heel-spurs

Dealing With Chronic Heel Pain? Here Are Some Ways You Can Get The Pain Under Control

Chronic heel pain

Heel pain can interfere with your ability to exercise or even just get around. If it doesn’t go away on its own, you may need professional treatment to deal with it.

There are a number of possible causes and even more options for treatment. Here is what you need to know about what causes heel pain and how to manage it.

Chronic Heel Pain Causes

One of the most common causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This is an inflammation of the tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. One way to help identify it is that the heel pain will be on the bottom of the heel and tends to be at its worst during your first few steps in the morning.

Another common cause of heel pain is Achilles tendinitis. This condition involves inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which runs down your lower leg to your heel. Similar to plantar fasciitis, the pain tends to be at its worst in the morning, but the pain will focus on the back of the heel.

Some other possible causes for heel pain include:

Relieving Chronic Heel Pain

To get some relief from your heel pain, there are some simple remedies you can try. 

  • Give it a rest: Try to avoid activities that put excess strain on your heels, such as running or standing for long periods.
  • Apply ice: Put an ice pack on your heel for up to 20 minutes at a time, three times daily.
  • Take an Aspirin: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs are effective at relieving the most common forms of heel pain.

Chronic Heel Pain Treatment

While sometimes heel pain can go away on its own or with the simple remedies listed above, other times it can be more stubborn. If you’ve been dealing with heel pain for several weeks or longer, it may be a sign of an issue that needs treatment. 

In those cases, getting professional help is the best way to uncover the cause of your heel pain, solve it, and prevent it from coming back.

Some of the options for treatment include:

Prevention of Chronic Heel and Foot Pain

Once you get some relief from your heel pain, you’ll probably want to know everything you can do to keep it from coming back. Here are some tips:

  • Ensure your footwear fits properly, replace your shoes before the cushioning wears out, and consider getting some orthotic insoles.
  • Lose excess body weight to reduce the amount of stress on your heels.
  • Take the time to properly stretch and warm-up before exercise.

Dealing With Chronic Heel Pain? Here Are Some Ways You Can Get The Pain Under Control – FAQs

What does it mean when your heels hurt all the time?

There are many possible causes for heel pain. The only way to know for sure what caused it is to visit a doctor. 

Is heel pain a sign of cancer?

Yes, in rare cases, heel pain can be a sign of cancer. That’s because cancer can sometimes cause a painful lesion on the heel bone. However, there are many other causes for heel pain that are much more likely. See a health care professional for a thorough analysis of your pain.

When should you see a doctor for heel pain?

There are a few symptoms that can be signs that your heel pain is caused by a serious health condition and is not going to go away on its own. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see doctor:

  • Severe pain and swelling
  • Severe pain following an injury
  • Fever
  • Being unable to walk normally
  • Being unable to bend your foot downward or rise up on your toes

FAQ's

  • 1. What happens if plantar fasciitis goes untreated?

    If left untreated, plantar fasciitis gets worse. Gradually, the time between flareups shortens and the condition becomes chronic. The fact that you have been walking awkwardly because you are in pain will begin to have a negative impact on other areas of your body. Your posture will suffer, you will limp slightly and over time your musculoskeletal system will become unbalanced.

  • 2. Is walking bad for plantar fasciitis?

    Walking is not bad for plantar fasciitis. Provided that is that you walk in the correct way. If you are suffering from the condition a physiotherapist will be able to recommend the best way to recover. Including, how to stand and walk without making things worse.

  • 3. How do I know if I have plantar fasciitis or heel spurs?

    If the pain you are experiencing is focused in a small area of the bottom of the heel, in all likelihood it is a heel spur. The pain can be quite sharp especially when you first stand up. Usually, if you have plantar fasciitis, the pain will be coming from a larger area of the heel. A lot of people who have heel spurs end up developing plantar fasciitis, so it is not uncommon to be suffering from both conditions.

What’s Causing My Fingers to Become Numb?

What’s Causing My Fingers to Become Numb?

If you are dealing with numbness in your fingers, it can make even the simplest of tasks seem difficult. The loss of feeling in your fingers may prevent you from doing anything that requires a light touch or precision, such as using cutlery or signing your name.

But numbness in fingers is more than just an irritation. It can actually be a sign of a variety of health conditions. So to help you uncover the source of your finger numbness, we are going to look at some of the most common causes and what you can do about them.

What is Finger Numbness?

