The Benefits of Using a Heating Pad



The Benefits of Using a Heating Pad



Heat treatment has been proven to ease chronicle aches and pains. It can also be used in combination with cold treatment when an injury first surfaces. Heat treatment can come in many different forms. In this article we will focus on heat treatment that can easily be done at home, that`s also affordable and effective. Of course, we are referring to the use of heating pads!

Do you know there are different types of heating pads? Do you know the best use for them?

In this post, we will take a closer look at two different heating pads that gives out different kinds of heat. Also how you can use a heating pad to ease the pain in different body areas, like your back.

Heating pads can be essential in healing many different kinds of ailments, ease pain and loosen up the muscles in your back and other body parts.


Why Heat?

By applying heat to your back you increase the oxygen flow and nutrients to your muscles which help the muscles recover. Heat also stimulates the sensory receptors in your skin that makes you feel relief. The heat loosens up your muscles, which helps with flexibility and decrease stiffness.


Different Types of Heating Pads

There are several different types of heating pads you can use. Some are specific to your body part, while some give out different kinds of heat. Some are electric, others you warm up in the microwave.

Below we discuss 2 different types of heating pads that give out different kinds of heat.


Regular Heating Pad

There is the regular kind of heating pad you can get. It can be plugged into the wall and placed on your back or another aching part of the body. They often come with settings of “low, medium, and high” on a control pad. These are the heating pads most of us are used to, and they work well for most situations.

Far Infrared Heating Pads

Far infrared ray heating pads, use far infrared (FIR) heat instead of radiant heat. These FIR heating pads cost a bit more than a regular pad, but it might be worth it if you are dealing with chronic pain.

FIR heating pads often are made with jade stones imbedded in mesh packaging. Like ordinary heating pads, they are plugged into the wall and have controllers, usually more sophisticated than ordinary heating pads, allowing the user to set a specific temperature.

The heat given off by far infrared heating pads is different from radiant heat. The heat is stored in the jade stones and is given off as infrared heat, which goes deeper into the skin, penetrating the tissues to a depth of about 2 to 3 inches. This allows the heat to relieve spasm in muscles that are far deeper than the skin.

Some infrared heating pads are made with tourmaline stones and amethyst crystals in them, which do dual duty as a far infrared heating pad and as a device which gives off negative ions. Negative ions are believed to have many health benefits beyond the relief of pain and muscle spasm.


How to Use a Heating Pad?

Heating pads are especially helpful for pain and muscle spasm of the neck, shoulders, lower back, and knees. They ease muscle stiffness and spasm of the muscles, allowing for increased mobility around the joints and relief of pain caused by tight muscles and inflammation.

Heating pads are designed to be used for brief periods of time, up to thirty minutes at a stretch, where they can heat the muscles and improve circulation to the affected area, which promotes faster healing.

Small Heating Pads

Small heating pads can be used on the back of the neck, the shoulder, or the knee. They are flexible and can be wrapped around these areas of pain so that the muscles can heat up and can be reduced of spasm.

After several sessions of heating for thirty minutes at a stretch, the joints will move more freely and there will be increased mobility. Much pain is related to inflammation and spasm of muscles and this is what heating pads treat best.

Large Heating Pads

Large heating pads can be used for the low and mid-back for those who have muscle spasm deep in the tissues causing pain and limited mobility of these areas. The goal of applying heat to these areas is to relieve the spasm, thus reducing pain and increasing mobility of the affected area.

Heating pads have many uses and can be used in many body areas. They can be used alone or in combination with brief applications of ice in order to relieve the pain and inflammation of injured areas of the body.

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Our Top 10 Extra Large Heating Pads


1. Sunbeam XpressHeat Heating Pad

Size: 14″ x 24″ (true size 11 x 23.5)

Electric heating pad: Yes

Reasons why you might consider buying the Sunbeam XpressHeat Pad:

  • Heats in 30 seconds.
  • Option of continuous heat.
  • Soft micro-plush cover.
  • 6 Heat Settings.
  • Dry or Moist heat.
  • Quiet

Reasons why you might want to look at a different heating pad:

  • Some users don`t think it gets hot enough.
  • The cover is not removable.

Who should get this pad?

If you are looking for a soft comfortable, heating pad with continuous heat that can be used for both dry and moist heat then this pad might be for you.

If you do like your heating pad super hot then look for another option.

Click Here to View on Amazon



2. BodyMed ZZHP1427

Size: 14″ x 27″ 

Electric heating pad: Yes

Reasons why you might consider buying the BodyMed ZZHP1427:

  • Heavy duty heating pad.
  • LCD screen that show digital number settings, the actual heat number.
  • Moist electric heating pad.
  • Removable cover.
  • Gets hot, you can set it up to 166F.

Reasons why you might want to look at a different heating pad:

  • There is no option of continuous heat, 60 minutes is the longest setting.
  • There is a beeping sound at the end of the session that some find very annoying.

Who should get this extra large heating pad?

If you are looking for a heavy duty heating pad, where you can set the exact temperature with your controller, than this pad might be for you.

Click Here to View on Amazon




3. Thermophore Automatic Max HEAT Plus Moist Heat Pack

Size: 14" × 27" 

Electric heating pad: Yes

Reasons you might find this Thermophore MaxHeat Plus Heating Pad a good option:

  • Extra moist pack included
  • High Medium low settings control
  • Get hot upto 176 F

Why you might want to look at a different heating pad:

  • Only stays on for about 20 minutes

Who should get this extra large heating pad?

If you are looking for a hot heating pad that forms after your body, then this might be a good option for you.

Click Here to View on Amazon




4. Theratherm Large Digital Moist Heat Pad

Electric heating pad: Yes

Reasons why you might consider buying the Theratherm Large Digital Moist Heat Pad:

  • Moist heating pad, without adding water.
  • Digital controller for temperature and time setting.
  • Set time control up to 60 minutes.
  • Removable cover.
  • Gets hot upto 166F.

Reasons why you might want to look at a different heating pad:

  • Maximum setup time is 60 minutes, no continuous heat option.
  • Some users have experienced that the pad does not last long.

