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, HealthySpines.org 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.

 

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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Two Easy Exercises For Plantar Fasciitis That Really Work!

 

 

Two Easy Exercises For Plantar Fasciitis That Really Work!

 

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

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

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

 

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

The main things that will cause this excessive load are:

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

 

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

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

 

Exercises For Plantar Fasciitis.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Achilles Stretch

 

Do both the icing and the stretching twice a day.

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Repeat 5 times. Two very important things to remember:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

References:

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

And,

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

You can read the full article here.

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

And you are probably doing it right now!

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

Bad sitting posture

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

Bad Posture1. Sitting for too long.

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

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

 

2. Twisting movements.

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

1. When it is repetitive, and

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

 

 

3. Over-reaching.

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

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

 

 

 

4. Not lifting correctly.

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

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

 

 

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

Washing Dishes

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

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

 

6. Sleeping in a Twisted Position.

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is Back Pain Serious?

 

 

 

Is Back Pain Serious?

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Serious underlying spinal conditions that may cause back pain include:

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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