Your Health Archives - Northwest Pain Relief Centers

Tag Archives: Your Health

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Exercise Can Help Relieve Lower Back Pain

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If you are one of the millions of people that suffer from lower back pain, then you need to know that exercise can do wonders for you. When it comes to relieving lower back pain, exercise provides more long-term relief than any back pills that your doctor can give you. The fact is, pills only serve to mask the problem by providing temporary relief of the pain, but the problem that is causing much of the pain is still there. Exercise will strengthen the muscles that support your back and improve flexibility thus greatly reducing the chances of future attacks.

You should be doing a threefold program of exercise which includes aerobics, resistance and stretching exercises. Aerobic exercise like walking and bike riding will begin to get your body conditioned properly because it strengthens your heart and lightly works your muscles. Resistance exercise like weight lifting will strengthen the muscles that support your back. Stretching exercises will increase flexibility giving your back a greater range of motion. Your doctor can guide you as to when and how much of each type of exercise you should be getting.

For people with lower back pain, the best aerobic exercises to do are low impact ones like swimming, walking and bike riding. Jogging, dance aerobics and step aerobics all produce repeated impact on your back and on your knee and hip joints as well. In order to get in good condition, start out with 15 minutes of light aerobic work per day, 2 to 3 times per week, and then gradually build yourself up to 30 to 40 minutes per day, 4 to 5 times per week.

You should be working enough to raise your heart rate to be in between 65% to 85% of your maximal heart rate. You determine your maximal heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Regardless of whether you are walking, bike riding or doing any other aerobic exercise, always maintain good posture. This means sit up straight, stand strait and do not slouch or lean forward. Good posture is essential to any good exercise program.

When it comes to resistance exercising, you always want to concentrate on the abdominal muscles. These muscles play a major part in giving your lower back support and the stronger they are, the more relief for your back. Also important is to do exercises that are designed to specifically strengthen the lower back muscles themselves. You will best benefit from working each muscle group 2 to 3 times per week. You may want to hire a qualified fitness trainer to help get you on your way by designing a resistance program that is right for you.

Remember that while resistance exercise is great for strengthening the targeted muscles being worked, there should never be any pain involved. Some discomfort should be present in the muscles being worked while performing the exercises for them, but should subside very shortly after completion of the exercise. If there is any pain during the exercises or if discomfort persists for some time after, it is a sign that something is wrong and exercising should be discontinued and your doctor should be consulted immediately.

As far as stretching is concerned, 10 to 15 minutes of moderate stretching per day is usually enough to get the job done just fine. Here you really want to concentrate on stretching your hamstrings which are the muscles in the back of your upper legs. The looser your hamstring muscles are, the better range of motion your back will have as flexible hamstring muscles do not put the strain on your lower back that tight ones do.

Stretching the lower back muscles is also a must and sitting on the floor with your legs flat on the floor in front of you while you slowly reach for your toes until you can’t go any further, hold for 10 seconds, and sit back up is a great exercise to stretch both your hamstrings and your lower back. Repeat this stretch 2 to 3 times each day.

While there are no miracle cures for lower back pain, you can make living with a lower back condition much easier to deal with by simply incorporating some exercise into your life each day. It is worth the effort in the long run give up 30 to 40 minutes per day, 4 to 5 days per week to exercise away your lower back pain.

You can check out this articles from WebMD for more tips on exercises for lower back pain. 

If you’re in either Washington or Alaska, low back pain treatment is close at hand. Northwest Pain Relief Center offers non-invasive physical medicine treatments, including back pain treatment throughout Washington and Alaska. For your FREE consultation, call us today at 855-959-7246

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Advice on Treating Lower Back Pain

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Lower back pain is a common complaint, and people are often willing to go to great lengths to find relief. It’s often difficult to pinpoint the cause of low back pain, because while it is sometimes caused by trauma like an accident or injury, it can also be the result of something as simple as improper lifting or bending. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the occurrence of back pain, and your doctor can help you find ways to alleviate it.

While there’s no way to completely prevent lower back pain, there are some ways to help prevent it. By getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, managing your stress, and paying attention to proper posture, you can help keep your back strong, healthy, and less susceptible to pain and injury. At the same time, these measures can help you recover more quickly if something does happen to cause pain in your lower back. Other steps you can take to keep your back in good condition include avoiding high heeled shoes, quitting smoking, and experimenting with different sleeping positions.