Click Here to View on Amazon




5. Thermophore MaxHeat 14×27, Model 155

Size: 14″ x 27″ 

Electric heating pad: Yes

Reasons why you might consider buying the Thermophore Automatic Moist Heat Pack:

  • Moist heating pad (draws moisture from the air)
  • Gets very hot, up to 176F.
  • High / Medium / Low Easy Control Settings
  • Removable cover

Reasons why you might want to look at a different heating pad:

  • You might want a more heavy-duty pad.
  • The pad only stays on for 20 minutes, if you want continuous heat look for another option.

Who should get this item?

If you want a heating pad that gets very hot, then Thermophore MaxHeat will do the job. This is a heat pad that gets very hot, the hottest on the market that we have found.

Click Here to View on Amazon



6. Sunbeam 938-511 Microplush King Size Heating Pad with LED Controller

Size: 12″ x 24″

Reasons why you might consider buying the Sunbeam Microplush King Size Heating Pad:

  • 4 heat settings
  • Soft comfortable heating pad
  • Both dry and moist heat
  • Keep the pad on up to 2 hours

Reasons why you might want to look at a different pad:

  • No removable cover
  • Some have experienced short life span with this heat pad

This is a reasonable priced heating pad, with both positive and negative customer reviews, make sure you read our review before purchasing this pad to see if this will take care of your needs.



7. Thermophore Classic Plus Moist Heat

Size: 14″ x 27″

Reasons why you might consider buying the Thermophore Classic Moist Heat Pack:

  • Comes with an extra moisture pack, that will add extra moisture for dry areas.
  • Gets very hot.
  • Removable fleece cover.

1 Reason why you might want to consider another heating pad:

  • This heating pad comes with a switch that you have to manually hold down to reach the desired heat you want. When you let go of the switch the temperature will slowly drop.

This is a good heating pad but you might want to consider another Thermophore model (model 155 or 355) that comes with the 3 setting temperature control. If you like the safety feature of the manual switch then this will be a good heating pad for you.




8. Thermophore Automatic Moist Heat Pack/Classic

Size: 14″ x 27″

Reasons why you might consider buying the Thermophore Automatic Moist Heat Pack:

  • Moist heating pad (draws moisture from the air).
  • Gets very hot up to 176F.
  • Removable cover.

Reasons why you might want to look at a different heating pad:

  • The switch, this heating pad comes with a switch that you have to hold down to reach wanted heat. You release the switch and the temperature starts dropping, to get the pad warmer keep the switch down again.

If you like what this heating pad offers, that it gets very hot for example, take a look at the 155 or 355 model that comes with a controller instead of the switch.



9. Thermotech Automatic Digital Moist Heating Pad King Size

Size: 14″ x 26″

Reasons why you might consider buying the Thermotech Automatic Digital Heating Pad:

  • It gets very hot
  • Removable cover
  • Moist heating pad
  • Easy to handle digital control

Reasons why you might want to look at a different heating pad:

  • For some it gets too hot

Who should get this item?

If you like your heating pad hot, then this item might be for you.



10. Sunbeam 732-500 King Size Heating Pad with UltraHeatTechnology

Size: 12″ x 24″

Reasons why you might consider buying the Thermotech Automatic Digital Heating Pad:

  • Continuous heat
  • Removable cover

Reasons why you might want to look at a different heating pad:

  • Flimsy heating pad that wrinkle up
  • Strong smell when first used
  • One of the smaller “large” heating pads


The best heating pad for you personally depends on a few simple considerations!

Do You Need To Treat Multiple Areas?

If, for example, you were in an automobile accident and sustained multiple injuries on the right side of your body, you would be able to treat them all at once using a large heating pad.  With a smaller heating pad, you would either need to move the heating pad from area to area, or purchase multiple heating pads.


Extra Large Heating Pad for Lower Back Pain

Individuals with chronic lower back pain often have pain in their upper or middle back as well.  Pain in your lower back will often cause you to stand or walk differently in order to experience les pain.  By doing this, you end up using your other back muscles incorrectly.  As a result, lower back pain often spreads into other parts of the back.  A large heating pad work best for this situation.

 Other Areas to Treat with a Large Heating Pad

If you tend to be cold-natured, large heating pads are a convenient way to warm up, without making everyone else uncomfortable.  Large heating pads can be used to treat menstrual cramps and abdominal cramps.  They can easily be placed on top of the painful area-if you have painful cramps in your legs, simple place the large heating pad over the painful area.

If you are looking for a heating pad for a specific body part, those are offered as well. If you have aches and pain in your neck and shoulders, you might want to consider a neck heating pad, or a neck shoulder heat wrap.


What Kind of Heat Do You Need?

When deciding which type of large heating pad to purchase, there are several important factors that need to be considered.  Dry heat will draw moisture away from your body.  If you are retaining water which is making you more uncomfortable, dry heat would be what you should use.

Moist heat is able to penetrate deeper into sore tissue and provide more pain relief.  Infra-red heat is able to penetrate several inches of bone to heal deep tissue injuries.

Infrared heating pad is another great option, they often contain jade and other natural stones that add additional health benefits to the heat.

You also need to pay close attention to where the controls are located and how easy they will be for you to use.  Some large heating pads heat up quickly, others take longer to warm up.  Some can be set to operate for a specific amount of time, others require manual reactivation in frequent intervals in order to maintain a constant temperature.

Also you want to decide if you are looking for an electric heating pad or a microwavable one for example.

The Cover

If your large heating pad does not come with a cover, it would be wise to purchase one, or create an improvised cover with a pillowcase, T-shirt, or towel.  Although some large heating pads are advertised to be machine washable, this may result in a less than desirable outcome.

If a heating pad is large enough to cover you, it may be difficult to machine-wash it.  Since dry heat pulls moisture out of your body, and moist heat adds moisture, your large heating pad will need to be kept clean and in good working condition.


Do you use a heating pad? Are you maybe thinking of getting one? Let us know below in the comments.

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


Can You Treat Your Own Back Pain?



 Can You Treat Your Own Back Pain?


