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How to sleep: Avoid snoozing in this position if you suffer with back or neck pain

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO sleep: The position you sleep in can have a big impact on your quality of slumber, as well as how you feel when you wake up. Particularly if you have back, shoulder or neck pain, certain ways of laying in bed are better than others.

Sleep is important when it comes to our physical health – not having enough can put you in a bad mood and result in lack of focus.

If poor sleep becomes a recurring thing, you can be at risk of serious medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes, according to the NHS.

The hot weather can be one cause of a restless night’s sleep, but another is back pain.The three most popular sleep positions are on person’s back, their front, and their side – but which is best when you want to reduce painful symptoms?

Phenergran Night Time has revealed the pros and cons of these three sleep positions, and which one’s the worst for back pain.

The best sleep position for back pain is on your back.

But sleeping on your back may promote snoring and is not suitable if you suffer acid reflux or sleep apnea.

Sleeping on your side is most suitable for pregnancy. It relieves pressure on internal organs, but may put pressure on the lower back and shoulders.

If back pain isn’t your primary concern, the answer may lie in a simple 30 minute bedtime routine.

How to sleep: Avoid snoozing in this position if you suffer with back or neck painGETTY

How to sleep: Avoid snoozing in a particular position if you suffer with back or neck pain

How to sleep: Avoid snoozing in this position if you suffer with back or neck painGETTY

How to sleep: Sleeping on your front is not suitable for back pain

With almost one in five people admitting they feel tired everyday due to a lack of sleep, sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley shares the six things you should do in the 30 minutes before bed to help you re-establish a good sleep routine.

30 minutes
Use that last half hour to prepare for sleep and start by completing any final tasks for the day. Send that last email, pay that gas bill you’ve been meaning to pay all day and try and put aside any cares and concerns you have. Write down your worries and your to do list for tomorrow and then that’s it. Research conducted by Baylor University in Texas discovered that people who took 5 minutes to write down their to do lists before bed found it easier to drop off to sleep.

25 minutes
Reduce your exposure to blue light – blue light is known to suppress the release of melatonin, which is the body’s signal that it is time for sleep. Therefore, using screens before bed will disrupt sleep. Research shows that nearly 1 in 5 of us check social media before going to bed so try and put your phone, laptop or tablet down, and if you need to use your phone for your morning alarm then turn it over, or pop it in your bedside drawer to avoid being disturbed. However, it is not just blue light that can affect our sleep, it has been shown that even ‘paper white’ screens can also be disturbing, so avoid light levels above a normal lightbulb.

20 minutes
Do brush your teeth and remove your make-up well in advance of getting in to bed, so that you are not left feeling alert at the time you want to be relaxing into bed. This can also act as a cue that the body should be preparing itself for sleep.

How to sleep: Avoid snoozing in this position if you suffer with back or neck painGETTY

How to sleep: Sleeping on your back is best for back pain

15 minutes
Take a 5-minute hot shower. Not only is this relaxing, but by heating the periphery of our body it actually helps us cool down. This is important because in order to get good sleep we need to lose about 1oC of body temperature. Only 12 per cent of people have a bath or a shower before they go to sleep so give it a go and see if it makes a difference.

10 minutes
Conclude any activities you need to do before getting in to bed, such as visiting the bathroom so that you’re not having to get in and out of bed to run to the toilet. A staggering 42 per cent of people say they don’t get enough sleep because they need the toilet in the night so make this one of the last things you do before bed.

5 minutes
Bed means sleep and at the end of the 30 minutes it is time for bed – no more chatting to your partner or scrolling through Facebook! The bed should be for sleeping only and so when you get into it, it should be with the sole purpose of going to sleep and nothing else

Opioid Overdose Deaths Linked to Chronic Pain Diagnoses

More than 60% of Americans who died from an opioid overdose suffered from chronic non-cancer-related pain. Furthermore, it was found that they had also filled an opioid prescription (49%), and in some cases, seen a doctor, in the month before they died.

