain is structural imbalance or postural imbalance. In a sense, this issue is the most significant of all. The reason for that lofty status is due to the fact that structural imbalance is often the root problem responsible for ischemia, trigger points, and nerve compression or entrapment.

If the body is distorted off its center line of gravity, compensating muscular patterns can result. To illustrate the point, put your elbow on the table in front of you with your forearm pointed straight up to the ceiling. Now imagine you've got a bowling ball resting in your palm. If your forearm is completely straight up and down, the weight of the bowling ball will be supported by the bones of your forearm. Theoretically, you could hold that bowling ball there indefinitely.

But if you shifted off that center line, even a tiny bit, then the muscles of your arm would have to engage in order to hold up the bowling ball. Even the strongest human in the world wouldn't be able to hold that ball there for long. This is precisely what can happen with your body. If your alignment is off such that your head is not centered over your shoulders over your hips over you feet, then the core muscles of your body must perpetually engage in order to hold your body up!

5) Dysfunctional Biomechanics
The fifth cause of lower back pain is dysfunctional biomechanics. This is often a secondary result of structural imbalance and is evidenced by faulty movement patterns. For example, if you've got nagging lower back pain you might hold your body in a restricted way, walk differently, or reach for things with limited range of movement. It's logical to do that, and not recommended to fight against your body's self-imposed limitations. It's trying to protect you from pain. Until the structural imbalance is addressed, and the pain is relieved, there's wisdom in those limits. However, repetitive movements can become patterned into your nervous system such that, even after structural and muscular problems have been eliminated, you still move in a limited, protective way. This can revive structural and muscular imbalances. That's why even a minimum regime of daily stretches can be vital to full recovery.

About the Author
Stephen O'Dwyer, Certified Neuromuscular Therapist, is the founder and director of Neuromuscular Therapy of Vermont & the Center for Advanced Bodywork Training. His website, Lower Back Pain Answers http://www.lower-back-pain-answers.com is the result of years of research, and offers revolutionary insight and innovative solutions to relieving lower back pain. Stephen has maintained a private practice in manual therapy since 1990.


A Closer Look at Lower Back Pain Relief


A Closer Look at Lower Back Pain Relief

By Eddie Tobey

As many as 8 out of 10 adults will experience back pain in their lifetime, and most of them will feel it in their lower back. When we consider that our lower back bears the brunt of our body weight, and that our back is made up of many vertebrae, a few discs to absorb shock, several major nerves and joints that allow for movement of the spine, stacked on top of each other, this statistic begins to make more sense.

Back pain is either acute, appearing quickly and intensely after an accident or injury and lasting only a short while, or chronic, recurrent pain that can come seemingly out of nowhere. The direct causes of chronic back pain are rarely obvious – simple movements, arthritis, bad posture, obesity, and internal disorders can all cause our backs to ache.

It is important to try to pinpoint the cause so you can get the most appropriate type of treatment for your low back pain. Doctors often recommend medications for lower back pain relief. Both over-the-counter and prescription medicines can ease lower back pain, and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin and ibuprofen, can significantly reduce inflammation as well as back pain. Acetaminophen, available in many over-the-counter medicines, acts as an analgesic and is often used to treat acute pain. Occasionally doctors prescribe opioids or muscle relaxants for severe pain, although these can be habit-forming. Once common, doctors prescribe back surgery less often nowadays, which usually involves implanting one of several medical devices to stabilize and fuse the spine.

The medical community is now questioning the efficacy of bed rest, once thought to be essential for healing and lower back pain relief. Medical studies seem to prove just the opposite – that exercise is the real healer. Specific exercises strengthen back muscles, increase flexibility and tone, and pump fluid into back discs, alleviating soreness caused by disc dehydration. Getting up and moving or performing physical therapy can relieve back pain.

Many sufferers say they have experienced lower back pain relief through acupuncture, an ancient Chinese treatment in which needles are placed in specific points on the body. Chiropractic, whose practitioners realign the vertebrae of the spine to correct imbalances in the musculoskeletal system, provides relief for others. Whichever type of treatment one chooses, it is important to remember that there are many causes of lower back pain, and no one treatment will work for everyone.

