Two Easy Exercises For Plantar Fasciitis That Really Work!

 

 

Two Easy Exercises For Plantar Fasciitis That Really Work!

 

Whilst our main focus here at HealthySpines.org is on helping people with back pain, we have found a couple of simple, useful exercises for Plantar Fasciitis seem to work really well in relieving the crippling pain it causes.

All it takes is exactly five and a half minutes twice a day, and you can get relief from Plantar Fasciitis! Depending on how long you have had Plantar Fasciitis the exercises can work in just a few days, or in chronic cases, it can take several weeks.

But first, a quick explanation on what Plantar Fasciitis is, and what usually causes it.

 

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is the most common form of heel and foot pain. The Plantar Fascia is a flat, ligament like tissue that runs along the sole of your foot from your heel bone to your toes. It's job is to help support the arch of your foot.

Plantar Fasciitis occurs when this ligament gets strained or pulled. Repeated strains can even lead to micro-tears of the Plantar Fascia. This causes the ligament to become inflamed, weak, swollen and irritated and therefore PAINFUL. Read more about inflammation here.

This straining and inflammation usually occurs where the plantar fascia inserts into the heel bone. This is why you will usually feel Plantar Fasciitis pain under your heel.

 

 

Most people with Plantar Fasciitis have pain in their foot when they take their first steps after they get out of bed in the morning, or after they have been sitting for a long time. You may have less stiffness and pain after you take a few steps, but then your foot may hurt more as the day goes on.

You may also get some aching and throbbing in the evening, or even severe pain after sport or exercise.

The pain of Plantar Fasciitis can be acute, and can last up to five years. So most people that use this easy fix are over the moon when they notice changes!

There are many factors that can contribute to the development of Plantar Fasciitis, but they all result in one thing. Too much stress and strain on the Plantar Fascia ligament.

 

The main things that will cause this excessive load are:

  • Being overweight.
  • Your feet roll inward too much when you walk (pronation).
  • You walk, stand, or run for long periods of time, particularly if this is on hard surfaces.
  • Your shoes don't fit correctly, or are worn out.
  • You have high arches or flat feet.
  • You have tight calf muscles, or Achilles tendon.

 

One of the main problems are all the hard surfaces we have to walk on every day at home, work, shopping, school, sports surfaces. There is a lot of concrete out there!

This has lead to footwear that is softer and more cushioned, but lacks support and stability. Unfortunately this weakens the arch of your foot, making it more susceptible to injury.

 

Exercises For Plantar Fasciitis.

All it takes is two very easy exercises for Plantar Fasciitis that are almost guaranteed to give relief.

Once you have the pain under control, there is also a series of extra exercises that you can do. These extra exercises help strengthen and stabilise the arch of your foot. This is extremely important as the foot arch is our first bit of spring or suspension to absorb the impact of us moving around. Weak arches can not only cause Plantar Fasciitis, but can also lead to back, hip and knee problems due to the jarring affect of walking without any shock absorption. More on this later.

 

Okay, so the first thing you need to do is get the inflamed ligament to settle down.

Inflammation is a not just a leading cause of pain, but also is a major factor in most chronic disease such as heart disease, many cancers and arthritis. We recommend taking the world's best natural anti-inflammatory to help decrease inflammation. This has been proven to also fight many diseases including Alziemers', and even cancer. Check it out!

Okay, so get a regular plastic bottle of water and put it in your freezer.

Once it has frozen solid, get the bottle out of the freezer and place it on the floor. Then simply roll your foot back and forth on the bottle with as much gentle downward pressure as you can take for 5 minutes.

This can be quite uncomfortable, you may need to let the bottle warm up for a few minutes first so it doesn't freeze your foot! Just make sure it is still cold when you use it. This also helps to give the plantar fascia a releasing stretch.

 

 

The next thing you want to do is to give your calf muscles a good stretch.

Studies show that the best results for improving plantar fasciitis include stretching of the Achilles Tendon with the foot and toes in dorsiflexion.

Face a wall about 4 feet away. Bring your painful foot back a little, then lean against the wall, leaving your affected foot right behind you. Try to push your heel to the floor so you can feel a strong stretch in the back of your lower leg. It should not hurt, but you want to feel it!

You don't need to bounce or move around, just hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds. Done!

This simple stretch helps to take some of the tension and strain off the Plantar Fascia, which will allow it to start to heal.

 

An even more effective way to do this stretch is to stand with your toes on the edge of a step and let your heel drop down.

Achilles Stretch

 

Do both the icing and the stretching twice a day.

Unlike taking pain killers, you can't overdose on this. So if you feel like doing it more, go for it. Just be sure you are not overdoing the stretches at the start.

That's all there is to it. This simple routine works most of the time! Although it does not work for absolutely everyone, it is so cheap and easy that it is worth a try. Just remember it can take several weeks if you have been suffering with Plantar Fasciitis for a long time. Remember to also try the natural anti-inflammatory turmeric.

 

Next, a list of exercises to strengthen and stabilise your foot arches.

