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  • Stressed? Your Anxiety May be Contributing to Neck Pain

    Posted on April 15, 2014 by Core Products

    Posture WedgeStress, worry, and anxiety are all contributors to neck pain. Your mental state can actually contribute to and produce tension in your muscles, creating pain in those areas. Most of us are aware that our bodies can react to stress in a variety of ways – tension headaches, upset stomachs, and irritability.

    So how does stress contribute to neck pain? It’s not likely the underlying cause – but it can exacerbate your symptoms if you already have neck problems. Stress can cause your muscles to tense up, especially from your shoulders up through your head – the area of your body that reacts most intensely to stress.

    This is part of the fight-or-flight response that’s programmed into our DNA – a reflex that helped our species survive when we weren’t the most dominant life on the planet. The response of tensing up to launch ourselves at a predator or run for the hills helped get mankind to where it is today, but it is difficult to see the value today when we’re stressed at home or in the office.

    Chronic stress can actually lead to alarming symptoms – constant stress, combined with staying in a sedentary position all day, causes tension in the trapezius, the muscle that helps your neck support your head. Craning your neck at your desk puts strain on this muscle, as well as holding your body in a tense pose for hours at a time. This can cause chronic stress, muscle tension, and neck pain.

    If you have a sedentary, stressful job, chances are you’ve felt these symptoms, or you will – but all is not lost for your neck. Through exercise, gentle stretching, and taking breaks from sitting at your desk (and don’t forget good posture), you can help to mitigate contributors to neck pain. Just remember, no matter how much stress you’re feeling, you’ll still go home at the end of the day. Don’t let everyday work life dictate your health!

     

     

    Get an invigorating massage with the new Jeanie Rub Massager, or save money on the Jeanie Rub Close out model!


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  • Methods for Alleviating Joint Pain

    Posted on April 10, 2014 by Core Products

    Core Products Knee SupportFinally spring is here and the last thing you want holding you back from the beautiful weather is joint pain. When joint pain really starts acting up, you just want to lie in bed all day, but this is not the best long term solution. Studies have shown people manage joint pain better if they exercise regularly and stay flexible. Today, Core Products is walking through 5 exercises that will help you manage your joint pain this spring.

    1. Walking: While it may seem basic, something as simple as walking regularly strengthens muscles, which shifts pressure away from joints and reduces pain. The compression and release of cartilage in your knees also brings beneficial oxygen to your joints. Start by walking 10 minutes at least 3-5 days a week. As you get stronger, start to take longer walks and increase your speed.
    2. Yoga – Beginner yoga classes provide simple, gentle movements that gradually build strength, balance, and flexibility. Practicing yoga can reduce inflammation as well as increase your energy. Keep in mind, the majority of yoga poses can be adapted for people with limited range of motion.
    3. Indoor Cycling:  Cycling or Spin Classes provide a great way to get in a cardiovascular workout without putting a lot of stress on your joints. Indoor cycling classes are typically a staple in any gym community and are offered several times a week.  Not use to cycling? Start off small with 5-10 minute sessions 3-5 times a week until you get used to riding.
    4. Tai Chi – This traditional style of Chinese martial arts provides slow, rhythmic movements that promote balance, strength, and flexibility. The slow and controlled movements featured in Tai Chi are beneficial to those looking for joint pain relief because they put very little force on our joints.
    5. Water Workouts: Warmer water, between 83 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, helps relax muscles and decrease pain. Exercises like swimming, water aerobics, walking and jogging in water are beneficial for stiff or sore joints. Water helps support your body as you move, reducing stress and offering resistance without weights.

    The next time your joint pain acts up, don’t let it hold you back from the beautiful weather. Start to think about ways you can incorporate daily exercise and flexibility stretches into your daily routine so you can actively reduce your joint pain.

    Disclaimer: Before starting any exercise, Core Products recommends consulting with your primary care doctor to develop a plan tailored to your needs.