These findings were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry (Service Use Preceding Opioid-Related Fatality) in late November 2017. Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) studied 13,089 adults under 65 years of age in the Medicaid program in 45 states, who died of an overdose between 2001 and 2007.

Many of those who overdosed also struggled with depression or anxiety. In the year before their death, more than half of individuals studied filled prescriptions for opioids and/or benzodiazepines (sedatives or depressants), and many had filled prescriptions for both. Researchers emphasize the fact that the frequent concurrence of chronic pain and mental health conditions can result in the danger of combining the 2 types of drugs, leading to issues like “respiratory depression,” or life-threatening shallow breathing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of Americans who died from an opioid overdose has quadrupled from 1999 to 2015. In March 2016, the CDC released opioid prescribing guidelines, recommending that prescribers reduce the use of opioids in favor of safer alternatives, like physical therapy. Physical therapists treat pain through movement and exercise and partner with patients to improve or maintain their mobility and quality of life.

The American Physical Therapy Association has launched a national campaign to raise awareness about the risks of long-term use of prescription opioids for pain and physical therapy as a safe, nondrug alternative to manage pain.

Can Massage Therapy Help Your Back Pain?

Massage for Back Pain

Can Massage Therapy Help Your Back Pain?

For most of us, the answer is probably ‘yes’, since massage is non-invasive and considered very low risk for most people. In addition to physical benefits, certain types of massage have been shown to help psychologically via relaxation and increased production of ‘feel good’ chemicals that the body naturally produces (endorphins)–helpful for people with both acute back pain and chronic back pain. This post describes why massage may be right for you.

Benefits of Massage
Massage therapy is becoming more widely accepted in the medical community as a credible treatment for many types of back pain and/or as an adjunct to other medical treatments. Research shows that massage therapy has several potential health benefits for back pain sufferers, including:

Increased blood flow and circulation, which brings needed nutrition to muscles and tissues. This aids in recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity or soft tissue injury (such as muscle strain).
Decreased tension in the muscles. This muscle relaxation can improve flexibility, reduce pain caused by tight muscles and even improve sleep.
Increased endorphin levels–the “feel good” chemicals in the brain. This mood enhancer can ease depression and anxiety, which can help reduce pain and speed recovery–particularly important for those suffering from chronic back or neck problems.


Massage Therapy May Help Numerous Back Problems

Many healthcare providers say they will encourage their patients to pursue massage therapy in addition to medical treatment. If appropriate, you may want to ask your physician for a referral to a massage therapy professional in your area. Additionally, the American Massage Therapy Association website has a directory of trained and licensed massage therapy professionals at http://www.amtamassage.org.

There are numerous back problems that may benefit from massage therapy, including:

Muscle strain in the lower back or upper back/neck. Most episodes of acute lower back pain are caused by muscle strain, such as from lifting a heavy object, a sudden movement or a fall. The low back pain can be very severe and last for several hours, several days or even a few weeks. When back muscles are strained or torn, the area around the muscles can become inflamed. With inflammation, the muscles in the back can spasm and cause both severe lower back pain and difficulty moving. The large upper back muscles are also prone to irritation, either due to de-conditioning (lack of strength) or overuse injuries (such as repetitive motions). Upper back pain may also be due to a specific event, such as a muscle strain, sports injury, or auto accident. Massage can help work out the spasm/irritation and improve range of motion.

Osteoarthritis of the spine. Spinal arthritis is the breakdown of the cartilage between the aligning facet joints in the back portion of the spine. The facet joints become inflamed and progressive joint degeneration creates more frictional pain as bone rubs on bone. Therapeutic massage can help reduce osteoarthritis pain by improving circulation and reducing stress and muscle tension. However, it is important to find a professional who is specifically trained in treating people with arthritis.
Fibromyalgia can affect people differently, but is usually characterized by pain, stiffness, fatigue and/or non-restorative sleep. The patient typically feels both widespread pain and pain in specific “tender points” as evidenced by physical examination. Massage can target both the tender points and the more broadly distributed pain and stiffness.
Although massage is relatively safe, it is always advisable for patients to first check with their doctor before beginning massage therapy or any other treatment. There are some contraindications for massage therapy, such as (but not limited to): recent surgery; infectious skin disease, rash, or unhealed wound; varicose veins; and osteoporosis.