Our feet have arches that act as springs to absorb the impact as we walk and run, kind of like the suspension system in your car.

A spring changes shape when you press on it (squashes down) and then bounces back when you let go. Your foot arches do exactly the same, flattening as you step on to them. This compression of the arch stores energy that bounces back when you lift your foot, helping to propel you forward when you walk.

 

 

Unfortunately, the arches commonly weaken over time as a result of injuries, incorrect gait (walking) patterns, and ill fitting footwear. This usually involves locking of the joints in the feet and weakening of the muscles that support the arch. Without the correct springing in the fore foot, every step literally jars through your body, slowly damaging and misaligning knees, hips and your spine. One example of this is flat feet.

A common solution for a weakened arch is to fit orthotics or inserts to lift up the arch. This is a fine short term aid, but long term use will lead to further weakening of the arches, just as wearing a back brace or girdle will weaken the spinal support muscles over time.

Some studies have shown that wearing Silicone Heel Pads along with stretching the Achilles Tendon and Plantar Fascia is more effective than wearing a custom made insert (hard orthotic) and stretching.

 

The first step to strengthening your arch is to make sure all the joints in the foot are moving freely. Be sure to take off all footwear before starting.

Start by sitting in a chair and writing the alphabet with each foot. This takes each foot through a wide range of movements. Then grab a golf ball or a hard bottle and roll your foot back and forth over it to massage and release the tissues in the bottom of your foot.

Next, try to mobilize the joints in your foot by grabbing hold of each foot one at a time, and gently push and pull it around. If you find any tender points apply gentle, consistent pressure for 30 seconds. Finally, stretch your calf muscles for 30 seconds each side.

 

The next step is to strengthen the arch support muscles. It is critically important that you are barefoot for these exercises.

 

1. Pick up some small coins or something similar with your toes. Do this for 2 minutes with each foot.

2. Clock lunges. Imagine you are standing in the middle of a large clock face. 12 o’clock is on the ground in front of you, 3 o’clock to your right, 6 o’clock directly behind, and 9 o’clock to your left.

Lunge straight  forward to 12 o’clock with your right foot then spring back to the centre. Again with your right foot, lunge to 1 o’clock and back, then 2 o’clock and so on to 6 o’clock.

Next, change to your left foot and lunge back to 6 o’clock then return to the centre. Continue around through 7 o’clock and so on to 12 o’clock.

Repeat 5 times. Two very important things to remember:

Firstly do not land on your heel as this will jar through your body and lock up your joints. Try to land and spring off the front of your foot.

Secondly keep your toes pointed forward towards 12 o’clock at all times. The idea is to strengthen the arch in all angles.

3. Figure 8 walk. Walk in a figure 8 motion over a 5 to 6 metre distance (or zigzag walk).

Again make sure you are barefoot. Slowly increase your speed from week to week to the point where you are almost running.

4. Star jumps. What a great all over exercise. Start slow and do as many as you can, then try to beat it!

 

Lastly, after doing all the hard work, you want to be sure you are walking correctly so you don’t undo your good work.

Try to walk barefoot as often as possible, as most cushioned shoes restrict the normal range of movement of the foot joints, weaken the arch support muscles and develop an unnatural  heal strike walk.

Try not to land hard on your heal when walking but rather lightly ‘stroke’ the ground with your heel, transferring your weight through to your forefoot, as this helps to absorb shock.

Also,use your second toe as a compass to point in the direction where you are walking so your feet are pointing straight ahead, and not out to the sides.

 

So there you go, that's all you need to know to put the spring back in your step!

 

References:

Plantar Fascia-Specific Stretching Exercise Improves Outcomes in Patients with Chronic Plantar Fasciitis. 

Comparison of Custom and Prefabricated Orthoses in the Initial Treatment of Proximal Plantar Fasciitis. Foot & Ankle International April 1999 vol. 20 no. 4 214-221

 

If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.

Also, if you have found this article helpful, please share it so we can help even more people! Thankyou.

 

 

Healthy Choices! This Is About More Than Just Back Pain Relief!

 

 

Healthy Choices! This Is About More Than Just Back Pain Relief!

 

 

We’ve all heard of healthy choices. You just need to go to your local supermarket and you can see many different foods that are marketed as being a healthy choice.

But what does it mean beyond the marketing jargon?

What it boils down to is this: Your health is a direct result of the choices you make. Whether you have takeaway junk food, or if you cook with fresh foods at home; whether you watch TV or go for a walk; whether you choose to dwell on the past, or plan for a positive future.

If you think about it for a minute, you will see that in nearly every moment of our day we have the opportunity to make a decision that will have an effect on our health and well-being. Sure, most of those decisions are only going to have minimal impact, but they do all add up.

 

 

In fact, it is well established now that poor health is not due to bad luck or bad genetics. Mounting scientific evidence shows that the major cause of poor health and chronic disease is due to bad lifestyle choices. It is an accumulation of all the various forms of stress and strain on the body (whether they be physical stress, mental/emotional stress, or chemical/toxic stress) that add up to a health problem, whether that is back pain or a heart attack.

