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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Correct Posture Looks Great! Learn How To Correct Bad Posture With These Easy Home Exercises.


Correct Posture Looks Great!


'When the body is in optimal alignment, you will stand taller, feel better, look better,

and even your breathing becomes easier and deeper.'


Correct posture not only makes a good first impression, it also does wonders for your health and self confidence! Once you know how to correct bad posture with the easy home exercises below, you will see and feel the incredible difference that it makes!


Having a nice, upright posture is essential for looking and feeling good.  Standing tall and not slouching will automatically give your body a leaner, more attractive shape, as well as the ability to move better! And it is not that hard to achieve, just some simple exercises and the time for your body to change. Learning to use and move your body in a correct manner, so all its parts are in alignment, is really all there is to good posture. When the body is in optimal alignment, you will stand taller, look better, and your breathing also becomes easier and deeper.

Good posture also helps to prevent injury and ill health. If you have poor posture, your bones are not properly aligned and your muscles, joints and ligaments take more strain than nature intended. Faulty posture may cause you fatigue, muscle strain and in later stages, pain.  If your shoulders are slouched, there’s less room for your body’s internal organs, which hinders flow of oxygen into the body, affecting digestion, circulation, and other basic functions.

According to researchers reporting in the American Journal of Pain Management, "Posture affects and moderates every physiological function from breathing to hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse, and lung capacity are also among the functions influenced by posture."


One of the first things to pay attention to is how you stand.

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, making sure both legs are facing forward.

2. Your legs should be straight but your knees should not be locked.

3. Let your arms rest naturally at your sides.

4. Feel your weight being supported in the middle of each foot. You may want to see how it feels to rock onto the ball of your foot and then back on your heel. Finally, find a balance in the middle.

5. Press your shoulders down your back. A good way to do this is to take your shoulders up to your ears and then rolling them back to relax away from your neck.

6. Make sure your head is centred directly on the top of your spinal column.


The same applies to sitting.

Many of us spend more than half our waking life sitting in chairs behind desks. So finding a comfortable chair is essential for good posture. When you’re looking for a chair to support your back and allow a proper sitting posture, check for the following:

1. You should be able to place both of your feet flat on the floor.

2. The seat of the chair should support your entire thigh.

3. The back support of the chair should be as high as your shoulder blades.


 Easy Home Exercises For Better Posture.

 Chair exercises

Sitting straight, reach around to take hold of the back of your chair. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 2 minutes while taking long, deep breaths.

Health benefits: this move encourages flexibility of the muscles around the shoulder joints, shoulder blades, breastbones and spine. It can also help reduce shoulder pain and ease headaches.

Seated forward bend

From the sitting straight posture, bend your body forward so your torso is resting on your thighs. Your head and neck are relaxed, hanging loosely while your arms can rest on the ground or your elbows can be clasped with either hand. From this position, slowly rise with a flat back to sit up nice and tall. Repeat this movement 10 times.

Health benefits: This exercise releases tension in the shoulders and back while enhancing circulation. It also balances the joints of the shoulders and hips.

Simple twist

Clasp your hands behind your neck will pressing your elbows back so you feel a stretch in your chest and shoulder blades. Twist your torsos gently to the right, hold for three deep breathes then twist to the left for three breathes. Repeat on both sides 3-5 times. If you need to rest, come back to the centre, rest your hands on your knees and do some easy neck rolls, and then resume the exercise.

Health benefits: The twist realigns the spine and its surrounding muscles. It also helps to eliminate shoulder and back pain.

Standing exercise

With your feet hip-distance apart, stand with your head in line with your spine and stomach muscles pulled in. Think about standing correctly as described above, though your knees may be bent slightly. Drop your head down to your chest and let the curve continue into your shoulders and back, then slowly to your waist and hips, so your arms are hanging or your hands may be touching the ground. Stay in this position for a few long breaths. Then, one vertebra at a time, roll gently up. Keep your stomach tucked in and the muscles of your buttocks tightened as you roll up. Your head is the last to come up, directly in line with your spine. Repeat this exercise several times to get a feel for the proper alignment of your body.

 Prone exercise

Lie face down on the floor, keeping your neck straight, with your legs extended and arms straight overhead. Slowly raise your left arm and right leg about 6 inches (15 cm) off the ground. Hold for five seconds and lower. Repeat with the right arm and left leg. Repeat five times on each side.

Supine exercise

Lie on your back. Bend your knees and draw them into your chest to stretch the lumbar vertebrae. Place your feet back on the floor, keeping your knees bent and your entire lumbar back and pelvis in contact with the floor. Lay your arms across your chest and clutch your ribs while rocking from side to side to elongate your torso. Move your hands to the back of your head and pull forward to lengthen your cervical spine. Gently lower your head and neck to the floor.