Pain Relief Info provides detailed information on arthritis, back, joint, lower back, natural, chronic, neck, sciatica, knee, fibromyalgia, and muscle pain relief. Pain Relief Info is the sister site of Acid Reflux Web.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/


Yoga for Back Pain Relief


Yoga for Back Pain Relief

By Dr Rav Davis

A good, regular yoga practice will go far in relieving the stress and tension that sometimes cause mild back pain, and in fact, studies have shown that yoga is the number one most effective exercise for relieving back pain. However, not all yoga poses relieve back pain, and some can in fact aggravate existing pain, so it is important to know which poses will be most helpful in relieving back pain. It is best to do these exercises under the supervision of a certified yoga instructor, and if you encounter any problems with these poses, you should consult an expert. Even just one or two sessions with a yoga instructor can help, an instructor will help you with your form and posture during poses. Here are some of the best yoga poses for relieving back pain. Each pose should be held from five to ten seconds, depending upon your level of comfort, and should be done on a mat or other soft, supportive surface.

Corpse: Lie flat on your back in a relaxed position, arms resting at your sides, palms down, and legs lying naturally, with knees turned out slightly. If it hurts your back to have your knees turned outward, do this pose with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Breathe in and out for a few seconds while allowing any tension to leave the body.

Cat Stretch: Start out on your hands and knees with a flat back. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders with fingers spread. Knees should be directly under the hips. Head is held loosely so that you are looking at the floor between your hands. Inhale, and as you exhale, arch your back toward the ceiling, tuck your chin in to your chest so that you are looking at your navel, and tuck your tailbone underneath. Hold, then release back into your original position.

Wind Releasing Pole: Lie flat on your back as in Corpse pose. As you inhale, bend your knee, place your hands right below the knee, and draw your leg towards your chest. Your left leg should remain flat on the floor. Exhale and bring your forehead up to touch your knee. Inhale, and then as you exhale, return to your original position. Repeat with the other leg.

Sage Twist: Warning for this pose—it involves twisting your back, so you should take particular care not to twist too far or you risk aggravating any existing back pain. This should be a gentle stretch; twist just as far as is comfortable. Sit on the floor with both legs out in front of you. Bend your right knee, lift your right leg over your left, and place your right foot on the floor next to your left knee. Sitting with spine straight, place your left elbow on the right side of your right knee. Bend your left arm so that your left fingertips are touching your right hip, while at the same time, twisting to look over your right shoulder. This is where you need to be careful not to twist too far. Hold for a few seconds, release, and repeat on the opposite side.

Palm Tree: Stand with feet facing forward, arms at your sides, weight distributed evenly on both feet. Raise both arms over your head, interlock your fingers, and turn your hands so that your palms are facing upward. Next, place your palms on your head and turn your head so that you are looking slightly upward. Stretch your arms upwards, and at the same time, come up onto your toes if you can do so without pain. Stretch your entire body upward and hold, if you can. Some people have difficulty balancing during this pose, so just do the stretching parts if you need to.

Fish Pose: Lie on your back with knees bent and arms at your side. Arch your back as far as you comfortably can and raise it off the ground by pushing the floor with your elbows. If you can, tilt your head backwards and rest the crown of your head on the floor. Breathe deeply from the diaphragm and hold pose for one minute if you can.

LOCUST: Lie face down with arms at the side, palms down, and elbows slightly bent with fingers pointing towards the feet. Raise your legs and thighs as high off the ground as possible without causing your back any pain. Hold for one second and repeat up to twelve times. This can be a vigorous exercise so you must take care to strain already injured muscles.

Bending Forward Pose: Stand up straight with feet together and arms hanging loosely along your sides. Breathe in deeply and raise your arms straight above your head. While breathing out, bend forward and touch your toes if you can. If you can’t reach your toes, grab hold of your ankles or calves. To complete the pose, you should touch your head to your knees, but this may be too difficult for many who suffer from lower back pain. Your movements during this pose should be smooth, not jerky.