Indeed, heart attacks are a very poignant example. Let me explain.

Frankly, you don’t just wake up one day with heart disease so bad that you suddenly have a heart attack. Although, unfortunately, for many people a heart attack is often the first sign of heart disease, the truth is it has taken years of build up to get to that point. And it is the choices that we make every day that is the cause of that build up. In the case of heart disease, it relates to diet and exercise.

The same can be said for most chronic illness. Type II diabetes is another classic example that is becoming more and more common. And 100{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} of cases of Type II diabetes are lifestyle related. That means, the food you choose to eat now will determine whether or not you develop one of these chronic illnesses in the future.

 

The point is this:

You have the choice right now to be healthy, or to not be healthy.

 

If you want to be healthy, you have to work on it. And it is our everyday decisions that determine what our health are therefore our life, will be like going forward.

 

 

Quite simply, your health is your responsibility. So it is up to you to make “healthy choices”. Eating fresh whole foods to provide your body the nutrition it needs, and staying active by exercising regularly to keep your body moving and your heart and lungs healthy are the two main ways of maintaining good health.

You may have heard insanity as being described as doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. That same rule applies here. We cannot expect our health to improve if we continue to do the very same things and make the same choices that made us sick in the first place.

 

One of our favourite sayings is:

Good health happens by choice, not by chance.

 

What could you be doing differently, what little changes could you make? What action can you take right now, no matter how small, that will be good for you. It might be something as simple as going for a walk (which itself has huge benefits, check it out here).

Often the hardest part is the first step, but remember; even the longest journey always starts with one small step. Just make a start with one thing. Grab a piece of fruit instead of a cookie, water instead of coke, walk to the shops instead of driving, do some stretches instead of sitting on the sofa. You might even feel a little bit better about yourself just knowing that you have done something to improve your health!

The great thing is, once you make that difficult first step, each subsequent step becomes easier and easier. Particularly when you start to feel better and notice the effect of making those changes!

 

So what are healthy choices when you have back pain?

Well firstly, chose to do something about it! I have consulted thousands of people who have been ‘putting up with’ their back pain for years before they have decided to get help.

Choose to sit less and go for a 30 minute walk every day.

Choose to go and see a chiropractor or physical therapist.

Choose to learn about what causes back pain.

Commit to an program specifically designed to treat back pain like our Total Back Pain Solution program.

 

No Back PainThe point is: do something! If you have chronic back pain, you might have figured out that it is not going away by itself. You’re going to need some help, or at least you will need to make some changes and address the underlying cause. But like all healthy choices, it is up to you to decide. But don’t be scared, it’s not really that hard once you have made up your mind!

So remember, good health happens by choice, not by chance. And every choice has a consequence, good or bad, just as every action has a reaction. Are the choices you are making moving you toward better health, or towards sickness?

At HealthySpines.org, as well as being the best online program for naturally correcting the cause of back pain right at home, we are dedicated to educating everyone about healthy lifestyle choices. Read our free articles and browse the website for the most practical, easy to follow, and up to date information on health and wellness.

 

If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Health Benefits of Walking and How It Can Help Back Pain.

 

 

 

The Health Benefits of Walking

 

Walking
It might seem obvious that walking has got to be good for your health. There are many different health benefits of walking, and it goes way beyond just another way to help back pain.

Did you know that walking is our most natural movement, and we all do it every day. Or at least we should!

The human body has evolved over 200,000 years to be a walking machine. It is estimated that we should walk around 10 kilometres (6 miles) every day! And not that long ago this was the normal, with the majority of people regularly having to walk to work or school and back each day.

But as life has gotten ‘easier’ with modern technology, you could theoretically never actually leave your house. Even if you did, you would probably only walk as far as the garage to get into your car. I would guess that many people reading this would probably walk less than 1 kilometre (0.6 mile) per day.

This is becoming a reality for more and more people. We are less active now than ever in the history of mankind! And our health is suffering considerably because of it. You just need to have a look at the increasing rates of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

In fact, currently you are most likely to die from one of these chronic diseases than anything else, with an estimated 80{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} of the population expected to develop a preventable chronic illness. These diseases are all preventable by the way, and walking is the easiest and cheapest way to decrease your risk of developing chronic disease.

How exciting is it to know that you can actually prevent your own death! Okay, maybe not. But it is great to know that you can greatly decrease your risk of developing heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even cancer by simply going for a walk. Not to mention that that you will also be actually improving your general health and well-being.

 

So What Exactly Are The Health Benefits of Walking?

 

There is a stack of research on the health benefits of walking.

The following list is taken from a paper published in the Journal Of Applied Physiology. (Booth et al. Waging war on physical inactivity:using modern molecular ammunition against an ancient enemy. J Appli Physiol 93: 3-30, 2002)

These are the just some of the documented health benefits of walking from that article. Most of these benefits are based on just 30 minutes of brisk walking, and the research shows that it is dose dependent, which means that the more you get, the better the results!

