It’s been a fun but busy week at the office! We’ve had a great time getting to know all our new patients, including a patient who was concerned because his back pain had gotten worse in recent months. He couldn’t figure out what the cause was. His routine had stayed fairly consistent, and he hadn’t suffered an injury.
As it turned out, the problem was his 7-year-old mattress. Mattresses are such a vital part of our sleeping—and healing—process, and yet, it’s so easy to overlook.
It is important to monitor your mattress and know when it might be time for a switch. This is especially true if you suffer from back pain or back-specific conditions.
It is usually best to switch out a mattress once it is over 5-6 years old or if another mattress is more comfortable. Research has shown that switching from an old mattress to a new one reduces back pain and increases the quality of sleep.
If you are planning on getting a new mattress, but aren’t sure what to look for, here are some things to consider when choosing a mattress:
We already talked briefly about Pillow-tops, but here are a few more common types of mattresses for you to look into during your next mattress shopping adventure:
It is also important to note that coils and padding are the most vital aspects of a mattress, as they are in charge of providing spine support. Generally, the more coils and the thicker the padding, the higher the quality (and price) of the mattress. But the mattress with the most coils and padding may not necessarily be the right choice for you. Mattress preference varies by individual and that individual’s back condition.
Sleep is so important, especially if you are trying to heal from an injury or have a back condition that demands a high quality of sleep. I hope this article was able to help you choose a better, more comfortable mattress for your sleep needs. If you are suffering from a back condition or pain related to an uncomfortable mattress, give our office a call! We’d love to talk with you about different treatment options to get you back to the good night’s sleep you deserve!
P.S. If you would like more tips on how to ease back pain, you can download my free report that shows you ways to ease back pain naturally. Go here to get your copy and take it with you: www.restoreptllc.com/back-pain.
I’m sure many of you have been using the warmer weather as an opportunity to be more active. However, this active lifestyle is not without risk of injury, and sometimes, even though we were certain we warmed up and did everything we could to prevent injuries, they can still happen. Back injuries, in particular, have been a fairly common problem for many patients in our clinic.
One question that often plagues people’s minds amid these injuries is when it is acceptable to use a cold compress and when to use heat therapy, and the benefits to both.
Cold therapy reduces both swelling and pain. It can also result in less tissue damage and relieve the tissues that have become sore. Use cold therapy:
Heat is often used later in the healing process to increase blood flow to the injured area, as well as much-needed oxygen and nutrients. Heat should never be used as a FIRST resort immediately following the initial injury. Instead, it should only be used to assist in the healing process after the swelling and inflammation have gone down.
There are two different kinds of heat that you can use to treat an injury: dry heat or moist heat. Dry heat tends to be easier and usually involves an electric heating pad or a sauna, but this can often leave your skin feeling more dehydrated. Moist heat is a little harder to do, but it helps bring heat into your muscles. Examples of moist heat are hot baths, steamed towels, or moist heat packs. You can make your own moist heat pack by pouring either oatmeal or rice into a sock, tying it together with some thread, and heating it in the microwave for 1-3 minutes.
However, if you have diabetes, an open wound, or dermatitis, do NOT use heat therapy!
For those suffering from chronic lower back pain, there’s no easy answer regarding which form of therapy will work best for you because everyone’s body is different. As a general rule, a lot of patients who enjoy being active tend to prefer using heat therapy prior to working out to warm up their muscles, while they prefer cold therapy afterward, to reduce the inflammation and swelling.
However, I would caution you against using self-care for too long, for this could end up making the back pain worse.
If you’ve been suffering from chronic pain for a while, it is a good idea to seek help from a medical professional to find relief from your pain. If you have any questions, or if you have tried the above solutions and nothing is helping, please feel free to give my office a call!
Oliver Patalinghug is the trusted health expert and founder of the Metro Detroit's Leading Specialist Private Practice Physical Therapy for people in their 40's, 50's and 60's who want to keep healthy and active.