If you do suffer from low back pain, try resting your back and using an ice pack for 20 minutes at a time during the first 48 hours, and then switching to heat, to see if that helps relieve your discomfort. You might also try gentle stretching, or an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or acetaminophen. If none of these home remedies work, your doctor can help. Traditional treatment for back pain uses muscle relaxants and pain medication, and treatments like traction. In severe cases, doctors sometimes recommend extreme measures like epidural injections or even surgery. However, many patients find relief from holistic treatments, including:

  • Chiropractic/spinal manipulation
  • Acupuncture
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Massage Therapy
  • Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

At our clinic, we utilize a wide range of treatments to provide a customized treatment plan for each unique patient. Whether a patient is suffering from acute pain (pain lasting three months or less) or chronic pain (lasting more than three months) we can help develop a strategy to help alleviate back pain and set the patient on the path to optimal health and wellness. Call us today for more information on lower back pain treatment

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Your Back to School Weight Loss Plan

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How does this time of year work for your weight loss goals? For many parents, the end of summer signals the beginning of the heightened stress season, as back to school amps up our commitments, with the holidays nipping at its heels. It’s often hard to stay on track with your fitness and weight-loss goals, when you’re bogged down by school day routines, extracurricular activities, and other time vampires. For others, the summer is the hardest time to maintain a weight loss routine, because the long lazy days have too little structure. No matter what, now is a great time to regroup, rethink your routines, and renew your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  

  • Make breakfast part of your routine. You’ve heard over and over again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and while some researchers disagree, there’s evidence to confirm that eating breakfast is a good way to boost weight loss. In addition, children who eat a good breakfast are more alert at school, performing better, with less of a decline in memory and focus than those who skip breakfast. With these facts in mind, you might find that breakfast is a great time to bring your family together for a simple but nutritious meal. It’s important to remember that what you eat for breakfast is what matters most. Opt for a fiber and protein rich breakfast over a cereal or pastry loaded with carbs and sugar.
  • Plan your lunches. It’s easy to focus on family dinners when you’re planning your weekly meals, but it’s a mistake to forget about lunch. If you’re someone who is at home during the day, set yourself up for success by keeping healthy snacks on hand, and making a plan for a light and lean lunch. If you’re stuck in an office all day, consider brown-bagging it to make sure your meal choice stays in line with your weight loss goals. You might even make lunch prep a family bonding moment, preparing sack lunches with your kids the night before.
  • As your schedule becomes more complicated, make sure that exercise is on the calendar. If after school commitments are going to infringe on your exercise time, consider a shift in schedule, perhaps exercising in the morning or on your lunch break. If you’re stuck at soccer practice or a softball game, walk around the track, or back and forth along the edge of the field, rather than sitting passively to watch. The most important thing is to have a plan, and make exercise a regular part of your routine.
  • Make dinner plans, and be sure to include local produce. Planning your dinners ahead of time makes weeknights less stressful, and also helps to ensure that your meals will be healthy and in line with your weight loss goals. You’ll be much less tempted to hit the drive-through if you know exactly what you have planned for your family dinner. While you’re making plans, remember that fall is a great time to pile on the produce! Harvest season means tons of healthy options, full of a wide variety of nutrients.

Sticking to your weight loss plan is just part of what it means to live a healthy lifestyle. At our clinic, we believe in working with patients to improve their overall health, through a holistic, natural approach that treats them like whole people and addresses medical concerns by looking at the big picture, not just treating symptoms. To learn how we can help you live your healthiest life, in a state of optimal wellness, visit our website or call for a free consultation today.

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Now That You’ve Lost Weight, How Do You Keep it Off?

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Weight loss is an elusive goal for many, and it seems most people you meet are on some kind of a diet. The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar enterprise, with companies promising results with everything from shakes to wraps to pills to bars. It is interesting to note, however, that for most people, weight loss is simply a matter of expending more calories than are consumed. By changing some of your habits, you can take charge of your weight loss, and keep the weight off forever.

  • To change your body, first change your attitude. Having confidence that you can control your body weight is the first step toward successful weight loss. Take small and simple steps to gradually change your lifestyle and you will soon see results.
  • Add good habits rather than trying to ditch bad habits. Rather than focusing on what you shouldn’t do, focus on what you should, building good habits into your routine a little bit at a time. Soon, a healthy lifestyle will come naturally to you, and you’ll see your bad habits crowded out by the good ones.
  • Match your intake to your activity. People with an extremely active lifestyle need more calories than those who live sedentary lives. If you need to lose weight, it’s a good idea to raise your activity level as you lower your caloric intake. Start with simple things, like parking your car further from the building, or taking the stairs, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your energy and stamina increase.
  • Focus on real foods. Sodas, sweets, and processed foods are empty calories, contributing nothing for your nutritional needs. Fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and lean meats, however, provide valuable nutrients to help you stay in good health. If you’re used to eating meat at every meal, considering swapping in a vegetarian meal every week or so, to gradually help you eat leaner and healthier.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water is important for the health of your tissues and organs, but it has an important function for those attempting to eat less, as well: it fills your stomach. Drinking water before your meal can help you to feel full, so you don’t eat as much.
  • Avoid extremes. Trying to give up entire categories of food is unrealistic for most people and limiting your calories significantly can cause you to feel deprived, setting you up to fail. Not only that, but restricting your food intake dramatically can result in a shortage of nutrients, causing you to become malnourished or lose muscle rather than fat.
  • Make a lifestyle change rather than going on a diet. Jumping into a diet can be stressful and ineffective. Changing your outlook and the way you live your life, however, can result in long-term positive shifts in your overall wellbeing.