 

Okay, so here are SOME of the benefits of walking for just 30 minutes a day.

 

Prevent 91{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} of cases of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.
Prevent 50{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} cases of all heart disease.
Reduce stroke risk by 25-30{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999}.
Reduce risk of breast cancer by up to 60{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999}.
Restore and maintain cholesterol levels.
Reduce lung cancer, even in smokers, by 72{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999}.
Reduce melanoma by 72{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999}.
Normalize blood pressure.
Prevent up to 50{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} of ALL cases of heart disease.
Reduce risk of breast cancer by up to 60{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999}.
Prevent 50{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} bowel cancer.
Improve digestion and bowel function.
Increase immune response.
Decrease depression by 20{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999}, including relapses.
Decrease all cause mortality by 67{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} in general population.
Increases sex binding hormones, which slow aging.
Prevent up to 47{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} of cognitive impairment.
Prevent up to 62{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} of Alzheimer’s and 52{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} of dementia.
Increase immune system function.
Decrease rate of aging.
Reduced risk of developing, and improving outcomes of those with, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Prevent osteoporosis and increase new bone formation.
Increase strength, flexibility and balance.
Improve physical function in older adults.

 

I am not making this stuff up, these are actual documented facts. Think about it, it is absolutely amazing that these incredible health benefits are available to almost everybody, right now, and they are TOTALLY FREE.

There is nothing else out there like this! What drug or surgery could ever come close to competing with these documented health benefits, and not to mention that there are no side effects whatsoever! Without a doubt, the simplest, cheapest and best thing that you can do for your health is simply walking.

 

I just want to point out the last few points again, since we are particularly interested in back pain.

 

Reduced risk of developing, and improving outcomes of those with, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Prevent osteoporosis and increase new bone formation.
Increase strength, flexibility and balance.
Improve physical function in older adults.

 

By getting out for a walk, you are going to make a big difference to your level of back pain. And not just now, but for the future as well.
It improves the functioning of our bodies. Simple as that. And the more you do, the better off you will be!

 

There is one key point I would like you to keep in mind.

 

 

WALKING IS OUR MOST NATURAL MOVEMENT.

 

 

 

Walking the DogIt might seem rather obvious, but just think about it for a moment. What other movement do we as human beings do that is more natural. Putting food in our mouths maybe, but it is definitely not typing away at your keyboard!!

 

If you have read my article on what really causes back pain (if not, you can check it out here) you will know that the underlying cause of the vast majority of back pain is unnatural movement patterns putting strain on the spinal tissues. So it makes sense that walking is going to help restore normal movement patterns, as well as increasing strength, flexibility and balance as we just learned. This will inevitably lead to less back pain!

 

One of the great benefits of walking is that our whole body moves when we walk, and it is very gentle exercise. You can go for a nice easy stroll, or you could ramp it up and make it a workout.

 

I hope that this is enough to motivate you to get out there and go for a walk. You can literally walk your way to a better, longer life! And don’t forget to take your family, children and co-workers!

 

If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.

 

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Does Paracetamol Provide Relief For Back Pain? Latest Research Says NO!

 

 

Does Paracetamol Provide Relief For Back Pain? Latest Research Says NO!

 

ParacetamolIf you have ever suffered with a sore back, you will know that you will do almost anything to get relief for back pain. And that is fully understandable. Back pain can be a nagging annoyance at best, but it can also become debilitating very quickly.

So it's not surprising that most people turn to pain medication as their first line of treatment for back pain. The most widely used over-the-counter medicine for back pain in the world is paracetamol. But just how effective is it?

 

Well, it doesn't work at all according to a study published in highly regarded scientific journal The BMJ (British Medical Journal) in March 2015.  BMJ 2015;350:h1225

'Paracetamol is ineffective in the treatment of low back pain and provides minimal short term benefit for people with osteoarthritis. These results support the reconsideration of recommendations to use paracetamol for patients with low back pain and osteoarthritis of the hip or knee in clinical practice guidelines.'

And,

'evidence suggests that paracetamol is ineffective in reducing pain and disability or improving quality of life in patients with low back pain.'

You can read the full article here.

 

So if you have been taking paracetamol to get relief for back pain, then unfortunately it seems that it does not help. This is quite concerning as it is often recommended as the first treatment for back pain. It is even more troubling when you consider the prevalence of back pain, which is widely acknowledged as a leading cause of disability worldwide. The study also found that taking paracetamol has negligible benefits for knee and hip osteoarthritis.

 

But it gets even worse! The BMJ study also found that:

'Patients taking paracetamol are nearly four times more likely to have abnormal results on liver function tests compared with those taking oral placebo'.

 

That is, taking paracetamol quadruples your risk of developing abnormal liver function, or put bluntly, it poisons your liver!

Not only does taking paracetamol not have any benefit for your back pain, it can actually be very harmful. So there really is no point taking it. According to this study, it simply does not help and may actually be harmful.

 

Why Taking Any Pain Medication Is Not The Best Idea Anyway.