Read More about Back Pain and herbal remedies at http://www.ayurvediccure.com/backpain.htm

http://www.ayurvediccure.com/backpain.htm , Ayurvedic Cure.com: http://www.ayurvediccure.com

Ayurvedic Cure.com - Health, Nutritional and Herbal Vitamin Supplements Guide. Health Guide featuring Home Remedies, Nutritional Herbal Supplements. Complete Alternative Health and Online Health Store.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/


Back Pain: No Longer Just For Adults


Back Pain: No Longer Just For Adults
By Richard Palfreyman

Adults are not the only ones who suffer from back pain. In fact 60% of children experience back pain before they reach age 18. Many of these back pain episodes are due to backpacks that are overloaded or poorly designed and from poor posture while working at a computer.

More than 6,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year for injuries related to lugging heavy backpacks -- and most are under 14 years of age. In addition, backpack-related injuries are up 256 percent since 1996.

Chronic pain can have long term affects on children, on their relationships, developmental abilities and school attendance. Therefore, parents and kids alike are taking action on how to relieve back pain and prevent it in the future.

For example, many parents are investing in ergonomically designed backpacks for their children, such as the Obus Form or the AirPacks backpacks available at Relax The Back. These ergonomically designed backpacks take a proactive approach to back health by redistributing the load which reduces back and shoulder tension caused by heavy loads by as much as 80%

Another major cause of kids’ back pain is due to the extended period of time they sit at a computer screen. Millions of children are using computers every day, at school and at home, for education and recreation, and often for 2-3 hours at a time daily. Poor posture, on top of a poorly designed workstation, are causing kid’s to experience back pain similar to that which makes their parents file workers’ comp claims.

“One means with which parents can help prevent back pain in their kids before it starts is by insuring that their home office is ergonomically efficient for themselves and their children,” said Marcy Swerdlow, Owner of Relax The Back in Chicago, IL. “Ergonomic task chairs with height and arm adjustment features, allow parents and kids to customize their seating according to their needs and reduce shoulder, neck and back pressure.”

Others are turning to fun and innovative back care seating products, such as the Swopper. This ergonomic bouncy stool-like chair eliminates static seating and gives you a fluid, energized movement for a healthy back. The patented mechanism was engineered and crafted in Germany to improve your posture, strengthen the muscles in your lower back and improve circulation to your lower extremities.

In addition, affordable lumbar supports and seat cushions that conform to the curves and angles of your body, can be an easy fix for poorly designed workstation furniture to reduce pressure and relieve back pain.

A few tips for proper posture and sitting:

-Sit back in your chair and use a good back support, do not lean forward; it increases pressure on the spine. Keep your feet flat on the floor or use a footrest.

-Keep your wrists as flat as possible with your elbows at a 90 degree or greater angle. Make sure that the upper arm and elbow are as close to the body and as relaxed as possible for mouse use - avoid overreaching

- Make sure the head is over the shoulders and the neck is as straight as possible

-Change positions frequently to avoid fatigue. Simply walking around the room every 30 to 60 minutes rests both eyes and body.

-As a general rule, children should not carry more than 15 to 20 percent of their body weight in their backpacks, according to Backpack Safety America (BSA).

Please visit www.spineuniverse.com for more tips on maintaining a healthy back and www.relaxtheback.com for more information on ergonomic furniture and back care.


Richard Palfreyman has served as president, chief executive officer, and director of Relax The Back Corporation in Cerritos, CA since November of 2001. Relax The Back is the franchisor of approximately 90 Relax The Back retail stores in the United States and Canada. The stores combined generate approximately 80 million dollars in revenue.

Over the past 37 years, Palfreyman has held a number of leadership positions during his career. He was C.O.O. of SpaFinder in New York City; C.O.O./C.F.O. of the Spectra Entertainment Corporation in Simi Valley, CA; C.O.O. of Accountants 4 Contract in San Francisco, CA; President/C.E.O. of Photo and Sound Company in San Francisco, CA; C.F.O. and Sr. Vice President of ComputerLand Corporation in Hayward, CA; and C.F.O. of Simmons Oil Corporation in Phoenix, AZ.

