The Back Place Blog

August 1, 2010

Workstation Tips

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Administrator @ 10:02 pm

When setting up your workstation keep in mind these main principles of ergonomics:

1. Work in neutral postures. Meaning, maintain the natural S-curve of your back and be sure your arms are in a resting position at your side.

2. Reduce excessive forces.

3. Keep everything you need within an easy reach.

4. Work at proper heights.

5. Reduce excessive motions.

6. Minimize static load. This means, try to keep moving as much as possible and avoid doing the same task in the same position for too long. By working muscles differently you will reduce fatigue.

7. Minimize pressure points.

8. Provide clearance.

9. Move, exercise and stretch.

10. Maintain a comfortable environment.

11. Make displays and controls understandable.

12. Reduce stress.

July 22, 2010

Healthy Workspace

Filed under: back,office ergonomics,spine,stress relief,Uncategorized — Tags: , — Administrator @ 2:57 pm

Are you ready to redesign your workspace, or just looking for a few ideas to adjust your current computer environment? Check out this list of suggestions that will help support your back, neck and shoulders and reduce muscle strain during the workday.

1. Raise the top of your computer monitor to eye level or even slightly higher.

2. Be sure both your monitor and keyboard are centered in front of you.

3. Reduce any glare on the computer screen.

4. Tilt your keyboard slightly toward your body, this will support your wrists and hands.

5. Keep your wrists flat and straight, and your arms and elbows tucked in close to the body with support if possible.

6. Move around and change your posture often.

7. Work with upright posture from head to base of spine.

8. Take frequent, short breaks.

9. Rest your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest, avoid crossing your legs.

Let us know your own tips for avoiding workplace fatigue! Do you do stretches during your lunch break, or use a monitor stand to place your computer at the proper height?

September 23, 2009

Start One New Habit Today!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 9:30 pm

I was a guest blogger on Kelli’s blog this week. Check it out!

January 1, 2009

D-Day for Your New Year’s Resolutions

Filed under: New Year's Resolutions,Uncategorized — Tags: — Administrator @ 10:55 pm

Today is the day – January 1st 2009. This is the first day of the rest of the year. Whether you have made your resolutions or are still contemplating them, its time to give real consideration to how you will keep them.

Dr. Pamela Dodd, author of The 25 Best Time Management Tools & Techniques: How to Get More Done Without Driving Yourself Crazy was quoted in a press release on PRWEB today with 3 specific suggestions for increasing your success rate.
They are great suggestions, but experience tells me they do not address the real cause of resolution fatalities. Dr. Dodd wisely talks about time as the ultimate killer, but does not include the concept of routine. It’s an existing routine – something we all have – that makes it so difficult to keep any resolution that requires us to alter that routine.

Working on time management skills, typically means dealing with the daily to-do list.
Resolutions are personal growth or “greater good” goals and you should not attempt to keep them by immediately adding them into the time management of your daily routine.

Once you have carved your resolutions in stone, take the next critical step of figuring out how you will keep them. Tomorrow’s blog will specifically look at what do to with resolutions to greatly increase your chance of success.

July 25, 2008

The disease that’s not a disease

This was news to me: Degenerative disc disease (DDD) isn’t a disease at all, but rather a part of the normal aging of the spine. (So why do they call it a disease, anyway? More bad press for aging! Why couldn’t it be termed Normal Disc Development or something more positive-neutral like that?)

DDD is one of the most common causes of back and neck pain, and also one of the most misunderstood. What’s happening, according to experts at and, is that the discs (the pillow-like pads between the bones) start losing their cushioning. The collagen structure of the outer portion of your disc—the annulus fibrosus—weakens. The degenerative process also affects the water content in your discs. With DDD, the water-attracting molecules in your discs decrease, making your discs become more stiff and rigid, which restricts movement.

Supportive gear
DDD in the lumbar area can trigger chronic or acute low back pain that worsens when sitting, lifting, bending or twisting. Pain is lessened when walking, running, lying down or just changing positions. If you’re dealing with DDD pain, many experts recommend the McKenzie Method, developed by Robin McKenzie. And McKenzie himself recommends postural supports, stating: “A poor sitting posture will frequently enhance and always perpetuate the problems in patients suffering from low back pain.” He goes on to recommend the use of a back rest support to help maintain the lumbar lordosis and prevent sitting strain, according to Kim Christensen, D.C., D.A.C.R.B., C.C.S.P. “The use of external supports to reduce excessive biomechanical forces on the lumbar spine is a significant treatment approach, [and] it is one which is frequently overlooked by practitioners,” writes Christensen. “Postural supports for sitting (postural back rests or ischial lifts for chairs and car seats), standing (such as custom foot orthotics and heel lifts) and sleeping (mattresses and pillows) can greatly assist in the management of lumbar spine conditions.”

So, while your physical therapist may recommend specific exercises and stretches for DDD, don’t overlook the relief that a well-designed pillow or a comfortable therapeutic chair cushion can offer.

July 18, 2008

Getting to the core

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Administrator @ 10:05 am

Core muscles are a hot topic now among physical therapists, trainers and other body experts. Why? Think of your core as your body’s mid-point: the trunk. The core muscles include transversus abdominis, lumbar multifidus, the diaphragm and the pelvic floor muscles. Not only do these muscles surround, support and stabilize your spine, but they also communicate vital feedback to your nervous system. Getting strong in your core — your center of gravity — can reduce back pain, improve athletic performance, prevent injury (better balance) and even reduce urinary stress incontinence.

The Chinese knew about core stability ages ago. In massage school we learned a little Tai Chi, including the concept of dantien, the center of balance in the body located about three finger widths below the navel. In Tai Chi, it is said that “the source of the posture lies in the waist” and “the source of the will is in the waist.” The waist is considered the commander of the body.

A great way to improve core strength is to use exercise balls. As you try to keep your balance, you’re activating all those muscles and improving their reactivity. Another great core strengthener is Pilates. Of course, with any exercise program, you’re going to want to maintain a gradual pace, maintain proper form and stop if you feel pain.

July 1, 2008

Hello again, everybody!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 11:44 am

Okay, somehow our previous blog disappeared … so here we are in a new format. Here’s the quick intro: I’m Cathie Schau, a massage therapist and an assistant for The Back Place’s online store. Married, two kids, one dog, one cat and two foster kittens. Enough about me! Why a Back Place blog? Because there is SO MUCH cool stuff to tell you about how to relieve pain and support your body’s wellness! I’ll let you know about stuff I come across that could help you feel better all over. Pain is a pain. At The Back Place, we are all about RELIEF. Please comment, ask questions and join the conversation!

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