10 Of The Best Yoga Poses For Neck Pain Relief | PainDoctor.com

The verdict is in: tech neck is real, and it could be causing you tremendous pain. If you are one of the millions of people who spend an average of 11 hours per day hunched over a computer or looking at a screen, you may frequently experience neck pain that ranges from mildly irritating to debilitating. If you find yourself in this situation, yoga for neck pain can help. Here’s some poses you can try.

Will yoga help my neck pain?

Yoga for neck pain is an easy, side effect free way to relieve all sorts of pain in the complex area of your body that includes the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Yoga can be practiced anywhere, at any level, and with very little experience. Yoga poses for neck pain are even easy to do while sitting at your desk or while watching TV.

Better still, you don’t need special tools, equipment, or clothing. Yoga is available and accessible for every person, just as they are.

Yoga for neck pain extends to the whole body

While a pain in the neck can originate there, in some cases, the interlocking muscles, tendons, and bones of the neck, shoulders, and upper back are related and cause what is known as referred pain.

Referred pain originates in one part of your body, but you feel it somewhere different. This means that an injury to the trapezius in the upper back can cause tightness and pain in the shoulders and neck. In some cases, this referred pain can even lead to headaches and other seemingly-unrelated side effects.

Yoga for neck and shoulder pain is also often helpful for relieving headaches and other types of pain. When yoga for neck pain and headaches is recommended, this might even help with shoulder and upper back pain. In short, the entire area of the upper back, shoulders, and neck can benefit from yoga for neck pain.

10 yoga for neck pain poses

When starting off with any exercise program, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They will make sure that you are healthy enough for activity and may offer suggestions for areas to focus on. They’ll also be able to tell you if you need to avoid certain postures.

Once you get the all-clear, you may want to start by finding a qualified yoga teacher in your area. Yoga teachers are trained and well-versed in the anatomy of the upper back, neck, and shoulders and are able to clearly explain the connection between the poses you are doing and the potential for pain relief. When you attend your first class, ask for suggestions or modifications when you need them.

The most important thing to remember when starting yoga for neck pain is to listen to your body.

Sharp, stabbing pain or numbness and tingling are signs that you need to back off from the pose. This is crucial if you are using videos at home. Trying to pretzel yourself into a pose you are not ready for can cause further injury. Go slowly, and be compassionate with yourself, wherever you are starting.

Finally, as you begin the poses below, remember to keep breathing. Use your breath to move into a pose and to relax once you get there. Deep, even breathing is key. If you find yourself unable to take a full breath, that’s another sign you’re in too deep.

Start with the first pose and move all the way to number ten as you are ready.

1. Neck rolls

This can be a powerful release, but be mindful of how it feels in your neck and go slowly. Sit relaxed, either in a chair with both feet on the floor or on the floor itself. Take a deep breath in, and on an exhale, drop your chin to your chest. Inhale, and slowly bring your right ear to your right shoulder. Exhale to return to center, then inhale your left ear to your left shoulder. Repeat at least three times on each side.

Some people will feel comfortable rolling their neck in a full circle, inhaling as they roll their head back and exhaling as they roll it forward, chin to chest. For others, rolling the head back can cause painful compression in the cervical spine. Pay attention to what you are feeling.

2. Simple side neck stretch

Sit on the floor with legs crossed and arms at your side. Inhale and lift the right arm up and overhead. Exhale and drape your right hand over the top of your head, fingertips touching the left ear. Allow the weight of your hand to gently stretch the left side of your neck as your right ear moves towards your right shoulder (keep the right shoulder relaxed).

If you want more stretch, you can tiptoe your left fingertips out to the left (or wrap your left arm behind your back). Stay here for at least ten easy breaths, then inhale to gently release. Repeat on the other side.

3. Forward fold with neck stretch

This can be done seated in a chair or standing.

  • Seated: Create some space between your knees so that your torso can fold forward. Inhale, and on an exhale, fold your torso forward either between your parted knees or to rest on your thighs. Interlace your hands behind your neck just below the roundest part of your head (the occiput) and allow the weight of them to apply gently lengthening pressure to your neck. Stay here and breathe for at least ten breaths, then inhale to release your hands and slowly rise back up to seated.
  • Standing: Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart. Inhale and fold forward as you exhale. Bend your knees as much as you need to. Interlace your hands behind your neck just below the roundest part of your head (the occiput) and allow the weight of them to apply gently lengthening pressure to the neck. Stay here and breathe for at least ten breaths, then inhale to release your hands and slowly rise back up to standing.

If you have lower back pain but want to do the standing option, bring your hands to blocks or the floor to give your lower back support. Then shake your head “yes” and “no” instead of applying weight with your hands.

10 Of The Best Yoga Poses For Neck Pain Relief | PainDoctor.com

4. Forward fold with shoulder opener

As with the third pose, this can be done either seated or standing.

Start in your chosen position, then interlace your hands behind your back. Inhale deeply, then fold forward on the exhale. Your hands can slowly lift away from your back to come overhead, but do not strain. Continue to keep your shoulder blades moving away from your ears. This stretches the shoulders and creates space in the upper back and neck.

5. Cat/cow

Start on all fours with your knees beneath hips and wrist beneath shoulders. Inhale and drop your belly towards the mat or floor as your sitting bones lift, shoulder blades come together, and your gaze lifts (cow pose).

Exhale and round your back, starting as the tailbone tucks, moving up the back until your shoulder blades slide away from each other and your head releases down. Think of pressing the mat away with your hands. This is cat pose. Repeat three to five cycles, following the full length of your breath and starting the movement in your tailbone.

6. Thread the needle

Start on all fours (knees beneath hips, wrists directly beneath shoulders). Inhale and lift your right hand and arm to the sky. Exhale and thread the needle, passing your right hand behind your left wrist and bringing your right shoulder, back or arm, and cheek to rest on the floor (hips stay high).

If this is too intense, you can rest on your forearm and use a yoga block to support your head. Breathe here for five to ten breaths, then press into your left hand and sweep your right hand up and overhead to come out of the pose. Repeat on the other side.

7. Melting heart pose

Start on all fours, then on an exhale begin to walk your hands forward, lowering your chest towards the ground (hips stay high, right above your knees). You will feel your shoulder blades come together on your back.

You can place your forehead on the mat, or, if you feel very open, bring your chin to the mat. Breathe ten long, deep breaths before walking your hands back to come out of the pose.

8. Supported fish pose

You need two yoga blocks for this pose. Behind you on your mat, place one yoga block horizontally on the second highest setting, and another on its highest setting farther away from you. Slowly lower your back onto these blocks.

The horizontal block should be at the bottom tips of your shoulder blades, and the higher block should be underneath the roundest part of your head. Extend your legs long on the mat, or bend your knees and allow the soles of your feet to touch, allowing your knees to fall wide. Arms can rest at your side, palms face up.

Stay here for at least three minutes. You may be able to lower the block beneath your head to its second highest setting during this time, or you may just enjoy the support and lengthening as it is. Use your forearms to gently prop yourself up enough to remove the blocks, and then lay flat for a minute to feel the full effects of the pose.

9. Strap stretch

Sit in thunderbolt pose with a strap or belt handy. Take the strap in each hand, hands wide apart from each other (this will vary, as you will see). Inhale to raise your straight arms up and overhead, then exhale to lower them behind you, still straight. You may need to make your hands wider to keep them straight. Inhale again to bring your arms back over head, then exhale to lower them down in front.

Go slowly, and keep extending the crown of your head up towards the sky (don’t jut your chin forward). This move releases tension in the shoulders and upper back that may be causing neck pain. If you notice one spot that is particularly tender, stay there and take three full, even breaths before continuing your movement. Complete at least three of these.

10. Rabbit pose

Start by sitting back on your heels (like thunderbolt). Grab the backs of your heels, one in each hand, and take a deep breath. On an exhale, begin to round your spine forward to reach the crown of your head to touch the ground (not your forehead). Once the crown of your head reaches the floor, lift your hips and pull on your heels with your hands. Draw your shoulders away from your ears to length the neck. Don’t place pressure on your head. The action of pulling on your feet should balance your weight instead.

Another option is to interlace your hands behind your back, and as you lower the crown of your head and draw up your hips, lift your interlaced hands to the sky, lifting your shoulders away from your ears.

Take three full breaths (or as many as you can comfortably take), then round up the spine to come back out.

Yoga for neck pain videos

If heading to class isn’t an option but you want more guidance to begin with, a yoga for neck pain video can bridge the gap. Here are some of our favorites.

To stretch a sore neck

This five-minute sequence relieves soreness and tension in the neck and can be done several times in regular intervals during your day.

Find the full video at: https://www.yogiapproved.com/yoga/5-minute-yoga-sequence-neck-stretches/

For neck and shoulder relief

Here’s a slightly longer video that brings pain relief to the neck and shoulders.

Yoga for neck pain, headaches, and other tension

The sweet spot in between, this eight-minute video focuses on releasing tension that causes pain (including headaches).

Two yoga poses to avoid with neck pain

Unless you are a seasoned yogi who knows how to make proper modifications, it’s best to avoid head and shoulder stands when you have neck pain. The extra pressure on the cervical spine can cause further pain and injury.

Other minimally-invasive neck pain treatments

If you are finding little to no relief with yoga for neck pain, you do have other options. These include:

When it comes to neck pain, everyone is different. The best approach is a holistic one that includes a variety of treatments (including yoga for neck pain).

If you’re suffering from severe or chronic neck pain, it may be time to talk to a pain specialist. You can find a pain doctor in your area by clicking the button below or looking for one in your area by using the tips here: https://paindoctor.com/pain-management-doctors/.

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Pain On Top of Foot: Potential Causes and Solutions | PainDoctor.com

Your feet are made up of many moving parts: bones, tendons, nerves, muscles, and more. If something goes wrong with just one of these tiny parts, your entire life can be thrown out of whack. Foot pain makes the most basic of tasks more difficult or even impossible. While any part of your foot can become painful for any number of reasons, this article focuses on pain on top of foot. This is also called the Lisfrank area. We’ll discuss some of the common pain on top of foot causes as well as potential treatments.