Finger numbness refers to the loss of feeling in your fingers. It can also involve a number of related symptoms affecting your fingers including:

  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • A pins-and-needles sensation
  • Weakness
  • A feeling of clumsiness

Causes of Finger Numbness

There are many possible causes of numbness in fingers. Here are some of the most common causes and the additional symptoms that will help you figure out the source of your finger numbness.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive strain injury. It occurs when repetitive motions or overuse causes a nerve in your wrist to get pinched or obstructed.

  • Numbness usually affects the thumb, index finger, and middle finger

Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy involves the inflammation or compression of a nerve root in your neck. It’s commonly caused by a spinal issue such as a bone spur or herniated disc resulting from an injury or aging-related changes.

  • Numbness and weakness may also affect the shoulder, arm, and hand

Diabetes

Diabetes affects your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar is an essential source of energy for many systems in your body, which is why diabetes causes a wide range of symptoms.

  • Numbness, pain, and tingling may also affect the feet
  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Cuts and bruises take a long time to heal

Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s disease is a condition where blood flow to certain areas of your body is periodically restricted. It’s caused by a dysfunction in your blood vessels that cause episodes of numbness that can last from a few minutes up to several hours. Sometimes these episodes can be triggered by stress or cold temperatures.

  • Numbness may also affect the toes, ears, or nose.
  • Affected areas turn white and feel ice cold.
  • When numbness goes away, the affected areas throb and turn red.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder, which means it involves your immune system attacking your own body. In RA, the immune system attacks the joints, and it can cause numbness in fingers and hands. The exact causes of the condition are unknown.

  • Joint tenderness
  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling 

Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

Ulnar nerve entrapment happens when a nerve in your arm gets irritated or compressed. Most often, the compression happens behind the inside of your elbow. It can be caused by an injury, overuse, or even just leaning on your elbow for long periods.

  • Numbness in fingers tends to affect the pinkie fingers and ring fingers.

How to Treat Finger Numbness

There are many options for treatment when it comes to finger numbness:

  • Rest the hand and wrist
  • Apply ice to the affected area
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil
  • Hand therapy is a specialized type of physiotherapy that can resolve many conditions affecting the hand and arm.
  • Functional braces or splints can keep your wrist or elbow in a natural position to avoid aggravating the condition.
  • Chiropractic care or massage therapy can help solve nerve issues
  • Acupuncture can relieve symptoms, stimulate circulation, and promote healing

Can Exercise Help With Finger Numbness?

Depending on the cause of your finger numbness, exercises and stretches may help. However, if the cause of your finger numbness is a repetitive strain injury, doing the wrong exercise could make matters worse.

To get the best results, you should consider getting help from a physiotherapist. They can identify the cause of finger numbness, determine if exercise and stretching will help, and then guide you through the process. They can also provide a plan to prevent the issue from returning.

Numbness in Fingers FAQs

What causes numbness in tips of fingers?

Finger numbness can have many causes, whether it affects just the tips of your fingers or your whole hand. However, if you experience additional symptoms, or numbness only in specific fingers, it can help you identify if you have one of the conditions listed above.

How do I get rid of numbness in my fingers?

The best treatment to resolve numbness in fingers depends on what caused it. The first step is seeing your doctor to get a diagnosis. But there are a few things you can do to relieve your symptoms. This includes resting your hand and wrist, applying ice, and taking anti-inflammatories.

Are numb fingers a sign of diabetes?

Yes, numb fingers can be a symptom of diabetes. But diabetes also causes a range of other symptoms that can help you identify it. For instance, it causes circulation problems throughout the body, so the numbness will likely affect your feet as well. Some other symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, blurred vision, and extreme hunger.

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Simple Ways to relieve Stress and improve your Mental Health

Stress is a normal part of everyday life. Everyone experiences stress, but it’s not always a bad thing. For example, when you’re preparing for a job interview, some stress can be expected and it can sometimes motivate you to perform well.

However, stress is a problem when it becomes constant or overwhelming. It can cause changes in your body that negatively affect your immune system, sleeping habits, mental health, and more. 

This leads to symptoms like anger, sadness, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and sleeplessness. Over time, stress can contribute to serious health conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Some people even experience stress rashes and hives.

Thankfully, there are a lot of techniques for helping you deal with stress. They range from simple mental exercises to guidelines for managing your daily schedule. The wide range of methods available means that you should be able to find options that will work for you in different situations. 

 Here are some effective coping techniques for overcoming stress:

Take a Breather

Controlling your breathing is one of the easiest ways you can calm your body and feel more relaxed. It’s also a technique you can do wherever you may be—whether it’s the office, in traffic, at home or outdoors. There are several different breathing methods you can try, but a simple one to start is to just focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose while slowly counting to three, hold it for one second, and then slowly exhale while counting to three again. Go ahead and try it right now while you read this. 