Palfreyman is also an active participant in community affairs. He was the president of the San Francisco Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the president of the Cerebral Palsy Center for the Bay Area, and the president of the Mary Valle Foundation

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Back Pain And The Office Worker


Back Pain And The Office Worker

By Kim Standerline

Back Pain and Facts

At least 120 million working days are lost every year because of people's back problems.

10% of all major back injuries take place whilst handling, lifting or carrying.

Nearly two thirds of adults mostly in their 20's and 50's, experience back problems.

Back Pain is the single greatest cause for time off work through ill health.

Every person complaining of back pain, and any related condition, takes an average of 13 days off work.
(Shocking huh)

Unfortunately, you won't find a magic wand to cure your back problems, but you will find that you can improve or prevent a lot of problems by adopting back-friendly work habits.

Manual Handling

If you think about it, we all manually handle throughout every day of our lives, but have you ever stopped to think just how you go about it...

Do you bend from the waist (naughty),
Do you twist without moving your feet,
Do you slouch in your office chair,

How do you pick boxes, or your screaming toddler up from the floor?

If you sat down and thought about the weight you lift during a normal day, you would probably die from shock because it probably run into tons... Ha, is there any wonder you have those aches and pains?

If you must lift something...

Bend your knees rather than your back,
Keep your feet wide apart to provide stability (This is really important)
Carry objects close to your body
Bend again at the knees to put the object down
When carrying loads, try and lighten them, i.e. try and break them down into lighter smaller loads and store them in areas which are easily accessible.

How do you rate when working in an office?

Make sure your chair is comfortable and adjusted for you, (not everyone else)

Sit so your pelvis is upright
Try and ensure your thighs are at a 110 degree angle to your trunk

Ensure the lumbar support of your chair fits the small of your back so it maintains the natural S shape of your spine

Ensure the armrests of the chair touch your forearms, when your shoulders and elbows are relaxed at your side (This helps to avoid strain in your neck and upper limbs)

Ensure the seat depth allows your bottom to be at the back of the seat with a two finger gap between the front edge of the seat and behind the knees. (Ensures adequate thigh support whilst allowing movement without obstruction).

Make full use of the chair movement especially when reaching for items such as the phone

Don't slouch
Alter your position frequently when using a keyboard
Move if you are uncomfortable. (It's surprising how many people don't)

Change your posture frequently to give your muscles a break
Take frequent breaks from your desk (And no it's not an excuse for a cigarette break)

Keep your mouse and telephone as close as possible (Allowing you to remain relaxed and in a natural position at your desk)

Ensure your monitor is square on so you don't have to turn your head to look at it. (Document holders are handy)

Ensure your screen is at arms length away from your face so the top of the screen is horizontal to your eye line.

The next time you are at work again, open your eyes, and just see how much damage your office job is doing to your back...You just might be shocked.

About the Author

Kim is a Back Care Advisor working in the UK for a large hospital Trust. She's passionate about back Care, and can be found at www.backpain-free.com and www.nursing-hints.com


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Learn How To Prevent Back Pain At Home Or At Work Today!


Learn How To Prevent Back Pain At Home Or At Work Today!

By Robert Walker

Self-help for a very aggravating problem that most of us will face.

Among ailments, only the common cold is more common. Over the course of our lives, four out of five of us will suffer from back pain, and more than a quarter of us will miss work because of it. Tremendous sums of money are spent on back pain. In the U.S. alone, it eats up $16 billion dollars each year for treatment and compensation for missed work.

All that pain and expense is so unnecessary. As is true for many, if not most, ailments, prevention is far better than a cure.

As many as half of all back problems are caused by improper lifting. You've heard it before, but I'll repeat it anyway: When you lift, don't bend over. Keep your back straight and lower yourself by bending you knees. If the object is heavy, don't be a hero. Get help! (Is it any wonder that males 20 to 24 years old are the most likely to hurt their backs?)

If you work at a job that stresses your back--medical work, warehousing, mechanical occupations, and garbage collection are top contenders--you may need to do more than just practice good lifting technique. Talk to your employer about changing the way you do your job to reduce the stress on your back. Companies don't want disability payments any more than you want a bum back.