When people see a spinal specialist such as a chiropractor, they will usually think that the chiropractor “fixed their back” or “made their headache go away”. But the truth is that they didn't ‘fix’ anything, or make these people heal. But you can't force the natural process of healing. All that any specialist can ever really hope to do is help to restore better spinal health and function, then their own bodies do the rest!

So, can you treat your own back pain? Yes you can!

You just need to understand how it works, then do the right things, at the right time, in the right way to restore normal spinal function and you can treat your own back pain.

Really, all recoveries are down to the fact that your body is made to heal itself. In fact, the only thing that can create true healing is your own body.


You are the doctor!


You see, your body doesn't want to be sick or unwell; it is always aiming to survive and thrive. Cuts and scrapes miraculously heal by themselves, you will recover from a cold, etc. Even when you vomit you are not really sick, it is actually a healthy response to expel something your body has recognized as toxic.

An extreme example of all this would be frostbite, as your body shifts its heat and blood away from the extremities to protect the internal organs in order to survive. It is the ultimate survival sacrifice; you might lose a finger, but you sure didn't die! Your body is not trying to kill you or cause you pain, in fact it is trying to do the exact opposite!


The simple fact is this:

Good health is our natural state.


Given the right environment your body can only become healthier, as normal function improves. Interference to the normal, natural functioning of the body is what leads to a decrease in health and the body’s ability to heal. This may come down to poor diet or lack of exercise, which are basically bad lifestyle choices.

It might be unknown to some, but your spinal health also affects the function, and therefore the health, of your body. We know that spinal problems can interfere with the nervous system, which is the master control system for the body. This interference has a direct negative affect on the function of your body, and therefore your health. Eventually this will show up as some kind of problem, maybe back pain or headaches, and this is when we seek help to get “fixed.”



From an optimal health point of view the pain or illness is not the issue, it’s just the end result of dysfunction. By removing the cause of interference we simply allow your body to function better, start to heal, and your health improves.

To treat your own back pain, you need to do the right things, at the right time, in the right way, as fully explained in our Total Back Pain Solution program. You just need to make the decision to make some changes, and the first step might just be learning how to fix your own back pain, then do something about it!



So congratulations Dr You, you have taken the first steps to help restore function and the ability to heal to your body!


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








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Exercises For Scoliosis Pain.




Exercises For Scoliosis Pain.

Although scoliosis rarely causes back pain, these exercises for scoliosis pain can be helpful if you are experiencing discomfort.


What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis means ‘curvature of the spine’. It is not a medical condition as such, but rather scoliosis is simply a descriptive term, like headache, and not a precise diagnosis. In this case it is used to describe any abnormal, sideways curvature of the spine.

'C' and 'S' Curve

Typically when we view a spine form the back (or front), it should be straight. Scoliosis is present when the spine is curved to the side, making it look like a ‘C’ or an ‘S’ shape.

This is different to viewing a spine from the side where we expect to see the natural arches, or curves of the spine. You can read more details about the natural spinal curves here.

It is estimated that 2-3{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} of the population have scoliosis.


What Causes Scoliosis?

There are many different possible causes of scoliosis. The main types are discussed here.


Idiopathic Scoliosis.Idiopathic Scoliosis

This is the most common type of scoliosis. The word idiopathic comes from Greek, and means a condition or disease with no known cause. Although there are many theories, the exact cause of idiopathic scoliosis is not known.

It is estimated that 65{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} of cases of scoliosis are idiopathic. They rarely cause any obvious symptoms.

It is rare for this type of scoliosis to develop in children under 10 years of age, and it affects females more often than males.


 Congenital Scoliosis.

Make up an estimated 15{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} of all cases of scoliosis, and are due to a bone abnormality present at birth. This form of curvature is often associated with congenital abnormalities in other body systems such as the heart and kidney.


Degenerative Scoliosis.

The most common type of scoliosis that develops in adults.  Degenerative Scoliosis is due to a change is the bone structure of the spine. This may be from surgery, arthritis, bone collapse as a result of osteoporosis or tumour; or gradual deterioration in the spine, discs, and facet joints.


Neuromuscular Scoliosis.

A wide variety of diseases and disorders of the central nervous system (brain), nerves and muscles can, but not invariably, result in the development of Neuromuscular scoliosis.It is frequently seen in people with spina bifida and cerebral palsy.


We feel it is important to add an extra type of scoliosis, one that is not found in medical literature, but widely seen.

Functional Scoliosis.

This type of scoliosis is seen on most xrays. Whilst usually only observed as a slight/mild scoliosis, it is extremely common. It is due to dysfunction in the spine. Abnormal spinal motion and misalignments can lead to a change in the structure of the spine, often seen as a scoliosis. One leg shorter than the other will cause a pelvic tilt, resulting in scoliosis too.


Signs and Symptoms of Scoliosis.

Signs of scoliosis that are easily observed are:scoliosis xr

  • One shoulder higher than the other.
  • A prominent shoulder blade.
  • Uneven waist, or leaning to one side.
  • Ribs more prominent on one side.

The definitive diagnosis of scoliosis is from an x-ray of the spine.

Children and teenagers with idiopathic scoliosis usually have no noticeable symptoms or pain. Often it will go unnoticed if the scoliosis is not obviously observable. Because scoliosis rarely causes back pain in children, if they are suffering back pain it needs to be investigated.

Severe scoliosis at any age can cause back pain and stiffness, and even neurological problems such as numbness or weakness in the legs. Breathing can be difficult if there is distortion of the rib cage as a result of thoracic (mid back) scoliosis.


Treatment for Scoliosis.

The medical approach for severe scoliosis includes bracing. Back braces can be fitted when the curve is 25 degrees or more, but less than 50 degrees.

Over 50 degrees of scoliosis curve would be a case for possible spinal surgery, where rods are inserted to straighten the spine.

Chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy both show good results for relieving mild to moderate cases of back pain from scoliosis. There is no evidence however that they can provide any benefit in preventing the progression of scoliosis. However, people with scoliosis should stay active and fit.


Exercises For Scoliosis Pain.

Most of the back pain from scoliosis is due to stress and strain on the spinal structures (joints, muscles, ligaments etc.) Try the following exercises if you have back pain from scoliosis.

