WEGO HEALTH AWARDS – BACK PAIN BLOG HAS A NOMINATION…

 

Wego Health Awards...

WEGO Health is a mission-driven company connecting healthcare with the experience, skills, and insights of Patient Leaders.

They are the world’s largest network of over 100k Patient Leaders, working across virtually all health conditions and topics. Their network collaborates with pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, agencies, consultancies, startups, and all types of organizations across healthcare.

WEGO Health offers enterprise and on-demand solutions that allow organizations to leverage the patient experience and expertise in the design, development and promotion of their products and services.

Nominate the exceptional patient advocates, influencers, and experts who make a difference in the lives of patients and caregivers. They say it is an honour just to be nominated, but they think the honour is all in the nominating itself!

After being nominated, connect with others in their Patient Leader Network:

  • Nominate another Patient Leader
  • Share your nomination with your network and urge them to nominate
  • During the endorsements period, endorse the Patient Leaders you’d like to see recognized

Join them and help celebrate the inspiring and impactful nominees. Feel good while honoring these Patient Leaders and then join in on the festivities.

I feel honoured to be nominated for Best in Blog Show.

If you know someone who deserves any of the awards at WEGO Health then pop down to their website and nominate someone and make their day. If you think I am worthy of this award I would be delighted if you could endorse me. Just click on this Wego Health link and click on the thumbs-up sign. Thanks very much

 

IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY SO LET’S TALK ABOUT THE BEST PILLOWS FOR BACK PAIN AND FIBROMYALGIA SUFFERERS…

If you adopt the best pillow positions for people with back pain you may find this really helps your sleep. Tuck Advanced Better Sleep says Individuals who experience back pain can adjust or reposition their pillows in order to alleviate their discomfort. According to Healthline, the following methods may be suitable for different sleepers:

  • Side sleeping with a pillow between the knees. You should ensure your body makes contact with the mattress between your shoulder and buttocks. The pillow should be placed in a position where it won’t slip out; this will help the hips and pelvis align with the spine, which can reduce pain and discomfort. If a gap forms between your side and the mattress, then a smaller pillow may be used to fill that space.
  • Fetal position with both knees tucked. To achieve this position, lie down on your back and then roll onto one side with both knees bent and tucked toward your chest. Bend your upper body toward the knees; this will help expand the spine and alleviate pressure on the disks. Be sure to rotate to the other side if you begin to experience discomfort.
  • Stomach sleeping with a pillow beneath the pelvis. Although stomach sleeping can exacerbate back pain symptoms, a pillow placed under the pelvis can relieve stress on the neck and back disks. Some sleepers in this position are more comfortable without a pillow beneath their head.
  • Back sleeping with a pillow beneath the knees. Lay flat on your back and place a pillow beneath both knees. This helps straighten out the spine and alleviates pressure points between the neck and hips. If you find this is insufficient, consider placing a rolled-up towel under your lower back.

 There are six standard sizes for pillows, as well as smaller specialty sizes normally associated with specific pillow types (such as orthopedic memory foam pillows). The following table breaks down the width and length dimensions of these seven sizes, as well as suitable pillowcase measurements.

PILLOW SIZE DIMENSIONS PILLOW CASE SIZE AND DIMENSIONS NOTES
Small 20W” x 12L” Specialty sizes Normally found with orthopedic/cervical pillows (see below)
Standard 20W” x 26L” Standard (20-21W” x 30-32″L) The most common pillow size, as well as the most compact and usually the least expensive
Super Standard 20W” x 28L” Standard (20-21W” x 30-32″L) Slightly longer than the Standard, but uses Standard-size pillowcases
Queen 20W” x 30L” Standard (20-21W” x 30-32″L) Queen (20-22W” x 30-34L”) The second most common pillow size, and suitable for most people who toss and turn
King 20W” x 36L” King (20-21W” x 36-41″L) Good for people who toss and turn, and also makes good headrests and backrests
Euro 26W” x 26L” 24W” x 24L”

22W” x 22L”

20W” x 20L”

18W” x 18L”

16W” x 16L”

Euro (dimensions vary) The only standard pillow size that is square-shaped, and not normally used for primary sleeping pillows
Body Pillow 54W” x 20L” 48W” x 20L” Body pillow (dimensions vary) The longest pillow size, mostly suitable for side sleepers and pregnant women

Pillow shape is also important for people with back pain. Although a wide selection of pillow shapes are available, pillows generally fall into one of these two categories:

  • Even: These pillows have an even, non-contoured surface. They may not be as suitable for sleepers with back pain, but pillows made from certain materials (such as shredded memory foam or feathers) conform beneath the head and neck for targeted pain and pressure relief.
  • Curved: Also known as cervical or orthopedic pillows, curved pillows are usually made from foam and have a contoured surface. The neck is raised with the area for the head dips down, which can provide better support for people with neck pain — but some sleepers claim that these pillows are more comfortable when they are placed upside down on the mattress.

