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How Can Massage Ease Sciatic Pain?

How Can Massage Ease Sciatic Pain

If you're living with sciatic pain, massage therapy may be a great option. While it's not a cure for this condition, it can ease your discomfort and improve your overall quality of life. Through regular treatments, you can relax tight muscles, improve blood circulation, alleviate your stress, and put yourself in a better mood. Let's dive deeper into how massage can reduce sciatic pain and what types of massages are ideal for this condition.

Relaxes Tight Muscles

Tight muscles can put pressure on your sciatic nerve. In addition, they can create uncomfortable nodules and lead to pain in various trigger points. Massage therapy may stretch and loosen these muscles and improve the function of your lower back and legs.

Increases Blood Circulation

Massage has the potential to stimulate your blood vessels and increase your blood circulation as a result. This is important because it can provide sore spots with the nutrients they need to heal.

Releases Endorphins

Endorphins are the feel good chemicals in your brain. The more endorphins you have, the less likely you are to experience pain and discomfort. Massage therapy can release endorphins and help you feel better.

Best Massages for Sciatic Pain

There are a variety of massages that a massage therapist can perform. The best ones for sciatic pain, however, include the following.

Deep Tissue Massage

Through slow strokes and finger pressure, deep tissue massage can ease tension from your muscles and connective tissues. You may notice a positive change in your sciatic pain, even if your session only lasts 30 minutes.

Hot Stone Massage

Hot stone massage improves muscle tension while giving you the chance to completely relax. It involves a massage therapist placing heated stone throughout your body while making flowing movements.

Swedish Massage

During Swedish massage, a massage therapist stimulates nerve endings through flowing movements and boosts blood circulation as a result. In addition, this type of massage helps with tension and relaxation.

How to Find a Massage Therapist

If you'd like to receive massage therapy for sciatic pain, you should note that not all massage therapists are the same. Try to find a therapist who has experience treating sciatic pain and understands exactly what you may be experiencing. Your doctor or the American Massage Therapy Association database is a great starting point.

Before you move forward with massage therapy, be sure to consult your doctor. They can inform you of whether this is a wise treatment for your unique situation.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

3 Hamstring Stretches to Relieve Lumbar Herniated Disc Pain

3 Hamstring Stretches to Relieve Lumbar Herniated Disc Pain

If you suffer from a lumbar herniated disc, you may be experiencing radiating leg pain. The most effective way to relieve radiating leg pain is stretching on a daily basis. These three stretches will help take away some of the pressure on your sciatic nerve in your leg. They'll also aid in loosening your hamstrings and improve the support in your lumbar spine.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

To perform this stretch, start by standing with your legs straight and feet together. Next, bend at your waist, while keeping your knees straight. Once bent over at the waist, place your hands on your hips or thighs. Inhale, slowly, then exhale, and hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Once the 30 seconds is up, maintain a flat back while you stand up straight.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

This stretch is a better option than the standing stretch if you have limited mobility or if your hamstrings are extremely tight. For this stretch, you'll need a firm chair with a straight back and another item that has a similar height as the seat of the chair such as a stool or bucket. For this stretch, sit upright on the edge of the chair with both feet flat on the ground.

Straighten one of your legs in front of you and place the back of the heel on the top of the stool. Then, lean forward at the waist towards your straightened leg until you start to feel the stretch near the back side of your thighs. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then switch to stretching your opposite leg.

Towel Hamstring Stretch

This stretch can be performed while lying down and with the aid of a towel. To start, lie on your back on a flat surface. Put your left leg flat on the floor and raise your right leg up in the air. Wrap the towel around the ball of your foot on your right leg, and hold the two ends of the towel, one end in each hand.

Try to push your right heel up towards the ceiling and keep your rig leg straight until you feel it stretching your hamstring. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and then switch to the other leg. Repeat this stretch 3 times for each leg.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

Sleeping with Neck Pain: What You Need to Know

Neck pain can make it difficult for you to fall and stay asleep. The good news is that there are some things you can do to reduce or even eliminate neck pain while you're trying to catch some shut-eye. If you're sleeping with neck pain, these tips are sure to be invaluable as they can allow you to wake up feeling energized and ready to conquer the day ahead.