In fact the whole idea of taking painkillers does not make sense when you really think about it. Sure, there are times when you need to get relief for back pain. Sometimes you just need a break, particularly when the pain becomes unbearable, and the right meds are certainly effective at bringing some relief.

But it is important to understand that the pain is not the problem. It is just a signal from your body that something is wrong. You can think of it as being like a fire alarm going off, letting you know that there is a fire somewhere. When you take painkillers, it is essentially the same as turning off the alarm. But the fire is still burning!!

Pain is also there to let you know what you can and can't do. If you move a certain way, and it hurts, that is your body saying 'Don't do that, you are going to make it worse.' So by taking painkillers (ones that work, not like paracetamol!) you are effectively numbing your body so you can't feel that warning alarm.

Sure, you might be able to do more things and move easier, but you can also be doing more damage. This is a really important thing to be aware of! By numbing the pain you could be setting yourself up for more problems. So please be extra careful how you are moving about and doing things if you have had to rely on medication to ease back pain. The last thing you want to do is make it worse, so really watch yourself.

 

Of course the best thing is to get to the underlying issue that is causing the pain. Once you fix the problem, you don't get the pain!  Check out this information on the real underlying cause of the majority of back pain.

If you have ongoing back pain, it is strongly advised that you seek professional advice. Just remember that taking paracetamol is not going to help. In fact, it could be harming you. You simply need to address the root cause to get lasting relief for back pain.

 

If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.

Also, if you have found this article helpful, please support us and share so we can help more people! Thankyou.

 

 

Ergonomic Desk Setup. How To Do It Right!

 

 

Ergonomic Desk Setup. How To Do It Right!

 

Bad sitting posturePeople are spending more and more time sitting at a desk, often slumped in front of a computer, without a thought about ergonomic desk design. In fact, you are probably doing exactly that right now!

I even bet that most of us have just sat up a little straighter after reading that sentence! All it takes is a little reminder sometimes, but usually we get so involved in what is on the screen in front of us that we don't think of how we are sitting, and our posture starts to suffer.

We are using computers so much now, and not just for work but also for leisure, learning and shopping. It is quiet common to spend several hours every day sitting in front of your computer.

So obviously it is very important that we set up our computer desks as best as possible so as to avoid excessive strain on our backs. This is known as ergonomics. The idea is to set up your computer desk (or any work station) so that we can acheive the best possible posture, and minimise the amount of strain on our body.

Long periods of sitting are widely thought to be a major contributor to poor spinal health and back pain.People who sit for long periods of time are also known to more likely be suffering from chronic disease and general poor health (see here).

 

Follow the tips below to set up your back friendly, ergonomic desk!

 

1.        The top of the screen should be at, or just below eye level.  The screen (or a document) should be at a height so that you do not need to crane your head forwards to look at it.

2.        The screen or document should be directly in front so you do not need to twist or turn your head to look at it.

3.        The keyboard should be at the same height or slightly below your elbows, and close enough so that your elbows are hanging relaxed by your sides.

4.        Keep your shoulders relaxed down. Don’t hunch them up.

5.        You hip joints should be slightly more than 90 degrees. Have your knees just below hip height. This rocks your pelvis forwards and stops you slouching so much.

6.        Keep your feet flat on the ground.

7.        Make sure your work surface has enough room for your equipment so everything you use regularly is close to hand.

 

Once you have set up your work station as close to these guidelines as you can, there are a few key points to remember.

 

  • Try to sit as straight and tall as possible. Don’t slouch forwards. Your spine is not supposed to be slumped and curled at the back.
  • Keep your head back, don’t lean or push it forwards. Holding your head forward puts a lot of strain on your neck and can quickly lead to neck pain and headaches.
  • Have regular breaks. The latest consensus is that we should not sit for longer than 20 minutes without getting up and moving. This not only straightens your spine, but also stimulates your brain allowing you to think better! All it takes is walking around for a couple of minutes.

 

Keeping these points in mind, and setting up an ergonomic desk will put the least amount of stress and strain on your body when your are at the computer. All part of nurturing a healthy spine!

 

If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

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If You Want Lower Back Pain Relief, This One Thing Is Making It Impossible!

 

 

If you have got lower back pain, there is one thing in particular that is making it worse.

 

And you are probably doing it right now!

 

And if you are doing this one thing a lot, you will always have trouble getting any lasting relief from lower back pain.

Well, you may or may not be surprised to know that it is sitting!

 

Couch potatoYes, that’s right. Sitting. Something we all do every single day, and it is creating chronic back pain.

If you sit for long periods, there is virtually no chance that you will ever have lower back pain relief.

A recent study published in The Annals of Internal Medicine and reported in The Washington Post has also found that prolonged sitting increases your risk of early death from health problems by 24{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} compared to people who sat less.

 

 

 

 

Why sitting causes back pain is actually quite easy to understand when you have a look at the basic mechanics of the spine.