Meditate On It

Meditation involves focusing your attention and blocking out all your nagging thoughts. Besides relieving stress, meditation has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of a range of conditions, from chronic pain to asthma.

There are many different types of meditation, but the one that most people are familiar with is mantra meditation. This method involves closing your eyes, choosing a calming word or phrase, and then repeating it in your mind. The mantra gives you something to focus your attention on while avoiding distracting thoughts. Among meditation’s many benefits, it can retrain your mind to be better focused and block out unwanted and anxious thoughts.

Hug a Loved One

This tip may sound silly or simple, but you may not realize just how beneficial hugging can be. Research shows that a simple caring touch from a loved one can make a real impact on your health. That’s because it releases oxytocin, which causes relaxation, lowers blood pressure, and results in a decrease in stress hormone levels such as cortisol.

Shorten Your To-Do List

Setting goals and priorities is a good thing. It can help you stay on top of your responsibilities and can give you a sense of accomplishment. But your to-do list can also be a major contributor to your stress when it becomes unmanageable. So whittle down that list of tasks so it’s more realistic.

To help guide you, start keeping track of how often you are able to complete everything on your daily agenda. Then start making adjustments until it becomes the norm.

Talk it Out

When you’re dealing with stress on your own, every little problem can seem worse than it actually is. In this way, your distorted perception of problems can contribute to your stress. 

But speaking to someone you trust, like your family or friends can help you get some perspective. By helping you see things from another point of view, you may realize that an issue that was stressing you out was not as bad as you thought. Talking with others can also give you more confidence to deal with situations by receiving helpful feedback.

Get Help From an Expert

Mental health professionals like counsellors and therapists are experts at stress management. Besides knowing the different techniques, they understand how to help you use them properly and find the best solutions for you.

Getting expert help may be easier than you think, and wellness clinics such as Activa Clinics, help with assessing your specific needs and creating a treatment plan customized for your needs. 

Don’t Ignore It

Remember, stress is normal, but being overwhelmed by it isn’t. You shouldn’t learn to live with chronic stress as part of your daily routine. It can seriously impact your mental state and overall health. But with some simple techniques and a little help, you can overcome it.

Contact us to book an appointment if your stress is causing anxiety or depression issues.

FAQ’s

Can stress have a physical impact on my body?

Stress does have a negative impact on your body. Being under constant stress makes it hard to get enough sleep, which, in time compromises the body´s ability to maintain itself properly. When we are under stress our body releases corticosteroid, a hormone that suppresses the immune system. Leaving it unable to effectively identify and deal with rogue cells or fight off viruses and other infections. Stress also leads to muscle tension which can cause musculoskeletal issues, persistent headaches, even digestive problems.

What is chronic stress, and how do I know if I’m suffering from it?

Chronic stress is when you feel almost constantly strung out and under too much pressure. In time, you start to feel this way even when everything in your life is going smoothly. You will also start to suffer from physical issues as a result of your body being constantly flooded by stress hormones. Headaches, digestive issues, tense muscles, palpitations, difficulty breathing, fatigue and unexplained pains can all be caused by chronic stress.

Can my stress lead to serious health conditions?

Stress can lead to serious health conditions. Over time it puts your body under a tremendous physical strain. Especially if the stress you are suffering from stops you from being able to sleep properly. When that happens, your body cannot protect or repair itself as well as it should.

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Is Back pain Linked to Causing Headaches?

New Research Reveals the Back Pain/Headache Connection

Back pain and headaches often go hand in hand. There have long been theories about how the two conditions are related. But the latest research reveals that the connection may be stronger than anyone thought.

It shows that if you suffer from one of these issues, it doubles your risk for developing the other one. 

These findings could change the approach to treating these conditions and help get relief for people who suffer from them.

The Study

The research was published in the Journal of Headache and Pain. Here are some highlights:

  • It studied the link between chronic headaches and persistent low back pain.
  • Researchers reviewed 14 existing studies.
  • The studies had sample sizes ranging up to 400,000 people.
  • Every study they reviewed suggested there’s a connection.
  • The connection is even stronger for people who suffer from migraines.

How Are They Linked?

It’s still unclear exactly how the two issues are connected. But there are a few theories.

Pain Signals

One possibility is that it’s related to how people feel pain differently. Researchers say that genetic differences in how pain is signalled could mean that some people are just more likely to feel pain from these conditions and to be more sensitive to it.

The Vicious Cycle

Another explanation is based on psychology. It says that chronic pain can lead to a vicious cycle. That’s because pain can cause mental health issues which then increase your sensitivity to pain. So as your pain worsens, so does your mental state, and vice versa. This cycle increases your chances of ending up with both conditions. 

