Sunday, July 28, 2013

Neck Pain II

So we talked briefly about neck pain.  We spend 8 hours a day in bed, so that is why a pillow is so important.  After all, we should get a good start on the day.  To recap, when in bed the pillow needs to support your neck and allow your head to assume a normal posture position.  This takes the strain off the individual vertebra.  It allows your joints to relax, and may promote some rejuvenation leading to lesser pain.

What about when we are not in bed?  We use our neck all day, and it can become fatigued.  If we take care in how we perform our daily duties, we can often side step future problems.  Let's look a at few scenarios.

Office workers today use a lot of computers.  Computers have made generating reports, completing sales, and accounting much easier than in the past.  Early in the computer age, computers were brought in to the office and set on desks, sometimes that is still the case.  We need to look at the ergonomics of computers.  Today's screens tend to be flat panel, so they are easy to move.  Pay attention to the location of the screen, it should be at eye level as you are sitting in a good posture position in the chair.  If you have to lift your head up or down to view the monitor, it is not aligned properly.   That alignment is critical, because of the amount of use it gets.  If you find yourself massaging your neck during the day, consider moving the monitor.  Maybe use those useless phonebooks to raise it off the desk surface, or if the stand adjusts change that adjustment.


Construction workers often find themselves in peculiar positions.  If you have to look up or down too long at your work, this too can create stress on your neck joints and muscles.  There is no way to avoid all positions, but if you can adjust a work table or ladder to bring your work in to a more eye level position, it would help take the stress off.  Any breaks you get be sure to try to maintain your neck in a good posture to relax those muscles and joints.

So we get home at night, we do our chores, then we relax before bed.  Many of us will surf the net, or read, or watch TV to relax in these situations.  Do it with your neck in mind.  Make sure any screens are eye level, avoid long periods of time when you have to lift up or bend down your head.  Adjust the height of the screen to encourage a good posture.  At home, we can also use a pillow or comfy chair to support our head and neck in a good posture way, relaxing the joints and muscles.

While some neck issues are medical in nature, many of our "pains" are just the way we live our lives.  And even those medical issues might be helped by attempting good posture.  And while some pain is part of the human condition, we can strive to minimize the every day pains due to living.  We hope that this gets you thinking some, and that it might help you to be more pain free in your life.  If you have any tricks, why not leave a comment below.  Until next time....

Sleep Well!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Types of Back Pain

Today let's talk about the causes of back pain. Back pain can come from a number of reasons, the following list is not all inclusive.
  • Overwork
  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Injury
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Age
We can overwork our back causing muscle soreness. This is the easiest to “cure” our backs will normally go back to a non-pain condition if we rest long enough. And the plus to this type of pain is that the overwork may help strengthen our back muscles which can keep future pain away.
Stress can also cause pain. When we are stressed our muscles will tighten. It happens in our head, the stress headache, and it can happen in other parts of our body as well. This type of pain can usually be controlled with a mild analgesic and can lessen as we control the stress. However, keep in mind a continual stressful condition can harm much more than our back. If you find yourself in continuous stress, seek help to eliminate it from your life.
Genetics can play a role as well. Genetics would determine structure of the vertebra in the back, and imperfections can lead to pain. In this situation there is generally only a few ways to deal with it. Constant pain medication or surgery. If the pain is bearable, consider other homeopathic ways of dealing with the pain. It has been our experience that there is a high level of failure in back surgery.

Injuries, whether on the job, in a car or other transportation vehicles, or any other way in this world can cause pain as well. Some injuries are mild and with some aspirin and time will heal nicely. Others are more serious, and as with genetics, the very worse injuries need to be deal with medically.

In the United States, we tend to have a problem with obesity. Obesity will foul the mechanics in the vertebra and cause injury to the spinal column due to extra stress on the joints. Sometimes just losing the extra pounds will help. While doing that, find ways to support good posture. Back support is available, along with our favorite, a great bed! Posture will allow your body to rest between stress periods.

Lack of proper exercise is another cause of back pain. The reason for this is our muscles work integrally with our vertebra to maintain a minimal stress position. When you ignore the muscles in the back, they will atrophy, or weaken, preventing them from doing the job. Add exercises designed to work the back muscles to strengthen them.


And of course as we age, parts wear out. Things like osteoporosis or other degenerative diseases can weaken the bone, or wear down the discs that cushion them. Some medications can hasten this, like steroids. Talk with your doctor to determine the cause. This is probably the worse pain to deal with, and often the saddest for those who love you. There are some things you can do, from taking supplements, or changing diet, to surgery. Unfortunately, sometimes there is nothing that can correct the problem, then you will have to manage the pain. Again, talk to your doctor about proper pain management.

While doctors were mentioned a few times above, there are other providers to consider. Acupuncturists, and Chiropractors come to mind. And if you have read here before, we generally like to recommend the least invasive treatments first. Saving the most invasive treatments like surgery for if nothing else works. There are also some machines that gently stretch and align your back. Less invasive treatments also are less expensive, and have a quicker recover time. However you handle the scourge of back pain...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Your Back Hurts, Now What?

Your back hurts now what? As we were reading through the news recently, we discovered several interesting articles. One of them in particular, piqued our interest.  It was an article about multi-disciplinary treatment of lower back pain.

This is typically what we like to recommend.  Primarily because we don't believe any one discipline has all the answers.  It is that belief that has motivated us in our quest for back pain relief. If one were to go to a medical doctor, perhaps some invasive technique would be used like surgery, or even spinal shots. If one went to a chiropractor, surgery would not be performed. We believe that no one discipline offers all the solutions for every back pain sufferer.  Sometimes it takes a combination approach to be successful.

 And while we admire all the practitioners, our main scope is to try the least invasive treatments first. 
 Sometimes surgery is indicated, sometimes surgery fails.  If surgery fails, we look at it as irreversible.  So we would urge people to try other things first.  The way we got into back pain management was through our store.  We sell mattresses and bedding, and we have experienced back pain.

Perhaps the least invasive thing one can do, is to sleep on a new, better bed. If this doesn't help the pain, it is reversible.  There are other technologies, or treatments that can be tried next.  There are products out there like machines that hang you upside down, allowing gravity to take the pressure off  the spine.  There are products that manipulate the body to stretch muscles.  And these products are generally cheaper than surgery as well.

 The next least invasive thing would be a massage therapist, followed by a Chiropractor.  Chiropractors manipulate the bones to try to get to alignment, when that happens the patient can then maintain it with good posture.  After Chiropractors there are Acupuncturists.  Then Doctors and Osteopaths.  If you climb the ladder as such, perhaps all that is left is surgery.  Isn't good to know that that surgery was necessary, rather than unnecessary?  We believe so, that's why we like this approach.

Many people will suffer back pain in their life, many of those can manage the pain, or improve it by listening to their bodies.  By maintaining great posture from an early age, we can avoid a lot of issues.  When pain shows up, don't ignore it and hope it's going to get better.  Except in the mildest cases it will not.  Be proactive. 

Here's hoping that this helped some, and as always...

Sleep Well!