Back Pain Blog

Pranayama: Stress Relief Yoga Breathing Technique

Medical experts have long suggested that stress plays an important part in impacting our ability to function at maximal levels. Studies have shown that stress plays an important role in producing hormonal imbalance. This hormonal imbalance in the body can produce pain, muscle tension, soreness and anxiety attacks. Therefore stress relief can be an important step towards prevention as well as management to improve physical performance and quality of life.

The word Pranayama is derived from 2 Sanskrit words “Prana” meaning life force/vital energy/the breath and “Ayama” meaning control. Pranayama is a controlled breathing technique that helps in maintaining energy flow and balance in the body. Breathing is a very important element of life and controlled breathing is necessary for all kinds of successful exercises.

Proper respiration/ breathing provides energy to different body systems/parts as well as removes toxic waste products from our body. This promotes relaxation. Pranayama helps in maintaining oxygen and carbon dioxide balance in our body and thereby connects our body, mind and spirit. An individual under stress or stressful conditions usually does not pay much attention to proper breathing, and this can lead to fast and shallow breathing. The result can be oxygen deprivation, which increases negative energy and stress in the body.

Benefits of Pranayama:

Proper respiration is a critical part of an individual’s life. Pranayama allows an individual to breathe fully and deeply, which helps in improving lung capacity, oxygen saturation as well as optimal functional ability.

Pranayama increases an individual’s ability to concentrate by relieving stress as well as promoting relaxation, harmony and peace of mind.

Many believe that Pranayama prevents initiation or progression of any pathological or disease conditions.

Pranayama also improves one’s self-control.

Pranayama helps to remove body waste products/toxins.

Pranayama improves the rate of metabolism of the body and has been show to help digestion.

In our daily life, we use many relaxation techniques to relieve stress. Pranayama is a deep breathing yoga technique; which is easy to understand, less time consuming and also supported by various peer reviewed studies and articles.

Things to keep in mind while performing Pranayama:

Do not hold the breath during this exercise.

Pranayama techniques are best done on an empty stomach (Morning hours or one or two hours after a meal).

Move at your own pace and modify the poses as needed in order to maintain alignment and easy breathing in every pose.

If you feel any discomfort, dizziness or pain during your practice, either modify the pose so that you are comfortable or take a few moments to rest.

It is very important that you listen to your body and practice Pranayama techniques in the manner that is the safest and most comfortable for you.

At the Compass Rehabilitation Center, we have trained experts ready to discuss the benefits of Pranayama for you.

Office Ergonomics

Do you ever feel achy, sore or painful after spending time on the computer? If you’re like many of us, your answer is, at least sometimes, yes! Thankfully, there are some basic guidelines that you can use to help yourself feel better and improve your tolerance.

Start with your keyboard. Ideally, this should be at your elbow level, so when your hands are on the keyboard, your forearms are level and elbows are at your sides. So adjust your seat height to that position.

If your seat back is adjustable, adjust the position to give you good low back support. Make sure the seat tilt is locked in the upright position. If you need additional back support, try a low back cushion or pillow.

The optimal position for your monitor is directly in front of you, with the top Of your screen at eye level. If you use bifocals for computer work, the screen Should be lower, so you can look through them without tipping your head back. If you are using a laptop computer and are having symptoms, try a monitor holder To raise the screen level and a separate keyboard.

Your distance from the monitor should be about an arms length away but be sure to adjust it if needed so that you don’t need to lean forward to read anything.

If you use a separate mouse, its location should be just to the right or left of the Keyboard, to avoid overeaching.

With your hips all the way back in the chair, there should be 1-3 fingers of space in between the back of your leg and the seat edge.

Armrests are not mandatory for computer work. If present, should be slightly higher than the point of the elbow, and adjustable.

With your chair properly adjusted as above, if your feet are not supported well, use a footrest.

If you’re typing off copy (books or papers), they should be brought up to monitor height by using a document holder. In a pinch you can use a clipboard. Never flat!

For moderate to frequent phone use, a headset is recommended. Don’t hold between ear and shoulder.

Lastly, remember to sit all the way back in your chair and pull it up close to your work.

Happy computing!!

The Proper Way To Sleep And Get Out Of Bed

Discovering the proper way to sleep at night can make a big impact on the way your back and neck will feel in the morning when you wake up. Many people are causing more back and neck pain from the way they sleep. Below are some helpful tips for making sure you have the most comfort during the night.

For back pain, the proper way to sleep is to make sure your pelvis, hips, and spine are not twisted out of place when you sleep. A good way to take some stress off your back is to try sleeping on your back with some pillows under your knees, so that your knees are bent up. If you don’t like sleeping on your back, try lying on your side with a pillow between your knees, to keep your hips and pelvis even with each other.

For neck pain, the worst thing you can do is lie on your stomach with your head turned one way. This can tighten your neck on one side and cause stiffness or pain when you wake up. Instead, try lying on your back. If you’d like to lie on your side, try folding a pillow or using two pillows under your head to keep your neck even, so it doesn’t tilt to one side as you sleep.

If you've wondered how to get out of bed without back pain in the morning, it is best to start lying on your back or side. If you’re on your back, bend both knees up and roll to the side, so that your shins are off the bed. Use the arm closest to the mattress to push yourself up so that you’re sitting, and be sure to keep your body straight. Avoid twisting your trunk! If you’re lying on your side, simply dangle your shins off the bed and push yourself up to sitting.

Tips for Better Sleep

Not getting enough sleep is bad for our health. Sleep insufficiency is linked to motor vehicle accidents, occupational errors, and chronic diseases such as depression, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and cancer. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult obtains an average of less than 7 hours of sleep per night. The amount of sleep we need changes as we age and varies between individuals, but it is recommended that adults obtain 7-9 hours of sleep per night. The following are tips that can be used to help improve sleeping ability.

  1. Go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning, even on weekends
  2. Avoid large meals immediately before bedtime
  3. Avoid nicotine
  4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol near bedtime
  5. Include physical activity in your daily routine, though avoid vigorous exercise in the few hours before going to bed
  6. Limit daytime naps. If you must take daytime naps, limit them to 10-30 minutes, and avoid taking naps later in the afternoon or evening
  7. Create a relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading, taking a warm bath or shower, or listening to relaxing music
  8. Use your bedroom for sleep and sex only - avoid watching television or using computer while in bed
  9. Create a comfortable sleeping environment - get rid of distractions, such as noises or bright light, sleep on a comfortable mattress, keep the temperature cool
  10. If you frequently have trouble sleeping, contact your physician to identify and treat any possible underlying causes that may be preventing you from sleeping