Why does pain on top of foot occur?

There are many reasons why the top of your foot might be bothering you because it contains so many different working parts. The information below isn’t intended to take the place of professional medical advice. Only a doctor can diagnose you with a medical condition.

That being said, not knowing the cause of your pain can be stressful and scary. Hopefully, this article can take a little bit of the mystery out of your top of foot pain by providing you with a place to start your research.

Some potential pain on top of foot causes include:

  • Tendonitis
  • Gout
  • Injury
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Referred pain

Tendonitis

Tendons are cords that connect your bones to your muscles and allow the human body to move in all the ways that it does. The most famous is the Achilles tendon, or the Achilles heel, which runs down the back of your leg. However, you have tendons all over your body.

Tendonitis occurs when a specific set of tendons becomes inflamed, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. In particular, tendonitis on top of foot is called extensor tendonitis. While this condition can be caused by a traumatic injury, a more common cause is repetitive movements.

Gout

Gout is a subset of a condition that many people in the United States and around the world know all too well: arthritis. It can have a variety of causes, including injury, obesity, or even certain medicines.

Gout is characterized by swelling and intense pain, usually in the big toe, although other areas of the foot and body can be affected. One of its most distinguishing features is the fact that its symptoms regularly subside, allowing the sufferer to resume a normal lifestyle until the next flare-up.

Injury

There are many ways you can injure your foot, from dropping something on it to moving it the wrong way to simple overuse. Sometimes you might injure yourself and not realize it until later when symptoms begin to manifest. Other times, such as when you have a sprain, a fracture, or a broken bone, you’ll notice right away.

If the injury isn’t serious, your foot will likely heal on its own. But if your pain is severe and doesn’t resolve, or if you can feel that a bone is no longer where it should be, see a doctor right away.

In some cases, a ganglion cyst may form after a foot injury. This is a fluid-filled lump just under the skin. If it gets too close to a nerve, you may feel a burning or tingling pain. This is another case when you should talk to your doctor.

Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition in which your nerves, whose job it is to relay pain signals to your brain, have gone haywire.

For example, they might end up telling your brain that your foot is in pain, even when you haven’t done anything to hurt it lately. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include, but are not limited to, numbness and various kinds of pain (tingling, stabbing, and so forth.)

Toe pain

Pain in other parts of your foot, such as the big toe, can also lead to pain on top of foot, since they are so close to each other. We have already discussed gout, which commonly affects the big toe.

If you believe your foot pain stems from a problem with your big toe, read through this article to learn more about big toe pain causes and solutions.

How to prevent pain on top of foot

If you’re looking to prevent foot pain, it’s important to take care of your feet. But what does that mean?

Try to avoid lots of repetitive movements, which can aggravate foot pain. If you begin to feel pain while you are exercising, stop what you’re doing as soon as you can and take a break.

In the case of gout, a crucial step towards preventing future outbreaks can be changing your diet. A big risk factor for gout is the presence of excessive uric acid in the system. Eating a lot of meat and seafood or drinking a lot of beer increases the body’s uric acid content.

Finally, your footwear can have a big impact on how your feet feel, for better or worse. If your foot pain is caused by metatarsalgia, the shoes and insoles on this list may help. Shoes and insoles designed to relieve other sources of foot pain are discussed later in this article.

How to treat pain on top of foot: 9 treatments

Not all of the following foot pain treatments will be effective for every cause, and not all treatments are safe for all patients.

This is why it’s so important to discuss your foot pain with your doctor before trying any treatment for top of foot pain. Once you have a diagnosis, your doctor will be able to determine which treatments have the best chance of helping you recover.

Pain On Top of Foot: Potential Causes and Solutions | PainDoctor.com

At-home treatments

The easiest pain on top of foot treatments are those you can try by yourself in the comfort of your own home. Heat and cold treatments, for instance, are a cheap and simple solution for foot pain. But although they are often lumped together, heat therapy and cold therapy are two distinct treatments. The Cleveland Clinic has put together a chart to help you determine which one will work best for what ails you.

Another at-home treatment is to simply rest. The more you strain an already painful foot, the longer it could take to heal. Try keeping the foot elevated, and don’t walk or stand any more than you have to until it starts to feel better.

Finally, you may have to make some changes to your lifestyle. For example, obesity often contributes to or worsens foot pain. If that’s the case for you, talk to your doctor about safe ways to transition to a healthier daily routine.

Stretches and exercises

Stretching and exercising are important both for your general health and for managing foot pain. If you already exercise regularly, great! Just make sure that your current exercise habits aren’t contributing to your foot pain. For example, swimming is a low-impact exercise that will put much less pressure on your feet than, say, playing tennis.

You may also wish to look into stretches and exercises specifically designed to strengthen the top of your foot. This list might be a good place to start.

Listen to your body as you work out, especially if you aren’t used to exercising. If you feel tired or your pain gets worse, stop immediately. With a little time and patience, you should be able to develop a stretching and exercise routine that works for you.

Medication

For many people, pain means reaching for pain medication. There’s no reason not to take the recommended dose of over-the-counter medicines if you find them helpful and if you aren’t taking other, contraindicated medicines. But if the pain persists for more than a few days, you should be examined by a doctor.

In more serious cases, you might require prescription medications. If over-the-counter treatments aren’t putting a dent in your foot pain, your physician may be able to recommend something stronger.

Buy new shoes or orthopedics

As mentioned previously, proper footwear can make all the difference in preventing foot pain. But even if your feet are already painful, a good pair of shoes or insoles can still be invaluable. Select shoes that fit properly and provide good arch support. If your shoes are very worn out, don’t keep wearing them. Old shoes won’t provide the sort of support your feet need to stay healthy.

Additionally, if your foot pain is caused by extensor tendonitis, switching to lower heels can be beneficial. This is because excessive tightening of your calf muscle causes extensor tendonitis. The more time you spend in very high heels or stilettos, the more pressure you put on the top of your foot, and the more likely you are to develop extensor tendonitis.

If you can’t or don’t want to buy entirely new shoes, orthopedics may be a useful compromise. Orthopedic insoles can improve your old shoes so they support you better.

Massage

Nothing feels better than a good foot massage! That’s especially true when you’re suffering from foot pain.

Massages can release tension in your foot, thereby reducing pain. You can either visit a professional massage therapist, read up on self-massage techniques, or invest in a foot massager.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy pairs many different pain treatments—including heat/cold therapy, chiropractic, and stretches and exercises—with professional expertise and advice.

A physical therapist will assess your condition and create a customized treatment plan to give you the greatest chance of recovery.

Acupuncture

Many people swear by this ancient Chinese treatment, and experts agree that it is safe so long as the acupuncturist is experienced and reputable.

Acupuncture involves inserting long, thin needles under the skin at particular points. If you’re not squeamish around needles and you have already exhausted other treatment options, acupuncture may be worth looking in to.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic is not the best treatment option for everyone, so be sure to consult your physician before pursuing it.

If they give you the go-ahead, then you can expect your chiropractor to manipulate and adjust your trouble spots. Repeated visits may be necessary, depending on the severity and nature of your foot pain.

Foot pain injections and surgery

Finally, as a last resort, you may wish to consider injections or surgery.

Steroid injections can be helpful in some foot pain cases, including those caused by tendonitis. They work by reducing inflammation in the affected area, thereby reducing both pressure and pain. But while steroids alleviate symptoms in the short term, using them repeatedly over the long term can have serious consequences, so they’re best undertaken with other complementary treatments like physical therapy.

Surgery may also be necessary, depending on the severity of your pain and what’s causing it. Broken bones and ganglion cysts are among the conditions more likely to require surgical intervention.

These treatments are not to be used as the first line of defense against pain on top of foot. Most cases of foot pain will not require such drastic action. Talk with your doctor and try the other, less interventional treatments described in this article before considering injections or surgery for your foot pain.

Get help

Need more help dealing with your pain on top of foot? Click below to find a pain doctor in your area or look for one in your area by using the tips here: https://paindoctor.com/pain-management-doctors/. A pain specialist can provide guidance on what is causing your foot pain and how to find relief.

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12 Simple And Easy Yoga For Hip Pain Poses To Find Relief | PainDoctor.com

If you are suffering from hip pain and want to try exercise for relief, yoga for hip pain may be the answer. Here are 12 simple poses (and five videos) to get you started!

Can yoga help hip pain?

The short answer to whether or not yoga can help relieve hip pain is yes, but knowing some hip anatomy can help you better understand why.

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket type joint that consists of the thighbone (the top of your femur bone, the trochanter, is the “ball” of the joint) nestled into the three bones that combine to make the “socket” portion (the ilium, the ischium, and the pubis).

Inside the joint itself, smooth white cartilage covers the head of the femur and lines the acetabulum (the cup that receives the femur). Synovial fluid created in the joint lining cushions and lubricates movement in the joint. This helps bones move without pain or irritation. Outside of the bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles work together to further stabilize the joint and prevent dislocation.

Yoga for hip pain helps to strengthen and stabilize your entire hip joint while gently stretching and lengthening tendons and ligaments to increase the hip’s range of motion. It is low impact and easy to adjust for beginners and more experienced practitioners. Yoga also relieves the stress that comes with a pain condition, balancing the body and mind.

Keep reading for some good poses to help you get started!

12 Simple And Easy Yoga For Hip Pain Poses To Find Relief | PainDoctor.com

12 yoga for hip pain poses

These yoga poses for hip pain can be done at any level of fitness, from chair yoga to more complicated and intense stretches. It is important to talk to your doctor before beginning any new fitness program. A qualified yoga teacher can also help you modify poses to your level of experience. As always, if something does not feel right in your body, back out of the pose and try something else.

Here are 12 of our favorite yoga poses for hip pain.

1. Legs up the wall

Legs up the wall is a restorative pose that can release the lower back. Lower back tension often leads to hip pain, and this simple posture is a great way to relax and unwind at the end of the day.

Sit so that your right hip is touching the wall. Lean back onto your forearms, and as you do so, swing your legs up the wall. Your sitting bones may make contact with the wall, but if that is too intense on your hamstrings, move them away as far as you need to. Allow your arms to relax at your sides and your eyes to close. Stay here for several minutes.

