Back Care on a Budget- Part 1

Whether you’re naturally frugal or you’re just tired paying for treatments that don’t work, being pro-active about your back or neck may help relieve the pain. Here are some low cost and free ways to deal with neck or back pain.

1. At-Home Therapies

Anne Asher

Lifting heavy boxes. Gardening. Stressful sleeping positions. Is it really necessary to go to a doctor for minor cricks or pulls due to daily activities? For pain that hurts, but not enough to get you to the doctor, there are a few home remedies that may be worth a try:

While these options can be helpful, you still should be aware of signs that indicate the need for medical attention for your back.

Do you feel your knowledge about what to do when you get back or neck pain is strong enough? Take the quiz.


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2. Avoid Bad Back Moves

If you think your everyday activities are safe for your back, think again. The things you do the most may be bad for your back. Bending over at the waist can put pressure on your discs. It can strain your muscles, as can slouching while sitting. Twisting your spine while lifting is particularly risky to your discs.

An initial effort may be needed to change the way you do your daily movements, but this may pay off in improved posture and reduced risk for injury and pain.

A great way to give your back the support it needs for carrying out routine tasks is to maintain a back exercise program. Getting muscles strong and flexible can help prevent an injury. If you work at a computer, exercise breaks may help improve your desk posture.

3. Do Your Daily Activities with Body Awareness


In an effort to get things done, many of us forget about how we perform our tasks. But there are some rules of the road regarding the safe use of your body.

In general, heavy work such as lifting, digging and shoveling should be powered by the pelvis, hips and legs. They are much stronger than your spine. The spine consists of 26 small, interconnected bones with many joints, small muscles and discs. Not only is it less capable of exerting power, but it’s also easily injured when pressure is placed on it. Try to keep your spine long when you perform your tasks and chores. Here are some step by step guides to performing common activities safely:

4. Lose Weight and Keep it That Way

(c)Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Being overweight puts extra load on your spine. It can contribute to muscle tension, spinal arthritis postural misalignment, spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis, disc disorders and hardening of spinal ligaments (known as DISH).

To date, there’s not been a lot of research on the effects of an obese condition on the degree of back pain. Just the same, experts and regular folk alike feel that losing weight is an excellent way to reduce or even eliminate back pain.

5. Be Active

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A well-rounded fitness program includes strengthening, stretching and aerobic activity (not to mention maintaining an ideal weight).

All of these activities are great for your back, too.

Studies show that fit people have less back pain. It’s entirely possible to incorporate more activity into your day. For example, if your back condition permits, you might park your car a little further from the grocery store entrance. Or take the stairs when the opportunity arises.

You can do a gym workout with a sore back, but take care to monitor the level and quality of pain. Use this information to guide you in modifying your workout. Modification ideas include using lighter weights, working out for shorter times more often and exercising in water.

Be Well

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