Reduce Your Pain by Adjusting Your Sleeping Position

images (24)Poor posture can adversely affect your health – this is not debatable. Correct sleeping posture is vital if you are trying to correct posture imbalances and reduce back, neck, and shoulder pain. By making adjustments to the positions in which you sleep at night, you can actually reduce postural strain and eliminate a major cause of pain! By minimizing the stress on certain parts of your body, namely the neck, shoulders and back, while sleeping 7-9 hours at night, your posture will improve, and so will your overall health.

Your Mattress

Your mattress will not support you after 8-10 years at maximum – even if it is the best one on the market. Sorry, but it’s true. While I do not endorse a specific brand, the best one for YOU will be something that’s firm, while offering you good support and a great night’s sleep. If you choose one that is excessively firm, while it may be good for your spine, if you cannot sleep, that will be bad for your health – and the people you hang out with.

You should also regularly turn your mattress so the inner springs stay fresh. Some mattress manufacturers even suggest that you turn your mattress so the top is at the bottom and vice versa. They recommend you do this every 6 weeks or so.

Posture Tests

The Wall Test:

Pull your shoulder blades down and in until they actually touch the wall.
Elongate your neck by imagining someone pulling your head up from the back.
Move your head back so that it is against the wall.
Position your chin so that it becomes parallel to the floor.
Stand with your weight equally distributed on both legs.

The Mirror Test:

Stand in front of a mirror and look to verify that your shoulders and neck are straight.
With your shoulders even, move them down as far as they will go.
Your abdominal muscles should be kept tight as you stand in this position.
Did you pass the tests? If you have failed or are unsure – it’s time to see a chiropractor. A good chiropractor (like us ☺) can assess your posture and determine areas that you will need to work on –
undoing the computer and TV time may seem impossible – but it is actually quite attainable with a little diligence.

Your Pillow

This is one of the most difficult questions I get asked on a daily basis – “What is the best pillow?” The answer is always, “It depends on how you sleep.” Your pillow should support your neck whether you are on your side or back. I personally like a pillow that is a bit unusual in its shape- the Align-Right pillow – it is measured to your size and actually has research behind its effectiveness of helping with reducing pain – which is why it is the only pillow I have confidence in recommending.

Sleeping Position

Avoid sleeping face down at ALL costs – while it may be comfortable – it will cause years of pain down the road. We were not designed to sleep with our heads wrenched to one side night after night. While I will admit that face down sleeping posture is not an easy change, it can be done. Just start your sleep out in one of the positions I will be discussing below and every time you wake up on your stomach, change back to the correct position. Slowly your bad habit will change and you will be significantly healthier for it!

Back & Side Sleeping

The best position for sleeping is alternating between your side and your back (which usually happens automatically during the night). If you start on your back, a low pillow should be used so that your head and neck are not pushed forward too much (which contributes to forward head posture (FHP)). As well, placing a pillow underneath your knees will take some pressure off your low back, which will help prevent low back pain and sciatica.

For side sleeping, the best sleeping posture, it is vital that your pillow fits you! If your pillow is too thin, your head will bend towards the mattress and if it is too thick your head will bend towards the ceiling – both less than ideal scenarios if you are trying to stay healthy, correct your posture, and out of pain. As well, your head should be positioned parallel to the base of your bed, not bent down towards your chest.

Finally, slightly bend your knees and place another pillow between your knees. This will allow your pelvis and lower back to maintain the best possible alignment during sleep. While you will never become entirely invincible to occasional discomforts in your life (due to our lifestyles), you can be sure that your sleeping posture is not the main source of your daily spinal stress by following the above guidelines.

6 Easy Ways On How To Effectively Cope With Chronic Pain

exercise-home-resistance-resistance-band-410x290Chronic pain is any type of pain that lasts for more than three months. While this is a pain that can trigger whirlwind of emotions, if well coped with, a person can still be able to enjoy life normally. When you experience chronic pain, you don’t need to beat yourself up or spend everyday wishing the pain away; by just learning various coping skills, you can find yourself facing each day with joy and peace. Here are the 6 easy ways on how to effectively cope with chronic pain:

Control your mind
Our mind and body are connected. This is why, according to research, when you face any circumstance in life, by just taking charge of your mind you can completely manage the situation. Try as much as possible to turn your mind away from the pain or any other disturbing situation. There are various techniques that you can use to control your mind including, meditation, relaxation and visualization. You can as well enroll in a Yoga class to learn various relaxing exercises.

Fun activities
This is another effective tip on how to cope with chronic pain. Engaging in fun-filled activities such as hiking, swimming, watching movies or going for vacation or even walking your dog can help you shift your mind from your pain to what makes you happy. There are different mood-lifting activities that you can engage in regardless of the pain you are going through. The amazing thing about such activities is that they make you feel good which intern boosts your immunity making the pain less severe, and thus boosting your ability to cope.

Exercise
Whether your chronic pain is mild or excruciating, episodic or continuous, there is still a type of exercise that you can engage in. Only that you should not try involving in what your doctor has not recommended or what you feel is magnifying the pain. Exercise enhances smooth circulation of blood to all the parts of the body which intern triggers quick recovery. By exercising, you reduce stress and increase the energy level in your body making your mind more powerful to cope with the chronic pain.