    This post was posted in Company

  • Correlation Found Between Spinal Cord Injuries and Sleep Apnea

    Posted on April 5, 2014 by Core Products

    CPAP Pillow for use with CPAPNew research suggests that if you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury, you may be at a much higher risk for sleep apnea.

    In a recent study on sleep patterns published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, researchers found that over 75% of spinal cord injury survivors suffer from sleep apnea. The study’s participants all had chronic spinal cord injuries due to a cervical or thoracic injury. An even greater 92% of participants reported poor sleeping patterns.

    Participants in the study who had sleep apnea suffered from either obstructive sleep apnea, in which the airway becomes blocked during sleep, or central sleep apnea, in which the brain doesn’t send the right signals to the muscles that regulate breathing.

    While obstructive sleep apnea is common among the greater population, central sleep apnea is more complicated and requires specialized treatment.

    “The majority of spinal cord injury survivors have symptomatic sleep-disordered breathing and poor sleep that may be missed if not carefully assessed,” said lead researcher Dr. Abdulghani Sankari.

    This study confirms the need for spinal cord injury patients to be diligent in assessing their sleep health. With spinal cord injuries comes a greater risk of dangerous sleep disorders. If you have a spinal cord injury, don’t wait to talk to your doctor about your sleep patterns and how to test for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

    Source: Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine press release (January 2014)


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  • Planes, Trains, & Automobiles: Catching Z’s while Travelling

    Posted on March 31, 2014 by Core Products

    You’re heading out for a relaxing vacation, and you don’t want to be depleted when you arrive – but your airplane seat only goes so far back and your neighbor has already started snoring. Your daily bus commute into the city is an hour plus, and is the perfect opportunity to grab a little more sleep before your day begins – but the beeping of city traffic and the start/stop of the bus is keeping you awake.

    Do these situations sound familiar? Planes, trains, cars – getting some sleep in a moving object while sitting upright can be challenging, to say the least. You’re not alone – many people have trouble falling asleep as passengers. Often, it seems like you can almost get there – if only X, Y, and Z could happen.

    Unfortunately, we can’t control all the outside factors that keep us from dozing off – but we can try and mitigate their effects just enough so we can drift off. We’ve compiled a few tips to help your next trip as a passenger a more relaxing one.

    1. Block out the outside world

    The constant humming of running engines can be soothing for infants, but distracting for the rest of us. Other noises such as traffic, other passengers, and ambient noise can keep you from relaxing long enough to get to sleep.

    If this is your issue, a few items might be worth an investment. You can get some comfortable, inexpensive earplugs to drown out the outside world. If earplugs aren’t your thing, try headphones. It may seem counterintuitive to drown out noise with more noise – but relaxing, soft music may be much more conducive to sleep than another commuter on their cell phone.

    If you’re traveling during daylight hours, a sleep mask will help with blocking out bright lights.

    2. Get comfortable

    It isn’t easy getting comfortable while traveling. In someone’s car, at least, you may have the option to recline – but your recline space is more limited on planes, buses, and trains. In addition, It’s hard to doze off when the temperature is too cold, and difficult to get the right head position for sleep.

    Just a few provisions can help out immensely. A blanket will keep you protected from that cold air blowing from the vent directly above you (don’t have one? Use your coat or jacket as a makeshift blanket). And, with the right neck pillow, you can get a comfortable head and neck position while sitting up – no head lolling with the twists and turns of the road. Pillows are also essential so that you don’t wake up with a stiff, aching neck.

    3. Avoid Interruptions and Distractions

    Nagging worries are terrible for sleep – that one errant thought can keep you from falling asleep. Make sure you don’t have any concerns or distractions – your valuables should be on your person or in a secure location with your luggage, so you don’t have to worry. If you have someone meeting you at the other end of your journey, make sure they know the time and place. Your trip should be planned out so you don’t have to worry about what to do when you get to your destination.

    If you’re on a plane, buckle your seatbelt above your blanket or jacket, so the flight attendant doesn’t have to interrupt you to make sure it’s correctly secured.