Position Your Pillow Properly

Chances are high that you sleep with a pillow. The type of pillow you use and the way you position it can take a toll on your neck pain and slumber. Make sure your pillow allows your nose to be parallel with the middle of your spine.

If your pillow is too fat, it may force your head and neck to bend up. On the flipside, if it's too flat, your head and neck may bend down. A memory foam or feather pillow is ideal as it can conform to your neck's shape quite well.

Do Not Sleep on Your Stomach

While you may want to sleep on your stomach, doing so is not the best move for your neck. Here's why: Every time you lie on your stomach, you force yourself to twist your neck and head to the side. When you do this, you place unnecessary pressure on your nerves. So try to avoid sleeping on your stomach as much as possible. Get into the habit of sleeping on your side or back so you can keep your neck pain to a minimum.

See a Physical Therapist

Even if you choose the right pillow and sleep in the optimal sleeping position, your neck pain may still persist. If this is the case, it may be the result of arthritis or another chronic issue. Once you see a doctor, they may refer you to a physical therapist who can educate you on the right stretching and strengthening exercises to help support your neck.

Practice Healthy Sleep Habits

Take a look at your sleep habits and make sure you're doing everything you can to set yourself up for a successful slumber. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Turn off distractions like the television and your phone. Invest in a quality mattress. Soak a warm bath or engage in another relaxing activity before bed.

If your neck pain does not go away despite these measures, consult your doctor as they can evaluate your condition and help you determine next steps.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

Back Pain on Vacation

Back Pain on Vacation

You go on vacation to relax and participate in activities you don't normally get to enjoy when you're at home. Unfortunately, going on vacation does not make you immune to back pain that can take away from the fun and excitement of your trip.

This is particularly true if you like to participate in swimming, hiking, and other recreational activities while you're traveling. Here are some tips to help you relieve and prevent back pain on vacation.

Be Careful with Lifting

If you have to lift luggage or other heavy items while you're traveling, practice proper posture. Use a wide stance and use your legs to squat down. Also, place your weight into your heels and keep your butt back. If something is too heavy for you, don't be afraid to ask for help.

Use a Neck Pillow

You may be tempted to fall asleep in the car or plane while you're en route to your destination. This is perfectly fine as long as you use a neck pillow that will improve the alignment of your spine. If you don't have a neck pillow, a rolled up blanket, towel, or sweatshirt will do the trick.

Follow the 30-Minute Rule

As you travel, you may find that you're sitting or standing for long periods of time. The 30-minute rule states that you change your position every 30 minutes. Even a small change every 30 minutes can reduce the risk of back pain on vacation so it's important to follow this rule.

Prepare for Recreational Activities

If your body isn't used to swimming, hiking, and other recreational activities, your spine may not handle them well on vacation. Before your trip, make sure you get up and moving and perform exercises that stretch and strengthen your spine. We suggest yoga poses like downward facing dog, pigeon pose, and thread the needle pose.

Pack and Wear the Right Shoes

Be mindful about the shoes you pack and wear for your vacation. Avoid heels and opt for shoes that are comfortable and offer good support. The wrong shoes can place stress on your lower back and make activities like swimming and hiking dangerous for your back.

Vacation is a time for you to have fun and make wonderful memories with the ones you love. With these tips, you can ease or prevent back pain and throughly enjoy every moment of your trip.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

5 Lesser Known Tips for Easing Neck Pain

5 Lesser Known Tips for Easing Neck Pain

If you live with chronic neck pain, you've probably tried ice, heat pads, and over-the-counter medication, but for some people, the common treatment methods don't always help as much as we'd like. Treating neck pain sometimes involves other, lesser known treatment methods. Read on to learn more about these 5 lesser known ways for treating neck pain. Finding what works best for you may take some time to try each one.

1 - Visit a Physical Therapist

Most people think physical therapy is only used to recover from surgery or an accident, but it can also help with things like persistent neck pain. Physical therapists can help by working on your posture and strengthening your neck. Consult your doctor to see if your neck pain might be improved with visits to a physical therapist.