Variations include:

  • Bending your knees and bringing the soles of the feet to touch, allowing knees to open
  • Opening legs in a straddle up the wall

2. Chair figure 4

This posture is great for people who have difficulty getting up and down from the floor (and those who need yoga for hip arthritis).

Sit on a chair with both of your feet on the floor, directly beneath your knees. Pick up your right foot and place the right ankle on the left knee. Using your breath, place gentle pressure on the right knee to keep moving it towards the floor (but don’t press hard and back out if it hurts your knee).

Stay here for at least ten breaths, then switch sides.

3. Reclined figure 4

If you can get up and down from the floor with ease, reclined figure 4 is a great hip opening practice for you.

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your right ankle on your left knee, allowing your right knee to press away from your face. You can stay here, or, on an inhale, lift your left foot off the floor, moving your left thigh towards you. Interlace your hands around your left thigh and pull the thigh towards you as you press the thigh into your hands.

This can get intense, so go slowly. Stay here for at least ten breaths, then switch sides.

4. Baby cradle

Baby cradle is a good warm up stretch as you increase your hip flexibility. Sitting on the floor, bend your right knee and lift your right leg up so that you can wrap your right arm around your knee and your left arm around your right foot (cradling your lower leg like you would a baby).

You can move gently from side to side or in circles, exploring motion in the hip joint. Hold for several breaths, then switch sides.

5. Happy baby

Lie on your back and draw your knees to your chest. Open your knees wider than your body, and reach between them to grab the outside of your feet (or your ankles or calves). Open your feet to “stand” on the ceiling, flexing the toes toward you.

Keep your lower back on the earth and your head and shoulders relaxed. With each exhale, allow your knees to soften towards the ground. You can also apply traction by pressing your feet into your hands as your hands pull gently down on your feet. Rocking side to side can help relieve tension in the lower back, too. Stay here for at least ten breaths.

6. Seated twist

A seated twist releases lower back tension that may cause hip pain.

Start with both legs extended out in front of you. Sit tall with a long spine. Bend your right knee and stack it on top of your left knee. You can keep your left leg extended forward with the toes flexed, but if your hips are feeling open and you can keep both sitting bones on the ground, bend the left knee and bring the left foot towards your right hip. Hug your body towards your right knee with both arms.

Inhale and lift your right arm up and overhead, placing the palm on the ground behind you. You can keep hugging your right knee with your left arm if this twist is enough, or you can hook your left elbow on the outside of your right knee for a deeper twist. As you inhale, lengthen your spine until you feel the crown of your head lifting towards the sky.

As you exhale, pull your navel to your spine to deepen the twist. Stay here for five to ten breaths, then unwind on an inhale and shake out your legs before moving to the other side.

7. Twisted root

Lie on your back with knees folded into your chest. Open arms into the shape of a “T.” Cross your right leg over your left, twining them around each other (like a twisted root). Inhale deeply, and on an exhale, drop your legs over to the right. You can look left if your neck feels good.

With each breath, relax your left shoulder closer to the earth, and allow your legs to get heavy. Stay here for at least ten deep, even breaths, then switch sides.

8. Easy pose with a forward fold

Sit on the floor with legs crossed. If your knees are very high off the ground, you can support them with yoga blocks. Inhale and lengthen the spine, then exhale and fold forward, arms outstretched in front of you.

Stay here for at least ten breaths, then inhale to rise up, switch the cross of your legs, and fold forward again.

9. Bound angle

Sit on the floor. Bring the soles of your feet to touch and allow your knees to open to the sides. Hands can be wrapped around the feet or ankles. If your knees are very high off the ground, you can sit on a blanket or a bolster and place yoga blocks under your knees to support them.

Lengthen your spine, and on an inhale begin to hinge at the hips to fold forward. Do not round the spine, especially if you have lower back pain. This fold may be very slight, but that’s okay. Tuck your chin to your chest, close your eyes, and take ten deep, even breaths.

10. Firelog

From a seated position, bend your right leg and bring your shin parallel to the top of your yoga mat. Bend your left knee and place the left shin on top of the right so that knee stacks on ankle and ankle stacks on knee (like logs for a fire). If there is a gap between your left knee and your right ankle, use a yoga block or a blanket for support.

This can be quite intense, just like this, but if you would like a deeper stretch, inhale deeply and begin to fold forward. Hold either variation (upright or folded) for at least 90 seconds (but up to five minutes) before switching to the other side.

11. Pigeon pose

Start on all fours. Bring your right knee to the outside of your right wrist and extend your left leg long behind you. Try to keep your hips level. Adjust the intensity of the stretch by moving your right foot closer to your left hip (less intense) or more towards parallel with the top of your wat (more intense). You can also place a yoga block or a blanket underneath your right hip if it need support.

Stay lifted for a few breaths, then, on an exhale, slowly begin to fold forward over your right leg. You can come to forearms on the mat, onto blocks, or all the way to your forehead. Take your time and go slowly, following your deep, even breath. Stay here for at least 90 seconds (and up to five minutes).

Press into your hands to lift your torso slowly, then take any stretches or movements you need before moving to the other side.

12. Wall figure 4

Wall figure 4 can be extremely intense, even more so than pigeon. This is a directed opening of the hip that some practitioners find too intense.

To come into the pose, sit with your back against a wall and bend your knees, placing both feet on the ground. Pick your right foot up and place your right ankle on your left knee. Move your left foot out as far as you need to get your ankle placed, then gradually move your left foot toward your sitting bones.

You will feel an intense stretch of the muscles of the hip, including the piriformis. Hold for at least five breaths but up to five minutes, then release and move to the other side.

Yoga for hip pain programs

For those of us who prefer some guidance as you start yoga hip stretches, here are some video practices to try.

Chair yoga for hips (less active)

This gentle, short, hip opening practice is great for people with limited mobility who want to ease into yoga for hip pain.

Chair yoga for hips (more active)

This hour-long practice is more energetic but still offers excellent support for the hips, lower back, and hamstrings. Poses to build upper body strength are included, but the focus really is on hip opening, stretching, and strengthening.

Yoga for hips and lower back release

A full (but short) practice that works the whole body with breath and stretching through the lower back and hips. Good pace for beginners.

Hip emergency for tight hips

Good for advancing beginners, this 20-minute class explores hip opening in pigeon but also in more active poses, such as three-legged dog.

  

Three stretches for tight hips and mobility

Another short video for intermediate practitioners that explores pigeon, shoelace, and a variation on half lotus.

Yoga poses to avoid with hip pain

While yoga is a wonderful, non-invasive way to gently relieve hip pain, there are a few things to look out for. People with hypermobility in their joints may need to increase stability or risk further injury. Hypermobility in the joints means that the tendons and ligaments are exceptionally flexible. Without building strength and stability, this flexibility can result in dislocations or other injury.

Additionally, people with hip pain from arthritis may experience painful inflammation if they place all of their body weight on the joint and hold it there for an extended period of time (as in pigeon, for example). Using props to support the body’s weight can help, as can moving in and out of the posture, slowly and following the breath, to gently increase your range of motion and strength.

The best way to avoid injury and protect yourself as you do yoga for hip pain is to listen to your body. If you feel a sharp, stabbing pain in any pose, back out of it and either use props to make it more approachable or try another less intense pose or variation.

Another indication that a pose is too deep is your breath. If your breath becomes short and shallow, and you feel like you cannot draw a deep, slow breath, the pose is too intense at this point in your practice.

Ultimately, you should feel good in your practice, even as you stretch and work your hips. This doesn’t mean there won’t be effort and some “therapeutic irritation,” but you should be able to breath and work gently through the minor discomfort that arises. If not, take a break, talk to your doctor, or head to a nearby yoga class for in-person guidance.

Other minimally-invasive hip pain treatments

If yoga for hip pain doesn’t fully relieve your hip pain, there are other minimally-invasive treatments that can help. These include:

A pain specialist can help you design a holistic pain management plan that includes yoga for hip pain. You can find a pain doctor in your area by clicking the button below or looking for one in your area by using the tips here: https://paindoctor.com/pain-management-doctors/.

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What To Do For A Pinched Nerve In Neck? 11 Treatments | PainDoctor.com

Neck pain is very common, so it’s unsurprising that there are many reasons why your neck might be hurting you. If you’re unsure of why you’re experiencing neck pain, check out this article for more general information on neck pain causes and solutions. In this post, we focus on one particular neck pain cause: a pinched nerve. What exactly is a pinched nerve in the neck, and what can you do about it? Here’s what you should know about pinched nerve in neck causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

What is a pinched nerve in the neck?

Pinched nerves happen when other parts of the body, such as bone and cartilage, place too much pressure on, or “pinch,” nearby nerves. They can occur just about anywhere and are sometimes caused by something serious, such as arthritis, a herniated disc, or a traumatic injury. In other cases, pinched nerves can be traced back to something much simpler, like poor posture or repetitive movements.

Neck pain can be severe, exhausting, and even scary. But it’s also very treatable. Whatever is causing your pinched nerve, there are many ways to ease the symptoms. You can even do some of them at home! We’ll go through the most common treatments later in this article.

First, however, you should confirm that your neck pain is the result of a pinched nerve. In the next section, we’ll review the symptoms of a pinched nerve so that you have a better idea of whether or not it’s the source of your pain. But remember: only a physician can diagnose you with a medical condition. Seeing your doctor is the only way to know for sure if you have a pinched nerve in the neck.

What does a pinched nerve in the neck feel like?

Pinched nerve in neck symptoms can be divided into three main categories: numbness, pain, and muscle weakness.

Numbness from a pinched nerve may manifest as a loss of feeling or a strange tingling. The tingling is often described as a pins and needles sensation, like the affected area has “gone to sleep.” Depending on how long your pinched nerve has gone untreated, the tingling may last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, or it may be ongoing.

Pain from a pinched nerve can take different forms. Some people experience a burning or stabbing sensation, while others describe it as more of an ache. Muscle weakness simply means that the affected area tires more easily, and that it can’t support your usual activities the way it used to.