    With these three tips, you can help yourself drift off to sleep in travel and commuting scenarios. Any way you can eliminate distractions and boost your comfort level is a way to increase your chances of getting some quality shut eye.


    This post was posted in Company

  • Five Desk Exercises to Stay on Top of Your Office Fitness

    Posted on March 26, 2014 by Core Products

    The American workplace, as it currently stands, can contribute to all sorts of health concerns. Since the 1960s, the amount of jobs that require moderate to intense physical activity has sharply declined. The rise of the modern office workplace is responsible for this decline; many of us spend the great majority of our workday sitting in front of our computers.

    Unfortunately, the sedentary nature of these positions can contribute to obesity, back problems, and other health issues. Just because you’re sitting all day, however, doesn’t mean you can’t be simultaneously getting some exercise. With just a few simple exercises, you can be working on your fitness while you’re working at your desk!

    First things first, though…posture is important! You want to keep your chair at an optimum height, so that you’re not hunching over your computer’s monitor. Your knees and hips should be bent at straight, 90 degree angles, and your back should be flat against your chair to maintain erect posture. Now, you’re ready for exercises.

    1. Boost your usual routines

    You can get exercise in at your office without having to think too much about it. If you normally take the elevator rather than climb a few flights of stairs, take the stairs instead. When you go to the restroom, walk to a further one rather than the one right by your office. And, when you take a break, don’t just go sit in the lunchroom – take a walk around the office, or take a trip outside if it’s a nice day! You can also walk over to your coworkers and have a conversation, rather than just send an email.

    2. In-chair workouts

    Just because you’re sitting in front of your computer doesn’t mean you can’t still be working out.

    Leg raises can help tighten up your abdominal muscles. Sitting straight in your chair (remember the posture we mentioned above), slowly raise your right leg so that is aligned in a straight line with your hips. Hold it there for ten seconds, then slowly lower it to the floor. Repeat this 10-15 times, and then switch to your other leg.

    Desk lifts are essentially a form of calisthenics that can help strengthen your arms. While sitting, put your hands under your desk (assuming it is too heavy to actually lift) and press up against it as if you are trying to lift it.

    3. Neck exercises

    To reduce neck stiffness and pain, you can easily do neck rolls as you work to keep your neck limber. Start with your head facing forward and upright as normal – then tip your head to one side and hold it there a few seconds. Next, roll your head forward so that you are looking down at your chest. Finally, tip your head to the other side and hold it before returning to normal.

    You can do this a few times a day to reduce neck tension.

    4. Back exercises

    Sit on an armless chair or a stool. While sitting up straight, pull together your shoulder blades and hold for a few seconds. Repeat 5 times. You can do this twice a day to prevent pain and tension from building up.

    Begin by sitting up straight, and lift one of your glutes up from the chair, then sit back down and repeat the process on the other side. Do this in a continuous motion, from side to side, for 30-60 seconds. This exercise can give you relief for an achy lower back.

    With these few exercises, you can start building a regiment at your work. Sometimes, simple exercises using only everyday equipment can help us maintain our health and relieve pain or tension. Many people complain that they don’t have the time to exercise during the day – but if you are at the office 8 hours a day, you probably have the time to work these exercises into your daily routine.


    This post was posted in Company

  • What is a Healthy Amount of Sleep?

    Posted on March 20, 2014 by Core Products

    Often, adults catch enough sleep as they can grab in between family life, work, school, or social activities. Earlier in the month, we blogged about how important sleep is to a productive life. But how much sleep should you and your family actually be getting? It depends on a lot of factors, but the primary way to guide your sleep habits is by age. As you will see, the amount we need gradually decreases until adulthood, where it levels off.

    Newborn babies – Newborn babies require the most sleep of any age group, at around 12-18 hours. As anyone who raised a newborn baby knows, this does not happen in one instance, but rather is broken up throughout the day and night.

    Infants – Babies from around 3 months to a year old require around 14-15 hours of sleep. They will gradually be sleeping less than they did as newborns.