2 - Swimming

Swimming is a great exercise for most people. But it's especially useful for people that suffer from some type of chronic pain because it is a low impact exercise. Time spent in the water reduces the weight on your spine. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about recommendations on which swimming exercises you should be trying.

3 - Meditation

Sometimes, simply finding a time and place for some gentle relaxation can improve chronic neck pain. One of the most commonly used types of meditation involves controlled breathing exercises. There are many free online sources that teach various different breathing exercises.

4 - Use Proper Posture When Using a Phone or Tablet

Hunching over and constantly looking down at a phone or tablet can be a common cause for chronic neck pain. If you think this may be contributing to your discomfort, try limiting the amount of free time you spend using one of these devices, or try holding the device up higher so that you neck is in a neutral position. You can also try taking regular breaks, stand up, walk around, and stretch your neck.

5 - Try a Chair that Supports your Neck

If you work in an office, or sit for long periods throughout the day, hunching forward places extra stress on your spine. A neck-supporting chair helps to fix this issue by keeping your head and neck in a neutral position, which may help to reduce neck pain.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

Can Massage Therapy Help Your Back Problem?

Can Massage Help Your Back Problem?

Massage therapy has been a popular back pain treatment for quite some time. But the question is, does it actually work? The answer is it depends on the root cause and severity of your back problem. Studies have proven that massage can provide a variety of benefits to those with back pain.

Some of these benefits include greater blood flow and circulation, less muscle tension, and more levels of endorphins, which is the "feel good" chemical in your brain. If your back pain is the result of any of these issues, massage therapy is certainly worth considering.

Muscle Strain

In most cases, lower back pain is the result of muscle strain. You may strain your muscles after you lift something heavy, move abruptly, or experience a fall. Muscle strain can lead to inflammation, which can cause pain and mobility challenges. A massage therapist can improve the irritation and help your range of motion.

Spine Osteoarthritis

Spine osteoarthritis occurs when the joints in your spine deteriorate and are no longer to perform at their optimal level. It can cause joint inflammation and when it progresses, pain may develop. Massage can reduce stress and muscle tension and improve circulation. If you are living with spine osteoarthritis and opt for massage therapy, be sure to go to a professional with expertise in arthritis.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a common disorder that prompts muscle pain as well as fatigue and sleep challenges. It's widely seen in women and can also lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as TMJ disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, and tension headaches. If you have fibromyalgia, you may face pain in particular trigger points, which massage can improve by distributing it more evenly.

Types of Massages

There are a variety of massages that a therapist can perform. Your condition, symptoms, and goals will dictate which one they choose. Here's an overview of several of the most common types of massages for back problems.

  • Swedish Massage: Pairs light strokes in one direction with pressure in another to alleviate tense muscles.
  • Deep Tissue Massage: Treats chronic tense muscles via slow strokes and an emphasis on friction and pressure.
  • Myofascial Release: Releases tension in fascia and is typically recommended following a muscle-related injury.
  • Trigger Point Massage: Puts direct pressure on specific trigger points.

Despite the fact that massage therapy is usually safe, it's a good idea to consult your doctor before you begin massage therapy for any condition.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

8 Myths About Your Back - Busted

8 Myths About Your Back - Busted

If you browse the internet, you'll find countless articles about back problems. In a perfect world, all of these articles would be full of accurate, clinically proven information. The truth, however, is that there are many myths floating around. Let's take a closer look at eight of the most common myths about your back.

Myth #1: Stretching can resolve back pain.

People wrongly assume that performing regular stretches can put an end to all their back problems. The reality is that this is not always the case. If you're facing inflammation in your spine, stretching can actually do more harm than good. So it's a good idea to consult a doctor for your back pain before stretching.

Myth #2: Surgery is usually needed to treat back pain.

Contrary to popular belief, surgery is a last resort treatment for back pain. Typically, back pain is treated through conservative measures like medications, physical therapy, injections, and lifestyle changes. While a surgical procedure may be necessary, it will only be recommended when all other treatments have failed.

