There are a variety of products and gadgets that claim to provide quick fast acting back pain relief. Here is a little information about which deliver and hold up to their claims. Back pain stops us in our tracks and we want relief fast. Other than taking pain meds, most of us want a way to achieve natural relief. That’s where back pain products and gadgets come into the picture.
For the most part, a lot of the gadgets online, even expensive ones don�t necessarily provide the back pain relief that most of us are expecting. This means they don’t remove the pain completely and life goes back to normal. These are made for temporarily relieving pain when symptoms present and through consistent use to strengthen, lengthen,� and stretch out the sore muscles, ligaments, tendons, etc, in a preventative fashion.
We are not knocking these products/gadgets, as we use these ourselves. But remember these are tools that are made to help out with back pain conditions, just like the tools chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists utilize in their practices. That being said this article is to help you make wise decisions about which back pain gadgets can help.
These are wearable sensors that vibrate when you begin to slouch, sway forward, hunch over, etc. The pain-relief claims that slouching puts a strain on your spine and that improving posture will help prevent strain and pain.
While this is true what the experts thought about this product was that, while it does help maintain proper posture it is not meant to relieve immediate pain, but rather to re-train your body in maintaining good posture. Therefore pass on this product if your goal is back pain relief.
Slouching places added stress on�the lower back that leads to strains and back pain. These devices can be helpful, just be aware to not hold yourself in an abnormal position causing more problems.
If poor posture contributes to your back pain, try these:
- Exercise, specifically movements that strengthen the core
- Wear comfortable shoes with low heels
- Foot orthotics
- Balance make sure your head is not too forward
Dr. Jimenez adds that if you exhibit constant poor posture, consult a spine doctor or chiropractor to see if it is a structural issue.
Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation
The QUELL�TENS transcutaneous electrical stimulation is a new brand unit that is worn on the calf. The pain-relief claims that it sends out safe electrical pulses that trigger the body’s natural pain relief response. The QUELL can help and is just like most other TENS units.
These units activate opioid nerve receptors, which is one of the reasons they provide pain relief. You can get them for under $50 at drug stores and online. Instead of being applied directly to the sore areas,�it’s worn on the calf and operates on the same TENS principle.� The cost currently is around $300. However, with any TENS unit, be aware that there can be a�relief tolerance that builds up and eventually might not work anymore. TENS units work well, but they�re best used in a physical therapist�s/chiropractic clinic because individuals can become habitually used to them.
This is a handheld massager that generates pulses of deep pressure along with strong vibrations to loosen and release tight areas. The pain-relief claims that it is similar to a deep tissue massage. These work and do help ease pain symptoms, but are not like a real therapeutic massage. There is limited research on these products but most state that percussive/vibrating massage tools, that can cost hundreds of dollars, could be a little better than a traditional massage for relieving muscle soreness. This has yet to be determined.
High-force massagers could exacerbate or cause further/new injury/s other than muscle soreness when used by untrained individuals. However, in a professional clinic setting research suggests that high vibration applied to the back is an effective physical therapy for low-back pain.
Low-Level Laser Therapy
Low-intensity light therapy is used in treating neuropathy pain. The principal is that it triggers biochemical changes in the cells. The pain-relief claims that it reduces inflammation alleviates pain and promotes healing. There is not a great deal of evidence that it helps back pain, but that is only because there is not enough research yet. It doesn�t mean you won�t benefit from it. Laser therapy, which is sometimes utilized in physical therapy and chiropractic clinics, can provide relief for a range of conditions, and this includes back pain.
Simple Massage Tools
These consist of foam rollers, lacrosse balls, wraps, massage pads, and handheld muscle rollers. The pain-relief claims that they provide mini-massages for sore muscles. These work and can help when used correctly.
These products do not have a great deal of published material on the benefits of these tools. But physical therapists have recommended using these tools along with professional chiropractic/physical therapy. These low-tech massage tools can make your back feel better. They are effective for muscle spasms, are gentle to the soft tissues and improve blood flow circulation with very little risk of tissue damage.
Exercise balls can be included in exercise programs that function in extension and flexion postures. Sitting on them to safely engage and strengthen the core muscles is an added benefit and they are great for maintaining proper posture.
LLT Laser Therapy for Peripheral Neuropathy
The information herein on "Information on Popular Back Pain Products" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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