Whether you have spent years over-using or misusing your back, you are an active athlete, you are pregnant, or you suffered a back injury at some point in your life with long-term consequences, back pain is a condition that affects more than half of all working Americans. It can be caused by health conditions such as cancer, arthritis, and infection or it can be caused by mechanical injury such as muscle pulls, muscle tears, sprained ligaments, or ruptured discs. In fact, back pain is the most common reason for missing work and is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor's office, outnumbered only by upper respiratory infections. Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain and experts suggest that as many as 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point.
Almost every movement of the human body involves the use of the back in some way, making living with this condition unbearable. Because of the growing number of back-related injuries and the costs associated with them, demand for products that help to ease the pain of this difficult condition has increased drastically. The population as a whole does not wish to spend the rest of their lives dependant on pain medication, and most cannot afford, or do not have insurance to cover, the cost of a chiropractor.
Unbeknownst to most people suffering from back pain, a wide range of highly effective products are available to the average consumer to help ease the suffering of this condition. Most are very cost effective and none of them involve the use of medications. Most have been designed by doctors, physical therapists, and athletic trainers who see on a daily basis what life with back pain can be like.
Gels and Sprays for Instant Relief
When a back injury flares up, relief cannot come fast enough. Sometimes you find yourself in situations where you don't have time for massage treatment or heat therapy and you need relief quickly. Anyone who has used creams, gels, or sprays is probably familiar with the discomfort that comes with the relief. They can burn, irritate the skin, and leave a foul odor, essentially advertising that you are in pain. Biofreeze is available in both gel and spray form, and is a quick, comfortable, and effective way to relieve back pain. Once applied, it gives your skin a cool, refreshing feeling, followed by penetrating heat that works its way to the core of your pain. The small spray bottle, roll-on, and tube are ideal for travel in a purse, backpack, or car, while the larger spray bottle and pump bottles are great for use in the home or office.
When most people hear the phrase "massage therapy", they immediately think of a costly treatment that involves some stranger putting their hands on them. Fortunately, many of the tools massage therapists use are available to the public so you can have the relaxing effect of a deep penetrating massage in the comfort of your own home.
The Acuforce 7.0 Deep Penetrating Massage Therapy Tool is a weighted device with multiple points and surfaces to provide a variety of massages. The overall weight provides the necessary downward force for a deep penetrating massage, allowing people with any level of strength the ability to give an effective massage without putting stress on their hands, arms, or joints. The Acuforce 2.5 Weighted Massage Tool is similar in design to the 7.0, but weighs only 2.5 pounds, while the Acuforce 3.0i Cryo Therapy Massage Tool combines weight with cold therapy for a soothing therapy session.
When you don't have the luxury of someone there to give you a massage, the Body Back Buddyprovides you with the ability to give yourself a deep penetrating massage anywhere on your back without straining your shoulders. The unique, s-shaped design allows you to apply significant pressure with very little effort, while the 11 different points offer an assortment of massage options. This product is great for use at home and for use in the office, especially for those whose job requires sitting at a desk all day. TheBacknobber II is a similar device with only one pressure point that breaks down into two pieces, making it ideal for travel.
Two of the oldest remedies for pain relief, heat therapy and cold therapy are still recommended by doctors world wide for treatment of injuries and chronic pain issues. A multitude of options for applying hot and cold therapy are available that go far beyond the traditional electric heating pads and ice cubes wrapped in a towel.
When recovering from a strained or pulled muscle in your back, doctors will often recommend that you alternate between hold and cold therapy. Some products offer the convenience of being able to use them for both applications. The Elasto-Gel Multi Purpose Wrapand the Elasto-Gel Hot/Cold Pack can be heated in the microwave for relaxing dry heat therapy or placed in the freezer for soothing cold compression therapy. Featuring a unique gel core that remains pliable at temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit, the Elasto-Gel products will not leak, even when punctured.
The Bed Buddy products, such as the Bed Buddy Body Wrap Bed Buddy Hot Cold Pack, and theBed Buddy Back Wrap, can be put in the freezer for soothing cryotherapy relief. When heated in the microwave, the Bed Buddy products offer soothing moist heat therapy without the need to soak the product in water.
Moist heat therapy has been proven to be much more effective at penetrating deep into muscles and soft tissue than dry heat therapy. After a long day at work, a long car ride, or any activity that makes your back sore and stiff, moist heat therapy is a great method of soothing pain relief. The Thermophore Automatic Moist Heating Padprovides moist heat therapy without the need to wet the pad. It draws moisture from the humidity in the air, and then retains the moisture in its fleece cover. The simple one-touch control features a built-in auto-off timer, and the pad is available in four sizes. The Original Hydrocollator Moist Heat HotPacrequires that the pad be heated in hot water, but is very cost-effective and available in an assortment of sizes to fit the natural contours of your body.
Often times a doctor will recommend that you purchase a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit or EMS Stimulator for your back injury. While the two are similar in design and function, TENS units are designed to temporarily relieve pain by stimulating the nerves while Electronic Muscle Stimulators trigger contractions in the muscle as a form of passive exercise. EMS devices such as the Slendertone ReVive Professional Muscle Conditioner are used to rehabilitate and rebuild damaged muscles and are very effective when used on injured back muscles. For relief of chronic back pain, your doctor may recommend a device like theReliaMed GM320T Digital TENS Unit which is a professional-grade TENS device designed for use in the home. Most TENS and EMS units are very affordable and include everything you need to begin your treatments.
Far Infrared Heat Therapy is available in a wide variety of machines, ranging from handheld devices to three-person home saunas. In addition to the long list of health benefits it offers, Far Infrared Heat Therapy is a great source of relief from back pain and an ideal method of speeding up the recovery process of a back injury. Infrared heat rays, which are both harmless and painless, penetrate deep into your body, heating the muscles and soft tissue from within. Unlike traditional heating methods, infrared therapy can heat your body without heating the air around it, providing you with a more comfortable therapeutic experience. Besides relief from back pain, Far Infrared Heat Therapy increases circulation, removes toxins from your body, and stimulates the production of collagen, which helps your body to heal and repair itself faster.
The Far Infrared Home Sauna provides a relaxing form of pain relief superior to that of any traditional sauna, in the comfort of your own home. Because infrared heat therapy does not require the air around you to be hot in order to heat your body, the interior of the sauna stays under 150 degrees, allowing for the included CD player and reading light. Available in models that seat two or three people, the Far Infrared Home Sauna is easy to assemble and uses roughly the same amount of electricity as the average hair dryer.
Both versatile and highly effective, the FDA Approved DPL Deep Penetrating Light Therapy System can be attached securely to your back using the strap provided, allowing you to apply infrared heat therapy directly to the affected area. The two panels contain a total of over 150 infrared LED lights. The Thermotex Infrared Heating Padcombines the effectiveness and comfort of infrared heat therapy with the convenience of a traditional heating pad. It is available in a variety of sizes with velcro straps to hold it in place and both high and low settings.
While back pain is typically the result of sore muscles and an over worked or improperly used back, often the discomfort is caused by a serious injury or medical condition. Before starting any sort of therapy, it is best to see your doctor to find the cause of the problem and see which form of therapy he recommends. But, chances are, he's going to recommend one of the methods mentioned above.
Author: Richard Chandler
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