    Toddlers – Toddlers age 1-3 will sleep around 12-14 hours a day. Most of this is typically a night’s sleep and a nap sometime during the day.

    Children in School – Children old enough to attend school will be able to comfortably function with 10-11 hours of sleep a day – this can be through one night’s sleep, without naps, or include a daytime nap as well.

    Teenagers – Teenagers are approaching the adult’s daily sleep patterns, but still need a little extra to boost their alertness and energy. Teenagers need around 8.5-9.5 hours a day.

    Adults – Adults should be able to effectively function with 7-9 hours a sleep per day.

    Keep in mind, these numbers are a guideline, but not a hard and fast rule – many other factors can affect someone’s daily sleep requirements. You have your basic sleep need, but you can build up a sleep deficit with bad sleeping habits, illness, or interrupted sleep. To stay energized, it’s important to catch up on sleep here and there to keep your sleep deficit down.

    Easier said than done, right? But through getting exercise, setting a permanent schedule, and creating a regular bedtime routine (such as a bath or soft music before sleep), you can help yourself stay active, healthy, and energized throughout the day.


    This post was posted in Company

  • Q&A With the Massage Nerd

    Posted on March 14, 2014 by Core Products

    Ryan HoymeToday’s blog post is a brief Q&A with our resident massage expert and self-described Massage Nerd, Ryan Hoyme. Ryan’s been in the massage business for a long time, and he’s built decades of experience and knowledge.

    We sat down with Ryan to talk about some common motivations to get massage therapy and some tips for getting started.

    1. How long have you been working in massage therapy? What is your specialty? What is your current work like?

    My name is Ryan Hoyme, but I’m also known as the Massage Nerd, and I’ve been a massage therapist for 17 years. I first started working for other massage businesses, but after a couple years, I started my own business. What really made my career blossom was in 2001, when I started teaching massage therapy. I did that for 11 years, and in-between my teaching career, I started the largest massage information website: MassageNerd.com

    I currently see about 4-5 clients a week, and the rest of my time I run MassageNerd.com and work for other companies as a Director of Social Media.

    2. What are some of the most common reasons for seeking massage therapy?

    Poor posture is one of the biggest contributors to neck and back pain. It’s important to maintain good posture because you may be paying for it later in life. I also see many clients with pain from work related injuries.

    Most clients I have seen over my career are coming in due to neck and back injuries.

    3. How do I know if I need massage therapy? What are some common signs?

    Typically, any pain that you have for more than 7 days needs to be checked out. If it is severe, you should first go to your Doctor; if it’s somewhat manageable, you could see a massage therapist. Usually massage is one of the last steps in a client’s recovery, because they would typically go see a Doctor, then other healthcare professionals if that didn’t work for them. Most massage therapy is not covered by insurance, so people will typically pay out of their own pocket.

    4. Do you approach different pain with different techniques, or tools? How might a massage for an injury differ from a basic relaxation massage?

    I always approach pain with different massage techniques. Even if two of my clients both have carpal tunnel syndrome, their symptoms might be different and the location of the pain might also be different. When a client comes in with pain, you always want to ask them how much time do they want spend on the injured area. Some of my clients want a general relaxation massage, and then focus 10-20 minutes on the injured area.

    5. Are there any warning signs for inexperienced or ineffectual massage therapists? Any signs that they are experienced and knowledgeable?

    The biggest complaint I hear from clients is that the therapist didn’t listen to their requests. If a client wants specific time on a certain area, then the massage therapist need to respect that. A great therapist will also check-in with you a few times during the massage to ask you about the pressure and other questions, too.

    6. Now that I have found a massage therapist, what types of massage I should be getting? What information should I have prepared for my massage therapist on my first visit?

    It’s very important to know what you want, and to ask a lot of questions. Most massage therapists offer many different modalities, and it’s important that you ask them what would be good for you. Be prepared with information about your needs, injuries (if you have them), and reasons for seeking therapy.