Some pinched nerves heal on their own with proper treatment, but they can become chronic.

Chronic pinched nerves occur when the pressure on the nerve remains constant or gets worse over time. This can lead to permanent nerve damage. If your pinched nerve in neck symptoms last for more than a few days, consult a doctor. Pain is not normal and, in the case of a pinched nerve, may lead to chronic pain and worsening symptoms if it is not treated.

What to do for a pinched nerve in neck: 11 treatments

If you suspect you have a pinched nerve in the neck, your first step should be to see your doctor right away. They will make an official diagnosis and help you figure out which treatment options are best for you. Below is a list of pinched nerve in neck treatments that your doctor might recommend.

Experiment with at-home treatments

There are several ways to treat pinched nerve pain at home. Some of them are intuitive, such as finding and remaining in a comfortable position for as long as possible. Others might require a little more effort, such as maintaining a healthy weight or learning self-massage techniques designed to reduce neck pain.

Still others involve monetary investment, such as buying a standing desk so you spend less time hunched over a computer. Experiment with at-home treatments until you find the ones that work for you. Always talk to your doctor before starting any treatment that makes significant alterations to your diet or exercise routine.

Make sleeping adjustments and buy pillows

Getting a good night’s sleep with a pinched nerve can be difficult, but it’s an important part of the treatment process. The way you sleep at night has a big impact on how your neck feels the next day. Try to find a comfortable sleeping position and stick with it. Sleeping on your back and using a supportive pillow are good places to start.

If your pillow isn’t supportive enough or is actively causing you pain, you may want to consider purchasing a new one. Pillows for neck pain are specially designed to ease neck pain not just while you sleep, but in other situations that might put strain on your neck, such as long car rides.

You might also want to take a pain reliever or do some stretches right before bed; this way, their beneficial effects will last you through the night. We’ll talk more about both of these treatment options in later sections.

What To Do For A Pinched Nerve In Neck? 11 Treatments | PainDoctor.com

Try neck stretches for pinched nerve

There are many different neck stretches designed to mitigate neck pain. After getting the go-ahead from your doctor, do a little research on neck stretches and try as many as you can. Pace yourself: don’t try them all at once, especially if you’re not used to stretching that area. If any of the stretches cause you pain or discomfort, stop immediately and take a break.

Once you’ve found the stretches that work best for you, you can use them as both a preventative and a pain-relieving measure. Take a little time every day to go through your stretches, and then also do them whenever your neck is bothering you.

Do neck exercises

In addition to stretches, neck exercises may be beneficial. You don’t need to go to the gym for this. There are plenty of neck exercises you can do at home, no special equipment required.

First, consult your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Then, like with the stretches, set up a time to do your exercises and stick with it. As you exercise, pay attention to how your neck feels. The minute you feel uncomfortable, stop. You may tire easily in the beginning, but the more you exercise, the stronger—and, hopefully, less painful—your neck will become.

While exercise can help alleviate pain, be cautious about which exercises you choose to do. As we mentioned earlier, pinched nerves can be caused by repetitive movements. So doing the same exercise repeatedly, or doing an exercise where you have to move your neck the same way over and over again, could cause more pain in the long run.

Use hot and cold therapy

Using heat and/or cold is one of the more affordable ways to relieve pain. They both can be applied in a variety of ways. A hot or cold towel might do the trick. You may also choose to spend some time under a hot shower or apply a bag of frozen vegetables to your neck.

Always be careful when using heat and/or cold therapy. To avoid burns, limit the amount of time you keep the source of heat or cold on your heck, and don’t let it get excessively hot or excessively cold. If you’re using a store-bought treatment, read and follow all of the instructions.

Visit a physical therapist

Physical therapy is a broad term that encompasses numerous treatment methods, including but not limited to, many mentioned in this article, such as heat/cold therapy, stretches, exercises, and chiropractic.

Receiving guidance from a professional, however, can be more helpful and more comforting than going it alone. A physical therapist is specially trained to assess your needs and design a treatment program just for you. They will also suggest lifestyle changes to prevent and mitigate neck pain in the future.

Go to a chiropractor

Chiropractors specialize in treating all manner of back and neck ailments. They can use spinal manipulation tip to ease your pain and, similar to a physical therapist, give you advice on what you can do at home to help your neck feel better.

A word of warning: chiropractic care may not be safe for everyone, so talk to your doctor before making an appointment.

Try acupuncture

This ancient therapy originated in China thousands of years ago. It involves inserting thin needles under the skin in specific places along the body. Stimulating those places can supposedly treat a variety of conditions, including pain, but whether or not acupuncture truly works that way is still under debate.

Some studies found it to be an effective treatment, but others suggest that many of acupuncture’s perceived benefits owe more to a placebo effect than to the acupuncture itself.

Regardless, acupuncture is generally considered safe, as long as the acupuncturist is reputable, experienced, and uses clean needles. If you decide acupuncture is the way to go, you will want to do your due diligence before selecting an acupuncturist. Make sure that whomever you visit is properly licensed and registered with your state. You can also talk to your doctor for recommendations.

Take medication

You may have already tried over-the-counter pain relievers before ever realizing that you had a pinched nerve. If you find those helpful, talk to your doctor about continuing to take them.

If they aren’t helping, talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for something stronger. For example, corticosteroids may be able to alleviate pain that’s too severe for over-the-counter medications to handle. They can be taken orally or injected, as we’ll discuss in the next section.

Try neck pain injections and surgery

You might be anxious about the idea of needing injections or surgery. The good news is that you probably won’t need either of them! Both of these treatments are an absolute last resort. Only if all of the other treatments in this list are unsuccessful should you even consider surgery or injections.

Corticosteroid injections are used to reduce inflammation, which in turn can relieve pressure and pain in the affected area. They can be an especially important treatment to do alongside physical therapy or chiropractic care. While you manage the pain, you can go through strengthening and stretching routines to resolve the underlying cause of pain.

Note that these injections are minimally-invasive, but they still have potential side effects. This is especially true when it comes to long-term use.

If all other treatment methods fail, some pinched nerves will require surgery. In that case, a surgeon will go in and shift whichever body part is pressing on your nerve to a better, less painful position. But again, surgery is only used in “worst-case scenario” situations. You don’t have to even begin worrying about that until you’ve exhausted all of the other, less invasive treatment approaches.

Get help with your neck pain

Need some more guidance on how to deal with your pinched nerve in neck pain? You can find a pain doctor in your area by clicking the button below or looking for one in your area by using the tips here: https://paindoctor.com/pain-management-doctors/. A pain specialist can help you navigate the various causes of and treatments for your pinched nerves.

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10 Beautifully Easy Yoga Poses For Upper Back Pain | PainDoctor.com

Of all types of back pain, lower back pain often gets the most press. After all, as the most mobile area of the spine, the lower back absorbs much of the shock and activity of the body. It’s also the most common type of back pain. That said, our tendency to hunch forward all day over phones and laptops is increasing the incidence of pain between the shoulder blades. Thankfully, yoga for upper back pain is remarkably effective at stretching and strengthening the muscles of the upper back while simultaneously relieving strain and pain. Here’s how to do yoga for upper back pain with ten easy poses.

Does yoga help with upper back pain?

The thoracic spine consists of the vertebrae that connect the cervical spine to the lumbar spine. It has 12 vertebrae that reach from the bottom of the cervical spine in the neck to about five inches below the shoulder blades. This area holds a tremendous amount of tension and is often ignored in discussions about middle back pain, but pain and stiffness in this area can limit mobility and lead to other problems in the body in the long-term.

The upper back muscles are also intricately connected to muscles across the tops of the shoulders and up the back and sides of the neck. Any injury or pain in these areas can result in overcompensation or adjustments in other areas of the upper back, resulting in pain and, in some cases, further injury.

Additionally, comfort and strength in the upper back does not just rely on the spine and muscles of the upper back. In a hunched forward position, the muscles in the front of the chest (e.g, the pectoralis muscles, the deltoids across the front of the shoulder, and the biceps) become short and tight, resulting in the back muscles being unable to release and relax. Over time, upper back muscles become weak and prone to injury.

Yoga for upper back pain works to bring balance to these muscles, gradually lengthening the muscles in the front of the body to release, relax, and strengthen the muscles of the shoulders and upper back. As part of a holistic pain management plan, yoga for upper back pain can be a healthy way to ease pain in the upper back.

10 yoga for upper back pain poses

As always, when beginning any treatment for acute or chronic pain, talk to your doctor. They may be able to direct you or offer suggestions for the best yoga for upper back pain poses. Certified yoga teachers can also offer modifications for your particular pain conditions and let you know when it might be best to avoid or go gently in a posture.

That said, here are ten yoga poses for upper back pain.

1. Puppy pose

Puppy pose is one of those poses for upper back tension that feels better the more you do it.

Come to all fours (pad your knees if you feel discomfort). Begin to walk your hands forward, keeping your hips directly above your knees and lowering your chest towards the ground. At first, pain between the shoulder blades may limit your ability to reach your chest towards the ground. Place a pillow or two underneath your chest and use a block to support your forehead.

Close your eyes and take five deep breaths (or stay for as long as you like, breathing deeply). Slowly press into your hands and walk them back to come up.

2. Thread the needle

Starting again on your hands and knees, inhale your right hand to your heart and then reach it to the sky. On an exhale begin to bring your arm underneath your body behind your left hand, threading the “needle” created by your left knee and left hand. If you can, allow your right cheek to rest on the ground.

However, if that stretch is too deep, come to the back of your right forearm and allow your head to relax however it feels comfortable. If your cheek is resting on the ground, you can stretch your left arm forward on the ground, or lift it up and wrap it around your lower back for a deeper stretch. Take five deep breaths, then press into your right hand to come all the way up. Repeat on the other side. This pose increases flexibility and mobility in the upper back.

3. Cat/Cow

Again start on your knees with toes tucked under. Wrists are directly beneath your shoulders and knees directly beneath your hips. Inhale, releasing your navel towards the ground, creating an arch in the lower back as you reach your heart between your arms and finally gaze towards the sky (if that feels good for your neck). This is cow pose; shoulder blades will come together on the back.