Myth #3: Back pain is genetic.

Sometimes, people blame their back pain on their parents. The majority of back pain that exists has nothing to do with genetics. It's often the result of posture problems, injuries, and dysfunctions in movement. This is good news as it shows that you have the power to take care of your body and prevent back pain.

Myth #4: If you're physically active, you won't experience back pain.

Just because you're in good shape doesn't mean you'll never face any type of back pain. Unfortunately, back pain can happen to anyone, regardless of their activity level. In fact, being involved in sports can actually increase your risk for back pain. Don't let this stop you from being active though. Instead, focus on being careful while you're engaging in physical activities.

Myth #5: Heavy lifting causes back pain.

It's not heavy lifting itself that causes back pain but the way you lift heavy items that may lead to it. To avoid back issues that stem from heavy lifting, build up your strength and use good form. If something is too heavy, put it down and ask for help.

Myth #6: Keep your back straight at all times.

While it's true that slouching is bad for your back, sitting up straight for too long won't do it any favors. Since sitting up straight for too long can strain your back, take breaks throughout the day. Try to stand for part of the day and let your back curve slightly from time to time while you're sitting.

Myth #7: Bed rest can cure back pain.

Sometimes, resting for a few days can help back pain. Too much time in bed, however, can actually make it worse. So consult your doctor before you spend your days staying away from physical activity.

Myth #8: Only older people get back pain.

Everyone faces back pain at some point in their lives. Kids, teens, adults, and senior citizens. Therefore, it's important for people of all ages to be mindful of their back and do their best to protect it from injury.

The next time you read an article about back pain, remember that not everything out there is true. Be sure to ask your doctor if you have any questions about your back or the pain you may be experiencing.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

3 Things That Might Be Causing Your Sciatica

3 Things That Might Be Causing Your Sciatica

If you experience radiating pain that starts in your lower back and makes its way into your buttock and to the back of one leg, you may have a condition known as sciatica. Sciatica can cause a leg cramp that gets worse every time you sneeze, cough, or even sit.

You may also feel numbness, burning, and tingling along your leg. The good news is that sciatica is typically short-lived and can be resolved without surgery. It rarely lasts for more than six weeks. So what exactly may be causing your sciatica? Keep reading to find out.

1 - Herniated Disc

A herniated disc occurs when a portion of the disc in your back leaves its proper place and causes bulging. While the majority of herniated discs arise in the lower back, they may happen in the neck as well. The most common symptoms of herniated disc include numbness, tingling, and pain.

This condition is usually the result of age-related wear and tear known as disc degeneration. As you get older, your discs lose their flexibility and become more susceptible to tear and ruptures. Herniated disc symptoms typically affect one side of the body.

2 - Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and often seen in older adults. It can lead to swelling, pain, and less range of motion in your joints. These symptoms almost always develop gradually and become progressively worse.

The most common cause of osteoarthritis is cartilage that slowly deteriorates. This is the tissue that allows for optimal joint function. Unfortunately, osteoarthritis can make it difficult for you to complete everyday tasks.

3 - Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when your spine narrows and causes nerve pressure. Typically, spinal stenosis leads to pain, hot or cold sensations, and tingling. It can also lead to bladder loss control, pain, decreased activity, and disability.

If you have spinal stenosis, it's likely the result of age-related spinal degeneration. You may also have it because of trauma or spinal deformity like scoliosis.

Treating Sciatica

In most cases, sciatica treatment starts with conservative treatments that resolve the condition and prevent recurrence. Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen may alleviate some of the discomfort.

Physical therapy, epidural steroid injections, and self care measures like heat, ice, and rest may help as well. Muscle relaxants may also be an option if you're experiencing spasms. If surgery is necessary, discectomy or laminectomy may be performed.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

4 Stretches for Sciatica Pain Relief

4 Stretches for Sciatica Pain Relief

There's no denying that sciatic nerve pain is nothing short of debilitating. It can be so painful that you don't want to leave your bed, go to work, and live your life like you normally would. No matter the cause of sciatica, there are certain stretches that may be able to give you the relief you deserve. Let's take a closer look at four of the best stretches for sciatica pain.

