MY TOP THREE PILLOWS FOR THE DISCOMFORT OF BACK AND NECK PAIN…

Pillows are so personal don’t you think? After my first cervical surgery I had to wear a collar so it didn’t really matter what pillow I had but after the second cervical fusion they did not advise one but neither did they advise any type of pillow, so I stuck with the same soft type for years. So much so that when I go to a Hotel and the pillow is hard I find it very difficult to get to sleep.

However, they have now found out that certain neck pillows can not only help with the pain from disc injuries and whiplash but also for back pain, shoulder pain and even chronic pain.

There are obviously quite a few different types advertised and the tempa ones are advertised everywhere. When I go for my afternoon rest I always just get under the throw and sleep on my v pillow, on my side whereas when I got to bed at night I sleep on a fairly flat a pillow which would not suit most people but after two cervical fusions my neck is pretty stiff so I cannot cope with anything too thick. My other problem is that although I know I should sleep on my side or on my back I love going to sleep on my front which is the worst position for neck and back problems.

My top three choices are –

Sealy Activsleep Geltex Memory Foam Pillow, Amazon, £34.99

This pillow focuses on ventilation and airflow which runs between the hundreds of tiny fibres that surround the Geltex core so it has lots of breath ability. It’s great for allergy sufferers in mind too, with hypoallergenic filling and a knitted Purotex cover to prevent bugs and bacteria.

I personally found this too high for myself but my husband who usually has two pillows found this one pillow enough for him and extremely comfortable. I did struggle getting it into a regular size pillow case, though.

  • Sealy Activsleep Geltex Pillow standard size 74 x 48cm
  • Made with a supportive and comfortable memory foam shell that is ventilated to increase airflow and breathability and prevent overheating
  • The revitalising Geltex core provides support, comfort and coolness and is surrounded by DuPont Cotrano fibres which are light and bouncy
  • Knitted Purotex cover helps to combat pillow nasties such as bugs and bacteria
  • Made in the UK, anti-allergenic, 2 year manufacturer’s guarantee

My second choice is The White Company Memory Foam Comfort Pillow which is £45

This special shape-contouring pillow is made with shredded memory foam, which means it gives fantastic firm support with added comfort. The beauty of this design is that it gives the supportive benefits of memory foam, while boasting the sleek appearance of a traditional pillow. If you sleep on your side, this pillow will bridge the gap between your shoulder and neck for perfect alignment. What’s more, the soft casing can be unzipped and machine washed at 40°C, making it wonderfully easy to care for.

Firm support
Non-Allergenic 
Filling: 100% memory foam clusters

I LOVE this pillow but then I love just about everything at The White Company. It fitted perfectly into a normal size pillow case and feels more like a normal luxury pillow rather than a memory foam pillow, which is why I think I like it so much.

It’s better for side sleepers, which I should be but prefer to sleep on my stomach and it definitely bridges the gap between your shoulder and neck for correct alignment. I love that it can be unzipped and popped into the washing machine.

My third choice is Soak and Sleep’s soft Duck Feather and Down pillows are a delightful way for front sleepers to nod off, from £20.

It feels substantial thanks to the generous quantity of small, soft duck feathers blended with light and lofty duck down, and is very reasonably priced too. You can choose between a soft/medium pillow – ideal for front sleepers or a deeper medium/firm pillow that’s better suited to side and back sleepers.

This pillow will support your head and neck for good spinal alignment – you can choose from their range of pillow fills, firmnesses and depths to suit your sleeping style.

Covered with a 233 thread count percale to help wick away moisture for a cooler, more refreshing night’s sleep. It’s another pillow that can be machine washed.

You can choose between a soft/medium pillow – ideal for front sleepers or a deeper medium/firm pillow that’s better suited to side and back sleepers. Obviously I chose the soft/medium pillow.

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YOGA TO HELP WITH BACK PAIN…

Yoga is based on rhythm and breathing rather than core strength, so it’s useful for relaxation and stress. There are lots of different types of Yoga available today but some good ones for pain are Bikram Yoga, Yin, Iyengar Yoga and Glow Yoga.

Bikram Yoga is a unique series of 26 Hatha Yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises, performed in a heated room to enhance your stretching. It covers a series of postures which have been scientifically designed to work every part of the body in the correct order. The heat facilitates stretching, prevents injury and promotes sweating, which aids detoxification.