Lastly, let’s discuss pillow loft, a term that refers to how thick a pillow is when not bearing weight. Specific loft measurements vary by model, but there are three general loft categories:

  • Low-loft: Less than three inches thick.
  • Medium-loft: Three to five inches thick.
  • High-loft: More than five inches thick.

The loft will help determine how supportive and comfortable the pillow feels, and whether it is suitable for people with back pain. However, there are several factors to take into account when selecting a pillow based on loft. These include:

Sleep position: Choosing the right pillow based on loft depends on whether the sleeper prefers the back, side, or stomach position.

  • Back-sleepers are usually most comfortable with medium-loft pillows because they find the right balance between thickness and softness.
  • Side-sleepers often prefer medium- or high-loft pillows because this position can cause large gaps to form between their head/neck and the pillow.
  • Stomach-sleepers tend to prefer low-loft pillows because higher-loft models elevate the neck too much, causing the spine to become uneven; this can lead to aches and pains throughout the body. Some stomach sleepers find that not using a pillow at all is most comfortable.

Pillow position: People who sleep with a pillow completely beneath often prefer medium-loft pillows because there is less space. For those who sleep with a pillow partially beneath their head, then a medium- or high-loft pillow may be needed to fill the larger gap.

Mattress type: Certain mattresses, such as all-foam and latex models, are designed to sink deeply beneath the sleeper’s body. A low-loft pillow may be most suitable for these mattresses because there is less space between the neck and the mattress surface. Other mattresses, such as innersprings and hybrids, are less responsive and will not sink as much. A medium- or high-loft pillow can help fill the extra space and provide more support.

Body weight: People with above-average weights (more than 230 pounds) may sink deeper into their mattress than lighter individuals, and thus prefer a low- or medium-loft pillow that won’t elevate their heads too much. People with below-average weights (less than 130 pounds) may prefer medium- or high-loft pillows because they don’t sink as much.

Head size: People with larger-than-average heads are more likely to feel comfortable on a high-loft pillow that won’t sink too deeply. Low- or medium-loft pillows may be the best option for those with small or average-size heads

Shoulder width: People with wider shoulder spans experience larger gaps between their head/neck and their pillow, and may need a higher-loft pillow to compensate for space. Those with narrower shoulders usually feel more comfortable with low- or medium-loft pillows.

It’s important to note that many pillows offer adjustable loft. The owner simply unzips the pillow cover and adds or removes the fill material to increase or decrease the loft. Adjustable-loft pillows may be the best option for people whose loft preferences tend to vary from night tonight.

Best Pillow Materials for People with Back Pain

Pillows come in a wide selection of fill materials, each with unique benefits and drawbacks for sleepers with back pain. The table below lists pros, cons, and back pain ratings for the seven most common pillow materials.

PILLOW MATERIAL DESCRIPTION PROS CONS NECK PAIN RATING
Buckwheat The pillows are filled with five to 10 pounds of buckwheat hulls, or outer shells Adjustable loft Sleeps cool

Good support

High price Too firm for some

Heavy and difficult to move

Good Buckwheat pillows offer adjustable loft and sleep fairly cool, but many people with back pain find they are too firm
Down The pillows contain the soft inner plumage of ducks or geese, and may also be padded with outer feathers Adjustable loft Lightweight

Sleeps cool

High price Flatten easily

Too soft for some

Fair
Most down pillows are not suitable for sleepers with back pain because they are excessively soft and will lose their shape quickly
Down Alternative The pillows are filled with polyester fibers that mimic the softness of real down Adjustable loft Lightweight

Low price

Short lifespan Flatten easily

Too soft for some

Poor Most sleepers with back pain do not feel comfortable on down alternative pillows because they are too soft and will become flat rather quickly
Feather Pillows are filled with outer feathers of ducks or geese (as opposed to down, or inner plumage) Adjustable loft Lightweight

Long lifespan

High cost Flatten easily Very Good Feather pillows tend to be firmer than down pillows, making them more suitable for people with back pain
Latex Pillows contain solid latex, a substance extracted from the sap of rubber trees Close conforming Long lifespan

Retain full shape without flattening

Non-adjustable loft High cost

Dense and heavy

Good Latex pillows offer even support, but the loft is not adjustable
Memory Foam Pillows may contain shredded or solid pieces of memory foam, which softens when it comes into contact with body heat Close conforming Adjustable loft if shredded

Lightweight

High cost Sleeps hot Very Good Memory foam pillows conform closely and alleviate a high amount of pressure; most orthopedic pillows are made from memory foam
Polyester Pillows contain shredded polyfoam, which has a similar feel to memory foam, or interlocking polyester fibers that give the pillow a fuller shape Low cost Adjustable loft when shredded Short lifespan Flattens easily

Sleeps hot

Good Memory foam pillows provide more pain and pressure relief, but polyfoam pillows can be a low-cost alternative for people with back pain

Additionally, some pillows contain interior water chambers that can be filled or drained to adjust the loft. The chambers are usually padded with foam to make the pillow more comfortable. Many sleepers with back pain claim that water chamber pillows alleviate pain and pressure to a noticeable extent.