Knees to Chest

1. Curl up into a ball. Spondylolisthesis is aggravated by spinal extension, so by pulling your knees to your chest, you are bringing your spine into a more flexed position. Start by lying on your back, them simply pull both of your knees to your chest and hold them there for 10-30 seconds.


Low Back Stretch

2. Cat Stretch. Similar to curling up into a ball, cat stretches bring your spine into flexion. Start in a kneeling position, then sit back onto you feet. Stretch your arms out in front of you along the floor. Feel the stretch in your low back and hold for 10 seconds.


Back Bends3. Back Arches. Often relief can be achieved by extending or arching the spine.

First off, try this in a standing position with your hands on your hips, and just gently arch backwards over your hands.

If you have any pain aggravation then do not do this exercise. If it is okay, after doing this for 2-3 days you can progress to doing extension exercises on the floor.



4. Back Extensions. Lie on your tummy, and gently lift your head and shoulders off the floor using your back muscles and propping your self up on your elbows forBack Extensions 10 seconds.

Begin this one very carefully and slowly as it can be a bit painful at the start.



These simple exercises can make a real difference if you are suffering with scoliosis in the spine. Give them a go and see if they help you out, but remember to just start slowly and gently! If this does not help you then I would recommend seeking professional advice.

Also check out our Total Back Pain Solution, a neurologically based spinal rehabilitation program that you can do at home, it has been specifically developed to restore long term spinal functional stability. 


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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Is The Health Care System Making You Sick?



Is The Health Care System Making You Sick?


'The health care system has failed in keeping us healthy.'


Many developed countries around the world follow a similar system of looking after and treating the ill and infirmed. Mostly, we refer to this as 'The Health Care System'. But is it possible that this system that so many people depend on, unquestioningly, could be actually making us sicker?



The current strategy of our health care system is to diagnose and treat sickness and disease. And there is no doubt that there is a need for this kind of intervention when you are sick.

However in order for the system to work you have to get sick first. It's like closing the gate after the horse has bolted, right? So in actual fact, this is really a sickness care system, not a health care system at all!

While this system is great once you become sick, it does nothing to promote or maintain better health.

In fact, there is now more heart disease, more cancer, more diabetes, more arthritis and more chronic disease in the world than ever before! Even though we are living longer than we ever have, we simply are not living better.

Now we want to be perfectly clear right up front, is in no way anti-medicine or anti-doctors. The things that modern medicine can do now are miraculous, and the bottom line is that it can, and does, save millions of lives.


But the reality is this. The ‘health care system’ has failed in keeping us healthy.


Billions of dollars are poured into medical research every year, and we continually develop newer machines and better, more accurate medical tests that enable us to detect disease at it's earliest stages. And lets be very clear here, it still means you have to have the disease first.

Too often we place our trust in the hands of the system that has been developed by the pharmaceutical industry (read 'big business') to basically get us taking their products. That is, drugs and medications, and to take them for as long as possible. And don't be fooled, these guys are out to make money. Full stop!

It is well known now that most medications are simply designed to cover up the symptoms, and not actually affect the underlying cause of the disease, or offer any kind of cure. eg. Statin type drugs will lower your cholesterol. No doubt. But why would your body be making all that extra cholesterol in the first place? And who determines when it is too much? (Not to mention that there is NOT ONE scientific study that shows that statins have prevented even one heart attack! However, there is plenty of research that shows having LOW levels of cholesterol are linked to higher incidence of dementia!) Did your doctor forget to tell you that?

It is also well known that all medications also carry associated risks, which have been labelled as 'side effects'.


What does that even mean? Are they the effects of the drug that happen to the side of the effects that we want?

NO! Side effects are just the other effects that the drug has on your body. It's like saying bleeding is a side effect of being stabbed in the leg! Side effects are a result of taking the medication, full stop!

For example, if you take enough anti-inflammatory medications, you run a real risk of a gastrointestinal bleed. That is because one of the effects of the drug, as well as decreasing the inflammatory response (that is really just a part of your bodies healing process, read more here) is that it also eats away at the lining of your stomach. And ALL medications have some kind of so-called 'side effects'. Statins (cholesterol medication) are well known to cause body aches and pains. Sorry, they don't 'cause' it, it is a side-effect. Apparently.

Unfortunately, the health care system response to this is usually more medication to counter the 'side effects' of the other meds you are taking! It seems ridiculous, but this is the way it works. And all the time your health is going down hill, because the pills are not improving your health in the first place, they are only hiding the symptoms of being sick.

It is for this reason that by becoming dependent on the 'sickness care system' you are only going to become slowly sicker.


So how do you beat it?

Frankly, you have to take it upon yourself to learn about health and well-being. What it is, and what you need to do improve and maintain good health. Then you have to take action on what you have learnt. Make some changes if you need to.

It is completely up to us to take the steps to stay vibrantly healthy. And it is simple, old-fashioned advice that rings true. Remain active and get regular exercise. Eat lots of fresh, healthy foods. Simple as that.

You can read more about healthy choices here.

Unfortunately we can't rely on a system that is so entrenched in it's way of thinking about sickness and disease. And because that system is worth trillions of dollars, the government is not going to rock that boat any time soon, you can be sure.

All we are really saying is that you need to make informed choices about your health.

Only when we take it upon ourselves to become educated about health, and then take the necessary action to be truly healthy, can we become less dependant on a 'sickness care' system (that will leave you stuck on the pharmaceutical roller coaster).

That is a true health care strategy!


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.


Do You Have Severe Spinal Stenosis Symptoms? Try This Easy Treatment For Spinal Stenosis!



Spinal Stenosis


Severe spinal stenosis symptoms are not very common. Usually the symptoms are mild to moderate, but they can affect both the lower back and legs. If you are suffering with severe back pain, there are probably other problems on top of any spinal stenosis that might be present. Treatment for spinal stenosis in most cases can only offer a temporary fix, and it really depends on the underlying cause as to how effective any treatment will be. Read on to find out why.


