Category Archives: Self Care

Methods on Self Care techniques to reduce low back pain.

Dehydration Causes Low Back Pain

Drinking Water Helps Stop Low Back Pain

Not Drinking Enough Water

You may think that this is an absolutely stupid suggestion to eliminate low back pain but it is actually a huge contributing factor. Surprisingly the discs in between your vertebrae are 70-80% water. If you don’t drink enough water the discs become dry and less flexible.
Over the years I have had many clients tell me that they stay hydrated by drinking “fluids”. Let’s look at the top two “fluids” Americans drink.


Coffee is not an acceptable means of hydration. Actually, coffee is what is called a “Diuretic”. A Diuretic in explained simply is something that offsets the hydration balance in your body. The reaction is such as your body is incapable of maintaining proper hydration thus is retains water abnormally. Abnormal water retention as mentioned means that your body refuses to distribute water correctly. Think of it as your body refusing water during a drought.

~Soda Pop

Soda pop is truly horrible for you on so many levels. I’d like to share a secret with you that I learned from a Soda Pop manufacture. Every 6 months the aluminum lines that carry the soda have to be replaced. Not for sanitary reasons either. The soda lines must be replaced because the soda that flows trough the lines corrodes them so badly that aluminum flakes will begin to contaminate the soda.
Think about that. Soda eats aluminum. And it doesn’t matter if it is clear or brown. Orange or green. All soda eats away at the lines.
In terms of low back pain and hydration, the spikes in sugar create similar effects to coffee. Causing your body to “freak out” and not distribute water properly.

~Water Substitutes

The truth is there is no substitute for water. Not tea, Not sparkling water, Not flavored water. Think of it like this. As soon as you put anything, and I mean anything, into your water it is no longer water. This includes the new fad of water flavorings you’ll see. All of them have adverse effects when it comes to the body. So just drink water.

FIJI Water Among The Best

The Positive Rest Position

The Positive Rest Position Explained

The positive rest position is a common recommendation among Chiropractors and Physical Therapists. Chances are if you have seen one of these practitioners they have shown you this position. The idea behind The Positive Rest position is similar to that of the Lateral Stretched Leg. Similarly they both work on Positional Release.

How The The Positive Rest Position Works

During this relaxation technique you are positioning your body in what is also known as a “Zero Gravity Position”. This position places your legs higher than your torso which reduces pressure on your low back. While reducing the pressure on your low back you are allowing the muscles to relax and self heal. As with the stretched leg exercise you can maintain this position for as long as is comfortable.

Getting Into Position

In short, your torso will be on the floor and your lower legs will be elevated above you on a couch or chair. If your floor is hard you can place a pillow or two lengthwise under your torso. Similarly if the seat of your couch or chair is too high you would use the pillow to bring your legs to a 90 degree angle. You can lay in this position for as long as you like.

Add A Pelvic Tilt

For added benefit you can preform pelvic tilts. These motions are easy. Just rotate the top of your pelvis in the direction of your head. Hold the rotation for 1-2 seconds and release. First The key with pelvic tilt is to not tense too much. Second is to use your stomach muscles to initiate the motion. Using your stomach muscles will allow your back muscles to “Turn Off” thus increasing the Positive Rest Position benefits. As mentioned above, you can do this to your comfort level.

Most importantly, if you feel discomfort, stop. That should go without saying.

Finish Easy

An important note is to get up from this position slowly. Trying to get up too quickly can cause you to tighten your low back. Rather exit the position slowly. You may want to twist your torso or push away using the floor.

In conclusion The Positive Rest Position is a passive exercise designed to reduce low back pain. Likewise this position can be achieved by using a Zero Gravity Recliner.

What Is A Zero Gravity Recliner?

As I have said a Zero Gravity Recliner is simply a chair that puts you in The Positive Rest Position. While there are many versions of Zero Gravity Recliners on the market, the quality is not equal. I recommend you use Relax The Back to make your purchase. The reason is Relax The Back will handle any warranty issues you have in the future. For example, the chair breaks. No problem. Call Relax The Back and they send out a tech to fix the chair. You don’t have to deal with the manufacture. Moreover you don’t have to ship the chair.