No Back Pain


These simple exercises will only take you a few minutes a day to do. If you continue to do the exercises daily for around 4-6 weeks, you (and your friends!) will actually see your posture start to change. But you will start to feel much better for doing the exercises a lot quicker!! Make it a part of your daily routine (like brushing your teeth) and enjoy the benefits!


Remember that regular activity and exercise are essential to naturally promote good posture. Walking, swimming, dancing or bicycling will help your body stay aerobically conditioned, will strengthening exercises will help the muscles surrounding your back stay strong. These benefits of exercise promote good posture, which will in turn further help to condition muscles, prevent injury and keep you looking and feeling great.


Also check out our Total Back Pain Solution for naturally treating your own back pain right at home!


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.


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.


Spondylolisthesis In The Lumbar Spine? You Can Treat It Right At Home!


Spondylolisthesis In The Lumbar Spine


Spondylolisthesis in the lumbar spine occurs when one of the spinal lumbar vertebra slips forward on the one below. It can also occur in the neck (cervical vertebra), but is much more common in the lower back.

In some cases spondylolisthesis can lead to compression of the spinal cord and/or the spinal nerves. This may cause back leg pain as well as possible numbness or tingling in the legs. Often the symptoms are hard to distinguish from spinal disc problems. Bad cases of spondylolisthesis can affect bowel and bladder function, and you should see a health professional if this is the case. Luckily most cases of spondylolisthesis in the lumbar spine can be easily treated right in your own home using some simple exercises. Read on!




spondyWhat Is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is the result of fractures in the pars interarticularis (towards the back or posterior aspect of the vertebra) that allows the vertebral body to slip forwards on the one below. It is known to be a fairly common cause of lower back and leg pain in younger adults and teens as the result of a spinal fracture, and in older adults as a result of degenerative change in the spine. It is usually graded from 1 to 5 depending on the amount of forward slippage. Spondylolisthesis is often due to hyper-extension (backwards bending) injuries of the spine. It is commonly seen in gymnasts and other sports people.






Spondylolisthesis can be classified in to 5 different types or causes.

1.Isthmic. This is the most common form of spondylolisthesis and is estimated to affect 5-7{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} of the population, although it mostly does not cause any symptoms. It occurs when there is a small fracture in the pars interarticularis, a part of the bone at the back of the spinal vertebra.

This fracture is not usually a result of a trauma, but rather it is caused by an accumulation of stress on the bone and rarely will cause pain when it happens. Isthmic spondylolisthesis usually occurs at quite a young age (between 5 and 16 years of age), but may go unnoticed until you are an adult.

It is more common in sports, particularly gymnastics and weight lifting.

2. Degenerative. Degenerative change of the spinal facet joints can lead to instability and weakening of the Ligamentum Flavum, allowing the affected vertebra to slide forward on the one below.

3. Traumatic. Occurs very rarely when there is an acute fracture to the spinal vertebra, other than at the pars interarticularis.

4. Pathological. As a result of damage to the vertebra due to bone disease such as tumours, metastases, or Paget’s disease.

5. Dysplastic. A rare congenital condition due to malformation of the spine.


Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis.

The most common symptom of spondylolisthesis is lower back pain. This is often worse after exercise, especially activities that involve extension (leaning backwards) of the lumbar spine.

Leg pain is also common, especially pain that runs from the lower back to the buttocks and down the backs of the legs.

Other symptoms may include tightness of the hamstrings and decreased range of motion of the lower back. It may even cause difficulty walking.

Some patients can develop numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs due to nerve compression.

Severe compression of the nerves can cause loss of control of bowel or bladder function, or cauda equina syndrome. This is considered a medical emergency, and you should seek medical attention.


How To Treat Spondylolisthesis At Home

Try these simple exercises that are well known to help relieve back pain caused by spondylolisthesis.


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.




3. Planks. Building abdominal strength helps to give some stability to your spine, and prevents over-extension.  Basically, you need to hold still in a push-up position. Start kneeling on the floor on your hands and knees. Keep both shoulder width apart. If you have not done these before, slowly walk your hands out until your body is in a straight line, hands below the shoulders. You can hold it here, or come down to rest on your elbows, keeping them directly below the shoulders. Keep your body straight and rigid, like a plank or a bridge (see where the name comes from!).


Sit ups4. Sit-ups.  Sit-ups are great for really getting your abs strong. Lying on the floor as above, lift your upper body (head and shoulders) off the floor by curling up. Don’t try to lift to high, just enough to get your shoulders slightly off the floor. Repeat 10 times. You can do more sets of 10 as you get better!



These simple exercises can make a real difference if you are suffering with spondylolisthesis in the lumbar 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 for a complete spinal rehabilitation program. It has been developed to specifically restore long term spinal functional integrity. You can beat back pain, and for good!