Nurture your spiritual life
There is nothing as freeing as knowing there is a high power above that cares and is able to take away all your pain, fears, worries or any other debilitating circumstance in your life. Taking a moment each day to connect your spirit to the high power can significantly strengthen your coping skills and even hasten the whole healing process. You can take some time everyday to pray; read and visualize on the word of God in order to increase your intimacy with Him. Another way to strengthen your spirit is joining online forums and groups where you can learn and share with people who have faced similar challenges and how they made it through.

Avoid spending time alone
Unless you are meditating or visualizing, you should always ensures there are people around you. This is important especially if you usually find yourself falling in the rut of worrying, self-pitying or self-criticizing about your pain whenever you are alone. In addition to the physical group, with internet, you can always have a virtual company in your day-to-day endeavors. This you can achieve by joining online forums, groups or even connect to various counselors online and enjoy the miraculous support. These groups share coping tips, ideas and success stories of people who have been able to overcome the pain or coped with it completely.

Be grateful and embrace the moment
Life will always happen; and that there are situations that we can’t fully take control of but we can change our perception. You should stop focusing on what you don’t have, what you are going through or circumstances you wish were different in your life. Take deliberate action to dwell on what you already have; be grateful for the supportive people in your life, your family, your children and the fact that you’ve seen another beautiful day. The past has happened and gone forever, the future only exists in our minds but the present is all we have; dwell on it. When you focus on the present good things in your life, your future will always be bright. Remember, the chronic pain may not cease but by learning how to cope with it, you can still face and enjoy your life normally and to the fullest.

What Treatments Will A Pain Clinic Perform On My Back

sibell-red-ballWhen your back is stiff, you will feel it in your upper back, lumbar area, neck and sometimes in your tailbone. Everyone will experience this type of pain and it can be many issues that will trigger this pain. Most of the time, the pain will go away after a day or two, maybe even a week later.

But when the pain lingers or becomes more intense, it may be time to get medical attention. Most people will make schedule an appointment with their primary doctor first. He or she will examine the patient, ask questions, and take x-rays.

Once they a determination where the pain is at and what is causing it, they will prescribe pain medications. However, when that isn’t helping the patient any, their doctor may refer them to a pain clinic.

The Goal: Find The Problem

Before any doctor can heal an aching back, they must find out where the pain is and what is causing the pain. At the pain clinic, there will be several professionals assigned to a patient. They each have a focus on pain and will try to discover if there are any underlying issues that are causing the back pain. At a facility such as this, treating these types of conditions with the musculoskeletal system and each will have their own focus on the various pains.

They will start by eliminating things that may be causing the pain, such as bad posture, and injury or muscle strain. The most common cause of lower back pain is fractures, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis.

If it is determined that one of these causes the back pain, the pain clinic team will determine which member of the team is best suited for helping the patient. It may be recommended that the patient work with one or more of the specialists depending on what kind of pain, what is causing the pain and where the pain is located.

There are varieties of treatments available at a facility like this which will either cure the pain or help ease the pain for the patient. The treatments that are most typical for back pain include the following and some not listed here:

Heat Treatment

For chronic back pain that is mild, a pain doctor may recommend using hot compresses. This is something you can do in your home once you have received instructions from the pain clinic staff.

Massage Therapy

For a patient that has been experiencing back trouble for a long time, the pain clinic team may recommend massage therapy with a therapist at there.

Physical Therapy

When the pain has become uncontrollable and you aren’t able to perform your daily activities, the pain clinic team may recommend physical treatment. The specialist that will be in charge of this will have numerous exercises for you to do there and home, all to improve your muscle performance.

Knowing What Causes Upper Back Pain Can Help You Take Proper Preventive Measures

9208621_f520Poor Posture

One of the most common causes of upper back and neck pain is a poor posture. In fact, it could also lead to headaches. The bad part with a wrong posture is that it occurs over time so people often can’t pinpoint the reason for the back pain. In fact, many ignore the first signs and it becomes a part of them. Daily activities like working at the computer for an extended period of time or reading in bed could over time lead to a bad posture. The basic rule to avoid this is to try to keep your head in a neutral position most of the time. Do not strain it or hunch the neck for a long period.

Herniated Discs

A bulging or herniated disc can cause pressure to the nerves and other parts of the body. When pressure is put on nerves that exit the spine, it can lead to upper back pain. Cervical discs are usually less prone to herniating than the lumbar ones but some kind of accident or whiplash lead to a herniated cervical disc.

Injuries

The most common injury that affects the neck and back is whiplash. Whiplash is the injury that occurs when the head is whipped back in a sudden and violent motion. It usually occurs in car accidents or while playing certain sports. At this time, the muscles, ligaments and tissue that support the neck get damaged. Very often, the consequences are not felt for a few weeks and sometimes may even start to crop up after a couple of months. So if anyone suffers from some kind of accident where whiplash occurred, it is important to keep an eye out for any signs of injury. A consultation with a chiropractor will help in minimizing any possible damage.

Stress

Muscles tense whenever there is any form of mental or emotional stress. It is a basic survival response given by the muscles in order to avoid injury, but if it keeps happening and lasts for a length of time then these tense muscles could be the cause of the injury. If you pinch your trapezius muscles and it causes you to wince, it means that the muscles are tight. Relaxation and deep breathing techniques will help to calm them down.

Subluxations

A misaligned spinal vertebra is called a subluxation. This usually occurs because of the weight of the head on the spine. Subluxations should be corrected as soon as possible because they can have very long lasting effects on the back.