Massage Therapy Treatments for Back and Neck Pain–What’s Involved

One question patients often ask is: What kind of massage should I try? For overall relaxation and circulation, many patients find the Swedish massage technique helpful. This technique is characterized by long gliding strokes and kneading motions. For specific pain points, such as a lower back muscle strain, the American Academy of Pain Management recognizes neuromuscular therapy (also called trigger point myotherapy) as an effective treatment. Shiatsu massage is a popular technique that utilizes some of the elements of neuromuscular therapy.

With neuromuscular therapy, the therapist applies alternating levels of concentrated pressure (10-30 seconds) on the areas of muscle spasm. The patient will feel some pain or discomfort from the pressure, but the muscle spasm should be lessened after the massage. Any soreness from the pressure should fade in 1 to 3 days, and the muscles that were worked should be less tight for a week or two afterwards. A typical massage therapy program for muscle spasms consists of four sessions over 6 weeks.

Alternatives to Hands-on Massage
What if periodic appointments with a massage therapist just aren’t practical for you? Due to things like busy schedules, travel times to a good massage therapist in your area, or personal privacy, getting a hands-on massage may just not work for your lifestyle. While not an exact substitute for human touch, there may be alternatives. There are many therapeutic products available for use in the home, such as hand-held massagers and massage pillows, which are designed with the goal of mimicking some of the techniques used by massage therapists. For people who have experienced significant pain relief from massage and are interested in investing in a product that delivers overall, massage-like benefits, a massage chair may be an option. Most massage chairs are designed to mimic the Shiatsu and Swedish massage techniques, making them potentially helpful for specific pain points in the back or neck and for overall relaxation.

Final Thoughts
Patients with severe back pain should be checked by medical personnel before beginning massage therapy, and patients should always obtain an accurate medical diagnosis for the cause of their back pain prior to beginning a new treatment such as massage therapy to rule out potentially serious conditions. Many massage therapy professionals will work as part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team for patient evaluation and treatment.

7 Reasons To Use Physical Therapy For Chronic Pain

If you haven’t tried physical therapy before, you may wonder how it could help relieve your chronic pain.

A physical therapist can show you how to perform exercises to will help ease chronic pain.

Physical therapy uses a variety of approaches to tackle pain/chronic pain and boost physical functioning, and is often recommended as part of pain management.

What Physical Therapy Offers
These are seven ways physical therapy can help with chronic pain:

1. Individualized treatment. Physical therapy is all about you. You and the therapist will go over the various aspects of your pain the first time you meet. If you’re anxious about some aspect of physical therapy, this is the time to bring it up. It’s also a great time to bring up any specific goals you have. Maybe you’d like to walk longer distances or ride your bike again, for instance. The more open you can be about problem areas and goals, the better. Once you’ve reviewed everything, the therapist will develop a program tailored specifically to your needs.

2. Safe moves. It’s natural to be cautious in your movement when you’re hurting, but physical activity is needed to decrease stiffness, ease pain, and enhance your overall functional ability. Having a physical therapist direct and monitor your movements will dispel your worries about injuring yourself, allowing you to safely push yourself beyond what you could do independently.

3. An opportunity to avoid surgery. Physical therapy is a nonsurgical treatment often recommended to patients before considering surgery. The combination of manual therapies, specific functional strengthening exercise, stretches, and modalities can often relieve pain and improve functional ability so well that surgery is avoided.

4. Hands-on pain relief. Manual therapy is often used in skilled physical therapy– it involves pressure applied to targeted areas of the body to improve tissue extensibility; increase range of motion, and mobilize soft tissue and joints in effort to reduce pain.

5. Strategies to ease pain. Physical therapists are often a good resource to help you understand physiological factors and neuroscience involved in your pain. They are also able to suggest some ergonomic tweaks to your workstation and/or explain how tobacco use or alcohol could make your pain worse.