What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal openings or canals for the nervous system become narrowed. This can either affect the central spinal canal, where the spinal cord descends from the brain, or more commonly it will occur where the spinal nerves exit from the spine. This canal where the nerves exit from the spine is called the neural foramen.


Because the spinal cord and nerves are totally encased by bone, if the Central Spinal Canal or the Neural Foramen become too narrow, the bone can start to compress the nerves.

Central canal stenosis symptoms are rare, as it needs to be moderate to severe narrowing before it will compress the spinal cord.

Most commonly it is foraminal stenosis that causes problems as the bone encroaches on the spinal nerve.


What Causes Spinal Stenosis?

There several different causes that can lead to narrowing of the spinal canals.

  • Spinal Degeneration. Most cases of spinal stenosis are a result of degenerative changes as we get older. This is basically a result of wear and tear of the spinal structures. Degenerative disc disease decreases the space between the vertebra, therefore narrowing the neural foramen. Formation of bone spurs (particularly around facet joints) can grow into the spinal canal, encroaching on the nerves.
  • Herniated or Bulging Discs. If the disc is pushing into the spinal canal or neural foramen, it can create nerve pressure and irritation. Read more about the discs here.
  • Hereditary. Some people are born with a smaller spinal canal. This may cause symptoms from an early age, but more likely just makes you more susceptible as you age.
  • Spondylolisthesis. This condition occurs when one vertebra slips forward on the one below. This can be the result of degenerative changes or an injury. The forward slippage can create a narrowing of the spinal canals.
  • Tumours. Although not common, abnormal growths can invade the spinal canals, creating spinal stenosis.


 Spinal Stenosis Symptoms.

Spinal stenosis can cause lower back pain as well as pain in the legs. Leg pain can be cramping, achy, or even like sciatica. It is often aggravated by extended periods of activity, such as walking or standing.

Lumbar nerve compression from stenosis can affect the nerves that control muscle power and sensation in the legs.

This can lead to weakness, tingling or numbness. In severe cases it can even effect bowel and bladder function. This requires immediate medical attention.

The symptoms of spinal stenosis can often be relieved bending forwards. This helps to open up the spinal canals and reduce nerve pressure. Sufferers will often need to sit for a few minutes if they have been walking or standing for a while.

Lumbar spinal stenosis symptoms are also medically known as 'neural claudication'. This means leg pain when walking, and can also be caused by vascular insufficiency (problems with the blood circulation). It is important to get a correct diagnosis if you have claudication. But as a general idea, stenosis pain can be worse when walking down hill, but not as bad going up hill (as you lean forwards slightly, decompressing the nerves!) Vascular claudication is often worse going up hill as it requires more exertion.


Treatment For Spinal Stenosis.

Although there is no cure as such for spinal stenosis, the following treatments are the most common. Depending on the severity and site, one of the following options can be considered.

  • Medications. NSAID's (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) drugs, painkillers and muscle relaxants are often prescribed for spinal stenosis. They may help to temporarily relieve the pain, but do not correct the cause and carry side effects.
  • Injections. Cortico-steroids may be injected to reduce inflammation and reduce nerve pressure around the swollen and irritated nerves. See above.
  • Surgery. Surgery may be considered if more conservative treatments haven't helped or if you're disabled by your symptoms. The goal is to relieve the pressure on your spinal cord or nerve roots by creating more space within the spinal canal. Most commonly a Laminectomy, which is where the posterior, or back, part of the spine is removed to allow more space for the nerves. Often the affected vertebra will also be fused to the vertebra on either side.
  • Activity Modification. For most spinal stenosis cases, the pain is relieved when bending forwards, and aggravated when bending backwards. Being aware of this allows you to modify your behaviours and avoid activities that cause pain, for example working over head such as hanging out washing. Diet and nutrition also play a roll. Maintaining a healthy weight means less stress and strain on the spine, and overweight people tend to have to lean backwards slightly which can increase nerve compression.
  • Exercise and Physical Therapy. Activity can aggravate spinal stenosis, so it is common that sufferers will become less active to reduce their pain. This can lead to muscle weakness and further spinal instability. So it is important to maintain a reasonable level of exercise to maintain strength and fitness. An exercise program such as Total Back Pain Solution, which is designed specifically to improve long term spinal stability, is of the most benefit.


This exercise is well known to relieve the symptoms of spinal stenosis because it opens up the spinal canal space. Start by lying on your back, them simply pull both of your knees to your chest and hold them there for 10-30 seconds. This brings your spine into a flexed posture and widens the space for the nerves. Easy and effective!

This simple treatment for spinal stenosis can give quick relief from back pain, even if you have severe spinal stenosis symptoms. But the real key is working towards improving your spinal control and stability.


Always seek professional advice when suffering from back pain, as there are many different causes. Mostly these will be a mechanical problem (read more here), but can sometimes be the sign of something more sinister.

Fortunately, many people successfully manage the symptoms of spinal stenosis with the non-surgical therapies. For others, symptoms may become disabling and surgery may be considered.


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.


Sacroiliitis Symptoms and The Best Sacroiliitis Treatment





Sacroiliitis is a spinal condition that can be hard to accurately diagnose. That is because sacroiliitis symptoms are often mistaken for other types of back pain. The reliability of special tests for sacroiliac joint dysfunction have been reported differently over the years, with some studies suggesting very poor reliability, while studies have others conclude reasonable to good reliability and validity. Some recent studies have concluded that combining the findings from three or more sacroiliac joint tests results in reasonable accuracy in clinical diagnosis. However, if you have been diagnosed with sacroiliitis there are some very effective sacroiliitis treatments that you can do right at home!


What Is Sacroiliitis?

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction resulting in a clinical pain syndrome is a somewhat controversial topic. Schools of thought vary from those who consider involvement of the the sacroiliac joint as a rare cause of low back pain to those who consider it common. Those who uphold the latter view are often those involved in manual therapies.

Simply, sacroiliitis is inflammation of the sacroiliac joint (in fact any ailment that ends in -itis is inflammation eg. dermatitis is inflammation of the skin.)

The sacroiliac joints, or SI joints, are the two joints in the pelvis that connect the Sacrum to the Ilium which are are joined by strong ligaments on either side.