 

 

Lat SpineLumbar lordosisAs you can see, the natural position for our spine is in an upright posture. Our lower back, or lumbar spine, has an arch in it called a lordosis. Between our shoulder blades, the thoracic or dorsal spine, curves slightly forward (kyphosis), and our neck curves back in a small lordosis like the lumbar spine.

 

 

 

This is the normal healthy shape of your spine. Whenever we are not in this posture for extended periods of time, it creates an increase in strain on your back.

 

 

 

In the sitting position, most people have a tendency to slump forward, particularly if you are sitting at a desk. When the spine curls forward in this slouched position, it compresses the spinal discs, and stretches the posterior spinal ligaments. No back pain relief when this is happening!

 

Bad sitting posture

 

 

This is fine for short periods of time, but the general consensus is that sitting in a slumped position for longer than 20 minutes is likely damaging your spine. That is not very long at all when you consider how long you sit for each day.

 

 

 

The key point to remember here is not to sit for extended periods of time. Ideally get up every 20 minutes and move around, even if it is just for few seconds, it will break the posture you are in.

 

Good Sitting PostureSitting postureAlso be aware of how much you are slumping forwards, particularly at the desk or computer (click here to learn how to set up your ergonomic desk properly). Try to sit up as straight as possible. This can be uncomfortable at first as your postural muscles may have weaken considerably if you do sit a lot. If you are a member of TBPN you will glad to know that the program will actually be strengthening your postural muscles again. This will not only help your back pain, but also improve your posture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I personally believe that sitting is the No.1 back killer and will severely limit your ability to get lower back pain relief. Extended sitting puts unnecessary stress and strain on the spinal structures and weakens the supporting muscles. Not only that, but with people becoming more and more sedentary, particularly in the work place, we need to really be conscious of the amount of time we are sitting for. You will have ongoing back problems unless you can change your sitting habits.

 

To find out what else can aggravate your bad back, click here.

 

If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.

 

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If You Get Lower Back Pain, You Need to Avoid These Back Pain Causes!

 

 

If You Get Lower Back Pain, You Need to Avoid These Back Pain Causes!

 

 

If you are getting lower back pain, then there is usually something that you are doing in your everyday life that will be aggravating your back. And unfortunately, often it is something that is not immediately obvious.

Even cases where there has been a sudden onset of acute lower back pain often result from doing something seemingly simple, like getting out of a car. This is quite common, and it is usually because the spine was already weakened from years of accumulated stress and strain.

We have listed the 6 most common back pain aggravators below. They all put unwanted strain on your spine and should be avoided or minimised as much as possible.

 

Bad Posture1. Sitting for too long.

This is the No. 1 cause of chronic back pain.

Sitting for longer than 20 minutes at a time, particularly if you slouch or slump in your chair, puts chronic stress and strain on the spinal tissues. Spinal discs get compressed and the posterior spinal ligaments get over-stretched. Find out more in this post.

 

2. Twisting movements.

Twisting, or rotating, your spine compromises it’s stability. The movement by itself is fine. But it can become a problem in two ways.

1. When it is repetitive, and

2. When it is not controlled. Like sitting, repetitive twisting can overstretch spinal ligaments, weakening your back. Any uncontrolled movement, whether it is twisting or bending can result in an injury

 

 

3. Over-reaching.

The weakest position for your spine is when you are reaching out slightly to your side (twisting) and bending forward. This is even worse when you put a bit of weight in the mix. It is an extremely common movement. For example, getting shopping out of a trolley and into your car, twisting around to grab something from behind you, or picking something up off the floor.

Be very careful if you have to reach for something. Always move as close as you can to whatever it is you are after.

 

 

 

4. Not lifting correctly.

Everyone knows to be careful when lifting, but we mostly think it only applies to heavy lifting. But lifting even a toothbrush can be enough to injure your back, especially if you are twisting or over-reaching!

This post goes through everything you need to know about correct lifting.

 

 

5. Spending extended periods of time in non-neutral positions.

Washing Dishes

This often applies to the workplace where you can be in one position for a while. For example, standing at a store counter serving at cash register, or a plumber accessing an awkward spot.

One of the worst positions is when we are slightly bent forward, such as when we brush our teeth or wash dishes, as it compresses the spinal discs and over-stretches the posterior spinal ligaments. If you have to stand in one spot for extended periods of time, continuously shift your body weight from one leg to the other to help ease the strain on your back.

 

6. Sleeping in a Twisted Position.

Sleep positionIf you sleep all twisted up, then guess what? Your spine is getting all twisted up!

People generally sleep flat on their back, on their side, or on their stomach.

Sleeping on your stomach is a big no no! It over arches your spine, putting stress on the spinal (or facet) joints, and you have to turn your head to breathe, straining your neck.

Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees is considered by many to be the best way to sleep.

 

 

There are many different ways that you can hurt your back. It does not need to be an acute injury or trauma. In fact most of the time when we hurt our back it is hard to know what actually caused it. That is usually because your back was ‘ready to go’.

Often, it is years of accumulated stress and micro trauma/injury that made your spine weak and unstable. Once it gets to a certain point, even just the smallest movement can cause back pain.