Treatment of back problems is surprisingly simple. Although many people think of the spine as a complex and fragile collection of bones and mysterious tissues that form the weak link in the human anatomy, most cases of back pain are actually caused by muscle strain. For that reason, medical treatment usually isn't called for. Unless the pain continues to worsen, you can do as much as your doctor to help you feel better.

The basic approach to do-it-yourself treatment is to take aspirin or ibuprofen, spend a day or two in bed (more probably won't help and may hinder recovery), and return to activity slowly. Some other things that may help include an ice pack for the first 48 hours and heat thereafter, a gentle massage, and getting some exercise as soon as possible. You'll also do better if you avoid sitting for long periods and use a a chair with a firm, straight back when you do have to sit.

Finally, just as you can build strong muscles in your arms, you can build a stronger, more injury-resistant back. Talk to a trainer at a local fitness center about the appropriate exercises, or read a book that demonstrates exercises for people with back pain. It may be the best way to beat a back attack.

Here some exercise tips:

Exercises to minimize problems with back pain You can minimize problems with back pain with exercises that make the muscles in your back, stomach, hips and thighs strong and flexible. Some people keep in good physical condition by being active in recreational activities like running, walking, bike riding, and swimming. In addition to these conditioning activities, there are specific exercises that are directed toward strengthening and stretching your back, stomach, hip and thigh muscles.

Before beginning any exercise program, you should discuss the program with your doctor and follow the doctor's advice. It is important to exercise regularly, every other day. Before exercising you should warm up with slow, rhythmic exercises; if you haven't exercised in some time, you can warm up by walking. Inhale deeply before each repetition of an exercise and exhale when performing each repetition. Exercises to strengthen your muscles Wall slides to strengthen back, hip, and leg muscles

Stand with your back against a wall and feet shoulder-width apart. Slide down into a crouch with knees bent to about 90 degrees. Count to five and slide back up the wall. Repeat 5 times.

Leg raises to strengthen back and hip muscles. Lie on your stomach. Tighten the muscles in one leg and raise it from the floor. Hold your leg up for a count of 10 and return it to the floor. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat five times with each leg.

Leg raises to strengthen stomach and hip muscles Lie on your back with your arms at your sides. Lift one leg off the floor. Hold your leg up for a count of 10 and return it to the floor. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat five times with each leg. If that is too difficult, keep one knee bent and the foot flat on the ground while raising the leg. You can also sit upright in a chair with legs straight and extended at an angle to the floor. Lift one leg waist high. Slowly return your leg to the floor. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat five times with each leg.

Partial sit-up to strengthen stomach muscles Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on floor. Slowly raise your head and shoulders off the floor and reach with both hands toward your knees. Count to 10. Repeat five times.

Back leg swing to strengthen hip and back muscles Stand behind a chair with your hands on the back of the chair. Lift one leg back and up while keeping the knee straight. Return slowly. Raise other leg and return. Repeat five times with each leg.

Exercises to decrease the strain on your back Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on your bed or floor. Raise your knees toward your chest. Place both hands under your knees and gently pull your knees as close to your chest as possible. Do not raise your head. Do not straighten your legs as you lower them. Start with five repetitions, several times a day. Stand with your feet slightly apart. Place your hands in the small of your back. Keep your knees straight. Bend backwards at the waist as far as possible and hold the position for one or two seconds.
For more information and tips:

About the Author
Robert Wants to Educate Today's Men
and family members.Health and Fitness Conditions and Remedies. He gets the Cutting Edge Information for Optimum
Health and Discusses Alternative Methods to Acheive a Better Lifesyle


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Change your mattress for back pain relief...


Change your mattress for back pain relief...

Back pain can be a serious problem that can bring relief by choosing the proper kind of mattress. Normally, back pain comes from things like bad posture, improper lifting, injury, the wrong kind of mattress and especially gravity. A mattress that offers pain relief will always provide good firm back support, as well as offering a peaceful sleep. Gravity is the main reason people look for relief of back pain. Due to the weight of the individual, their posture, the way they lift, the mattress they sleep on or a combination of any or all of these, people tend to complain of back pain, and search desperately for relief, which perhaps can be achieved by choosing a properly balanced mattress designed to meet the needs of each individual sleeper.