The SI joints are major weight bearing joints. They are very strong and do not have a lot of movement. Their main job is shock absorption, although they do allow a small amount of movement when we walk or run for example.

Sacroiliitis occurs when these joints become inflamed. This usually the result of the joint not working correctly (medically known as Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction) as a result of bad movement patterns (read more here). This can either be too much motion, or not enough motion of the SI joint. This can be the result of an injury such as a car accident, or may have accumulated over time through poor posture and excessive sitting.

The abnormal movement of the joint creates strain of the joint, which leads to inflammation.

Sacroiliitis can also be the result of arthritic conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, or infection among others. Some of these arthritic conditions have an affinity for the sacroiliac joint and should be considered when pain arising from these joints is suspected and particularly when the pattern is bilateral. 


Sacroiliitis Symptoms.

Sacroiliitis commonly causes lower back, buttock, groin, and hip pain. Occasionally the pain will travel down the leg and can be mistaken for Sciatica.

The pain is usually one sided, but can be across the entire low back, especially if both SI joints are affected. It is usually a mild to moderate dull ache.

Sacroiliitis pain can be worse after prolonged sitting, or standing in one spot. Running can also aggravate the pain.

Often there is a feeling of stiffness around the lower back and hips as well, particularly after getting out of bed in the morning or after sitting still for a prolonged period.



Sacroiliitis Treatment Options.

Sacroiliac Belt: A sacroiliac belt is designed to compress and support the sacroiliac joints, thereby relieving stress and instability. 

Available here:


Rest: A short period of rest may help the inflammation to settle and avoid re-aggravation.

Ice/Heat: Ice (in 10 minute applications) will help to reduce inflammation at the onset. Chronic cases may benefit from heat for 15 minutes at a time to increase blood flow to the area, bringing in healing nutrients.

Medications: Anti-inflammatories or injections will reduce pain and swelling, but don't actually fix the underlying cause.

Exercises: Pulling your knee to your chest on the affected side will help to stretch out tight hip muscles, and create some movement in the SI joint if it is not moving enough.


Squats are also good for strengthening the hip muscles that add some support to the SI joints, and may help in stabilising SI joints that are moving too much.

Chiropractic/Physical Therapy: Particularly helpful if the SI joint is not moving enough. Gentle treatments of the affected joint can help to restore better motion, reducing strain on the joint.

Surgery: Only extreme cases of sacroiliitis will require surgical fusion, and it quite rare for this to be an option.


Sacroiliitis symptoms can be quite debilitating, but usually it is more of an annoying dull ache and not severe pain. Unfortunately it often becomes an ongoing chronic problem unless the underlying cause is corrected (check out the  Total Back Pain Solution spinal rehabilitation course).


Luckily, sacroiliitis treatment is very successful most of the time, and the results are usually achieved quite quickly. It is always recommended to seek professional advice to be sure the treatment option you choose is the best one for you.


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



What Causes Sciatic Pain? Can Exercises For Sciatica Help?





Sciatica is the name that is given to a common type of pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, a large nerve that runs down the back of the leg. This article will help to explain what causes sciatic pain, and guide you to which exercises for sciatica may be of benefit.


What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is not a medical diagnosis as such, but rather a way to describe a particular set of symptoms that can occur due to an underlying medical condition that causes compression of the sciatic nerve.

sciatic-nerveThese symptoms of sciatica are usually only on one side, and may be one of, or a combination of:

  • Pain that runs from the lower back down the back of the leg or buttock. The pain can vary from a mild ache to a sharp, burning or shooting pain that can become debilitating.
  • Pain that is worse when sitting.
  • You may experience numbness, tingling or weakness in the affected leg.
  • The pain can be made worse by coughing or sneezing.
  • Sharp pain that can make it difficult to walk.



The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and is about the diameter of your thumb. It runs from the lower back all the way down your leg and as well as being the biggest, it is also the longest nerve in the body. It is derived from the spinal nerves that exit the spine from L4 through to S3 joining together.

The symptoms of sciatica occur when the any one of these nerve roots that form the sciatica nerve is being compressed or irritated in the lumbar spine. This is what people classically think of as a 'pinched' nerve. It is not usually the result of a single injury, but an accumulation over time.




Most cases of sciatica will do away over time. How ever you should seek urgent medical attention if the pain has a sudden onset, is the result of a bad injury such as a car accident, it is not getting better after a week, or if you ever have trouble controlling your bowel or bladder.


What Causes Sciatica?

Compression of the sciatic nerve is most commonly caused by a herniated disc at the L5-S1 spinal level. You can read more about herniated discs here.

Other causes of sciatica are:

  • Degenerative disc disease (breaking down of the spinal discs, read more here.)
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal nerve canals in the lumbar spine, usually as a result of calcification/bone spurs.)
  • Spondylolysthesis (a condition where one vertebra slips forward on the vertebra below.)
  • Piriformis Syndrome (a muscle in the buttock that can compress the sciatic nerve if it spasms.)
  • Sacro-iliitis (Dysfunction of the sacro-iliac joint can irritate the L5 nerve root)

Rarer causes of sciatica may include pregnancy, spinal tumour, scar tissue, or infection.


Exercises For Sciatica

It is important to obtain an accurate diagnosis from your health care professional before starting any exercises, particularly if you are suffering with sciatica. There is not much point in stretching your Piriformis muscle if you have a disc herniation! And this is exactly why you have to be very careful before attempting any exercise regime. There is a real possibility that you could aggravate your condition if you do the wrong thing.

The next article will guide you through the exercises that will help to relieve sciatica, relevant to the cause. Try to start exercising as soon as possible, within a few days of the sciatica flaring up. The longer you leave it the worse the condition becomes. You can find the article that covers the exercises (with diagrams) by clicking this link.


Before beginning any exercise program, particularly exercises for sciatica, you should see a health professional to get a correct diagnosis for your pain to rule out any potentially serious problems. We would like to stress again the importance of a correct diagnosis, that way it will give you the best chance to really find out if sciatica exercises relieve pain.