Sometimes, even those who put an enormous effort into weight loss can find themselves stuck. If you’ve made the changes suggested here, and you find the scale still won’t budge, it may be time to see a doctor. Our clinic offers medical weight loss solutions to help patients achieve their healthy weight loss goals. Visit our website to learn more, or contact us for a free consultation.

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Yoga Tips for Expecting Mothers

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Pregnancy can be difficult on a woman’s body, and it’s certainly a time of change. Many experts believe that prenatal yoga can be extremely beneficial, both in helping relieve the stress of pregnancy and also in easing delivery. While pregnancy is not the time to start a new and hard-core practice of yoga, even a beginner can engage in some gentle yoga techniques.

Pregnancy is not just a time of change, but also one of empowerment. It’s a season in which women often feel strong and are committed to taking care of their bodies. The knowledge that everything she does completely impacts another person can give a woman the strength and impetus to take control of her life and get as healthy as possible. Yoga can be a big part of this, as long as you remember a few simple guidelines.

  • Don’t jump into anything too strenuous. A woman who is new to yoga should stick to prenatal yoga during her pregnancy, and avoid any of the more difficult aspects of practice. In fact, even seasoned practitioners are well-advised to shift to prenatal classes late in the 2nd trimester or early in the 3rd. This will allow them to learn the elements of prenatal yoga which prepare the body for labor but are not included in a regular class.
  • Avoid heat during all phases of pregnancy. If you’re already involved in a heated practice, it’s imperative that you shift to one that is not.
  • Skip twists and core work. Anything that stresses the abdomen is not a good idea during pregnancy.  Twists wring and compress the abdomen, and pregnancy is not a time to work on building abs. During the first trimester, you’ll want to avoid hardcore inversions, too, even if you’re already experienced. A good alternative for a pregnant woman is the Supta Baddha Konasana pose.
  • Focus on the meditation and breathing aspects of yoga. Nadi Shodhana, the channel cleaning breath, is good for calming the mind and settling your energy so that you can be truly present as you practice. Ujjayi pranayama, the victory breath, and Bhrami, or bee breath, are also good for helping you deal with emotional changes, and relaxing your mind. Meditation can help you remain positive, relaxed, and cheerful during your pregnancy.

Overall, yoga practice is a great way to help bring you to a healthy, happy place for your delivery. Under the direction of a trained teacher, proficient in prenatal yoga techniques, you’ll be able to use this discipline to strengthen both body and mind, which will ease your transition into motherhood. At our clinic, we focus on holistic practices that help patients thrive during all seasons of life, focusing on health and wellness. For more information, or a free consultation, call us or visit our website.

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Chiropractic Tips for Expecting Mothers

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Chiropractic care is the art and science of adjusting misaligned joints in the spine and other areas of the body, in order to reduce spinal nerve stress. It helps to improve wellness, without drugs or surgery, and can even resolve issues like back pain, neck pain, headaches, extremity pain, poor overall health, and low energy levels. Some might wonder, however, if it’s safe during pregnancy.

The good news is that chiropractic care during pregnancy has no known contraindications. In fact, pregnancy chiropractic can offer many benefits, including less nausea, relief from back, neck and joint pain, a healthier pregnancy, and even improved outcomes for delivery. For women seeking back pain relief during pregnancy, chiropractic offers an efficacy rate of 72%. As long as it’s performed by a practitioner trained in prenatal chiropractic care, chiropractic care can be extremely helpful during pregnancy, especially when you follow a few simple tips.

  • First, get regular adjustments from a qualified practitioner.  As your body shape changes, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy skeletal structure, and chiropractic can assist with that, as well as helping to keep your nervous system functioning correctly.
  • Do your part to keep your body working well by gently exercising each day. Walking, swimming, and stationary cycling are all good options for exercise during pregnancy. Don’t do any sort of exercise that involves jerky or bouncing movements, and stop if you feel weak, nauseous, or dizzy.
  • Wear the right shoes. Flat shoes with arch supports are best during pregnancy, because your rapidly increasing body weight, and lax ligaments that support the feet, can make your feet more susceptible to injury.
  • Protect your lower back. Bend from the knees, not the waist, when you’re picking up anything heavy. When you sleep, lie on your side with a pillow between your knees, in order to take the pressure off of your lower back. You might consider a full length body pillow or a pregnancy wedge.

No matter what your phase of life, natural therapies like chiropractic and massage therapy can be beneficial to your health. At our clinic, we believe in using holistic healing treatments to help keep patients on the path to optimal wellness. To learn more about pregnancy chiropractic, call today for a free consultation.