    7. How much should a massage session cost?

    This varies depending on your location, but typically it’s around $60 an hour for going to a massage business. If you are going to someone’s house, you might pay $5-$10 less, because they don’t have the huge overhead the concrete massage business has. If you are having the therapist come to your house, you can expect to pay $20+ more per hour.

    8. How should I feel after my massage (pain relief, relaxed shoulders, etc.)?

    If it’s your first massage, you can feel relaxed and a little drowsy afterwards. It all depends on how your body reacts to it. Sometimes you can expect to feel a little sore for 1-2 days afterwards, and have some pain relief soon afterwards.

    9. How often do you recommend scheduling therapy? Does this depend on type of pain, stress, or injury?

    For maintenance massage, it’s every 4-6 weeks. If you have an injury, you could expect to come in 1-2 times a week until you get it under control.

    10. Thank you for talking to us!

    Thank you very much for asking me to be part of this.


    This post was posted in Company

  • Using Good Habits to Relieve and Avoid Neck Pain

    Posted on March 10, 2014 by Core Products

    Neck pain can be an extremely frustrating problem when trying to sleep. While no one likes to suffer neck pain during waking hours, night time pain is especially damaging, because pain can cause lack of sleep and lack of sleep can cause further discomfort.

    With this in mind, it’s important to minimize your pain through good practices while sleeping, and supplementing those habits with a pillow that helps you to manage your pain.

    Temperature Therapy:

    Heat it up and cool it off! Heat can increase your bloodflow and ease stiffness. You can use a hot water bottle, a  hot shower, or a wet towel to relieve some tension (don’t do this for too long, as too much heat can actually exacerbate your symptoms).

    You can follow this up by cooling down your neck (or skip right to this step). Ice packs can help numb  your pain and bring down swelling. Apply an icepack (either homemade or store bought) to your neck for 10 minutes.

    Keep your Work at Eye Level:

    Are you coming home from work with bad neck pain? You might want to adjust your “work eye-level.” People can hurt their necks from looking down or up at their work on a regular basis. If you’re stocking shelves or taking things down all day, stop reaching and craning your neck, and take the time to get a ladder. If you are looking down at a monitor all day, find a way to raise your work to eye level – ask your office manager for an adjustable monitor, or take a DIY approach and stack your monitor on a sturdy textbook.

    Sleeping position:

    Sleeping on your back or side is the best way to minimize the chance of developing or worsening your neck pain. Sleeping on your stomach actually arches your back, putting unnecessary pressure on your spine. This position also requires you keep your head turned to the side so you can breathe,  leading to severe neck stiffness and pain.

    Choose the Right Pillow:

    This ties in with the previous step – all pillows are not created equal! In fact, the wrong pillow can actually make your neck pain worse.

    Pillows that are too thick – or high – make your neck stay in a flexed position overnight, and can cause a miserable morning. Your pillow should have enough ‘give’ so that your head is sinking in a little bit, and not in a raised position. In addition, you can look for a pillow that maintains the natural curve of your neck – basically, you want to keep your neck from working all night just to sleep!

    Finally, keep yourself comfortable when traveling – travel pillows can help maintain comfort and support when you’re upright on a train, plane, or bus.

    Keep this advice in mind to help prevent and minimize neck pain. With good habits, and help from tools like pillows and ice packs, you can help keep your neck happy and pain-free!


    This post was posted in Company

  • Common Sleep Conditions – and What to Do About Them

    Posted on March 6, 2014 by Core Products

    Core CPAP PillowSleep disorders are a common problem– in fact, the National Sleep Foundation reported that over half of Americans have reported having mild to severe sleeping problems. Because National Sleep Awareness Week is this month, we are continuing a series of blog topics on sleep – after all, a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to keep your body and mind healthy and happy.

    With that in mind, today we’re breaking down three common sleep disorders that you can experience, and some treatment options for each one.

    Insomnia

    The most commonly reported sleep condition in the United States is insomnia. Typically, insomnia is thought of as the inability to sleep, but the term can actually refer to any situation in which a person cannot get the amount of sleep they need to be rested and alert.