When shopping from Zero Gravity Recliner chairs there there are two different feelings you will get. One style your will feel you are sitting ON the chair. Compared to the other feeling of sitting IN the chair. Here is an example.

This style you feel “ON” the chair

Novus Zero Gravity Recliner Positive Rest Position Chair
This Novus Zero Gravity Recliner will give you the feeling of sitting ON the chair in the Positive Rest Position.
This style you feel “IN” the chair

Perfect Chair Zero Gravity Recliner Positive Rest Position Chair
This Perfect Chair Zero Gravity Recliner will give you the feeling of sitting IN the chair.

At this point I will open up for questions about the Positive Rest Position or Zero Gravity Recliner. Leave a comment or Contact Me.

Correct Lateral Rotation Feet Facing Forward

How To Correct Lateral Rotation

Lateral Or Outward Leg Rotation

Lateral leg rotation is point often overlooked. Standing still, look down at your feet. Do they point straight ahead or out to the side? In truth chances are if you are trying to stop low back pain your feet will point outward. Similar to a dancer in first position. When your feet point outward or have a lateral rotation your pelvis naturally will fall forward causing low back pain. This is called Anterior Pelvic Tilt. Similar to a Pelvic Deviation except
Anterior Pelvic Tilt is when your pelvis tilts forward rather than to the left or right.

Although it may be tough to understand the relationship between walking and low back pain undoubtedly there is. Correspondingly the products below will assist you in correcting lateral rotation. Basically you are going need floor guides to help you along. Provided that you practice the exercises diligently you will see results.

Use Tape On The Floor As A Reference.

How To Correct Lateral Rotation

It is a must that you correct lateral rotation if you want to stop low back pain. I have heard over and over “that’s just how I stand and walk”. This is false. You learned bad posture and if your mindset is “this is how it is” then chances are you will never stop low back pain. Now.

~Standing And Correcting

Standing still rotate your feet inward so they point straight in front of you. Stand in this position for 5-10 minutes. Do not allow your feet to rotate outward. Instead focus on your pelvis, attempting to tilt or rotate your pelvis backward. Relax into this position. You may feel funny at first but keep doing it. You are correcting years of bad posture that contributed to your low back pain. If your goal is to stop low back pain you must correct your posture. Practice this a minimum of 5-6 times per day if you sit for the majority of the day. If you work a job where you stand, you should focus on Standing and Correcting all the time. Feet Forward needs to become a new habit.

~Walking And Correcting

Once you have a feeling for Standing and Correcting it is time to start Walking and Correcting. At this point I strongly recommend you invest in orthotics. There are low cost orthotics available that will help correct your posture from the ground up.
From the Standing and Correcting position, feet pointed straight forward, take one step forward. Now that you have taken one step look down at your feet and make sure they are still pointing forward. Correct them to point straight if needed then take another step. Look down again and correct your feet if needed. Take another step. Correct. Take another step … and so on.

As you take each step focus on the way it feels to use your legs and feet to walk. What may feel uncomfortable to you is the body re-learning how to walk correctly. Continue to take one step at a time until your feet are still pointing forward after your step.

~What Exactly Do These Exercises Do?

Ultimately what “Standing And Correcting” and “Walking And Correcting” do is re-program your muscles to walk correctly. In the end, you are training your hip joint to move in a correct path while walking. By correcting the hip joint lateral rotation your pelvis will automatically balance itself. Re-programming your muscles may take time. Be patient with yourself and keep at it. Lateral Rotation is one a major factor in low back pain because of the Anterior Pelvic Tilt Lateral Rotation causes.

Make Movement Priority One Walking With Low Back Pain

Make Movement Priority One

Suffering from low back pain can leave you immobile. Besides being in physical pain, energetically you may feel drained. Even so, make movement priority one. Failing to do so sooner or later can leave your completely incapable of moving at all!