Sometimes it is impossible to not do the things listed above. But by being aware of what you are doing you can greatly minimize the risk of back injury.
By far the best thing is keeping your back strong. Check out my program for the best and easiest way to do exactly that!

 

 

If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Proper Lifting Technique for Bad Backs.

 

 

Proper Lifting Technique for Bad Backs

 

Everyone knows that you need to be careful when lifting, but we usually think it only applies to lifting heavy objects. Lifting is one of the most common ways to injure your spine, and can often end up causing severe back pain. Whilst you are more likely to hurt yourself when you are lifting heavy things, by not lifting correctly in a controlled manner, it is actually possible to injure your back lifting something as light as a pencil!

The key to proper lifting technique for bad backs is all about keeping your spine in a strong and stable posture. This happens when the spine is in a straight, or neutral, position. It is definitely not when it is bent forward or twisting. In fact if you bend forward and twist at the same time, you have just put your spine in it’s weakest position. Try lifting like that and a back injury could be just around the corner!

So what is good lifting technique.

Well, think of someone who does heavy lifting for a living, and cannot afford any injury time. That would be a weight lifter! No surprises there! If you look at the lifting technique of professional weight lifters you will see the best way to pick up anything, from a shoe on the floor to a loaded barbell.

 

Lifting Posture

 

The four keys to correct lifting are:-

1. Bending your legs, NOT YOUR BACK. All the strength when lifting should be coming from your legs and hips.

2. Maintaining your normal spinal arched curvature. That is, keeping your low back arched, or extended, back. The best way to think of this is to hold your head up and ’stick your butt out!’ As soon as you start to bend forward from your waist the spinal muscles will take the load of your lift. This is bad because these muscles are just not strong enough.

3. Do not twist or rotate. Keep square on to whatever it is your are lifting. The more you twist, the weaker your back will be.

4. Keep it close. Hold the object your are lifting as close to your body as possible. The further away you hold it, the more likely you are to injure yourself. For every foot you hold something out from your body, you multiply the strain on your spine by 10 times!

 

 

That’s really all there is to proper lifting technique for bad backs. Of course if you do need to lift a heavy object, try and get someone to help you out. If you are on your own, remember to get as close as you can, keep the object straight in front and as close as possible to you, bend your legs to lower yourself down, and keep your head up and your back as straight as you can. Remember those Olympic weightlifters, and stick your butt right out! Try to lift like a forklift, not a crane.

 

If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.

Also, if you have found this article helpful, please share it so we can help even more people! Thankyou.

 

 

Inflammation and Lower Back Pain Relief

 

 

Inflammation and Lower Back Pain Relief

 

 

Inflammation has got to be a bad thing, right?Pills

That’s why there are so many anti-inflammation medications with all sorts of fancy adverts on TV.

 

 

But is it really that bad? Well, yes and no.

 

Actually, inflammation is a critical part of your body’s repair process, and is essential for proper healing. Basically, it is how your body repairs damaged or injured tissues.

However, chronic, long term, inflammation is very bad for us and has been linked to causing not only joint arthritis, but also heart disease and atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s among other chronic diseases.

 

Repair

Acute inflammation is a normal process that repairs and protects the body following physical injury or infection. You may experience pain, heat, swelling and redness at the site of injury. This is due to an increase in blood flow to the injury (bringing the repair cells) and the release of certain chemicals. It is a very complex biological process.

 

 

Without the acute inflammation process, injured and damaged tissues cannot repair and heal properly.

 

Whilst inconvenient and a pain, your body is actually doing what is necessary for it to continue to function at its best. You see, your body is an incredible self healing organism that is always repairing itself in order to survive. If you have ever cut yourself for example, you have seen this first hand. Your body actually fixed that cut up all by itself, without any conscious effort on your part. It is pretty amazing really.

The acute inflammatory repair process can take from 6 weeks to several months depending on the severity of injury. That’s OK, because it is the body’s self repair mechanism, and it is essential for us to stay alive and healthy. In this case, inflammation is good.

 

Chronic inflammation occurs when whatever initially caused the acute inflammatory process persists. Chronic inflammation can then last for days, months, and even years. Unfortunately, this can result in tissue damage.

Chronic inflammation is abnormal and does not benefit the body; in fact, chronic inflammation is involved in a number of disease states including asthma, Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, tendonitis, bursitis, laryngitis, gingivitis, gastritis, otitis, celiac disease (gluten intolerance), diverticulitis (infection of the diverticula in the colon), and inflammatory bowel disease. Additionally, a number of chronic diseases have inflammatory components, such as atherosclerosis, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and perhaps even Alzheimer's disease.

 

That’s quite a long list! As you can see in these cases, inflammation is a very bad thing indeed!

Almost all cases of back pain have an inflammation component. This is a result of the spinal tissues being strained, sprained and damaged. If the strain on the spine persists, for example due to a bad injury or long term poor posture and abnormal movement patterns, then the inflammation will have become chronic. If you have had persistent back pain for more than 6 weeks, you will have chronic inflammation.