The proper exercises differ based on the underlying condition that is causing the sciatic pain, so patients should not try to self-treat their sciatica before consulting a health professional or spinal specialist such as a chiropractor.


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.


What Does Herniated Disc Lower Back Pain Feel Like?



Herniated Disc Lower Back Pain


When it is bad, herniated disc lower back pain is probably the most painful thing that could ever happen to you! The level of pain can become debilitating. And it might not be just limited to your back. The pain can be shooting down your leg in severe cases (known as sciatica).

Fortunately, these sorts of severe cases are not that common. But most herniated discs in the lower back (the L4-L5 spinal level is the most common) are going to be uncomfortable.

Herniated Disc

The spinal discs are often described as being like a jelly doughnut. The discs have a tough outer layer (annulus fibrosus) and a softer, jelly like centre (nucleus pulposus). A herniation occurs when some of the softer centre pushes out through tears or cracks in the annulus fibrosus. These cracks and tears can form as part of the degenerative process, or as a result of injury to the disc. 

 More details on the spinal discs can be found by reading  Spinal Discs. Are They Causing your Back Pain?
The North American Spine Society defines lumbar disc herniation with radiculopathy as “. . . localized displacement of disc material beyond the normal margins of the intervertebral disc space resulting in pain, weakness or numbness in a myotomal or dermatomal distribution.”

You can actually have a herniated disc in your spine without even knowing about it. They can even show up on spinal scans of people that have no back pain at all. However, if the ruptured disc is pressing on or irritating the spinal nerves, the disc herniation is likely to cause pain and possibly other symptoms. 



The most common signs and symptoms of a herniated disc in the lower back are:

Lower back and/or leg pain.

Depending on the size of the herniation, you may have a dull low back ache if there is only a small herniation (that can be hard to differentiate from Degenerative Disc Disease), through to intense shooting pain into the buttocks and leg. Pain down the leg is due to the herniated disc pressing on the nerves from the spine that run down the leg, it is usually referred to as sciatica.

Numbness or tingling.

Nerve compression as a result of a disc herniation can alter the nerve signals, resulting in a change of sensation such as numbness or tingling.


Muscles that are supplied by a nerve that is being compressed tend to become weak due to a loss of proper nerve messages. This may cause you to stumble or trip, and you may have difficulty getting out of a chair. 

If the disc herniation is extremely large, it can compress the nerves enough to cause a loss of sensation in the groin/saddle area, and bowel and bladder problems (for example, incontinence). This is known as Cauda Equina Syndrome. It is a medical emergency and you should seek medical attention immediately.



Correct diagnosis of a herniated disc requires spinal imaging. X-rays show bone, but do not show the soft discs. So either a CT Scan or an MRI is required. This will allow your doctor to see whether you have a herniated disc, and exactly where it is in your spine.

Initially, your doctor should take a careful medical history to find out where you are feeling the pain, what the pain feels like, and how long you have been suffering. Your doctor should also ask how the pain started. Was there an injury or some kind of twisting, bending or reaching movement. They wil want to know if you have any weakness, numbness or tingling.

Neurological examination is also helpful, and you may have your reflexes, strength and ability to feel light touches, pinpricks or vibration.


Treatment For a Herniated Disc.

If it is determined that you have a herniated disc, you will have some choices regarding possible treatment strategies. Most herniated discs will resolve themselves over time, but this can take several months.

In severe cases where the herniated disc is compressing nerves, spinal surgery may eventually be an option. A Discectomy (removing the disc, or, usually, a small portion of it) can be performed to take the pressure off the nerves. However, all surgery is risky, and should only be performed in exceptional cases where all other options have been exhausted.

Medications such as pain killers, anti-inflammatories, or steroids (such as Cortisone) can relieve the pain, but do not fix the underlying problem.

Chiropractic manipulation can increase spinal range of motion, relieve nerve pressure, restore blood flow and reduce muscle tension. It is low risk and has a very good success rate.

Ultrasound and massage can help to restore blood flow and reduce muscle tension. Hot and cold therapy, losing weight and quitting smoking are all known to be beneficial as well.

A specific exercise program designed to progressively stabilise the spine and increase flexibility, such as the Total Back Pain Solution, is often the only way to achieve long-term healing for most sufferers of a bulging spinal disc.


Most people with a herniated disc can make a full recovery with the right help. Unfortunately, there is not usually a quick fix. Recovery periods vary from several days to several months, depending on the severity and other factors such as age, weight, whether or not you are a smoker, commitment to a treatment program, etc.

It is important to understand what causes the discs to wear and tear in the first place. You can read more about that by reading What Causes Back Pain?

The vast majority of treatments for herniated disc lower back pain are solely focused on pain relief. Whilst critical at the start, a more long term approach to rehabilitating and stabilising the spine is the only solution to prevent a recurrence.


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.


Do You Have Bulging Disc Lower Back Pain? What Are Your Bulging Disc Treatment Options.




Bulging Discs And Lower Back Pain


Although it sounds like a serious problem, bulging disc lower back pains are usually not severe, and bulging disc treatment options are often very effective at resolving any back pain that you might be suffering with.

Like all disc problems though, it can be very hard to determine exactly what is causing back pain, and often the differing terms (disc bulge, herniation, degeneration) are used interchangeably. In particular, a disc bulge is often confused with a disc herniation, but they are actually different things. We will be covering this in more detail as you read through. 

Another thing that might be somewhat of a surprise is how common bulging discs are, even if you are not experiencing any symptoms. A study that was published in the highly regarded New England Medical Journal in July 1994 by M.C. Jensen titled ‘ Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People without Back Pain.’ examined scans of people who had no symptoms of back pain.

They found that 52% had disc bulges! That is, over half of  people with no back pain had a bulging spinal disc! And this number increases with age.


128805-532318-30A bulging disc occurs when the discs inner material, the nucleus pulposus, starts to squeeze out into the outer ring of the disc (annulus fibrosis). This can cause the disc to swell and bulge. It is thought to be a natural part of the ageing process, like Degenerative Disc Disease. This process will happen quicker if their has been an injury to the disc through trauma, or long term spinal stress and strain as a result of things like poor posture and prolonged sitting. Smoking is also known to speed up disc problems.