Lack Of Movement

Lack of movement is another major contributor to low back pain. After all the body is not meant to sit. That is to say the human body is designed to stand and move about. Today’s stagnant computer lifestyle is not at all what we are designed for. Ask yourself, how long did a caveman sit? Not long at all is the correct answer. Now don’t be confused. Certainly I’m not saying you have to get a gym membership or anything like that. Basically just get up and walk around. Take longer strides when you walk. As you walk think about relaxing your low back and allowing your legs to work freely. When you relax and focus on walking correctly you will find will be amazed at how much better you’ll feel.

How Often Should I Walk Or Move Around?

As often as possible. Once a day is not good enough. I’ll just be honest with you. You should have a focused relaxed walk at least 2-3 times a day. Roughly 15 – 30 minutes or more each time. The idea is to get mobility and relaxation to relieve your low back pain. See the “Lateral Rotation” section below for tips on walking correctly to stop low back pain.

Make Movement Priority One Daily

There were days that crippling low back pain kept down however my goal was to minimize those days. No matter what I tried to make movement priority one daily. You should too. Despite what you may be thinking I am not telling you to run a mile. Certainly for some of my readers walking will be difficult while running will be impossible. On the contrary, any movement will do. Even if you can only make snow angels in your bed, do it. You will get significantly more benefit from moving your arms than nothing at all.

Do The Maximum Movement You Are Capable Of

Regardless of what the movement is do the maximum amount of movement you are capable of every day. To put it another way, if you can move your arms straight above your head then do it. Do it multiple times too. In the same fashion if you can walk around the block 10 times do that also. Ultimately your goal is to retain the maximum amount of movement you have at the current moment. Do not let low back pain stop you from moving the rest of your body.

Snow Angels Movement With Low Back Pain
Even if you are on bed rest try to move your arms like a Snow Angel.

Move It Or Loose It

Chances are you have heard the phrase “Move It or Loose It”. This phrase refers applies to your body too. Undeniably when you stop moving to your maximum Range Of Motion your range of motion will decrease. Additionally, prolonged periods of sedentary lifestyle can lead to Atrophy. Atrophy is a medical term for the decrease in muscle tone or mass. An example of this is a person that has had a cast on a broken arm or leg. If you have seen them when the cast is removed you will notice that the casted arm or leg will be smaller that it was before the broken bone. The reduction you see in muscle size is called Atrophy. In like manner when you don’t move for a long period of time all of your muscles are subject to Atrophy. For this reason I say make movement priority one!

If You Can, Walk!

Most effective recoveries happen when back pain suffers make movement priority one. To that end walking correctly can be instrumental to a speedy recovery. Mall walking or street walking, the choice is yours but get up and get out. A walking exercise that I do commonly is I will walk as far as I can away from my house. Then when I get too tired I get in a taxi and go home. This exercise works great if you are in an urban area however, this may not work for everyone. An alternative is to arrange a taxi to pick you up or have a friend meet you at a specified destination, like your favorite restaurant. Use your ending destination as a reward. Pick some place good. Like an ice cream shop!

Movement Is Good But Do It Correctly

To emphasize, movement is good but do it correctly. Especially if you are in a heightened state of pain. An example would be lifting with your legs. In fact, if you have low back pain you may want to practice proper lifting. A great exercise is picking up a piece of paper. There is only the weight of your body so when you squat down you only have to focus on your posture, not potential weight. Similarly walking correctly. Make sure your feet face forward with every step. If your feet turn in or out you are not moving correctly. Slowly make adjustments and get your feet to point straight ahead. Likewise, if your movement is snow angels in your bed do some with your palms together and some with your palms facing out.