Unfortunately this can lead to tissue damage, causing arthritic change of the spinal (or facet) joints and degeneration of the discs.

 

So How Can You Prevent Chronic Inflammation.

Inflammation and back pain

Well, anti-inflammatory medications are certainly one way, but long term use is well known to cause gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers, and in the case of some (Vioxx and Celebrex) even an increased risk of heart attacks!

Ice packs have long been used to ease inflammation. They generally work best on acute inflammation, within the first few days of injury. Best of all, there are no adverse side effects. One of the first things you will learn in my course is the correct and most effective way to use ice packs.

 

 

What You Eat Can Also Affect the Levels of Inflammation in Your Body.

Basically the more whole foods such as fruit and vegetables, seeds and nuts, and animal proteins like fish, chicken and beef (preferably wild caught or grass fed in the case of beef) the better your health will be overall. Specifically foods that have been shown to reduce inflammation are omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), the 'Asia wonder spice' turmeric (also known as curcumin), and ginger.

The more processed, sugary and ‘junk’ food you eat the more unhealthy you will be. These types of food may also cause chronic inflammation, and may be a factor in the diseases listed above.

Nutshell

 

This has been a long and somewhat technical post, so... In a nutshell.

Most back pain occurs as a result of injury to the spinal tissues, usually as a result of bad movement patterns. These injuries, even very minor ones, can accumulate and cause inflammation. Lower back pain relief initially requires reducing inflammation.

Acute inflammation is your body repairing an injury. It is your body fixing itself. Ice packs are a convenient way to ease acute inflammation.

Chronic inflammation persists when the agent creating the injury does not go away, for example bad movement patterns straining the spine. Chronic inflammation can lead to tissue damage and disease. Certain foods can assist in reducing inflammation, but while ever the aggravating factor remains, it will keep coming back. We highly recommend the world's best natural anti-inflammatory, turmeric.

 

I hope you made it to the end. If you did you now know more about inflammation than most people, and probably a few health professionals too! The information here can be used to not just help ease back pain, but improve your overall health and wellbeing.

 

If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is Back Pain Serious?

 

 

 

Is Back Pain Serious?

Is Back Pain Serious?
An incredible 80{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} of people will suffer with back pain at some point in their lives! Luckily most cases are due to abnormal stress and strain on the spine and can be easily treated by correcting the underlying cause.

However, in a small percentage of cases, back pain can be a sign of something more sinister. Although relatively rare, back pain can be a symptom of several different disease processes.

Please read through the following list of signs and symptoms carefully. Whilst it is always advisable to consult a health professional when you are having back pain, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, see a doctor as soon as possible.

 

A recent injury such as a car accident or fall.
• Back pain with a fever or chills and sweats.
• First incident of severe back pain and you are over 50 years old.
• Pain that wakes you from your sleep at night.
• Unexplained weight loss.
• Difficulty with bowel or bladder control.
• Numbness or tingling in the saddle area (inner thighs and groin).
• Pain radiating down one or both legs below your knees.
• Unable to stand on your toes, or walk on your heels.
• Any muscle weakness in the legs (eg. you can’t lift your big toe upwards).
• Throbbing in abdomen.
• History of cancer, osteoporosis, steroid or drug use.

 

Fortunately serious illness represents only a very small number of back complaints. Even if you have any of the above signs, it does not necessarily mean it is something to be concerned about. But it does mean you should obtain the advice of a health professional.

Serious underlying spinal conditions that may cause back pain include:

  • Infections are not a common cause of back pain. However, infections can cause pain when they involve the vertebrae, the intervertebral discs, or the sacroiliac joints connecting the lower spine to the pelvis.
  • Tumors are a relatively rare cause of back pain. Occasionally, tumors begin in the back, but more often they appear in the back as a result of cancer that has spread from elsewhere in the body.
  • Cauda equina syndrome is a serious but rare complication of a ruptured disc. It occurs when disc material is pushed into the spinal canal and compresses the bundle of lumbar and sacral nerve roots, causing loss of bladder and bowel control. Permanent neurological damage may result if this syndrome is left untreated.
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms occur when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs becomes abnormally enlarged. Back pain can be a sign that the aneurysm is becoming larger and that the risk of rupture should be assessed.
  • Kidney stones can cause sharp pain in the lower back, usually on one side.

 

Fortunately, the vast majority of back pain is due to incorrect movement patterns (find out more about What Causes Back Pain). That is, we use our backs in ways they are not designed for, placing extra stress and load on the spine which it is simply not designed to withstand. Usually the end result of these incorrect movement patterns is pain. That is why HealthySpines.org Total Back Pain Solution is so successful for nearly everyone with back pain, because it actually corrects these abnormal movement patterns, taking the stress off your back, allowing you to move more freely and with greater strength and stability. 

 

 

If you have any concerns about your back pain, it is always best to consult a health professional.

 

If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.

Also, if you have found this article helpful, please share it so we can help even more people! Thankyou.

 

 

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