Underlying Issues

And for some people, the cause may be an underlying health issue that leads to both headaches and back pain. That can include things like poor posture, vitamin deficiencies, injuries, and certain diseases.

What Does This Mean for Treatment?

The findings highlight the importance of taking a whole-body approach to health care. It shows that the old-school philosophy of treating these conditions separately is not the most effective solution.

According to the researchers, combined treatment is the answer. They say that whenever a doctor is treating one of these issues, they need to ask about the other and tailor the treatment accordingly.

Chiropractic Can Help

You probably know that chiropractors are experts at treating back pain. But chiropractic care has also been proven as an effective treatment for chronic headaches.

That’s because the adjustments and spinal manipulations that chiropractors perform can alleviate stress on many areas of your body—including the nerves and muscles that cause headaches.

Chiropractors also have the training to provide advice for relieving both back pain and headaches. That includes recommendations on posture, ergonomics, nutrition, exercises, stretches, and relaxation techniques.

Take a Whole-Body Approach

The adjustments and advice chiropractors can provide make them a great starting point for your treatment. But you shouldn’t stop there. You should talk to your healthcare providers about creating a whole-body treatment plan. Since your health issues can often be connected or come from sources you might not expect, this is the best way to uncover the root causes and ensure they don’t return.

Can chiropractic care relieve headaches?

If your headache is a side-effect of poor posture, back or neck problems chiropractic care can help to relieve them. The manipulations carried out are designed to quickly relieve the unnatural stress parts of your body are being put under. The fact that after a session a lot of people feel more relaxed can also help, especially if you suffer from stress-induced headaches.

Can my poor posture cause headaches?

Poor posture can be an underlying cause of headaches. When your spine and other areas of your skeleton are not properly aligned, this leads to tension. In particular, in the back, shoulders and neck. When the muscles in those areas are too tight the nerves are put under unnatural pressure and headaches occur. The fact that the neck muscles attach to the ones that run over the scalp is another factor. Poor posture tightens the neck muscles, which in turn pulls the ones in the scalp too tight.

In medical terms, what is a vicious cycle?

In medical terms, a vicious cycle is an ongoing or repeating condition, that causes other health issues. One that makes the initial health issue worse and, often, more difficult to treat. For example, someone gets a persistent cough, the constant coughing makes their throat sore. This causes it to swell, which makes it feel like there is something in the throat, causing more coughing. In time, the nerve becomes overstimulated, which exacerbates the problem. When that happens, even swallowing a spec of dust can lead to the nerve telling your body to cough.

FAQ's

  • 1. Can chiropractic care relieve headaches?

    If your headache is a side-effect of poor posture, back or neck problems chiropractic care can help to relieve them. The manipulations carried out are designed to quickly relieve the unnatural stress parts of your body are being put under. The fact that after a session a lot of people feel more relaxed can also help, especially if you suffer from stress-induced headaches.

  • 2. Can my poor posture cause headaches?

    Poor posture can be an underlying cause of headaches. When your spine and other areas of your skeleton are not properly aligned, this leads to tension. In particular, in the back, shoulders and neck. When the muscles in those areas are too tight the nerves are put under unnatural pressure and headaches occur. The fact that the neck muscles attach to the ones that run over the scalp is another factor. Poor posture tightens the neck muscles, which in turn pulls the ones in the scalp too tight.

  • 3. In medical terms, what is a vicious cycle?

    In medical terms, a vicious cycle is an ongoing or repeating condition, that causes other health issues. One that makes the initial health issue worse and, often, more difficult to treat. For example, someone gets a persistent cough, the constant coughing makes their throat sore. This causes it to swell, which makes it feel like there is something in the throat, causing more coughing. In time, the nerve becomes overstimulated, which exacerbates the problem. When that happens, even swallowing a spec of dust can lead to the nerve telling your body to cough.

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Heart attack symptoms and first aid

Believe it or not, there are about 2.4 million Canadian adults living with diagnosed heart disease. That means they have a buildup of plaque in their arteries that makes them more likely to suffer a heart attack.

With that kind of prevalence, it’s a good idea to learn how to spot the signs of a heart attack, what to do when one strikes, and how to prevent heart attacks before they happen.