Recommended Reading For Movement

Unquestionably there are hundreds of books on movement and stretching however a few of them really stand out. Among the best is “Stretching” by Bob Anderson. With simple illustrations in a large format, every stretch you’ll ever need is in this book, ironically called Stretching.
Second is “Life After Pain” by Dr Jonathan Kuttner. In this book Dr. Kuttner guides you along the path to eliminating chronic pain of all kinds. Dr. Kuttner explains what causes your pain and offers outstanding techniques to help you back to health. Most notable techniques are Dr. Kuttner’s breathing exercises.
The third book I recommend is “Mobility: A Step-by-Step Guide to Treating Musculoskeletal Pain Yourself” by Dr. Nick Chretien. Dr. Chretien writes from a perspective of crossfit/weight training however the techniques he teaches in the book are outstanding. Dr. Chretien takes you through understanding myofascial pain which is a key factor in all types of pain.

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I added the recommended reading above in the hope that you continue on the path and make movement priority one everyday. Moreover, please share this with friends and loved ones who live with pain. Friendly love and support is sometimes the second best medicine … second only to laughter 🙂

Inversion For Alignment And Decompression

Inversion For Alignment And Decompression

First and foremost I want you to know my bias to inversion for alignment and decompression of joints. When you actually think about it inversion makes sense for many reasons. Most notable is undoing the effects of gravity. Second, inversion is an all natural solution to low back pain. No pills, herbs, needles or appointments. Third, you only need a few minutes each day to strap yourself in. Ironically the results are almost instantaneous.

Using Inversion For Alignment And Decompression

My first experience with an inversion table was at the ergonomic furniture retailer. The day my boss found me laying on the ground she recommended I use the inversion table daily. As a result of daily use I became more flexible and pain free. Thus using inversion for alignment and decompression of my spine was no doubt a fast track to recovery from my incident. Compared to what I had tried before, the inversion table was a piece of cake.

Enjoying Low Back Pain Free Life
Inversion Therapy can help you get back to doing the things you love … without the low back pain.

How Inversion Works

Explaining how inversion works is simple. In short you strap your feet in and hang yourself upside down. Gravity does the rest. Inversion tables will allow adjustments that control how far you will invert. Be sure to read the instructions otherwise you may find yourself fully inverted … or worse! As a rule start with the least amount of inversion. Additionally, always use the safety strap. The setting should take you just past horizontal. Get comfortable there and make adjustments as needed. Inversion for alignment and decompression needs to be a gradual process. In other words don’t skip any steps.

Not All Inversion Tables Are Created Equal

Experience taught me not all inversion tables are created equal. For example, the quality of the metal. If the inversion table uses thicker, stronger materials you will feel more supported. Thus your inversion sessions will be more beneficial. On the other hand if you buy a cheap, lower quality inversion table you will feel shaky and be fearful of falling on your head. Consequently if you do not relax while on the inversion table you will not get the full benefit. Overall it comes down to engineering and the best in the business is Teeter Brand Hang-Ups Inversion Tables. Period.

Why Teeter Makes The Best Inversion Tables

Working with the Teeter company first hand I learned why Teeter makes the best inversion tables. Roger Teeter was facing back surgery. Of course he wanted to avoid going under the knife at all costs. Thus Roger used his education and designed his own inversion table. In the end Roger avoided surgery and put his inversion table design into production. As a company Teeter was always a dream to work with. Quality control of the Hang Ups inversion tables was impeccable. Not once did I open a box and find damaged or missing parts. That goes to show that Teeter really cares about their customers health and safety. After all, you are hanging yourself upside down.

What Happens During Inversion

What happens during inversion is your muscles and joints are allowed to return to a stress free state. Using the force of gravity to do the work, you only need to relax. Compared to Clinical Massage where force must be applied, inversion is the complete opposite, meaning force is actually removed. While you are in an inverted state and relaxing you will literally feel every joint in your body open up. You will feel space being created in between all of your vertebrae. Mild stretching will occur through your legs and back muscles. In short, you will feel fantastic!