No conclusive studies have actually been shown to prove what kind of mattress is best for pain relief, as it would be a study that involves too many variables. For example, a husband with twice the body mass as his petite wife is obviously going to use a different kind of mattress than her. In such a case, where the husband is the one who suffers from chronic back pains, maybe by choosing a mattress more suited to his needs, rather than hers, the problem could be resolved. However, in theory, if they were to choose a firmer mattress that is properly fitted to the husbands needs, the wife would then in turn begin to suffer from a bad nights sleep. This theory alone however not the case with foam mattresses, would be a whole thesis for time and money consuming research.

However inconclusive studies may be at present, both scientific researchers and the common layman will agree on the logic of gravity. Gravity surrounds us, binds us, is in everything, a tree, a rock, a cloud, even a bird are all subject to gravity뭩 will. The human spine is no exception. Humans walk upright, but the human head weighs itself upon the spine, and back muscles. As do the internal organs, the body cavity and arms. Hence slouching over, and the tendency to pick things up slouched over. Slouching into injury and back pain that could potentially be relieved with a properly chosen mattress that fits the users needs.

Balance is the secret to choosing the proper mattress for relieving back pain. Balance between how firm and at the same time, comfortable, a mattress is. Foam mattresses are perfect for helping with back pain problems because due to the nature of their design. If a proper layer of foam is placed on top of a firm surface, such as wood, the mattress can be as firm or soft as desired. But what makes a foam mattress firm or soft depends on the load. By calculating the load (weight of the sleeper), the needed firmness, and comfort levels to be achieved, a foam mattress can be custom designed to balance perfectly between both the firmness to relieve back pain as well as a natural conformity, to curves and body joints (such as shoulders, elbows, knees, hips?etc.), that offers relaxation to muscles.

Choosing a mattress that brings relief to back pain is a personal one that must be made by the sleeper. It is the sleeper뭩 opinion that is most important in the choice of a mattress that will bring relief to back pain, both due to preference and the personal subjective experience that comes with gravity causing back pain. Balance is not just the key to the ideal amount of both relaxation bringing comfort and back pain relieving firmness when choosing a mattress, balance, is the key to perfection.

About the author: Thomas Jay Wacker is the General Manager and V.P. of http://www.simplepedic.com. Wacker has over 20 years experience in the home furnishing industry and leads the Wacker Management Team in Denver Colorado.


Monday, October 17, 2005

Control Your Pain! A Behavioral Approach to Lessen or Eliminate Your Back Pain


Control Your Pain! A Behavioral Approach to Lessen or Eliminate Your Back Pain
By L. John Mason

Stress and Chronic Pain Management

Since 1977, I’ve been offering stress management and biofeedback to people suffering from chronic pain. Both within inpatient pain management facilities and in out patient pain management clinics. Stress does not cause chronic pain, but it can make the intensity of chronic pain worse. People suffering pain develop a habitual response to their constant companion. By “bracing” to deal with their pain, people begin to produce muscle tension that can increase pain or that can interfere with the ability to get a better quality of sleep. A deep, restful sleep can help us to tolerate or to cope with our pain. Poor sleep can make us more irritable and more susceptible to the anxiety that increases pain.

In many chronic back pain patients, their back pain can be much worse when they unconsciously tighten their legs, neck, shoulders, or other back muscles as a response to their pain. These muscles are attached to bones. In the case of muscles attached to vertebrae, these tight muscles can cause irritation to nerves that move from the spinal cord to the various body parts that they serve. When tight muscles cause “pinching” to these nerves, or to the blood supply that feeds these nerves, the nerves can respond by being irritated and adding to discomfort or numbness. Pain that is not caused by soft-tissue injury, like osteoarthritis, can create the tension that causes fatigue, poor sleep, and possibly additional muscle-contraction pain (like tension headaches, jaw pain, or neck/shoulder tension.)

