Monthly Archives: May 2016

A Day Without Back Pain

A Day Without Back Pain

Back pain is a slow killer; at one moment in your life it creeps into your system, you then learn to live with it. Slowly it is getting worse and one day you may reach a point of no return when surgery is imminent. Do not let this happen!

It is time to set a goal: “I want to have a day without back pain within 2 weeks”.
Great! Now all you need is a plan on how to achieve this.

Here is a 5-step plan on how to improve your back’s condition.

1    Assessment
Where does my back hurt? When, constantly or only after certain movements?
If you experience a constant pain that radiates to other parts of your body it is time for immediate action: pick up the phone and call a chiropractor or an osteopath. You may have or be very close to having a herniated disk or a pinched sciatic nerve.
In early stages a herniated disk and sciatica can be treated very effectively with correct exercises. Find a therapeutic yoga or restorative alignment class. Do it today!!

If you have an intermittent pain, a pain that comes and goes, you can continue with the following steps.

2    Walk, walk, walk!
I am serious, literally walk wherever and whenever you can!
Walking involves all the muscles of your back and pelvis and with every step your vertebrae and pelvic bones move.
When moving muscles receive fresh blood and release tension. Each step you take sends a little shockwave up your body that may knock vertebrae or a misaligned SI-joint back to their correct position.
Walk when taking phone calls, park your car a few blocks from your work and walk the last part, go for short walks during every little break you have.

3    Use a pillow
If you have lower back pain and you sleep on your side, a pillow between your knees – or if you sleep on your back, a pillow under your knees – does wonders.
Use a small firm pillow in your lower back while driving or when sitting on a chair or couch.
For upper back pain or neck pain you might feel improvement when you change your pillow or leave it out altogether. Try one of those pillows with roll-like raised sides for neck support.

4    Exercise
Often the cause of back pain is when too little muscle mass has to do all the work.
Start doing regular exercises to strengthen the muscles of your back and to build muscle mass; go to the gym or join a yoga class. Take it slow! Don’t let yourself get carried away in competition or enthusiasm.

A great exercise for your back is hanging from a branch, a high bar or from the back of an open staircase. It has to be high enough to be able to hang with your whole body straight and relaxed. Do this for a few seconds, later maybe a minute, as long as your fingers can hold on. Relax the muscles of your back, let the weight of your legs elongate your spine and breathe. Careful! Strongly activate your abdominal muscles, compacting your body, when coming back down on your feet.

5    Do the right movements
– Lift or pick up things (and grandchildren) as close to your body as possible. Bend your knees, keep your back straight, and activate your abdominal muscles, fixating spinal movement. Like this you prevent disk injuries.
Always completely turn your body towards the thing you are picking up.

– To stand up from a chair or couch first sit on the front edge, pull your feet as near as possible, and put your hands on your upper legs, elbows out. Now bend your upper body forward keeping your back straight, activate your abdominal muscles, and in a rocking movement push yourself up using both the strength of your arms and legs.
To sit down reverse the process.

– When doing seated work try sitting on the front edge of the chair with your back straight, without using the backrest. When this tires you, use a small firm pillow in your lower back as support.

– When gardening; Plant your vegetables and flowers in narrow beds to avoid over-reaching. You might even consider raised beds. Work in short sessions, get up often and walk about to enjoy the beauty around you 🙂

– Playing golf is risky for your back. When putting the ball on the tee or lifting up your golf bag, bend your knees and not your back. Make sure to activate your abdominal muscles before the swing and ease out of it by looking after the ball.
Do warming up exercises!

 

I greatly appreciate your feedback!
Please leave your comment, or if you want to share another tip, in the comment box below. ⬇

The BackMitra Pillow for a tight and rounded upper back

improve rounded and stiff upper back - BackMitra pillow
The pillow is designed to be mounted on top of the BackMitra® and suits the needs of those with tight and rounded upper backs. With the help of the pillow the neck can be stretched to a fuller extent, facilitating a more effective BackMitra® experience.

support for forward neck position - BackMitra Pillow
fig. 1

Place the pillow with the logo turned upwards onto the BackMitra in such a way that it supports the back of the head. This prevents the chin from lifting up during the exercises, helping to relieve the restricted feeling in the neck.

 

According to the needs of your back and neck you can choose between 2 heights by turning the pillow a quarter.

kyphosis treatment - BackMitra Pillow
fig. 2

Start using the pillow in the lower position (fig. 1).

If you still feel your chin is pointing upward you better use the high position (fig. 2). This position is recommended initially in cases of kyphosis or forward neck posture.

 

5 great tips to grow taller

5 Step Plan to Grow Taller

Did you know that in the morning you are a few centimeters taller than in the evening?
According to medical science this is due to re-absorption of liquid into the spinal disks during the night. During the day the disks lose their fluid bit by bit due to compression caused by the weight they are bearing, resulting in a shortening of the spinal column.
What no one mentions though is that part of the gain in height during the night is due to improvement in posture. While you are sleeping the muscles of your back and neck relax and unlearn the wrong posture they are submitted to during the day.

The question is: How we can make these few extra centimeters permanent?

1. How much can I gain?
– Perform this simple test.
Needed: A tape measure.
Time: In the evening before going to bed.
Stand in a doorway in a normal and relaxed position and measure the free space above your head. Write down the number. Now stand with your back against the side of the doorway, push your back against it and stretch the back of your neck by moving your chin to your chest. Now measure again and write down the number.
The difference in these two numbers is the height you can gain!
In the next steps you’ll find out what you can do to make this gain permanent.

2. Drink!
To counteract the loss of spinal disk fluid you have to make sure your body stays hydrated. Drink lots of water, but don’t overdo it; 2 liters (about 4 pints US) in moderate climates is more than enough.
Here are some alternatives to boring (c)old water:
Fresh fruit juice, herbal tea, aguas frescas (Did you ever try cucumber-lime? My absolute favorite!), kombucha, chia seed soaked in water, a cup of soup, or eat an apple, a mandarin or an orange.
No, coffee and alcoholic beverages are not on this list. They de-hydrate the body!
Tip! Try drinking a glass of lukewarm water and you’ll notice it goes down a lot easier than cold water.

3. Take a nap!
During a nap the muscles of your back and neck are relieved of the burden of wrong posture and get a chance to reset to their relaxed state. The spinal disks don’t have to bear load and will re-absorb fluid.
Try getting into a habit of taking short power naps. Not too long, just 5 to 10 minutes. Any longer and you’ll get into deep sleep and you will feel exhausted after waking up.

4. Work on your posture!
Taking regular walks, stretching up, adapting your working space, exercising and using a pillow can all contribute to improve your posture and in this way contribute to a permanent gain in your height. In my first blog post you can find some tips on how to improve your posture.

5. Stand Tall!
Let’s examine what is keeping us from standing tall.
Apart from examining pure physical factors I dare you to look the most important one straight into the eye: lack of self-esteem.
Here is a simple but very powerful exercise to help you grow. Repeat these phrases during your day. Really, try it for 2 weeks! You will be astonished with the result.

Monday: “I claim this space”

Tuesday: “I am OK!”

Wednesday: “What I think matters”

Thursday: “I will participate”

Friday: “I will look into your eyes”

Saturday: “I am beautiful”

Sunday: Well done! You’ve worked very hard this week and can take the entire day off 🙂

 

I greatly appreciate your feedback!
If you have any comments, or if you have another tip please leave it in the comment box below. ⬇