What Model I Recommend

Teeter Hang Ups has a few models to choose from thus I wanted to guide you to the best. Let you know what model I recommend. Difference in price is honestly minimal given the benefits that Hang Ups will provide. The main difference that sets the Teeter inversion tables apart is how you secure your ankles. Lower cost models like the EP-560 have a pin style ankle brace. Pin style braces are just as secure however you have to bend over to lock and unlock your ankles. Bending over with back pain is a problem, I’m sure you agree. Thus opt for either the Editors Pick Icon EP-970 LTD model or the Editors Pick Icon Contour L5 model. The Editors Pick Icon EP-970 LTD and the Editors Pick Icon Contour L5 have an extended ratchet ankle locking mechanism that makes getting in and out of the inversion table a snap.

Teeter Hang Ups Purchase And Warranty

1.) Use the chart below to select the model you prefer.
2.) Then click on the picture to be directed to Amazon to purchase.
3.) You will have the option to have “Expert Assembly” of the Teeter Hang Ups Inversion table in your home.
4.) Teeter Hang Ups provides a Full 5 Year Warranty. Once purchased you can extend the warranty to 10 years.
5.) Click “Add To Cart” and Amazon will ship your inversion table

Teeter Hang Ups Inversion Table Logo
Use this table to compare Contour L5, Contour L3 and EP-970 LTD Teeter inversion table models.
Editors Pick: Compare Teeter Contour L5 Inversion Table
Editors Pick Icon Contour L5
Compare Teeter Contour L3 Inversion Table
Contour L3
Editors Pick: Compare Teeter EP-970LTD Inversion Table
Editors Pick Icon EP-970 LTD
FDA Cleared
Canada Health Approved
UL Certified
Yes Yes Yes
Extended Handle Ankle Lock System Deluxe Yes No
Ankle Comfort Excellent Excellent Excellent
Stretch Tools to Improve Decompression Yes Yes Yes
Precision Rotation With
Full Inversion Option
Plus 1-Touch
Rotation Adjustment
Yes Yes
Preset Rotation Control Deluxe Deluxe Yes
Ability To Customize Compatible,
Sold Separately
Included With
LTD Version Only
Included With
LTD Version Only
Folds For Storage Yes Yes Yes
User Settings 4’8″ – 6’6″, 300 Lbs. 4’8″ – 6’6″, 300 Lbs. 4’8″ – 6’6″, 300 Lbs.
Teeter Hang Ups Inversion Table Logo
Use this table to compare EP-960 LTD, EP-560 Sport and EP-560 LTD Teeter inversion table models.
Compare Teeter EP-960LTD Inversion Table
EP-960 LTD
Compare Teeter EP-560 Sport Inversion Table
EP-560 Sport
Compare Teeter EP-560LTD Inversion Table
EP-560 LTD
FDA Cleared
Canada Health Approved
UL Certified
Yes Yes Yes
Extended Handle Ankle Lock System Yes No No
Ankle Comfort Excellent Superior Excellent
Stretch Tools to Improve Decompression Superior Excellent Yes
Precision Rotation With
Full Inversion Option
Yes Yes Yes
Preset Rotation Control Deluxe Yes Yes
Ability To Customize Included With
LTD Version Only
Included With
LTD Version Only
Included With
LTD Version Only
Folds For Storage Yes Yes Yes
User Settings 4’8″ – 6’6″, 300 Lbs. 4’8″ – 6’6″, 300 Lbs. 4’8″ – 6’6″, 300 Lbs.
Clinical Massage Treatment Hip Tension And Low Back Pain

Hip Tension And Low Back Pain

There is no doubt of the relation of hip tension and low back pain. As a rule when a client complained of low back pain, hip tension is almost always present. In this article we’ll be looking at how hip tension and low back pain are related. Additionally, steps you can take to reduce both.