With few exceptions, people with chronic pain benefit from stress management and, in many cases, use biofeedback to help then get back in control of the levels of pain that they are experiencing. Biofeedback can measure levels of muscle tension and can help with learning to reduce the muscle tension. Temperature training biofeedback can assist patients in learning to release or to “let go” of their anxiety and this can help to reduce the intensity of their pain complaints.

Chronic pain patient respond to a variety of Western relaxation techniques. One technique, Autogenic Training phrases, is a series of mentally repeated phrases that command relaxation such repeating “my right arm is heavy” until the muscles of that arm relax to the point where it feels heavy, comfortable and relaxed. Progressive relaxations, visualizations, indirect suggestions, and even certain breathing techniques have all been very useful for people suffering with chronic pain complaints. These techniques do not work as fast as medications. They require regular practice and it may take 8-12 weeks for the benefits to begin. The advantage is that these techniques do not have the side-effects that medication might. Once these techniques are learned, there are no ongoing costs. And, most importantly, these stress management techniques offer the sense of personal control over the pain. The motivated person will develop a powerful, life-long skill by mastering these techniques.

There several articles at the Stress Education Center’s website that will be very helpful to chronic pain patients and their families. These are articles that have been taken from my book, “Guide to Stress Reduction” which is available through the library or to purchase. If you are suffering from chronic pain, you can do something to help yourself. I can’t promise that the pain will leave and never return, but you can learn to help control the intensity of your pain and possibly reduce your long-term reliance on pain medications. Discuss these strategies with your doctor to determine how you can best use these tools to participate in managing your pain.

Please take good care of yourself.

L. John Mason, Ph.D. is the author of the best selling "Guide to Stress Reduction." Since 1977, he has offered Executive Coaching and Training.
Please visit the Stress Education Center's website at http://www.dstress.com for articles, free ezine signup, and learn about the new telecourses that are available.

If you are looking for pain management techniques read the articles at http://www.dstress.com or call for personalized coaching at (707) 795-2228.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Coping Strategies For Back Pain


Coping Strategies For Back Pain
by: Kim Standerline

One coping strategy becoming more recognised by the medical profession in Back Pain Sufferers are Relaxation Techniques

The importance of relaxation in controlling and treating disease as well as back pain is now starting to be recognized by the general public as well as the medical profession though to be honest the public don't always understand its effectiveness.

Relaxation techniques, especially if they involve meditation, has often been seen as "mumbo jumbo" However within recent years scientists and doctors have discovered immense benefits to meditation in the relief of pain and illness.

Relaxation techniques have a definite place in the healing process of the body, With certain types of back pain the importance of relaxation is increased, since stress and emotional disposition plays a large part in a sufferers life due to their constant pain.

Prayer is a form of relaxation and meditation that works wonders for some people if they have faith. Allowing a minister or someone else to lead you in prayer or formulating your own inspirational prayer can assist you in calling upon the comfort of your God as you see him taking your pain away. Again mental and physical benefits are realized from such a practice.

Hypnosis as another option you can consider. Hypnosis is guided meditation allowing you to access the power of your subconscious mind with the assistance of a qualified hypnotist. The hypnotist can be a qualified psychologist, psychiatrist, counsellor, or social worker.

Hypnosis for pain management is nothing more than an assisted guided imagery. The only difference here to the relaxation techniques described above is you have someone to help you through the steps of relaxation and meditation on your image.

Relaxation is especially effective for those suffering from fibromyalgia, because this condition is caused by a number of non-physical triggers. Fibromyalgia largely comes from stress, lack of proper sleep, depression, and other emotional duress, and doesn't involve degeneration of the bones or joints. With this in mind, it's easy to see why relaxation techniques help alleviate fibromyalgia so well.

Yoga is very beneficial both for flexibility as well as relaxation. Forms of yoga such as Bhakta are devotional, and Raja is meditation-oriented. They can provide a great deal of healing toward all types of back pain. but specifically fibromyalgia because of the emotional causes of fibromyalgia

About The Author
Kim Standerline is a Registered Nurse and Back Care Advisor working in the UK. Learn how to control your Back Pain Easily and Effectively by visiting www.backpain-free.com. enquiries@nursing-hints.com