SCIATICA PAIN AND THE TREATMENTS AVAILABLE FOR THIS CONDITION…

A lot of people suffer from sciatica pain which is pain along the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, down the buttock and down the back of your legs. I have suffered from it for some years. After my first spinal surgery, it went altogether but over the last twelve months, it has come back and is a lot more painful than last time.

However, it could also be a number of other problems that also cause pain down the leg. As well as the pain in sciatica you could also have numbness, tingling and burning/prickling. You can have a shooting pain or a constant pain with the worst pain in the leg and which gets worse when you are sitting.

Other problems that can cause pain down your leg are joint problems, such as arthritis or sacroiliac joint dysfunction. It could also be a lumbar herniated disc, lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease or isthmic spondylolisthesis. Treatments are specific to the individual and the cause of the sciatic pain.

Treatments can vary from rest, ice/heat therapy, medications, epidural steroids, manipulation, physical therapy, exercise and as a last resort surgery.

The sciatica pain relief cushion is another option to help with the pain and one I use in my car and my home.

They say that although sciatica can be extremely painful and even debilitating, it rarely ends in permanent damage. Whatever your type of back/leg pain you are experiencing it is important to get a proper diagnosis from your GP or spine specialist.

At NRS Healthcare, they are experts in ‘daily living aids’. These are products designed to help people who are finding everyday activities difficult due to mobility problems or healthcare conditions. They have a range of products that may provide help for sciatica symptoms, encourage a better sitting or lying posture and ensure you can carry out tasks in greater comfort. Here are a selection of sciatica aids you may find useful:

Seat Wedge – to keep your spine in its natural position

Car Seat Wedge – to provide lower back support when driving

Back Support – to aid posture in a car or chair

Knee Pillow – to sleep more comfortably

Bed Wedge – to aid rest and sleep

High Back Chair – with lumbar support can help you sit more comfortably

Rise and Recline Chair – may help if you have difficulty getting in and out of a standard armchair

Wobble Cushion – to help improve posture and reduce stress on the lower back

Exercise Bands – can help with stretching and resistive exercises

Sciatica Relief Cushion – reduces pressure on the base of the spine

Sacroiliac Joint Support Belt – can help avoid problems when lifting and support your back

Gardening Trolley – to help avoid lifting equipment in the garden

Long Handled Gardening Tools – to help if you have difficulty bending down

If you are unsure which sciatica aids may provide relief for you, contact your GP.

 

 

HOW TO PREVENT BACK PAIN WHEN DRIVING…

The Foray Motor Group have written some of the best tips on how to prevent back pain when driving. It includes some of my own tips and others from Back on site, and Active Backs.

The main top tips include :

Tips for avoiding back pain while driving

  • Make sure your car is road worthy
  • Adjust your sitting position
  • Utilise lumbar support
  • Use heated seats
  • Be careful getting in and out of the car
  • Ice your back
  • Take regular breaks

“If your car happens to have heated seats, it’s definitely a good idea to make good use of them in your quest to prevent back pain. Heat has the great benefit of relaxing tight joints and muscles, helping blood flow to the area applied to, and therefore relieving pain. So next time you are out on a long drive and perhaps are starting to feel a little uncomfortable, consider turning that seat on. Barbara McLullich from Back Pain Blog – the personal journey of a chronic back pain sufferer – offers this advice: “I am a true advocate of heat while travelling so if your car does not have heated seats then buy a heat pad to pop on your back. You can buy these from a chemist and most last up to eight hours. Also, have some heat pads ready to use after your journey.”

Be careful getting in and out of the car

Another important thing to consider is the simple fact of how you get in and out of the car as this can have ramifications for your back health. Explaining what to be aware of and how you can help yourself, Barbara from Back Pain Blog says: “Pay attention to how you get in and out of the car. Sit down facing the door and swing both legs into the car. Getting out is the reverse. If this is too uncomfortable to do, you can buy swivel cushions to help you turn around.”

MONTHLY BACK PAIN TIPS FROM BACK PAIN BLOG UK.COM …

This month’s back pain tips are –

Take something to control the pain and stay active. Bed-rest is not the answer.

Classic Pilates moves support the spine and can create a flat tum in the process !!

Revamp your bed to get a good night’s sleep. They say one in ten cases of back pain could be caused by old or poorly supportive mattresses. There are a number of mattress companies that run a ‘try before you buy’ offer so if you get the wrong type you could change it for another type.