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4 Steps to Relieve Back Pain

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Michael J. Homan is a Reiki Master and studies natural healthing methods such as Acupressure, Electro-Acupuncture, Reflexology, Crystal Therapy, Chinese Magnetic Cupping, has his own e-Book called 4 Steps To A Pain-FREE Back!, and has a health related web site devoted to health issues and natural healing techniques.
I have studied and taken courses in acupressure. Studied some on chiropractic. I also have looked into psychological issues to do with pain and medical problems. And I am also a Reiki Master.

So now that you have a little about my background, and what fuels my writing… let’s get to the real content.

I am going to condense this article for convenience since it is a combination of four major studies in themselves, but you can get my e-book or read my full articles at my web site, which is

I have found that 4 major things play an important part in your spines health.

First, there is posture. I know this is not the first time you have heard this, but it needs to be said again and again.
Posture should be noted in sitting, standing, and sleeping. Start taking note of your posture at all times. If it is not straight, then start working on fixing it.

If you sleep in a position like I have in the past, with both hands under your pillow while you lay on your side, you can pinch a nerve in your neck if your shoulder of the arm that’s up starts to relax and leans in toward your head or neck. It would be better to lay your arm of your upper hand down on your leg while one hand is under your pillow.
And if you can, buy a few different thickness pillows for throughout the night. I do not know about you, but I can not have a high, fluffy pillow when I lay on my back. But a thin pillow gives me neck ache when I lay on my side.

The second thing on our list is the flexibility of your back.

What you want to do when you notice your back goes out a lot and you experience pinched nerves, is in getting your spine back into alignment and having it flexible.

Of course if you feel a chiropractor is your best choice, by all means seek one. But think about your progress if you could align your own back when ever you needed to. It’s not all that hard!

If you are in pain at the present, put ice or heat on the spot until the pain seems to lessen.

Do NOT, under any circumstances exercise while any of your nerves are inflamed or swollen!

To get your back more flexible you might want to learn kundalini yoga. Not all yoga styles are like those you may have seen on television, where they twist themselves up. Kundalini yoga has very good and useful spinal exercises developed to help flexibility. Kundalini Yoga is also a spiritual tool to help before meditation as well.

It is very important to strengthen your back and the surrounding muscles. This is the third step to a healthy back.
Doing sit-ups is one such exercise, You do not have to do many sit-ups until you feel you can… step by step.
Take all of these things slow and at the pace of your body. Your body will let you know what it is feeling. Pain is a warning sign.
Just remember… taking pain pills is okay when you really need them. But also remember that they do not heal the problem, they only mask the warning sign, they simply stop the warning sign, but not the underlying problem.
Health is more than just eating right. One has to consider mental health, environmental, and many other factors. It is not all that easy for a doctor to diagnose the complete problem and cure it, especially if it has roots in psychological issues and has gone a long time unchecked, and became a physical problem.

The fourth and last step in back health is to start a daily stretching routine. You have
seen cats and dogs stretch when they get up, try it for yourself!

The key to back health is in keeping it actively flexible and strong, or well supported by the stomach and back muscles. You may have to find that happy medium in between like I have, being too much strength in one area will pull out another.
Each person is uniquely different in many areas. So never think what worked for someone else is going to work for you. You may have to build on someone else’s information and work it into your own, personal program.

I recommend you learn a little about acupressure as well to maintain your pain when it flares up.
I have found that I can manage pain by using acupressure, simply by putting pressure on certain areas of the body. But that is something I suggest you seek a professional for help, or look for someone who does acupuncture, or take a course in acupressure like I did.

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Is Special Eye Protection Needed in the Summer?

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Your eyes are very important, and also extremely delicate, so they require special care. You might wonder, though, is there a season during which the eyes need extra protection. As you may have guessed, summer can be hard on your eyes, and it’s crucial that you take good care of them during the summer months.  

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Coping with Seasonal Allergies Naturally

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It’s been all over the news, so you’ve probably seen it: research indicates that people who use allergy medications regularly may be at greater risk for dementia. Building on a study published last year, researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have found that people who use anticholinergic medications, like Benadryl and Claritin, regularly, have reduced metabolic function and decreased brain size. While the risk varies, based on different factors like sensitivity, age and lifestyle, it’s still a good reason to try and avoid taking allergy medicine. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies for allergies, so you’re sure to find one that works for you.  

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What to do about Indoor Allergens

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It’s wintertime, and it seems like everyone has got the sniffles. While much of that gets blamed on the common cold, which runs rampant at this time of year due to immune systems depressed by the cold and too much togetherness, a good portion is actually allergies. How can that be, when brisk temperatures and frequent precipitation make pollen unlikely? The answer is simple: indoor allergens.  

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