Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hate aches and pains due to long trips? “Pain Free at Work” can ease your journey.

The holidays are approaching, which means a lot of people are traveling and spending countless hours on the road. The problem is, many of us experience back and neck pain en route to our destination, which can turn a short trip into a long nightmare. Physical therapist and Pilates instructor, Chantal Donnelly, explains "Being in pain can lead to an unhealthy cycle that affects cholesterol, blood pressure, body fat ratio, etc."

Chantal has developed simple exercises that can help prevent and alleviate pain associated with being sedentary for long periods of time. Her DVD, "Pain Free at Work," provides people with the proper way to sit in their chairs at work or while on the road, strengthen the body as well as easy and releasing stretches for a pain-free workday or getaway. 

For more information, please visit

Here are five tips to reduce back pain from Chantal's web page

Be Neutral
Keeping a "neutral spine position" means maintaining the natural arch in the small of your back. Sitting, standing or performing activities out of the neutral zone means not only having bad posture, but also placing increased stress on the spine as well.

Walk With a Big Stick
Imagine you have a long pole glued to your back, from your tailbone to the top of your head. This means you can only hinge at your hips rather than flexing your spine to bend over (such as when you brush your teeth, pick something up off the floor etc).
This little trick keeps your back in the "neutral spine position" and decreases the everyday wear and tear to your vertebral column.

Get Deep
Research shows that drawing in the belly button towards your spine strengthens your deep abdominal muscles and forms a corset of support around the lower back. You can pull in the abdominals while checking your e-mail, standing in line at the bank or while doing the dishes. Practice tightening your abdominals as often as possible and you will be 9 times less likely to have another episode of back pain.

Don't Smoke
People who smoke are 2.7 times more likely to develop low back pain. Nicotine causes a thickening of the blood vessel walls which, in turn, decreases blood flow and oxygen to muscles, bones and ligaments.

Tight hip flexor and hamstring muscles will pull on the spine and pelvis and prevent you from being able to maintain a comfortable neutral spine position. Check out the BACK STRETCHES pages on this site for pictures and instructions on how to stretch these two important muscles.


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