Exhale, tucking the tailbone under, rounding the lower back, middle back, and upper back, pressing the mat away with your hands and allowing your head and neck to relax. This is cat pose, with the shoulder blades sliding away from each other on the back. Repeat at least five times each, slowly following your own natural breath and allowing the tailbone to move first in each posture.

Cat/Cow is another posture that increases flexibility and mobility in the back and front of the body, balancing the length and strength of muscles.

4. Sphinx

Sphinx offers a supported way to build strength in your upper back without requiring arm strength. Come to lie on the belly before pushing your torso up with your forearms. Take a moment to make sure your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders by clasping opposite elbows with hands, then release your hands forward, palms facing down, flat on the mat.

Press into the tops of your feet and lengthen your tailbone down towards your heels. Think about lengthening up through the crown of your head, lifting the dome of the upper palate, and stretching out along the length of your legs as your upper back gently presses your chest forward through your arms. Use the strength of your forearms to gently push the floor (or the mat if you are using one) to feel your chest reaching forward even more. Breathe in this yoga for middle back pain pose for five to ten breaths, then gently lower down and rest.

If you would like to hold longer for a more yin yoga experience, use a block to support your forehead and stay here for three minutes.

10 Beautifully Easy Yoga Poses For Upper Back Pain | PainDoctor.com

5. Locust pose

Locust pose offers excellent upper back strengthening and opening across the collarbones.

Lie on your belly with arms at your sides, palms face down. Lengthen your tailbone towards your heels, pressing the pubic bone into the floor. Inhale and use the strength of your upper back to lift the torso and arms off the floor. Keep the back of your neck long by gazing down and slightly forward. You can inhale to rise and exhale to slowly lengthen and lower down, or you can hold for five breaths and then lower.

Try to relax the glutes and keep the lower back safe by continuing to lengthen your tailbone. It does not matter how high off the floor your torso rises, just that you are lifting from the strength of your upper and middle back (the whole of the thoracic spine).

6. Rag doll

Rag doll is one of the simplest yoga poses for upper back tension. Come to standing with feet about hip’s width distance apart and slowly fold forward. You can bend your knees a lot for this pose. The focus is not on your tight hamstrings but on releasing your upper back. So bend your knees deeply, and feel free to rest your hands on blocks if you need to (especially if you feel any pain in the lower back). If your hands are free, grab opposite elbows and focus on relaxing all the way down to feel your shoulder blades separate and slide away from each other.

This stretch should feel good and be relaxing, so bend your knees as deeply as you need to. You can also place a pillow on your upper thighs to rest your torso on, or separate your feet into a wider stance. Stay for at least ten deep breaths, then slowly roll up the spine to stand.

7. Eagle arms

Remain standing, then inhale your arms out wide, shoulder height. On an exhale, bend your left elbow and bring the arm out in from of you, then cross your right arm underneath your left, twining your forearms around each other. Inhale and lift your elbows slightly, then exhale and press your hands away from your face. Repeat five times, then unwind on a deep breath in. Repeat on the other side (left arm underneath).

If your upper back is very tight, you can simply place your hands on the tops of your shoulders, bow your chin, and focus on breathing space into your upper back.

Eagle arms is a great pose to release built-up tension in your upper back. Go slowly. Sometimes you might find your back is even tighter than you thought!

8. Child’s pose with a side stretch

Come back down to all fours. If your lower back feels good and relaxed, you can bring your big toes to touch and open your knees wide before sinking hips back to your heels (toes untucked) and stretching your arms forward. Otherwise, keep your knees together for less of a stretch in your lower back.

Inhale deeply, then walk your fingertips and arms over to the left. You can place your right hand on top of the left for a deeper stretch, but start with hands about shoulder width’s distance apart. Take ten full breaths here, then inhale back through center and over to the right.

This posture releases the muscles between the ribs. If you have pain in your knees from sitting in this posture, you can sit on a yoga block or a pillow to lift your hips a bit to make it more comfortable. You can also complete this stretch in puppy pose.

9. Supine twist

Come to your back on the floor with both legs extended long on the mat. Bring your right knee to your chest and inhale, then on an exhale drop it across your body to the left. Your right leg stays long, and you will be resting on the side of your right leg as you twist.

Open your arms out wide, and concentrate on relaxing your right shoulder down to the mat. Stay here for ten full breaths, then repeat on the other side.

10. Supported fish

Stay on your back with two blocks handy. Position the block closest to you horizontal on the second highest setting, and the other block on its highest setting farther away from you. Bend your knees to start, and begin to lower your body down on the blocks so that the one closest is just below the tips of your shoulder blades, and the one farthest is supporting the roundest part of the back of your head.

You can keep your knees bent if your lower back hurts, or you can extend them out long on the mat. Arms can come by your sides for at least ten full, chest-opening breaths, but you can stay as long as you like.

Yoga for upper back pain routines

Talk to your doctor about what yoga for upper back pain might work best for you. Here’s some longer yoga for upper back pain routines we like, though.

Sometimes a short yoga practice to release tension in the neck is great for helping to relieve upper back pain.

Yin yoga for upper back pain holds stretches for longer periods of time to focus on lengthening and strengthening connective tissues that could be holding tension.

Building strength in the chest, shoulders, and upper back can not only help relieve upper back pain but also prevent its reoccurrence.

What yoga poses to avoid with upper back pain?

As a general rule, it’s important to listen to your body. If a yoga pose causes stabbing pain, shortness of breath, or numbness in the extremities, back off or come out of the pose completely.

Take your time as you gain strength, flexibility, and mobility, and seek out qualified teachers who can help with modifications.

Other minimally-invasive upper back pain treatments

Yoga for upper back pain can be used safely and effectively in conjunction with other minimally-invasive treatments like physical therapy, chiropractic care, and massage. Depending on the injury, radiofrequency ablation and shoulder or neck injections can provide relief for chronic pain as well.

Pain specialists use a comprehensive approach that covers multiple treatment options to help with your pain (including yoga for upper back pain!). You can find a pain specialist in your area by clicking the button below or looking for one in your area by using the tips here: https://paindoctor.com/pain-management-doctors/.

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9 Ways To Prevent And Fix Neck Pain From Sleeping | PainDoctor.com

Neck pain is a common pain condition that develops often in adults, especially women. More specifically, reports show that 15% and 25% of men and women, respectively, ranging in age from 21 to 55 years experience both neck and shoulder pain during their lifetime. This condition often becomes the cause of chronic pain and discomfort. Neck pain from sleeping may seem like a small issue, but there is evidence that a large number of individuals who experience pain in the neck may continue to suffer from it up to six months after the pain has begun. Whether you are waking up with neck pain or pain in the neck prevents you from falling asleep in the first place, here are nine ways to prevent and fix neck pain from sleeping.

Why am I waking up with neck pain every morning?

The neck is made up of seven delicate cervical vertebrae surrounded by ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Inside of these vertebrae, the spinal cord, with its bundles of nerves connecting the brain to various parts of the body, is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid. Each vertebra is connected to the other with bony protrusions called facet joints. All of these parts of the neck—bones, muscles, connective tissues—work in conjunction with the shoulders and upper back.

Because of the interrelatedness of these areas of the body, neck pain can be caused by issues that arise in the shoulders and upper back. The most common neck pain causes include:

  • Muscle stress or strain: Muscle stress or strain is one of the most common causes of neck pain. This can occur from improper posture (e.g., text neck) or it may be a result of injury during daily activity.
  • Degeneration of the cervical spine: Over time and with regular use, the cervical spine may suffer from naturally occurring degeneration. This occurs mainly in older adults and may happen in conjunction with some forms of arthritis (i.e., osteoarthritis) or osteoporosis.
  • Facet joint damage: The facet joints that connect the vertebrae are susceptible to damage due to injury or degeneration. This can cause significant and intractable neck pain.
  • Cervical spinal stenosis: Stenosis occurs when the spine becomes compressed and narrows the spaces between the spinal bones and the tissue that surrounds them. This places pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, causing pain that is often severe.
  • Bulging or herniated disc: This common cause of neck pain can occur due to injury or simply over time with improper use. Poor posture can result in stress that causes discs to bulge and, eventually, to herniate.
  • Whiplash: Whiplash refers to a quick jolt that causes the neck and head to jerk back and forth. Rollercoaster rides and car accidents are highly associated with the occurrence of whiplash. Whiplash can lead to persistent, chronic pain in both the neck and lower back.

These common causes of neck pain may make it challenging to fall asleep. They can also cause you to suffer from severe neck pain after sleeping. Below we will tackle the most common treatment and preventative strategies for both situations.

9 Ways To Prevent And Fix Neck Pain From Sleeping | PainDoctor.com

How to sleep with neck pain

People who suffer from neck pain even before they fall asleep may struggle to fall asleep. Their anxiety about their neck pain, when combined with the pain itself, may make a good night’s sleep just a dream. Here are some ways to sleep with neck pain.

Before going to sleep

Before going to sleep, set yourself up for restful slumber. While practicing good sleep hygiene may not solve the problem of neck pain, it can help ease your mind as you drift off.

Save the bedroom for intimacy and sleep only, and turn off electronics (your phone included) at least an hour before bed. Keep the lights low and the room cold. Some people find a weighted blanket helps them to relax and eases anxiety.

If you find that your neck pain is caused by muscle strain or soreness that increases right before bed, a simple neck massage (either self-massage or with a partner) can help relax tense muscles, too.

Best sleeping position for neck pain

There are three types of sleepers: back sleepers, side sleepers, and stomach sleepers. People suffering from disc issues or cervical degeneration know that pressure on the neck from sleeping in the wrong direction can increase their pain and decrease the chances of a good night’s sleep.

Back sleeping tends to be the healthiest for reducing neck pain for all patients. However, side sleepers can often get a good night of sleep with a few modifications.

A poor night’s sleep can disrupt muscle relaxation and the process of healing that the body undergoes every night. If you find that your sleeping position makes it harder to fall asleep, take steps to make a change. In the extreme, stomach sleepers (often the most painful position) might actually place tennis balls in their pajama pockets to wake them when they roll over.