Yin Yoga is a yoga for the joints that stretches the connective tissue. It is a very distinctive style of Chinese yoga, which some believe is the oldest form of Hatha yoga. Yang exercises work your heart and muscles and the exercises are floor-based. Lying down can immediately relax your body and unlike other Yogas, you hold your posture for up to ten minutes. It has been said to feel like ‘peeling off layers of tension’.

Iyengar Yoga is perfect for people who feel ‘stiff’. It’s the safest and most effective way to stretch your whole body and improve your flexibility. It’s characterised by great attention to detail and precise focus on body alignment with the use of ‘props’, such as cushions, benches, blocks and even sand bags.

There are more than 200 deep poses, which you work towards holding for up to two minutes, which make it great for lengthening your muscles. They say it is a perfect type of yoga, if you’ve got a muscular or joint injury. With so many different types of Yoga available, it gets a bit confusing as to which one to choose, but it’s really a case of try one, then try another.

Healthline have an article with the ten best yoga poses for back pain, but please don’t try these if you have never done yoga before, check with your GP then try a class with a fully qualified instructor.

Another company Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs has a video you can watch on specific yoga moves for lower back pain. On the NHS website they also have an article on how ‘yoga may improve back pain’.

The British Wheel of Yoga website has lots of information about Yoga and the 30th OM Yoga Show which takes place 18th/19th & 20th October.

My book of choice would be ‘Yoga Therapy: A Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Yoga and Ayurveda For Health and Fitness’, by A G Mohan.

TAILORED BACK PAIN RELIEF FOR A FRACTION OF THE COST…

With summer well and truly here making sure that you are able to stay active, do the things you love and create great memories with friends and family is key. Back Pain affects 7/10 people in the UK and although it is such a common occurrence there are only two options.

Spend a lot of money heading to an osteopath or head down the medicinal route which only masks the pain. Lower Back Pain Relief is something that needs to be tailored to each person, lifestyles are different, the activities a person does are different and what works for one person may not work for the other. This post is here to educate and inform readers of an alternative treatment that is  out there.

Backpain.online is a new platform that aims at reducing the costs people spend on treating back pain. It is run by Graeme and Toby who combined have over 25 years of experience as Osteopaths and run an Osteopathy Clininc in Ascot – their main aim when setting up back pain online was to relay their years of experience to members at a fraction of the cost.

Their solution is to create a hub of 100s of videos that members can access. Once you have filled in the E Consultation form you will then have a tailored video path for you to work through. The videos cover three main areas: education, advice and rehabilitation, all of which are aimed at improving lower back pain and improving mobility. The platform offers users access to an information hub and there is the option to try the product for 7 days free of charge.

SIXTEEN THINGS THAT CAN TRIGGER BACK PAIN…

Believe it or not, there are some very strange things that can trigger your back pain, as well as the usual things that you should avoid.

1.Your wallet in your back pocket can cause sciatica due to you pressing on it while sitting down.

2. Your mobile phone can cause you neck pain due to the way you hold your neck if you use it a lot, it can also cause arthritis of the thumb.

3. Flip flops can cause pain in your back due to the poor arch support.

4. Long-distance driving can cause back pain due to the position you sit in for a long period.

5. Being a couch potato can also cause back pain from not moving around enough.

6. Laptop cases over one shoulder can cause back and neck pain due to the weight on one side of your neck.

7. Large handbags can cause back pain due to the same reason as laptops.

8. Lifting can cause back pain if you do not bend properly. Lift an object by bending your hips and knees and then squatting to pick up the object. Keep your back straight and hold the object close to your body. Avoid twisting your body while lifting.

9. Your workstation can cause you neck and back pain if your chair is not the correct height.

10. Your laptop can cause you neck and back pain if you do not have it at the correct height.

11. Brushing can cause back pain for a short while due to muscles being used which have not been used for a while, the same applies to using a lawnmower.

12. Push rather than pull when you must move heavy objects.

13. Don’t carry excess weight as this can cause back pain.

14. Stress can also create muscle tension, causing a loss in flexibility that can lead to back pain. To reduce stress.

15. If you smoke, stop. It puts you at increased risk for back problems since your blood has trouble delivering oxygen to working tissues, making your back weaker.

