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Back Pain Relief with No Exercise

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in September of 2022. For the original video go to

Bob: All right, do you have back pain? Some of you do not like to exercise to get rid of it, right?

Brad: Well, of course, Bob. Most people don’t want to exercise, it’s human nature.

Bob: We’re going to show you some non-exercise options.

Brad: Right. These are validated.

Bob: These will help you.

Brad: Yeah, we have experience.

Bob: This first one, I got from Rick Olderman MSPT, our Master Therapist. When you’re working at your desk, you want those muscles of the back to relax. One way to do that is to use two full-length pillows.

Brad: That’s right. It is not only at your work desk, but on any chair, you sit in. You’ll know because if you try it, it’s going to relax your body. First, put one on the back of your chair and the other one, you can vary it, but we found if you go a little higher, maybe belt line, with the bottom of that pillow, and then slide into that, you can feel that full-length support of your whole back. Allowing it to relax. Even without a back problem, it feels good.

Bob: Could you imagine typing?

Brad: I couldn’t imagine typing any, I’d just be pecking away with one finger. It’s stressful for me.

Bob: All right, that was number one. Let’s go to number two. This past weekend, Brad, I tweaked my back golfing too much.

Brad: Ah, too much play.

Bob: Anyway, the thing that works well for me is I started using the Thermotex heating pad again.

Brad: It’s a heating pad, but it’s far infrared, so this goes deep. Over two inches. You can use a regular heating pad if that’s all you have, that's fine.

Bob: A regular heat pad will only penetrate maybe a centimeter.

Brad: You’ll feel it, but it will not get into the muscles and joints like the Thermotex. You can use it in a seated position. What I do because my chair doesn’t have enough lumbar support, I'll put a pillow against the back of the chair, then the heating pad, then slide my back into it. That allows more support in that lumbar area. It’s up to you.

Bob: Brad, I sat with that thing all day yesterday.

Brad: Did you sleep?

Bob: No, but I left it on the whole day.

Brad: Yeah, but you didn’t sit the whole day, did you?

Bob: Most of the day.

Brad: Yeah, it probably felt good. Usually, they only recommend a 45-minute session.

Bob: Yep, a couple of times a day. It was fine though.

Brad: Good. Use that warm pack. I know I personally combine that with the next one we’re going to talk about.

Bob: They are pricey by the way.

Brad: Yeah, they are.

Bob: Now, when you have back pain, this is the go-to position. Wouldn’t you say, Brad?

Brad: Right. Oftentimes, most time people with back pain put themselves in this position with a leg wedge. You can use pillows if you don’t have a wedge. It works a bit better, but you get those legs elevated and it flexes the hips a little bit and it takes that pressure off the low back. With this, you could put a hot pack underneath the back at the same time.

Bob: You could use a cold pack, too.

Brad: I’ve used that historically, and I have had good success with it. Make sure it’s one that is the gel and conforms to your back. If you get one out of the freezer and it is rock hard, it’s not good.

Bob: So, Brad, do you fall asleep like this?

Brad: Oh, absolutely. I must be careful. If I do it in bed, if I had a rough day because I was doing things I shouldn’t be doing and I have a sore back, I'll fall asleep like this in bed and wake up in a couple of hours because I want to roll around, I’ll put the wedge on the floor. I’ll be relaxed and can roll without pain.

Bob: Next one, if you’re a side sleeper, what do you do? If you sleep on your side, these are some things you can try. If they feel good, great. If they don’t, don’t do it.

Brad: I want to have my head on a pillow and take a smaller pillow. The thickness of it is going to vary from person to person depending on your body shape. What we’re doing is trying to support the back. Place the pillow right at the waistline to fill that gap. For me, this pillow is a little fixed so I would have to use something else. As I said, it varies.

Bob: It might feel fine on the other side, too.

Brad: Right, once you get that figured out, place a pillow between the knees. I like to put it so it’s between the knees and my ankles and boy, that makes a big difference. Can you finish, Bob? I’m falling asleep over here.

Bob: Sure. Lots of pillows. The final sleep position, if you sleep on your stomach, I would try this. Put a full-length pillow underneath your chest and stomach, so put it the long way.

Brad: Adjust it where it feels comfortable, but it’s easy to find out. Then, you know, sleep. You may have a throw pillow for your head as well.

Bob: Or use your hands. Give it a try.

Brad: We’re not big on stomach sleeping, but if that’s your habit and you have success with it, that’s okay.

Bob: So, the final thing we thought would be good to show you is how to get out of bed without pain. Brad, take it away.

Brad: Okay. If you’re lying on your back or supine, bring your knees up. You’re going to tighten your core muscles so that your back is supported.

Bob: Keep them tight the whole time.

Brad: I’m going to roll to my right, core muscles tight. We call this log rolling in the therapy world. Everything moves together. Once I get on my side, my knees, hopefully, you’re in a position where they’re off the bed, pull your feet forward.

Bob: Brad is still tightening his core.

Brad: Yep. I’m pushing with my elbow and hand, and this helps teeter me up. Tight core still. Oh, I made it, Bob. Then stand with a good and strong core.

Bob: I've had so many patients who were surprised how well that worked.

Brad: Yeah, it’s like putting a back belt on. You’re stabilizing that spine that’s tender and

you’re getting up without twisting and forces on your back. Anything else, Bob?

Bob: Nope.

Brad: All right, good luck with that back pain. No exercise and carry on!

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