For all sleeping positions the most crucial part of getting a good night sleep is right behind you: your pillow.

Find a good pillow for neck pain

A good pillow for neck pain is crucial. You may find that a simple pillow change allows you to fall asleep faster and in comfort.

When looking for a pillow for neck pain, look for pillows that fill in any gaps between your head, neck, and back. You want your pillow to provide gentle support so you do not feel like you have to hold your head up to protect your neck. The pillow should hold your neck in a neutral position that supports the way you like to sleep. Durable pillows that don’t sag or lose their loft are best.

You can look for different pillow fillings ranging from:

  • Buckwheat
  • Down or down alternatives
  • Feathers
  • Latex
  • Memory foam
  • Microbeads
  • Polyester
  • Water-based materials

There are pros and cons to all of these. Take the time to research the best pillows for neck pain in our earlier post before heading out to replace your old pillow.

Practice yoga for neck pain

We could place this recommendation for either people who cannot fall asleep due to neck pain or those whose neck hurts after sleeping.

Yoga for neck pain focuses on gentle stretches and strengthening to help release tension and build muscle to prevent further injury or pain. Focusing on deep, even breathing as you practice also signals the brain to slow down and can help ease you into restful sleep.

How to get rid of neck pain from sleeping wrong

“Sleep injuries” may sound funny to everyone except those who suffer from them. If you find yourself waking with neck pain on a regular basis, there are ways to address that. Each of these suggestions need not be elaborate or take up a large chunk of your morning routine.

For people who suffer from muscle or ligament injuries that become stiff and painful with inactivity, the following tips can help ease your neck pain.

Add in morning neck pain stretches

Imagine a piece of chewing gum. Before you place it in your mouth and chew, it is stiff and, if cold, can even crack. The painful parts of your neck, especially muscles and connective tissues, are similar. A full night of sleep means that these muscles have been immobile, stiffening up and causing neck pain from sleeping. If you sleep the wrong way (or on the wrong pillow) this can also cause severe neck pain after sleeping.

Gentle neck pain stretches can help soften stiff muscles and stretch them gently. The following three morning neck pain stretches are a great place to start and can be done sitting on the edge of your bed.

1. Side neck stretch

Sit on the edge of the bed with your feet flat on the floor and hands resting in your lap. Gently let the head fall down to the right shoulder. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds before completing the same stretch on the other side. Repeat the stretch two to three times on each side.

Keep the shoulders down and relaxed. If you’d like a little extra stretch, place a hand gently on top of your head, letting the weight push the head down a little further. If this causes pain, come out of the stretch.

2. Rotation neck stretch

Slowly turning the head to the right, keeping the chin level. Turn the head as far as possible while looking over the right shoulder.

Hold at the maximum stretch for about ten seconds. Return to neutral and repeat on the other side.

3. Isometric neck exercises

Neck pain exercises with resistance helps build strength faster than without, but you don’t need any special equipment. Press the palm of your right hand against the right side of the head, directly above the ear. Gently push the head and the hand into each other while keeping the neck in a neutral position for about six seconds. Rest for ten seconds and repeat on the same side. Then, complete two repetitions on the left side.

After exercising the sides of the neck, place your hand on your forehead, and push head into hand for six seconds. Repeat two times. Finally, place the hand on the back of the head, pressing together for six seconds. Rest and repeat.

This is a great place to start, but there are even more neck pain exercises. Incorporate them into your daily morning routine to relieve neck pain from sleeping.

Use heat therapy

Sometimes cold muscles benefit from directly applied heat therapy. A heating pad can provide warmth in the morning.

Another option is to use a rice-filled eye pillow (or specialized pillow for neck pain), heated briefly in the microwave. Be careful and follow the pillow’s direction for this use!

Practice deep breathing and mindfulness meditation

While taking a few deep breaths and focusing on what is happening in the moment may not immediately relieve neck pain, it can, over time, reduce your perception of it.

Mindfulness mediation can decrease pain and ease stress. Even people without neck pain can benefit from a few moments of meditation every day.

What to do if you’re suffering from severe neck pain after sleeping

If you are suffering from severe neck pain when sleeping or chronic, intractable neck pain, a proper diagnosis is key. Once you have figured out the cause of your pain, taking the steps above can help, but you may need more treatment to get a good night’s sleep.

The dangers of sleep deprivation are well-documented. Fatigue exacerbates chronic pain, causes poor performance of daily tasks, compromises the immune system, and increases the chances of obesity.

If you are not getting enough sleep due to neck pain or your neck pain after sleeping is increasing, you have options. Talk to your doctor about:

If your neck pain after sleeping is not responding to your best efforts to prevent it, it’s time to talk to a pain doctor. They can help diagnose the underlying cause your pain and design an individualized treatment plan to help you get a good night’s rest!

You can find a pain doctor in your area by clicking the button below or looking for one in your area by using the tips here: https://paindoctor.com/pain-management-doctors/.

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4 Incredibly Important Benefits Of Fibromyalgia Exercise | PainDoctor.com

When you are suffering from the fatigue, deep muscle soreness, and overall pain associated with fibromyalgia, the last thing on your mind is probably exercise. In fact, when doctors first began to diagnose fibromyalgia, they recommended lots of rest and relaxation. It turns out, however, that fibromyalgia exercise can be an important part of treating your symptoms. Here’s what we know.

What does fibromyalgia feel like? 

Fibromyalgia is a common chronic widespread pain condition. It affects 2-4 % of the U.S. population, however, only half of patients with the condition have a diagnosis. It is about seven times more common in women and the typical age of onset is between 20 and 55 years. Fibromyalgia appears to be caused, at least partially, by genetic factors. First degree relatives of fibromyalgia patients were more than eight times more likely to develop fibromyalgia themselves than non-relatives.

Patients often describe their pain as aching, exhausting, nagging or hurting. In addition to widespread pain, most patients suffer from:

  • Sleep issues
  • Fatigue
  • Cognitive difficulties (fibrofog)
  • Impaired memory
  • Morning stiffness

Multiple conditions may occur alongside fibromyalgia including:

  • Tension/migraine headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Temporomandibular disorder (TMJ/TMD)
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Vision issues
  • Depression and anxiety

What causes fibromyalgia?

This complex disorder has no definitive diagnostic test and researchers still aren’t sure what causes it. In 2014, the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology published a study revealing that people experiencing poor sleep, anxiety, and other health problems were more likely to develop fibromyalgia. Environmental factors may also play a role in fibromyalgia development. Fibromyalgia patients tend to report more stressful negative lifetime events than healthy controls.

Although the underlying cause of fibromyalgia has not been established, recent data suggests that alteration of pain processing by the central nervous system may contribute to the chronic wide spread pain. Fibromyalgia is the prototype of a unique type of pain, central sensitization syndrome.

According to the American College of Rheumatology, fibromyalgia can be diagnosed when a patient with at least three months of widespread pain shows eleven or more of the classic eighteen “tender points” during a physical exam. Because many fibromyalgia patients have fewer than eleven tender points, a new questionnaire now replaces these criteria. Now, diagnoses occur when patients meet multiple, varied criteria.

Why is fibromyalgia exercise important? 

About 10 million people in the U.S. have the disorder, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association, and most of these people are women. Because fibromyalgia affects so many facets of a person’s life, treatment requires a comprehensive lifestyle approach.

Methods of managing the disorder include gentle exercises such as yoga or water aerobics, relaxing nighttime routines to improve sleep quality, and pain management techniques including acupuncture, relaxation exercises, and nutritional supplements. A healthy, anti-inflammatory diet may also help reduce pain.

Experts generally recommend low-impact aerobic exercise to avoid aggravating pain and other symptoms. A program of walking, stretching, and strength training may be particularly beneficial. Here’s why.

1. Increases serotonin levels in the brain

Exercise increases serotonin levels. Serotonin is the “feel-good” neurotransmitter in our brain, the same neurotransmitter that regulates mood. People who suffer from fibromyalgia generally have lower levels of serotonin.

The good news is that regular exercise helps to increase levels of serotonin, resulting in more feelings of well-being and a general, all-around boost to mood. Intense exercise (like high-intensity interval training) can also increase endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that are famous for producing the “runner’s high.” When our brains release endorphins, our bodies are flooded with a feeling of well-being. Exercise actually makes you feel better, starting in your brain.

2. Regulates cortisol levels

Exercise also helps to regulate cortisol levels. High cortisol levels are associated with high levels of stress, and people who suffer from chronic pain usually have a steady undercurrent of stress running through their day.

Exercise regulates cortisol and adrenaline by kicking production of both into high gear at the beginning of exercise and then dropping at the end. Enhance this effect by exercising earlier in the day, when cortisol levels are naturally highest, and feel the calming effects of exercise for the rest of the day.

3. Improves joint mobility

Another benefit of exercise is a basic physical one. Our muscles and joints work better when we use them.

Think of a rusted door hinge, rarely opened, long neglected. When we first start to swing the door back and forth after a long period of inactivity, it creaks and doesn’t want to move. As we continue to move the door, maybe adding a little lubrication (good nutrition and lots of water for squeaky joints!), the door begins to swing more freely and without protest.

Same goes for our joints and muscles. The first step will be the hardest, but with each subsequent step, our bodies get stronger and feel better.

4. Provides mental health benefits

In addition to the health and pain relief benefits of working out, if you exercise with friends, building community is a bonus. Sharing yourself when you are feeling good, having support in your journey to feeling better, and just getting time with friends to talk and laugh while doing something healthy is a mental health bonus.

Suffering from a hidden illness like fibromyalgia can be a lonely experience. Working out with friends or taking a class with a group of soon-to-be friends can help connect you with others.

What other treatments help with fibromyalgia? 

Moderately intense aerobic exercise can decrease your pain, but you should undertake it gradually to avoid exacerbating your symptoms. You should also work closely with your doctor whenever adding exercise to your routine.

Beyond fibromyalgia exercises, there are other lifestyle changes that can help decrease symptoms. Intensive patient education can improve pain, sleep, fatigue, and quality of life. There has been some evidence of improvement in pain, fatigue, mood, and physical function with cognitive behavioral therapy. Other therapies include acupuncture, biofeedback, water therapy, and strength training.