6. Support and encouragement. Working closely with someone focused on relieving your pain can offer both a physical and mental boost. Chronic pain can be an isolating experience, and it’s nice to know you’re not alone.

7. Control over your pain. Knowing that there is a way to reduce and manage your pain on your own, without medicines or surgery, can give you a sense of control. That sense of control can ease the release of stress hormones, further reducing pain.

Physical therapy sessions generally run from about 20 minutes to an hour, and usually include more than one visit per week. Over time, most people learn exercises and stretches to perform independently at home, and formal physical therapy appointments are no longer needed.

The Tips You And Your Kids Need To Stay Safe While Playing Sports

It’s no secret that playing sports and other forms of exercise are beneficial to your body and mind. However, all sports and exercise activities come with the risk of injury. While such risks shouldn’t keep you from doing what you love, they should remind you that steps can be taken to prevent and treat injuries as small as blisters and as large as broken bones. These tips for keeping yourself and your little ones safe while exercising and playing sports will ensure you enjoy many more seasons of fun on the field, at the ski hill, in the water and all of the other places you love to play.

1. Know Your Limits

One of the simplest and most important ways to prevent injuries in sports is to know your capabilities and advance them slowly. Start every exercise session with a warmup, and then proceed to exercise within your capabilities, and encourage your kids and workout partners to do the same. Don’t start with a 5-mile run if you haven’t run in decades, and don’t hit jumps on your skis before you’ve mastered downhill turns. The most common sports injuries result from doing too much activity too quickly, overestimating ability levels, pushing your body too hard, and using incorrect techniques.

2. Speak Up and Encourage Others to Do the Same

It’s easy to ignore the symptoms of athletic injuries, and young athletes may not feel comfortable being honest about what hurts. Sit your kids down before they start playing sports, and explain that they need to be open about pain or symptoms they feel before, during or after playing. Adults can be even more stubborn than young athletes, so be honest with yourself about what hurts, and consult a professional about sports injury treatment before the problem gets worse.

The “no pain, no gain,” theory to achieving your sports and workout goals will only exacerbate your pain and muscle or joint-related problems. Sports injury prevention starts with understanding that you feel pain for a reason, and it’s usually because your body is warning you about possible sports-related injuries.

3. Don’t Over Exercise

We all know that parent who pushes his or her kid’s athletic abilities too far. Yet what many don’t consider is that adults also push themselves too far. Young and old athletes often focus on one or two sports, overusing the same muscles day after day. According to personal health writer Jane Brody, children under age 8, should take part in organized games or practices for no longer than one hour and no more than three days a week. Kids ages 9 through 12, should only do so for a maximum of one and a half hours, four days a week; and kids over age 13 should not practice or play organized games for more than two hours, four days a week.

Parents should be just as cautious about overworking their muscles as their youngsters, and the days between each practice, game or workout session should be used for recovery and rest.

4. Understand Your Exercise Environment

Taking part in athletics is fun, and it makes you and your young athletes feel good. However, your desire to take part in every game or workout session shouldn’t lead you to making irrational decisions about safety. Professional athletes are careful to adapt to new environments before practicing or competing, and that’s a practice you should instill in yourself and your kids. Working out in an air-conditioned gym every day, then running outdoors on a humid, 85-degree day, is an easy way to cause heat stroke — a heat-related injury that can be fatal.

Understand your and your child’s tolerance for heat and always keep plenty of drinks nearby when exercising. Check with event supervisors to ensure water, ice and cold towels are available for athletes.

5. Don’t Do It Alone

You’re not expected to be an EMT or know all of the ins and outs of sports medicine or sports therapy when getting yourself or your kids involved in sports. However, you should always have an expert you can call on your side.

Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center is home to the sports injury rehabilitation and sports physiotherapy experts you want on your family’s side. You can find us in Warrenton (540) 347-9220 and Gainesville (703) 743-2814, and same- or next-day appointments are available.

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