16. Don’t overload your trolley as this can cause back or neck pain.

THE BAD BACK COMPANY…

Check out my latest post on The Bad Back Company Blog

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BACK PAIN SUFFER, MOVING DAY. 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BACK PAIN SUFFERER 

Monday, Moving day…

 

A Day in the Life of a Back Pain Suffer, Moving Day.

We’ve lived in our lovely happy home for the last 33 years and have too many memories to mention but now its time to leave, it’s moving day today. I’ve been sleeping restlessly lately with so much on my mind. Having not moved home in such a long time you forget how stressful it really is, from packing, to agreeing dates, to signing the hundredth piece of paper how can your mind and body rest?

 

However, the day is finally here! After a fitful night’s sleep thinking about my children’s first steps down our hallway and waving them off when they finally left home. I must admit I was a little emotional about saying goodbye to our beloved home and physically tired at the thought of yet more packing, those last few essentials that are far more than a ‘few’ items to carefully put into boxes.

 

Since having chronic back pain, I have always struggled with even packing my suitcases to go on holiday. So, when we finally took the plunge to move, I was practically giddy at the thought of packing up my entire home. My husband and I had discussed this and as his back is also not in the best way, we decided we would get some help for packing the house up, although deep down the nerves did kick in at the thought of my wedding china being packed up by someone else!

 

On the day of the move I decided that a long hot shower would help relax my back, as I have already mentioned I have been a little sleep deprived lately, which can often aggravate my back. However, I do find the heat from a long hot shower somewhat eases this pain and also gives you that time to mentally prepare yourself. With that done, a very strong coffee and a quick glance at the weather (no rain!!) some excitement creeping through I felt far more ready for moving day!

 

The email I had had from the removal guys said they would be with us between 9.30 and 10am. So, after an early breakfast I put everything away except some tea, coffee and biscuits to keep the removal guys topped up. Now as with anything that you want to run on time there is always a slight hiccup, the guys arrived late and the removal process did not start until about 10.45, which for someone who runs her life approximately an hour early for everything this was not quite as relaxed as I had hoped for!

 

Both myself and hubby were sitting on pins waiting for a phone call from our solicitors as contracts should be exchanging at any minute as they had assured us it would all be sorted first thing Monday morning, still nothing at 11:30am…… I was getting a little nervous now!

 

After making numerous cups of tea and sitting on camping chairs my back was starting to ache as it was not being supported properly and unfortunately, I was getting rapidly more stressed! I had now seen my coccyx cushion disappear into the abyss of boxes and genuinely felt a pang of missing it, as a fairly new addition to my back-care routine I have found it very helpful and now it was missing it was all I needed! However, I had remembered to keep aside my heat pad which as all you fellow back pain suffers know.. heat soothes! 

 

A Day in the Life of a Back Pain Suffer, Moving Day.

Now with my heat pad firmly attached, I wandered into the conservatory which had always been mine and my husbands’ favourite room, where we could sit and watch the birds and squirrels play in the garden, surrounded by beautiful blooming flowers. I must admit at this point I did question why we were leaving and then I remember we were moving to be closer to our family, there really was no contest. 

 

It quickly became 2 o’clock my house was packed I could not believe the removal guys had done an amazing job and finally the solicitors had called, “it would all be complete in the next half an hour.” Well I was delighted and did a somewhat stiff dance, if you have ever suffered with back pain you will know that even a little twirl can sometimes be too much. I heard my husband laughing as he came in mimicking my robotic dance move, he had over heard the conversation and he was just as excited as I was. We decided to take a cup of tea and one final walk in our garden to loosen our backs ahead of a long journey to our new home. We really didn’t want think our new neighbours had robots moving in!

 

2.35pm 

Then it came the phone call that you dread on moving day… ‘“ I am so sorry to say”, said our solicitor, “ but the contracts have still not been exchanged due to one of the solicitors down our chain not being available.” Heart sinking I didn’t know what to say and passed my phone over to my husband who normally has a few harsher words to say than I do but this time he just listened and accepted it. We looked at each other, and after a quick chat where he explained that the solicitors had assured him tomorrow would be the day we decided that in our hearts we had already moved so we would leave today anyway. We left the keys with the removal team and set off to our favourite hotel near to where we were moving to treat ourselves to a much deserved glass of wine.