How to spot a heart attack

A man having heart attack

If you’re in an emergency situation where you think someone is having a heart attack, it’s tough not to panic. In those hectic moments, one way to know what heart attack symptoms to look for is to remember “the four P’s”:

Pain

  • Squeezing chest pain
  • Pain that spreads to the jaw, neck, or arms
  • Back pain (happens more commonly in women)

Paleness

  • The skin may be paler than normal and may even go bluish

Pulse

  • The pulse can be both rapid and weak

Perspiration

  • The skin may be cold and sweaty

Other possible symptoms

While the four P’s are a good starting point, the possible signs of a heart attack don’t end there. They can also include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Light-headedness 

Soft signs

To make matters even more complicated, some people only experience “soft signs” of a heart attack. These soft signs are more common in the elderly, women, and people with diabetes.

  • Mild chest discomfort (it may come and go, lessen with rest, or gradually get worse)
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Gastric discomfort

What to do

If you or someone you’re with is having a heart attack, here are the steps you should take:

Call 911

A Phone Calling 911

When calling 911, you should try to stay calm, speak clearly, and listen carefully. Also, be ready to provide any necessary location information like the address and nearest intersection. Also, stay on the line until the call taker says it’s ok to hang up.

If you need to ask someone to call 911 for you, ask them to let you know once the ambulance is on the way. This ensures you’re not left wondering whether help is coming.

Here are a few more helpful tips for making a 911 call

Position

Have the person sit on the floor with their back leaning against a wall with their knees bent. This is the best position because it can relieve pressure on the heart, and also helps prevent injury in case the person collapses.

Give them an aspirin

Something you can do for first aid, in some cases, giving the person having a heart attack an aspirin can stop a heart attack in its tracks. It does that by dissolving blood clots in the arteries. You can use a plain, normal-strength aspirin and ask the person to chew it, as that’s the quickest way to get it into the bloodstream.

If possible, you should avoid aspirins that are enteric-coated (those are the smooth, colored ones often labeled as “safety coated”) because they take longer for the body to absorb. Also, make sure the person is not allergic to aspirin.

Perform CPR

If the person collapses and becomes unresponsive, you should begin CPR until help can arrive.

According to the Canadian Red Cross, if you don’t have any CPR training, a compression-only method is acceptable. That’s because unless you’re dealing with a child, or an adult who’s suffering a respiratory issue (like drowning or an asthma attack), there’s already enough oxygen in their blood.

That means you don’t have to remember the ratio of breaths to chest compressions, you can simply start pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest. To get the right speed (about 100 compressions a minute) you can do it to the beat of the song Stayin’ Alive.

Use an AED

Many buildings now have automatic external defibrillators (AED) that offer the best chance of saving someone from cardiac arrest (which means the heart stops beating). And with their automated voice directions, you don’t have to remember anything, just follow the instructions.

What causes heart attacks?

Now that you know some ways to spot a heart attack and what to do about it, let’s look at what causes them and how to prevent them before they happen.

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to one section of the heart gets cut off (usually by a blood clot) and that section of the heart begins to die.

Having a buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries makes these blockages much more likely. But there are many things you can do to improve heart health and reduce your risks.

Maintain a healthy weight

There are some weight loss programs that make it easier to lose weight. They do that by solving imbalances such as hormonal issues that contribute to unhealthy eating and weight gain. When combined with regular exercise, these programs can help you achieve a healthy weight and keep the excess pounds off.

Quit smoking

A pair of hands breaking a cigarette in half.
Our Smoking Cessation Programs make quitting easier by combining a range of therapies.

It may seem like an insurmountable challenge if you’re a long-time smoker. But people tend to be more successful when they seek out some help to drop the habit. So consider looking into a smoking cessation program or talking to your doctor about the prescription options.

Get cardiac rehab

If you have a number of risk factors for heart attack, or have already been diagnosed with some form of heart disease, a cardiac rehabilitation program can help. These are customized programs that can involve an exercise plan, nutritional consultation, education, and more. Because they are tailored to patients with heart issues, they ensure that the exercise is always kept at a safe level of intensity, and is designed to help you get the most out of your efforts.

Can aspirin help in heart attacks?

If you are having a heart attack, taking an aspirin can help. But you need to be certain that you are having a heart attack and not a stroke that is caused by a bleed. If you are bleeding, taking aspirin could make things worse. So, you must learn what the symptoms of both medical events are so that you can properly identify what the issue is. If you have previously had a heart attack, ask your doctor about regularly taking a low dose of aspirin, which can reduce your risk.

What is compression-only CPR?

Compression-only CPR is when you administer the chest compressions without pausing to breathe into the person´s lungs. It is an alternative that those who are not trained in full CPR can use to keep someone alive for a short while until proper medical help arrives. However, if someone does not have enough oxygen in their blood, for example, someone who has drowned, chocked on something, had a respiratory event or an asthma attack, this form of CPR will not be sufficient.