    Often, there are causes at the root of insomnia; the condition does not always exist in and of itself. Stress and restlessness can be major causes of insomnia. Insomnia can also be a symptom of a larger medical problem.

    Try to identify what is contributing to your insomnia: are you stressed because of a major life change? Does your brain have trouble shutting down at night? If you aren’t able to identify the cause, and the problem persists, you should see a doctor to help you find the right course of action.

    Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea often goes hand in hand with snoring, but it is a very serious condition and should be treated immediately. This disorder actually causes people to stop breathing while they sleep – the sleeper will actually wake up abruptly to breathe.

    Not only is this condition dangerous, it can cause a lack of good rest – if you are consistently waking through the night to breathe properly, you aren’t getting the deep sleep your body needs, and you can be tired and have little energy throughout the day.

    There are a number of ways sleep apnea can be treated – some you can do yourself. Quitting smoking, quitting drinking, and losing weight can all help reduce your sleep apnea. However, because of the nature of the condition, it is recommended you see a doctor and conduct a sleep study. There are several medical machines and treatments that can help you breathe normally during the night.

    Fibromyalgia

    Last on our list is fibromyalgia – a common condition that causes stiffness and pain in muscles and joints.

    Lack of sleep due to fibromyalgia is a cycle – pain keeps you from falling asleep, and a lack of good sleep makes your pain worse. Several studies have shown that, in sleep deprived subjects, pain tolerance lowered and discomfort increased.

    On the flip side, treating your lack of sleep can help reduce pain overall. This is an issue to talk about with your doctor – but regular exercise, establishing a sleep pattern, avoiding naps, and relaxation exercises are all methods that will help you establish good sleeping habits and encourage sleep at night.

    There are lot of things that can go wrong with sleep – but sleep is so important to helping us get our days right. If you are having trouble sleeping, its essential to see your doctor to see if you can pin down the problem. Once you’ve done that, there are a number of ways to help you get a great night’s sleep.


    This post was posted in Company

  • The Importance of Sleep in a Hectic Society

    Posted on March 2, 2014 by Core Products

    Today marks the beginning of National Sleep Awareness Week (March 2-9), a yearly awareness event devoted to promoting the importance of sleep. The week is sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation and culminates with Daylight Savings Time, in which we in the United States lose an hour of sleep.

    Since many of our products are designed with sleeping and resting comfort in mind, we thought we’d join in and discuss how crucial a full night’s sleep is to our happiness, health, and well-being. With the demands of work, family, school, and other demands, it’s tempting to forego a few hours of sleep a night to get things done. However, giving up a regular, healthy sleep pattern may actually hurt your ability to be a productive, healthy person.

    The physical and psychological benefits of sleep are well documented – during a full night’s sleep, our body is actively recovering from the day and preparing ourselves for the next one. The body goes through processes that repair our muscles, organize and store our memories, and release hormones that control appetite and our internal clock. In fact, studies have shown that it’s important to get a full night’s sleep after learning something to properly process and retain that information.

    Not only does skipping out on sleep deprive us of this process, it makes the next day harder. You’ve probably noticed you feel sluggish at work after staying up late. When you’re tired, you can’t function as well. Your cognitive functions, including reasoning and attention to detail, suffer after a poor night’s sleep.

    So while you were up working until midnight, you probably thought you were getting a lot done, but you’re actually digging into your reserves of energy and alertness the next day, causing you to work slower and make more mistakes. To make up for these mistakes and slower work habits, you may have to end up working late the next night, causing an unhealthy cycle that is more stressful and inconvenient than it needs to be!

    We can’t always avoid late night study sessions or work nights – but as much as possible, it’s important to have a routine of a full night’s healthy sleep to process the previous day and prepare ourselves for the next one.

    How much sleep should you actually be getting? This actually varies depending on many factors: age, prior sleeping habits, health conditions, and more. Check back next week when we discuss how much sleep is enough sleep for you.


    This post was posted in Company

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