1 - Pigeon Pose

If you've ever done yoga, you've probably heard of pigeon pose. To perform it, lie on your back and bring your right left up while clasping your hands behind your thighs. Then, raise your left leg and put your right ankle on top of your left knee. Hold the position for a few seconds and do the same thing with the other leg. Pigeon pose can do wonders for the piriformis muscle, which may get inflamed and put pressure on the sciatic nerve.

2 - Knee-Shoulder Pose

The knee-shoulder pose can loosen up your piriformis and gluteal muscles. Lie on your back, extend your legs, and flex your feet upward. Then, bend your right leg and put your hands on your knee. Next, pull your right leg toward your left shoulder and hold it for 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat this for 3 to 4 reps and switch legs.

3 - Hamstring Stretch

Hamstring tightness can lead to sciatica pain. That's where the hamstring stretch comes in. Stand up and put your right foot on a chair or step below hip level. Then, flex your toes and bend your body forward toward your foot. Be sure to push as far as you can without feeling any pain. If you notice any pain, you've gone too far. Lastly, place the hip of your raised leg down.

4 - Sitting Stretch

Your sciatica pain may occur because of vertebrae compression. The sitting stretch can make room for the spine and relieve any pressure that may be on the sciatic nerve. Sit down with your legs out and feet flexed upward. Next, bend your right knee and put your foot flat on the floor on the outside of your left knee. Put your left elbow on the outside of your right knee and slowly turn your body to the right.

These stretches can do wonders for your sciatica pain, as long as they're performed properly and regularly. If your sciatica pain lasts for more than a month, visit your doctor. They may refer you to a physical therapist who can design a customized exercise plan that's ideal for your unique case.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

Best Sleeping Positions for Neck and Back Pain

Best Sleeping Positions for Neck and Back Pain

Neck and back pain can be anything from mild discomfort to extremely debilitating. What's worse is neck and back pain can be at their worst when you are simply trying to get a good night's sleep. Your sleeping position, mattress, and pillow can all affect your neck and back pain, by helping to reduce your symptoms, or by making them worse. Read on to learn more about sleeping positions that generally help people who suffer from neck and back pain.

Sleeping Positions for Neck Pain

Maintaining a neutral neck position is usually your best option for reducing neck pain from sleeping positions. That means sleeping on your stomach is a no-no as it usually requires you to turn your neck almost 90 degrees so you can breathe. The best sleeping positions for neck pain are usually side sleeping or sleeping on your back. You'll also want your pillow to be the right thickness such that it doesn't cause you to bend your head too far forward if you're sleeping on your back or too far to one side if you're sleeping on your side.

Some additional tips for sleeping positions and reducing neck pain include:

  • If you're sleeping on your side, adjust or get a new pillow such that your nose aligns with the center of your body, i.e., don't have your head leaning too far to one side.

  • If you are a stomach sleeper, consider investing in a special pillow (or use a rolled up towel) that allows you to breathe while facing forward. This will help reduce twisting and strain on your neck.

  • If you sleep in a seated position, such as in a recline, try using a neck pillow to prevent your head from leaning too far to one side or from bobbing forward.

Sleeping Positions for Back Pain

Sleeping tips for back pain are similar as those for neck pain. Your best bet is usually sleeping on your back or on your side. These sleeping positions will help to keep a neutral spine position and allow the support of the natural curve of your spine.

Sleeping positions that will help to reduce or eliminate back pain include:

  • When sleeping on your side, place a pillow between your knees. The pillow will help to keep your spine, hips, and pelvis all in better alignment.

  • Try placing a pillow underneath your knees if you are sleeping on your back.

  • If you do decide to sleep on your stomach, try placing a pillow under your abdomen. This pillow placement can help by relieving stress caused by degenerative disc disease.

Listen to What Your Body Is Telling You

Make note of what position you fall asleep and wake up in. Pain is your body's way of telling you that something is wrong. If you notice that you're experiencing more pain in one sleeping position, try switching it up to one of the above recommended sleeping positions.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.