How do I go about getting a cardiac rehab program?

Your doctor will be able to help you to get on a cardiac rehab program. If for some reason, they refuse to do that, you can always get a second opinion. In some cases, that may mean paying to see a private doctor. But it is worth doing because there is a growing body of research that shows that cardiac rehab will help you to stay healthy for longer.

Man Experiencing Neck Pain

Relieve your Neck Pain with these Techniques

Neck pain is a common issue. That’s not surprising when you consider how much time most people spend hunched over a desk, a smartphone, or a steering wheel.

It’s often caused by a strain in the neck muscles due to poor posture. However, there are many types of pain that can affect your neck, and there are even more possible causes.

Sometimes it’s a sign of an injury or serious condition and will need medical attention. Other times it’s normal, such as a dull pain at the end of a long workday. This guide will help you tell the difference between the two, and teach you some simple techniques to get neck pain relief.

When to see a pro

Woman Seeing a Neck Pain Specialist

When you’re wondering if you need professional help for your neck pain, here are some signs to look out for.

  • The pain started after an injury
  • The pain lasts more than a week
  • The pain is severe
  • The pain prevents you from performing your normal activities
  • The pain is accompanied by other symptoms like headache, weakness, and pain spreading to other areas

These symptoms show that your neck pain might be caused by more serious conditions like a pinched nerve, herniated disc, or arthritis—and that you should seek help. There are many options when it comes to getting treatment from a medical professional. Physiotherapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists are just some examples of the healthcare providers who are experts at dealing with neck pain.

On the other hand, if it seems like your dealing with a run-of-the-mill muscle strain, here are some simple neck pain remedies that you can do yourself.

Stretch it out

Here are a few simple stretches you can do pretty much anywhere, including while seated at your desk or in the car. When stretching, keep your moves slow and smooth, and stop once you start to feel the stretch. In other words, avoid pushing it too far!

  • Touch your ear to your shoulder ten times on each side.
  • Roll your shoulders in a circular motion, six times forward, then six times backward.
  • Lower your chin towards your chest, and hold for about 20-30 seconds, then slowly raise it back up.
  • Tilt your chin up towards the ceiling and hold for about 10 seconds, then slowly lower it back down.

Cool it off, heat it up

Applying ice to your sore neck can act as an anti-inflammatory. It reduces both pain and swelling. On the other hand, heat is useful for relaxing stiff muscles.

One thing to keep in mind is you shouldn’t use heat continuously, as that can increase swelling. So if you’re using heat, apply it for 20 minutes at a time and take breaks, or alternate between heat and ice.

Sleep well

Woman Sleeping With A Support Pillow

Getting enough sleep is important for so many aspects of your health, and neck pain is no different. Proper sleep is an essential part of the healing process, and when you don’t get enough sleep it can actually make your neck pain worse. This can lead to a vicious cycle where your painful neck prevents you from sleeping, and your lack of sleep makes your neck worse.

One way to break the cycle is to get yourself a cervical neck pillow. These pillows are specially designed to properly support your neck. They keep your neck and spine in a neutral position which will help with healing. Having your neck properly supported is also very comfortable, so a good cervical pillow will help you get to sleep.

And one more tip when it comes to sleep is to avoid sleeping on your stomach. This is the worst sleeping position for your neck as it causes you to have your head turned to the side for hours at a time. If you’re a long-time stomach sleeper, it can be difficult to change that habit, but you should give it a shot. Try sleeping on your back or side, because either one is better than stomach sleeping.

When in doubt, get checked out

If you’re not sure if your pain is caused by normal strain or an injury, its best to play it safe and get it checked out. That’s because even minor injuries can become more serious if they’re left untreated.

On top of that, the neck is particularly vulnerable to injuries. That’s because it has to be flexible to allow a wide range of motion, but it also has to support the weight of your head. It’s all held up by seven small bones stacked from the top of your shoulders to the base of your skull. Those bones also act as a housing for the spinal cord and arteries that carry blood to your brain.

It is arguably one of the body’s most complicated areas, with the many important nerves, blood vessels, and joints all together in one small space. So you should take good care of it. If you have any suspicion that you’ve been injured, have a professional take a look.

neck pain from computer

Avoiding Repetitive Strain Injuries

When you hear the term “workplace injury”, what probably comes to mind is a job that involves some obvious safety hazards like working with heavy equipment. It’s easy to forget that simply using a computer can put you at a real risk of injury.

Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) such as carpal tunnel syndrome are common among workers who use computers. These injuries typically involve pain in your hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, or neck. 

