The West Wing’s Michael Hastings on Fibromyalgia Part I

We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Michael Hastings, a former West Wing actor. Michael suffers from fibromyalgia, and was kind enough to share some of his experiences and stories with us. This is the first part of a three-part series. Q: Fibromyalgia isn’t as common in men. Can you talk about your experience with being diagnosed? A: I was first diagnosed with fibro back in the mid-90s by a Naturopathic Doctor. I had been to 20 medical doctors and they had no idea what was going (read more...)

Supported Yoga Poses

One of the best ways to change your approach to a yoga pose or your practice in general is to add yoga props. Props range from blocks to straps and bolsters with many other options.  Yoga props can provide support for compromised parts of your body (i.e. the neck or back) and can make yoga poses available which were previously inaccessible due to structural aspects of the yoga practitioner’s body. In this post, the first of a series, we will be showing you traditional yoga poses done in a more (read more...)

Finding the Right Chair to Relieve Back Pain

Back pain is something that countless people have to live with every day. According to the American Chiropractic Association, eight out of ten people will experience it at some point during their lives. In some cases, back pain is caused by serious illnesses and conditions, but most of the time; it's triggered by: Lack of activity Diet or weight issues Lack of stretching before strenuous activity Improper lifting techniques Bad posture Bad posture is one of the leading causes of back (read more...)

Back Pain: Can Massage Help?

Back pain is a common condition. It can interfere with many ordinary activities, and people routinely use pain medication, hydrotherapy and heat packs for relief. Massage is another option, but its effectiveness is still being debated in the field of medicine. Although most people report that massage brings relief, and some doctors still recommend this to back pain patients, getting this covered by insurance can be tricky. Types of Massage There are many styles of massage therapy, and they are (read more...)

Cat/Cow Sequence

No matter what your activity level is on a daily basis, we all need to stretch and move our spine.  Both extension (back bending) and flexion (forward folding) have benefits. Back bending decompresses the inner side/front of the vertebrae and can lessen the pressure on vertebral discs.  Forward folding decompresses the back/outside of the vertebrae and compresses and massages the internal organs. Back bending can feel energizing and tends to build internal heat, while forward folding does the opposite (read more...)

Could Cutting Nicotine Spell Back Pain Relief? New York Study Says Yes

The campaign against smoking has a new ally in the orthopedic community, thanks to a New York study linking nicotine use to back pain. The study, led by University of Rochester Medical Center surgeon Glenn R. Rechtine, M.D., looked at more than 5,300 patients suffering from spinal disorders over a period of eight months.The result: Cigarette smokers reported far more pain than those who quit during that time period. The New York study was published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery this (read more...)

Ultrasound Therapy for Back Pain – Is It Right For You?

Most people affiliate ultrasound therapy with pregnancy - and indeed ultrasound is a mainstay of prenatal care. But many patients are beginning to explore the role ultrasound therapy for back pain can play in providing non-invasive back pain relief. The same high-frequency sound waves used to examine a fetus in utero can work to stimulate blood vessels and improve circulation. It may seem like a quirky method to those so used to hearing surgery offered as the only solution to back pain. But for (read more...)

Can Inversion Therapy Soothe Your Back Pain?

Most back pain patients aren’t head over heels about their condition: Agonizing pain that intensifies with each movement can be completely debilitating, especially when the problem involves a herniated disc. But what if getting “head over heels” – literally – could actually provide some relief? Inversion therapy – physically flipping a patient upside down – is said to work by taking gravitational pressure off the nerve roots and discs in a patient’s spine. It’s a less orthodox (read more...)