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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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.



Spinal Discs. Are They Causing your Back Pain?




 Spinal Discs. Are They Causing your Back Pain?

Chronic low back pain that originates from the spinal disc is very common. In fact it is estimated that spinal discs account for up to 45% of all back pain. That's a lot when you consider that 80% of the population will suffer from back pain at some point!

But what are discs, and how do you even know if it actually is the problem that is causing your back pain?
It wasn't that long ago that any time you had lower back pain, it would have been diagnosed as a 'slipped disc'. It was the most common throw around phrase to describe back pain, and it is also entirely incorrect.

Firstly, we need to clear up that the spinal discs do not 'slip'. It is anatomically impossible for the disc to slip out of place, not even a millimetre. However they can degenerate, develop tears, bulges and even herniations.

What do Spinal Discs Look Like, And What Is Their Function.

The spinal discs are a unique structure. They are round(ish) in shape, with a flat top and bottom that attach securely to the vertebra above and below. The discs consist of 2 parts, a tough outer ring (anulus fibrosis) and a softer, fibrous inner  component (nucleus pulposus). 

There are 23 spinal discs in our spinal column. Their primary function is to act as a shock absorber between the bones in our spine (the vertebra) to stop them banging or rubbing against each other. They also hold the vertebra together and allow movement between them.

The spinal disc itself has very few nerve endings and no blood supply. Without a blood supply the disc is unable to repair itself, and this means that pain coming from a damaged disc can last for years.
There are several different problems that can occur in the disc to cause back pain, and they can cause differing symptoms as well.


 Disc problems can generally be categorised as either:



Degenerative Disc Disease

Bulging Disc

Herniated Disc

Thinning discs and osteophyte formation are a progression of Degenerative Disc Disease.





Unfortunately, spinal disc problems are often misunderstood for a variety of reasons.

Health professionals often have a hard time agreeing on causes of pain related to the spinal disc. Patients have a hard time understanding this complicated medical topic. On top of all that, there are many different terms used to describe disc related pain (slipped disc, pinched nerve, sciatica, bulging disc, etc.) No wonder it gets so confusing, and that's just for the doctors!

It's also important to note that you can actually have a problem with the disc (such as degeneration or a bulge) and not have any pain at all. In fact a relatively high percentage of the population over the age of 40  has a disc disorder that can be seen with MRI studies (disc bulges and annular tears are very common). This does not mean that you will experience pain or any other symptom.

The following pages cover the different disc categories in more detail.


Next Page: Degenerative Disc Disease


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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Degenerative Disc Disease




Degenerative Disc Disease


As we age, the spinal discs start to dehydrate (the discs are 80{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} water at birth! Learn more about spinal discs here). As a result of this loss of water over time, the discs start to stiffen. This means they are less able to adjust to the compression forces of every day activities. Although this is considered a part of the natural ageing process, in some individuals, it can cause pain. 

This is known as Degenerative Disc Disease, and it is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. However it is also the most misunderstood.

That is partly because few medical professionals agree on exactly what a diagnosis of Degenerative Disc Disease means, and also when exactly, it is the cause of back pain. The symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease can be quite varied, and this just makes it even more difficult to diagnose.

Maybe not surprisingly, Degenerative Disc Disease is almost universal in the population. The discs can start to show degenerative changes as early as in our 20’s. Most people will have varying degrees of mild to moderate Degenerative Disc Disease by the time they are in their 30’s. Some are even severe by this age. 

Strangely though, not everyone experiences pain. One person may have crippling pain, whilst someone else may have no pain at all. This is one of the difficulties of knowing when, and how to treat Degenerative Disc Disease.


Signs of Degenerative Disc Disease:

Although it varies widely, signs of Degenerative Disc Disease generally follow a pattern.

  • Pain in the midline (not off to one side)
  • Intermittent back pain (flares up from time to time) but generally does not get worse over time.
  • Pain is often worse with weight bearing, and improves with lying down.
  • Pain aggravated by physically demanding activity.
  • Pain aggravated by forward bending, particularly for extending time periods (sitting, working at a bench).


The pain from Degenerative Disc Disease is due to a combination of inflammation and instability of the spinal segment (which puts further stress on the surrounding tissues).

As the discs degenerate, they lose water and start to shrink, losing height and the ability to flex and absorb pressure. This process is often sped up as a result of poor posture, sedentary lifestyle, lots of sitting, and incorrect movement patterns. It is even worse if there has been an injury, particularly if a twisting injury has damaged the disc at some point.

The shrinking disc is a telling sign of Degenerative Disc Disease. It is easily visualised on X-rays, where you can see a decrease in the space for the disc (as seen at the white arrow below, compared to a healthy disc at the black arrow).