Fibromyalgia medications

The earliest clinical trial for medications to treat fibromyalgia in 1986 looked into amitriptyline (Elavil), which is a widely used tricyclic antidepressant. Amitriptyline was the recommended first line treatment at that time. The results of multiple trials on that medication and similar medications were mixed in terms of achieving significant improvement of fibromyalgia symptoms. Trials on opioid analgesics failed to show significant improvements for fibromyalgia patients.

Pregablin (Lyrica) is an anti-convulsant that emerged as the first FDA-approved medication for fibromyalgia after it showed statistically significant improvement in pain when used for fibromyalgia in a placebo-controlled trial. Dizziness and somnolence happened in 38% and 20% of the study patients taking the medication respectively.

Duloxetine (Cymbalta) was FDA-approved for fibromyalgia several years later to provide another option through a different mechanism of action. Being an anti-depressant, it addressed a common problem seen in fibromyalgia patients. Nausea may occur in up to 29% of patients taking this medication.

Milnacipran (Savella) belongs to the same category of medications as Duloxetine. It was the last FDA-approved medication for fibromyalgia after showing significant improvement in a three-month trial. In addition to nausea, new onset hypertension was a common adverse event. You may need to monitor your blood pressure while taking this medication.

Get help with your fibromyalgia

Even though only three medications are FDA approved for fibromyalgia at this time, we have a much better understanding of this disease than we did ten years ago. New medications are constantly in development as treatments for fibromyalgia. Patients and physicians continue to be hopeful that the future might bring a cure for such a disabling and widespread disease.

No matter how medications may play a role in treatment, though, it’s best to take them in concert with other therapies to manage symptoms, like fibromyalgia exercise.

Need help managing your fibromyalgia? You can find a pain doctor in your area by clicking the button below or looking for one in your area by using the tips here: https://paindoctor.com/pain-management-doctors/.

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6 Common Hip Bursitis Symptoms And How To Treat Them | PainDoctor.com

Hip bursitis is a condition that can cause pain and decreased mobility in your hardworking hip joint. Hip bursitis symptoms can vary from each person who experiences them, depending on age, level of activity, and overall health. If you are suffering from pain in your hip, here are 11 common hip bursitis symptoms (and some hip bursitis treatment options).

What causes hip bursitis?

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket type joint that consists of the thighbone (the top of this femur bone, the trochanter, is the “ball” of the joint) nestled into the three bones that combine to make the “socket” portion (the ilium, the ischium, and the pubis).

Inside the joint itself, smooth white cartilage covers the head of the femur and lines the acetabulum (the cup that receives the femur). Synovial fluid created in the joint lining cushions and lubricates movement in this joint. This helps bones move without pain or irritation. Outside of the bones, there are ligaments, tendons, and muscles that work together to further stabilize the joint and prevent dislocation.

The hip joint also has fluid-filled sacs call bursae, located just above the trochanter between that bone and the acetabulum, and also inside the hip (in the groin area). The bursae further cushion the joint as it moves. When they are damaged or become inflamed, the result is hip bursitis.

Types of hip bursitis

There are two major types of hip bursitis: trochanteric bursitis and iliopsoas bursitis.

Trochanteric bursitis is primarily diagnosed in older adults. It is commonly caused by trauma or the degenerative effects from aging. However, differences in prevalence or incidence of trochanteric bursitis based on gender have not been identified.

On the other hand, iliopsoas bursitis occurs when the bursa that is connected to the iliopsoas tendon becomes inflamed. This form of bursitis is common in young adults and adolescents, especially women. It is referred to as the snapping-tendon syndrome. This is due to the abnormal movement of swollen muscles in the hip region that cause snapping which can be felt or heard when the hip flexes.

Hip bursitis causes

Causes of hip bursitis include:

  • Injury or trauma to the hip: Falling or banging the hip on any surface traumatizes the bursae and could lead to this condition
  • Repetitive motion injuries: Most hip bursitis is caused by a series of small traumas due to repetitive motions (e.g., hiking, biking, and jogging)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This inflammatory type of arthritis can affect any of the joints in the body, including the hip
  • Gout: Gout is the build-up of uric acid in the joints that creates irritating crystals in the synovial joints
  • Changes to the body’s biomechanics: Injuries or issues with the knees and lower body can cause people to compensate with poor biomechanics in the hip (leading to pain and inflammation)

People recovering from hip surgery and those who have a history of inflammation in the bursae are more likely to develop hip bursitis, as are those who have bone spurs or calcium deposits.

Women aged 40 and up have a greater incidence of hip bursitis than men at any age.

6 Common Hip Bursitis Symptoms And How To Treat Them | PainDoctor.com

6 common hip bursitis symptoms

The most common early symptom of iliopsoas bursitis is the sound or feeling of the tendon snapping in the hip with activity at any level. For both types, another common early hip bursitis symptom is pain. Pain is universal at all stages and for both types of this condition.

Here are additional symptoms to look for. As the condition persists, people with hip bursitis may experience an increase in symptoms, both in the kind of symptoms they experience and their severity.

1. Hip pain

As noted above, hip pain is a universal symptom of bursitis in the hip. Some people experience a burning or searing pain, while others may describe their pain as sharp. For most people, as the condition progresses, the pain becomes more of an ache. This does not mean it decreases, just that the quality of the pain changes.

Trochanteric bursitis pain is usually located on the outside of the hip. Those who suffer from iliopsoas bursitis generally experience their pain in the groin.

2. Radiating pain

In addition to the quality of the pain changing, pain may begin to radiate down the thigh and across the buttocks or into the groin.

This pain is different from sciatic pain (another leg pain condition) in that it rarely ventures below the knee.

3. Pain that is worse with repetitive motion

Some of the most common activities – jogging, climbing stairs, and even walking – can produce extraordinary bursts of hip bursitis pain.

This repetitive motion may exacerbate already inflamed bursae and increase pain levels.

4. Pain that is worse after prolonged inactivity

On the flip side, too much sitting can cause a flare up of hip bursitis symptoms.

Likewise, people with both types of bursitis may find their pain is greater in the morning after sleep.

5. Swelling, fever, tenderness, and warmth

If the bursae become infected, this is referred to as septic hip bursitis (and can occur with either type).

In addition to the symptoms above, people with septic hip bursitis will also experience symptoms of infection. Swelling, fever, tenderness, and warmth in the affected area may occur. Swelling is not as obvious in hip bursitis and is usually only associated with later stages of this condition. Other symptoms that accompany this infection also include a feeling of being unwell and fatigue.

Always talk to your doctor if you believe you’re suffering from an infection.

6. Pain in your typical range of motion

In the later stages of both types of hip bursitis, moving the leg across the body (adduction) or away from the body (abduction) are either impossible or very painful.

While we do not often move our legs in this manner, this decreased range of motion can begin to affect other areas of the body, including the lower back.

How to treat hip bursitis

Hip bursitis treatment varies depending on the progression of the condition, the severity of the symptoms, and your overall health.

Is walking good for hip bursitis?

In general, walking on a flat surface does not cause hip bursitis symptoms to flare up. For this reason, and for all of the other benefits that walking conveys, walking is usually approved for those with hip bursitis.

Walking on a soft surface at a moderate pace can strengthen the leg muscles that support the hips, improving outcomes. As with any treatment option, though, talk to your doctor to make sure.

Rest

The first and most common option for hip bursitis treatment is rest, but not complete inactivity. Remember that symptoms often flare up after extended periods of inactivity, so some activity is appropriate (like walking).

Take a break from the activity that may have caused your hip bursitis in the first place, though. If you are a runner or hiker, take some time off and practice yoga to strengthen the muscles in the hips and lengthen the IT band to help ease pain and inflammation in the hip. Yin yoga may also help, as the focus in this slow practice is to gently lengthen and strengthen the connective tissues.

Ice

For people who experience swelling and warmth as side effects of septic hip bursitis, icing can provide pain relief. Try a 20-minutes-on, 20-minutes-off schedule with some gentle movement in between as you can.

Again, pay attention to how this feels, and talk to your doctor.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Whether over the counter or prescribed, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can go a long way to relieve pain and inflammation in the hip joint.

It is important to take care, though. Overuse of NSAIDs can lead to serious gastrointestinal issues, even if only used for a short period of time. NSAIDs are very helpful, but make sure that you are following the dosage directions whether they are over the counter or prescribed. You should only use them for acute bouts of pain, too, not as a long-term pain management solution.

Physical therapy

After rest and other treatments, physical therapy can go a long way to help treat the root causes of your hip bursitis.

If your hip bursitis is caused by injury or trauma, physical therapy is a great way to build strength and restore mobility. Others who experience hip bursitis due to biomechanical issues can learn how to better use their bodies so as to prevent future issues in the hips and other joints in the body. Regardless of the cause, a qualified physical therapist can design individualized exercises to treat your hip bursitis.

Antibiotics

For septic hip bursitis, antibiotics are an important medication that are required to eliminate the infection.

For extreme cases, antibiotics may need to be administered intravenously, but this is rare.

Drainage

Drainage of the bursa is also rarely indicated but can be helpful when bursae are infected to relieve pain and pressure.

In most cases, when drainage is the hip bursitis treatment of choice, your doctor may also recommend an injection at the same time.

Hip injections

Injections of corticosteroids and a local anesthetic can provide relief and increase mobility when more conservative treatments have failed.

This outpatient procedure offers first immediate pain relief (due to the local anesthetic), followed by a slight increase in pain as the anesthetic wears off, followed by a longer-term decrease or elimination of pain. In some cases, more than one injection may be necessary for complete pain relief.

Surgery

Surgery is very rarely indicated and is only recommended when more conservative treatments have been unsuccessful. There are three surgical options.

  • Bursectomy: A bursectomy removes the swollen or infected bursa. The goal of this procedure is to shorten the hip bursitis recovery time. Bursectomy is often performed with an IT band release.
  • Tendon repair and IT (iliotibial) band release: In the case of hip bursitis with injury or detachment of the tendons, this surgery repairs the tendon and reattaches it to the greater trochanter. For trochanteric hip bursitis, the IT band release surgery helps lengthen the iliotibial band to minimize rubbing that causes inflammation.
  • Osteotomy of the greater trochanter: In this surgery, your doctor shaves off a small portion of the greater trochanter. This may reduce the amount of friction between the trochanter and the acetabulum.