Hip Tension

In my years as a clinical massage therapist I have had hundreds of clients see reduction or outright elimination of low back pain. By and large majority of them get amazing results from releasing the tension in their hips. I’m going to let you in on a secret. The legs and the back are not two separate parts. They work together 100% of the time. There are muscles in your hips that directly relate to and release muscles in your low back. In fact there are multiple hip and leg muscles that can have positive effects for low back pain.
To stop low back pain the best is to find a clinical massage therapist that understands myofascial, trigger point and muscle belly release techniques. On the other hand regular relaxation massage will not help you. Your massage session should be 1 hour minimum and focus strictly on your low back and hips. That means no fru-fru, oily slip and slide. A good clinical massage therapist with use very little oil, if any at all.

Topical Balms Are Only Temporary. Seek Clinical Massage.

Hip Tension and Low Back Pain And How They Relate

To truly understand low back pain you need to learn a little anatomy. Getting a basic grasp of what is going on will help you understand hip tension and low back pain and how they relate. In short, all of the muscles in your low back, hips and thighs attach to each other in one way or another. Furthermore, there are muscles such as Illio-Psoas that directly attach to your thigh bone (Femur) and you lower back vertebrae (L3,L4,L5). Additional back pain contributing muscles are Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Maximus, Piriformis and Quadratus Lumborum. These muscles are just a few of the key players that cause low back pain. What ties them all together is your pelvis or Illium. Here are some gif’s and illustrations to help you understand.

Psoas Major Muscle Low Back Pain Cause Rotating Anatomy
This is Psoas Major. You can easily see how the muscle attaches to the lower vertebrae, the pelvis and the thigh bone.

Gluteus Maximus Hip Tension Pain Cause
This is Gluteus Maximus. Here you can see how it attaches to the Sacrum, the Pelvis and the Femur
Gluteus Medius Causes Hip Tension Low Back Pain
This is Gluteus Medius. You can see how it attaches at the Pelvis and Femur.

Quadratus Lumborum Muscle Causes Low Back Pain
The bright red is Quadratus Lumborum. You can see how it attaches at the each Vertebrae and at the Pelvis.

Why These Photos Are Important

There is a huge reason why these photos are important. The above photos show you how your low back, pelvis and hips are all connected with muscles. Each muscle relies on another to function correctly. If one or more of the muscles are not functioning correctly the other muscles will try to compensate. The compensation is what generally leads to pain.

The Hips Are The Hub

Imagine the hips are the hub connecting your lower body to your upper body. The muscles that attach at the hips and pelvis are some of the strongest muscles in your body. Thus they can do a lot of damage especially when it comes to low back pain. For this reason releasing hip tension is an important step to low back pain recovery.

Self Care Technique

With the topical treatments below, use this effective self care technique to help release hip tension and low back pain.

You Will Need:

3 Pillows
Relaxing Music/Guided Meditation With Headphones

You Will Do:

1.) Apply topical treatment cream or gel.
2.) Put on loose fitting clothing such as Thai Fishing Pants or Loose Yoga Pants.
3.) Lay face up on your bed with your legs spread apart as far as you can comfortably get them.
4.) Place one pillow under each thigh just BELOW your buttocks.
5.) Place a pillow under your low back if needed.
6.) Put on your headphones with relaxing music or meditation guidance.
7.) Relax.

What Will Happen:

During your relaxation session you will begin to notice release of tension. Next, you may experience non-painful twitches as your muscles release. In fact, this is normal and very beneficial. The topical treatments will assist in relaxing the muscles in your hips and low back. The relaxing music or guided meditation you use will assist in quieting your mind. It is important that you turn off your thoughts to allow your body to self heal.

Positional Release Technique

This self care exercise is know as a Positional Release Technique. By placing your body in a position where muscles are in a slackened or loose state, the muscle will naturally reprogram itself and release. I strongly recommend a Guided Relaxation Meditation with this technique because you will be guided on how to properly relax. In my opinion guided meditations are a necessary part of self healing.

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Non Invasive Pain Healing

The Non invasive pain healing technique mentioned above is one of many that can help you self heal. At this point you should have a very basic understanding of hip tension and low back pain. As a result you’ll get amazing pain reduction from Positional Release. Please leave a comment with how you felt before and after using the technique. No doubt your comments will help future visitors.