Disc x-ray



 Treatment options for Degenerative Disc Disease.

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

Spinal surgery, usually fusion, has unreliable outcomes and a long recovery time. Surgical intervention of any kind is fraught with risks and can lead to further complications down the line. In severe cases this may be the only option, but all other possible avenues should be tried first.

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 is often the only way to achieve long-term healing for most sufferers of Degenerative Disc Disease.

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


Next Page: Bulging Discs



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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Facet Joint Pain or Facet Syndrome




Facet Syndrome, or Facet Joint Pain


Facet Joint Pain (also known as Facet Syndrome) can be debilitating. The patient can be in severe pain and have difficulty moving. It can be extremely unpleasant to say the least!

Although it is one of the main causes of back pain, facet joint pain only accounts for 5 – 10{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} of all back pain. But this increases to nearly 45{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} if you are between fifty and sixty years of age.

Facet joint pain usually starts with a sudden onset, and often as a result of a specific activity. Sports and movements that involve rotating or twisting are common causes of facet joint pain (such as tennis and golf).

Often the patient will say something along the lines of ‘I just bent over to pick up my shoe, and my back went and I couldn’t move!’


So What Are Facet Joints?

The facet joints sit at the back of the spine (the spinal discs sit at the front aspect of the spine). The facet joints are synovial joints. Just like your knee or the knuckles in your hand, they allow movement between two bones. In the case of facet joints, this is the movement between each vertebra.

In a synovial joint, the ends of the bone are covered in cartilage, like you would see at the end of a chicken bone. This shiny smooth tissue allows the bones to slide against each other almost friction free. The joint is held together by ligaments and a joint capsule. The inside of the joint cavity contains synovial fluid, like all synovial joints. This fluid lubricates the joint for smooth movement.

Most of our spinal movements (bending, reaching, twisting) occur thanks to our facet joints. They come in very handy!


What Is Facet Joint Pain?

The facet joints can be become injured, and therefore inflamed, as a result of injury or arthritis. Injury usually results from the joint being over stretched as a result of a twisting or reaching movement.

Arthritis, which can be seen on X-ray, CT scan or MRI, is result of degeneration of the joint. It is my belief that degenerative change is the result of chronic inflammation due to the facet joint not moving correctly (incorrect movement patterns). This is usually the result of a previous injury to the joint.

I want to point out again that is very hard to isolate exactly what is causing your back pain, as different causes often have the same symptoms and usually there is more than one culprit at play simultaneously.

However, typical signs of facet joint pain are:

  • The pain is on one side only. Often the patient can point exactly to the involved facet joint.
  • The pain had a sudden onset with a specific movement or activity. If you are over fifty, the pain may have come on more gradually.
  • The pain is worse if you lean backwards (or extend your spine).
  • Stiffness or difficulty getting out of a chair.
  • Dull pain into the buttocks or leg (but never past the knee).
  • Increased pain when you twist your back, like turning to look over your shoulder.

A common diagnostic tool for facet joint pain is to inject the joint with a local anaesthetic and an anti-inflammatory. This often brings immediate welcome relief.

However this test is notoriously inaccurate and does not have much scientific proof! So what do you do?

When I diagnose facet joint pain it is using a thorough history and physical examination. But you can never be 100{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} sure, even with X-rays and the like.

If it looks like facet joint pain, then it probably is. But don’t rule out other possible contributing factors!



Treatment of Facet Joint Pain.

The most common medical approach, often after a diagnoses from injecting anaesthetic, is to inject steroids into the facet joint to reduce inflammation. This has mixed degrees of success in relieving the pain, and if successful it is usually short-lived (because it doesn’t fix the CAUSE of the facet injury). Steroid injections are also fraught with complications. Leg numbness and an increased risk of osteoporosis are known side-effects.

Another medical approach is Facet Rhizotomy or radiofrequency denervation or ablating. Basically, burning the delicate nerves to the facet joint! This has varying results at best, plus you want to be 100{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} sure of the diagnoses before you start killing nerves! They are there for a reason.

Physical Therapy. Although there is not a lot of research to support it, chiropractic adjustment (or manipulation) to restore normal movement to the facet joint is widely known to be a very effective method of treating facet joint pain. There is some research that suggests patients recover quicker, and enjoy longer lasting results under chiropractic care. For some this might be controversial, but I personally would rather try more natural avenues before I burn off some important bits, or put any risky chemicals in my body!

At the end of the day, facet joint pain is probably a lot more common than the 5-10{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} mentioned above. If you have injured a facet joint, the steps to recovery are essentially the same as for any back problem. Reduce inflammation, then strengthen and stabilise the area through following a suitable exercise plan. Simple as that.


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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