If you are experiencing hip bursitis symptoms and want to discuss your options, it may be time to talk to a pain specialist. They can find a treatment plan that works for you to help you get your life back.

You can find a pain doctor in your area by clicking the button below or looking for one in your area by using the tips here: https://paindoctor.com/pain-management-doctors/.

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6 Benefits Of Exercise For Seniors, And How To Get Started | PainDoctor.com

It is a long-accepted belief that as we age it is appropriate (and expected) that we will slow down. We may even stop exercising altogether, but research shows that exercise for seniors can have a host of benefits. Here’s what we know and how seniors can get started exercising.

6 benefits of exercise for seniors

The following research studies add to the growing research of the benefits of physical activity at any age, but especially for seniors.

Even light exercise can improve your health

study out of Oregon State University found that older adults who participated in light exercise were an average of 18% healthier than those who did not exercise. The study looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES, between 2003 and 2006. This survey is conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. Because the survey is a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population, widespread conclusions can be extrapolated from it.

Seniors who participated in 300 minutes a week of light exercise, including walking, completing household chores, and playing easy games like table tennis, had lower BMI measurements, smaller waist circumference, and better insulin measures than those who did not. This light intensity movement can include things like walking around while talking on the phone or parking the car far away from entrances to stores.

Lead author Paul Loprinzi, Ph.D. and assistant professor of exercise science and health promotion at the University of Mississippi pointed out that light intensity exercise can be an important part of a wellness program for seniors, saying:

“These findings highlight that, in addition to promoting moderate-intensity physical activity to older adults, we should not neglect the importance of engaging in lower-intensity, movement-based behaviors when the opportunity arises.”

Reduces pain and increases mobility

Not only does exercise help prevent chronic illness, increase overall health, and decrease the fear of falling, it also works to decrease pain and increase mobility.

An eight-week, low-impact exercise program designed and tested by the Hospital for Special Surgery saw dramatic improvements in pain and mobility levels among the seniors who participated regularly. Significantly, seniors in the study improved their ability to climb multiple flights of stairs; carry their groceries; and bend, kneel, or stoop. Ninety-one percent of participants felt less fatigue, and 97% reported less stiffness while completing the program.

Better sense of well-being and long-term health

study found that older adults who continued to exercise into their 60s experienced a better sense of well-being and long-term health than those who did not.

The study was a small-scale study in Liverpool, England. Nurses helped implement a 12-week fitness and exercise intervention program. Twenty-five participants were in the exercise group, and 17 were in the control group (and received no special interventions). Study participants had physical and mental health challenges that included arthritis, dementia, and high cholesterol.

Those patients in the exercise group reported better health and an increased sense of well-being during the study.

They also found gains in strength and endurance, and they were able to stick with their exercise regimen for 12 months after the end of the study where they continued to report gains in power and strength. The exercise group felt more knowledgeable about physical health and activity after the study. They were also motivated to continue exercising. Participants felt that they understood better the benefits of exercise and physical activity after completing the study.

Reduces cancer risk

For women, exercise becomes a crucial part of maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. A report published by JAMA Oncology found that 300 minutes of moderate exercise per week was more effective at reducing body mass index (BMI) than a more vigorous 150 minutes, even without dietary changes.

Christine M. Friedenreich, Ph.D., of Alberta Health Services in Canada and the lead author of the study found a greater decrease in total BMI that included a greater loss of both abdominal and subcutaneous fat. Abdominal fat is a risk factor for a number of diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular issues.

Friedenreich pointed out that although any level of exercise is good, for post-menopausal women, 300 minutes is an optimal amount. She noted:

“A probable association between physical activity and post-menopausal breast cancer risk is supported by more than 100 epidemiologic studies, with strong biologic rationale supporting fat loss as an important (though not the only) mediator of this association. Our findings of a dose-response effect of exercise on total fat mass and several other adiposity measures including abdominal fat…provide a basis for encouraging postmenopausal women to exercise at least 300 minutes/week, longer than the minimum recommended for cancer prevention.”

Add strength training for more benefits

Yes, light exercise such as walking is a great way to maintain overall health. Strength training has tremendous benefits as well. It can help prevent frailty, improve balance and coordination, and allow seniors to maintain their independence for longer. One study rising out of a collaboration between the MedUni Vienna, Wiener Hilfswerk and Sportunion Österreich and sponsored by the Vienna Science and Technology Fund found that for independent living, strength training of the hands was key.

In the study, an intervention group worked specifically on building hand strength, increasing their strength by 20% overall. This group also showed an increase in physical activity along with improved cognitive function. Significantly, biologic measures of this increase were also demonstrated. Albumin, a protein in the blood whose absence indicates a higher chance of frailty, was significantly higher in the intervention group. And Dorner indicated that one of the biggest fears among seniors was alleviated among the intervention group, saying:

“…the fear of falls was significantly reduced in the intervention group. This is very important, because the fear of falling leads to frail people moving less, and thus further depleting their muscular strength and increasing the risk of falls.”

Improves mental health

A study out of the University of Illinois found that seniors who exercised not only had a higher volume of white matter in their brains but also displayed greater mental flexibility than those who did not exercise. This finding is a significant piece of the puzzle for those people who would like to maintain their active independence for as long as possible.

Postdoctoral researcher Agnieszka Burzynska, who led the study with Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, noted that this is an objective measure of how exercise affects the brain and ultimately the quality of a senior’s physical and cognitive health, saying:

“Our study, when viewed in the context of previous studies that have examined behavioral variability in cognitive tasks, suggests that more-fit older adults are more flexible, both cognitively and in terms of brain function, than their less-fit peers.”

Exercise that includes a mix of strength training and low- to medium-intensity activity for at least 300 minutes a week provides the best benefit for seniors in terms of physical and mental wellness.

6 Benefits Of Exercise For Seniors, And How To Get Started | PainDoctor.com

How does your exercise program measure up?

As we get older, we tend to slow down a bit. Muscles, joints, and bones begin to feel their years of wear, and some days are more achy than others. Many might take these creaks as a sign that they need to be more careful and gentle with their bodies. In fact, staying active and continuing to use the body with exercise is one of the key ways to stay healthier for longer.

No matter your age or physical condition, it’s possible—and healthy—to exercise. Benefits of exercise include increased energy and stamina, improved vitality and enthusiasm for life, reduced depression, and diminished pain.

What are the best types of exercise for seniors?

No two people age in similar ways. The first step to exercising safely is to assess your current physical level. If you’ve been sedentary for a while, or have put on some extra pounds, consider gentle movements like walking.

Other low-impact exercises include swimming and yoga. You can tailor these to your specific fitness level and improve fitness without hurting joints.

Low-impact activities are also wonderful for people with arthritis. Try tai chi, gentle weight training, and bicycling. These exercises get the blood flowing and encourage strength. They also gently, and with support, help the joints to move through a wider range of motion.

Be careful not to push too far if you have arthritis. Be kind to your body and mindful of its limits so you can continue to exercise. Too much of anything is dangerous, and that includes fitness. Begin where you are. Change the exercise to fit your body instead of forcing your body to do things it’s not ready for.

How can I exercise with a chronic condition?

If you’re living with chronic pain and find it difficult to get moving, consider intensifying the energy required for daily activities. If you’re washing clothes, for instance, take a few extra trips up and down the steps while folding laundry. Alternatively, vacuuming and sweeping require physical exertion and are wonderful ways to keep your house clean while improving physical health.

If you are disabled, you’ll need to use a little creativity when finding ways to stay active. Many people focus on those areas of strength they do have. If your legs don’t work well, for example, focus on upper body strength. It may be necessary to visit a physical therapist, doctor, or fitness professional. They can figure out how you can work around the disability to make it safe and beneficial.

How do I start exercising safely?

The key to exercising safely is to start slow and talk to your doctor before starting a program. Consider beginning by walking for five minutes around the block. Walking is generally safe, but see how you feel the next day. Sometimes it takes time for any pain or soreness to set in. Gaining fitness while staying safe requires finding your edge. Go slightly beyond your comfort zone but not so far it causes injury.

Ultimately, it’s better to move too slow than go too fast and injure yourself. Just do what you can. That rule applies for everyone, but especially for seniors, people with chronic pain, or those who haven’t exercised in a while.

Having the right equipment is also important. A good pair of shoes helps to support the foot and leg. If you have knee pain, for example, good shoes are critical. In addition to good footwear, you may want to consider wearing a brace for extra support. Wrist braces may protect against injury while weight lifting or even playing tennis, while knee braces are good for those wanting to walk or jog.

How can I stick with a new exercise program?

Maintaining an exercise regimen is one of the most difficult parts of staying active. One of the most important things to consider is selecting a fitness method that you enjoy. Continuing to participate in fitness is much easier if you enjoy the activity.

For some people, that might mean taking part in a wide variety of exercises. One day you might ride your bike through the neighborhood and another, you might walk through the park. Fortunately, many digital helpers are available to encourage your efforts. Apps like MyFitnessPal, which helps you track progress and set goals, and Spotify, which helps you along with just the right tunes, could make the difference between your sneakers lying lost and lonely in your closet or hitting the pavement to the beat of music.

Get help 

People with chronic pain may have an especially difficult time sticking to a new exercise program. Having bad pain days can make it seem like you’re ruining progress. To counter this frustration, focus on doing what you can when you can. Some days you’ll need to push yourself and exercise anyway, and others you’ll need to rest and continue tomorrow.

Fitness is a lifestyle. Part of this lifestyle is learning to understand your body and what decisions best support your health. That’s how you truly capture the benefits of exercise for seniors.

If you need help managing your pain so you can work towards a healthier lifestyle, it may be time to talk to a pain doctor. You can find a pain doctor in your area by clicking the button below or looking for one in your area by using the tips here: https://paindoctor.com/pain-management-doctors/.

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