They’re the result of repetitive motions and overuse that gradually damage your muscles, nerves, and tendons. Once you get an RSI, it can be very painful to perform even simple actions like clicking a mouse.

One way to prevent an RSI is to avoid repetitive tasks. But when you have to use a computer to perform your job, avoiding those tasks is not an option. So here are some ways you can reduce your risk of injury:

Take Regular Breaks

A man running.
We help our patients achieve healthier and more active lifestyles.

Taking regular breaks is one of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce your risk of suffering an injury from repetitive strain. Frequent short breaks are better than one long one, so you may be able to split up your existing breaks into smaller chunks. That means you won’t have to reduce your workflow.

If possible, you should stand up and walk around during your breaks. Remember that the important part is taking a break from using your computer, so there’s nothing stopping you from performing other tasks. For example, getting up to go to the printer or photocopier can count as a break.

Improve Your Posture

Remember the advice your parents gave you about not slouching? They were right. Having proper posture will reduce your risk and make you more comfortable as you work.

Besides avoiding slouching, you should avoid bending the wrists. So adjust your chair so you can use your keyboard while keeping your arms and wrists straight and level with the floor.

To avoid straining your neck, ensure your computer screen is straight in front of you and the top of the screen is at eye-level. Your keyboard should also be directly in front of you with enough space at the front (about six inches) to rest your wrists when you’re not typing.

Another tip is to keep your mouse as close to you as possible. This will help you avoid leaning forward and reaching as you work.

Use Ergonomic Equipment

a man having wrist pain

There is a range of ergonomically-designed equipment that can reduce your risk when using a computer. That includes keyboard and mouse wrist mats that help you keep your wrists straight. Headsets can also be a big help if you need to talk on the phone while typing, as they eliminate the need to squeeze a phone between your head and shoulder.

There is also software to help you work more comfortably. For example, speech-to-text software can help by minimizing the need to type. And there’s free software that allows you to use your mouse without clicking. It works by automatically clicking for you when you hover the cursor for a set amount of time.

Get Help From a Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists are experts at preventing these types of injuries. They can use manual therapy, exercise programs, and other treatments that will improve your flexibility, endurance, and resilience to RSI. 

With their understanding of biomechanics, physiotherapists can also analyze your posture and the way you perform repetitive tasks to make recommendations on how to improve. And if you are suffering from an RSI, physiotherapy is one of the best ways to relieve pain, restore your range of motion, and speed up the healing process.

Woman with Plantar Fasciitis

Don’t Let Plantar Fasciitis Stop You in Your Tracks

If you follow sports news, you probably know that plantar fasciitis is a common injury. Often there are stories about professional athletes being sidelined for weeks because of it. For some, the injury causes pain that lasts for months or even years.

So if you live an active lifestyle and want to keep it that way, it’s a good idea to take some preventative measures.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis

This injury affects the plantar fascia. That’s the tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot from your toes to your heel bone. Normally, that tissue behaves like a shock absorber and supports the arch of your foot.

The injury is caused by too much tension and stress leading to small tears in that tissue. Because it’s related to stress and overuse, it’s common among runners and athletes in high-impact sports.

But you don’t have to be running marathons to get plantar fasciitis. Sometimes, just wearing shoes that don’t provide proper support can be enough to cause it. In fact, plantar fasciitis is among the most common causes of heel pain.

What Does it Feel Like?

The symptoms typically involve stabbing pain near the heel, which is at its worst with your first steps in the morning. And the pain tends to intensify after exercise rather than during it.

How to Prevent or Heal It

Whether you’re being proactive to avoid an injury, or have already felt the pain of plantar fasciitis, here are a few things that can help:

Stretch it Out

  • Toe stretches: Sit in a chair and cross one leg over the other. Then grab hold of all your toes and gently pull them up towards you.
  • Calf stretches: Stand near a wall with one foot in front of the other, then lean towards the wall while keeping your back knee straight and your heel on the ground.
  • Towel curls: Lay a hand towel on a smooth floor, then sit in a chair and put one foot on it. Then, using only your toes, scrunch the towel towards you bit by bit.

Go Low Impact

High-impact activities like running and jumping put stress on the plantar fascia. So, focusing more on low-impact exercise is a great way to stay active while avoiding heel pain. Some good examples include swimming, cycling, rowing, and elliptical.

Get a Foot Massage

Foot Massage

Some runners swear by massage as a way to relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis. There are methods that make it easy to do yourself, such as sitting in a chair and using your foot to roll a hard, round object (like a bottle or a ball) back and forth.

But a massage therapist can do a better job. Through treatments like deep tissue massage, they can relieve soft tissue strains, improve circulation to the injury, and help you heal quicker.