It is worth mentioning that discs do bulge very slightly when we are standing as they absorb our body weight.

A bulging disc is not necessarily a sign that anything serious is happening to your spine, and they often do not cause any pain.

But, if the bulge is large enough it can press into the spinal canal. This can directly irritate the spinal nerves, resulting in pain. If there is any calcification or spurs (also known as osteophytes) in the area the problem can become much worse.

The easiest way to think of a bulge is as a generalised swelling of the disc. A herniation is different, and occurs when the gel like nucleus pulposus actually squeezes through cracks in the fibres of the annulus fibrosis and pushes out into the spinal canal. The gel like nucleus can even squirt out into the area behind the disc, and this can result in severe pain and neurological problems if it compresses the nerves.

The best way to diagnose a bulging disc is with an MRI. Because the discs are soft tissue, they can not be seen effectively on an X-ray.



This MRI shows a disc bulge at the L4-L5 spinal level. In the centre of the picture you will see the vertebra of the spinal column like a stack of blocks. The lighter coloured pancakes in between are the discs.

You will notice that one of the discs is darker in colour, and is bulging to the right, into the spinal canal where the spinal nerves are. This is a disc bulge. The darker colour of the disc is generally indicative of dehydration of the disc, a result of Degenerative Disc Disease. Bulging discs and degenerative change usually go hand in hand.


Symptoms of Bulging Disc Lower Back Pain

Like Degenerative Disc Disease, the symptoms of a bulging disc vary. As mentioned above, 52% of people with no back pain at all have a disc bulge. Some people may only experience occasional back ache in the mid-line. 

However, if the bulge is large enough to irritate a spinal nerve you can experience severe back pain on one side that may even extend into your buttocks or down your leg. You may even have some numbness or tingling, or muscle weakness. (Although the more severe signs are usually due to a disc herniation.)


Bulging Disc Treatment Options.

In severe cases where the disc bulge is compressing nerves, spinal surgery may be an option. A Laminectomy (removing the posterior, bony portion of the vertebra) or a Discectomy (removing the disc) can be performed to take the pressure off the nerves. However, all surgery is risky, and should only be performed in exceptional cases where all other options have been exhausted.

As per the treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease, there are several other, more conservative options.

Medications such as pain killers and anti-inflammatories can relieve the pain, but do not fix the underlying problem.

Chiropractic manipulation can increase spinal range of motion, relieve nerve pressure, restore blood flow and reduce muscle tension. It is low risk and has a very good success rate.

Ultrasound and massage can help to restore blood flow and reduce muscle tension.

A specific exercise program designed to progressively stabilise the spine and increase flexibility, such as the Total Back Pain Solution, is often the only way to achieve long-term healing for most sufferers of a bulging spinal disc.

Hot and cold therapy, losing weight and quitting smoking are all known to be beneficial as well.

Once you understand that spinal problems like a disc bulge, or facet joint pain are all the end result of an underlying spinal instability, it becomes obvious that it is ultimately up to ourselves to protect our spine by looking after it correctly. Only by doing this and making a little effort can we look forward to a life that is not limited by whether by the level of our back pain.


                               Next Page: What Does Herniated Disc Lower Back Pain Feel Like?


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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Quickly Ease Back Pain Without Medication!



7 Key Things You Can Do Right Now To Ease Your Back Pain!


Back Pain Relief

When your back hurts, you want it to stop NOW! It’s not just the pain, but the way that back pain affects everything that you do. It can be very restricting and can limit the way you live. In short, it is just no fun having a sore back! Whilst these tips will only relieve your back pain temporarily until the underlying problem is corrected, they are the best way to ease back pain without having to take medication. They may seem overly simple, but believe me, they are easy techniques that work, and you can do them almost anywhere!


1. Go for a walk. Walking is our most natural movement. If you are able to walk without too much pain, this is the one thing that will start to improve your back pain quickly, particularly if you are suffering with low back pain.


2. Use ice packs. This is most useful if you have a recent back injury. Wrap something from your freezer (ice, frozen vegetables, an ice pack if you have one) in a small towel and apply it directly onto the painful area. It should feel cold, but not ‘freezing’ or painful. Leave the ice pack on for 10-15 minutes, but no longer. This can be repeated every hour.


3. Drink lots of water. The spinal discs like water. A lot of back pain comes from injury or damage to the spinal discs, being well hydrated keeps them happy!


4. Don’t sit! More and more research is showing that excessive sitting can be damaging our backs. It is important if you have a sedentary lifestyle that involves hours of sitting each day that you get up and give your back a rest regularly.


5. Rest lying on your back with your knees bent. This can be on your bed with a couple of pillows under your knees, or on the floor with your feet and lower legs up on a chair. This position takes all the stress and strain off your back.


6. Extend yourself! Standing up with your hands on your lower back, slowly arch backwards. Just go back a little way first, then come back up to your straight position. If you are comfortable with the movement you can repeat another 3 or 4 times gradually increasing the amount you arch back. NOTE: for some people this can aggravate your back pain, so it is very important to start with just a slight movement backwards, if there is any pain or discomfort, DO NOT CONTINUE.


7. Lastly: Do no H.A.R.M. Heat increases blood flow, which is good for chronic muscle spasm, but very bad for inflammation and swelling (see point 2). Alcohol also increases blood flow and will make inflammation worse. Running, or any kind of vigorous activity could further strain the injury. Massage can be very tempting, but again will increase blood flow and potentially do more damage to the injured tissue if applied in the first few days.



These simple techniques that you can do at home will start to ease your back pain quite quickly. Aside from helping you feel better, the steps outlined here are also critical to starting you on the way to a stronger and more flexible spine. As soon as you are able, it is time to start retraining you back to move well, and to move correctly using the specific exercises that you will learn in our Total Back Pain Solution course.

Remember that the pain is not the problem. The steps outlined here are purely for pain relief. If you want to fix your back pain you need to look into the Total Back Pain Solution that provides you with a step by step action plan to strengthen and stabilise your spine for good. Get started now!


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







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