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Stretch Now - More than just back care

More than just back care   Stretch Now - Facebook Stretch Now - Twitter

Let’s look at one of the most common problems in our society... Back pain. This often untreated and insidious condition can range from a slight niggling pain to intensely disrupting our lives.
So what can we do about it?

Yoga Asanas for Backs

Most yoga poses either stretch or strengthen the back muscles, joints and other soft tissues. Here are 3 that are a good gentle start and do not require any particular props (although it is more comfortable on a yoga mat: Cat Cow Pose, Reclining Open-Leg Spinal Twist and Child’s Pose .

Cat Cow Pose (Marjaryasana)
Cat Cow Pose - Marjaryasana

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a "tabletop" position. Make sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. Bring the inner creases of your elbow so they are facing each other as much as possible. Centre your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor.
  2. As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, making sure to keep your shoulders and knees in position. Release your head toward the floor, but don't force your chin to your chest.
  3. Inhale, and allow the stomach to release towards the floor, arching your back and looking up towards the ceiling. Release and tilt your hips to allow the curve in the back to elongate even more. Go as far as feels comfortable, and if you have any herniated discs make sure you do this slowly and gently, stopping if it feels contracted.
  4. As you practice this more regularly, you will notice your spine and torso feels aligned and strengthened by this pose as well as the internal organs receiving a massage.

Reclining Open-Leg Spinal Twist Pose (Jathara Parivartanasana)

Spinal Twist Pose
  1. Lie on your back and extend your legs
  2. Draw your left leg up and twist it across your body towards the floor on the opposite side of your body, holding it at your knee or foot with your right hand. Anchor your left shoulder on the floor and extend your left arm out perpendicular to your body on the floor.
  3. Breathe and allow your body to relax into the position
  4. Repeat on the other side

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Child's Pose
  1. Sit on our heels with your shoulders above your hips
  2. Bend forward and gently place your chest on your thighs, head to floor in front of you, if you have a back injury or want some support, place a folded yoga blanket or yoga block resting under your forehead.
  3. Bring your arms by your side, hands beside the feet, or alternatively, outstretch your arms forward away from your body on the floor.

These 3 poses are a great start, regular practice will make the most difference and you should notice a difference in your back pain and general posture. For more poses the yoga for back care DVD is a great start.

Exercises at the office
Stretch out the back at the office! Here is one simple exercise you can do in the office or at home while watch TV!

Forward Bend
Benefits: Releases tension in the lower back, elongates the spine.

Step 1: Sit comfortably on the chair, feet parallel and resting on the floor. Place hands on the knees, elongate the spine and the back of the neck.
Step 2: Bend forward from the hips, leading with the front of the body. Release hands onto the floor, resting the chest on the knees.
Step 3: Hold for 10 seconds, then gently come up.

Back Exercise Back Exercise Back Exercise

The ergonomics now website has this exercise plus more.

Diet and Nutrition
Back pain is often characterised by muscular and soft tissue damage and chronic inflammation. Here are a few things you can do to help the integrity of these tissues and reduce the body’s predisposition towards inflammation.

  1. Eat fish – fish has high levels of Omega 3, an essential fatty acid which interferes with the inflammatory drivers of the body. Taking a fish oil supplement is an easy alternative, however make sure you are having enough (for a standard 1000mg capsule, you need 4-6 caps a day) and it may take up to 2-3 months to see the results. Essential fatty acids are used in many other ways in the body so don’t wait till you have back pain to start taking it.  Vegetarian? Have 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil each day instead.
  2. Use Turmeric in your cooking – Tumeric, the bright yellow spice often used in Indian cooking, is anti-inflammatory as well as being anti-oxidant and anti-cancer.
  3. Do you get cramps, twitches or back spasms? These can all be signs of Magnesium deficiency, try taking Magnesium (talk to your naturopath, health care provider or health shop assistant for doses with particular brands etc). This essential mineral is used to help relax muscles after they are used so can be great for back pain related to overuse (including over-sitting) and sports.

How can I prevent back problems at the first place?
How can I prevent back problems at the first place?
Watch the way you sit at your computer, these products can help re-align and invigorate your sitting posture. Height adjustable desks, Kneeling chairs and Lumbar supports can all support you and you posture while working at the desk and computer or even driving in your car.

Height adjustable desks - Electrically operated sit stand desks are the ideal solution for changing your working position easily and quickly. They allow you to have a dynamic working environment.
Kneeling chairs– Considered by some to be the most ergonomically viable position, these chairs allow you to release the pressure on your back and open your hips by transferring some of your weight on to your legs and changing the angle of your hip joint.
Lumbar supports– Can be used wherever you are sitting, these are great when you cannot change the chair you are in but still need some support. Ideal for the car, couch or any office chair.

As well as having the right equipment, simply taking the time to have adequate breaks can make a vital difference (recommended is a 1-2 minute break every 45 minutes). We can all get so focussed on what we are doing that we forget to take breaks, therefore a helpful reminder software such as RSIGuard can help you with this.  Hand, wrist and forearm, neck and shoulder exercises are also great to do during these mini breaks.

WIN $200 Voucher

Go in the draw to win one of three $200 Ergonomics Now or Stretch Now vouchers to use on any product in the ergonomics now or stretch now website!

In order to provide the best products and customer service possible, we are gathering testimonials, feedback and reviews from our customers regarding our products and service so that others can benefit from your experience. Simply ‘Like’ us on facebook and write your product or service review on the wall or if you prefer just email your feedback or testimonial to info@stretchnow.com.au.

Terms and conditions: These reviews are for the benefit of future customers and therefore by participating in this competition, you allow us to use your testimonial and name (please note we will not share any other personal information) on the Stretch Now Group Pty Ltd websites. Vouchers can be used on either www.stretchnow.com.au or www.ergonomicsnow.com.au websites. Competition ends 31 August 2011 and winners will be notified via Facebook and/or email by September 5th 2011.

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