Get Some Support

Getting some good orthotic inserts or orthotic shoes can make a world of difference. Firstly, by providing proper support and cushioning, they can provide some immediate relief from pain. Secondly, orthotics will take the stress off your plantar fascia, helping you to heal quicker.

In addition, when you’re suffering from heel pain, it can cause you to change your walking style as you try to accommodate it. This can lead to issues in other areas of the body, by putting added stress on your knees and hips for example. But orthotics avoid this problem by accommodating for your pain while keeping you moving naturally.

The most important thing is to make sure you get your orthotics custom made because the ones you can buy off-the-shelf can actually make matters worse. That’s because they’re a one-size-fits-all solution, in contrast to custom orthotics which take into account your unique issues and needs.

To design custom orthotics, a specialist will assess your injury, the shape of your feet, and the way you move. They’ll also take an impression of your feet to ensure your orthotics are perfectly tailored to you.

Start Living Pain Free

Now that you know some of the ways to prevent plantar fasciitis and relieve foot pain, it’s time to put them into action. Try out the methods above and you’ll see how easy it can be to leave foot pain behind you.

self massage

Take Care of Yourself with These Self Massage Techniques

You probably know that massage therapy offers many benefits. It can help relieve stress, improve circulation, reduce pain, restore flexibility, improve sleep, and more.

The best way to take advantage of these benefits is by visiting a registered massage therapist. They have the expertise to identify your health issues and the best types of massage to treat you. 

However, between your visits to a professional, there are some simple self-massage techniques you can use whenever you need them.

Face

Massaging certain areas of the face can help when you feel a tension headache coming on. Using your fingertips, apply gentle pressure and make small circles along your hairline, at your temples, above your eyebrows, around your cheekbones, and the sides of your jawbone.

Another technique for releasing tension from the muscles in your head is to apply pressure to the bridge of your nose. When sitting, rest your elbows on a desk or table and interlace your fingers. Then lean forward and rest the bridge of your nose on your thumbs, so that your thumbs are holding the weight of your head. Hold that position for between 30 seconds and one minute. These techniques should leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. 

Feet

self foot massage

This technique is great for dealing with foot pain due to overuse. Sit in a chair and put a tennis ball (or another round object like a water bottle) on the floor. Place a foot on top of the ball so it’s under the arch of your foot. Then start rolling your foot around to apply pressure and stretch different areas of the foot, including the arch, heel, and toes. Keep going for a few minutes before switching to the other foot.

This technique stimulates and stretches the foot muscles and improves circulation.

Lower Back

This self-massage for treating lower back pain is another technique where your trusty tennis ball will come in handy. Stand with your back to a wall and place the ball in between the wall and your lower back. Start moving your body from side to side and up and down until you find tense muscles.

Once you locate a tender area, push your back into the ball to massage those muscles with stronger pressure. The pressure should be strong enough to squish the ball a bit, but not so strong that you feel pain. Also, avoid massaging the spine because that has the chance of causing an injury.

Neck and Shoulders

Tension in the neck and shoulders can contribute to headaches and make it difficult to perform even simple tasks. It is often the result of poor posture. It’s a little harder to self-massage these areas, but it can be done. To overcome neck and shoulder issues, start by using one hand to squeeze the base of your neck from behind. Then slowly work your way upwards, squeezing and releasing along the way. Next, rub the base of your skull with both hands, moving your fingers in a circular motion. Continue that motion while moving back down the neck and along both shoulders.

Wrists

a man having wrist pain

Pain, tension, and injuries in the wrists are common because they can be caused by simple repetitive motions that you probably perform regularly, like typing at a computer. To avoid these issues, you should take regular breaks and do some quick stretches and massages.

Start by laying one hand, palm side up, on top of your thigh. Then use your other palm to apply pressure to your forearm and slide it towards your wrist. You should use enough pressure that you feel some heat from the friction, but not enough to feel pain. Do the same motion starting at your palm and moving over the mound of your thumb, and then again from your palm to your fingertips.

Next, grasp your wrist with your thumb on the inside, as if you were taking your pulse. Then apply pressure side to side across your wrist. This will release the tension and can help prevent serious wrist issues before they start. 

Some Final Tips

While these techniques can provide some immediate relief, to get the full benefit of massage, it’s good to make it part of your regular routine. That’s because solving muscle tension and injuries takes time.

And remember that the best solution is to get some help from a professional. Whether that’s getting treatment from a massage therapist or creating a fitness plan with the help of a physiotherapist, these specialists can help choose the right treatments for your unique issues and needs.