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Monthly Archives: November 2016

  • Best Pillows for Neck Pain: Seven Core Products Pillows, Home Tested

    Posted on November 18, 2016 by Core Products

    By Brian Acton

    Neck pain can be a complicated condition, with a great variety of potential contributing factors. As a result, there’s no one-size-fits all solution.

    Because the way we sleep can be a major contributor to our spinal health, Core Products carries many types of pillows designed to promote proper sleeping posture. That variety can cause some confusion about which pillow may be right for you.

    With that in mind, I spent a few months home testing seven of Core Product’s most popular pillows to provide my impressions on their shape, size, material and overall comfort. The goal is to help you choose the pillow most likely to give you a good night’s sleep and help maintain proper sleeping posture. Let’s get started!

    Side note: I do experience neck pain, but I can’t accurately predict which pillow is best for your specific neck pain – for that reason I’m providing my own impressions, but not recommendations. Your mileage may vary.

    Many support pillows are initially uncomfortable and require time for you to adjust when switching from a traditional pillow.


    1. The Econo Wave Cervical Pillow

    Overview: The Econo Wave is a foam pillow designed to provide support to your neck and promote proper spinal alignment as you sleep.

    Shape/Size: Typical of many Core Products pillows, there are raised sections along the long sides of the pillow (known as “lobes”) to support your neck as you sleep. The center of the pillow sits at a lower altitude than the lobe, creating a valley effect for your head.

    Impressions: The first night I tried this pillow, I was very uncomfortable. I felt as if the pillow was too flat to provide any reasonable support to my head or neck. My head also felt too close to the mattress.

    The next night, I turned the pillow around. Turns out, each lobe is a different size, and what I needed was the thinner lobe to support my neck. Lesson learned: you may need to test options before you land on the right configuration.

    After a few nights of adjusting to this pillow’s configuration, I grew to find the positioning comforting. It begins to provide a lulling sense as you drift to sleep.

    The Verdict: This is a good option if you prefer foam pillows. As you expect with foam, the memory is great and bounces right back to its original shape, and contours nicely as you move around. Also typical of foam, it tends to retain heat. It’s great for sleeping on your back, but I found it somewhat lacking in the side-sleeping department. The Econo Wave is also very affordable – one of the more budget-friendly options on the list.


    2. Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow

     Overview: The Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow is a foam pillow designed by an Ergonomic Designer and Doctor of Chiropractic for back or side sleeping. The goal is a stable, comfortable sleep experience with no neck stiffness or soreness in the morning.

    Shape/Size: The Therapeutica is the most uniquely shaped product on this list. It’s smaller than a typical pillow and has a cavity in the middle that cradles your head as you sleep on your back. A lift that resembles a ramp supports your neck as your head lies in the cradle. There are also raised sides for side sleeping.

    Impressions: Size is very important. The pillow comes in five different sizes based on your shoulder length – there’s a sizing guide on the product page. The first night I tried this pillow, I used a smaller size and was extremely uncomfortable – so much so that I had difficulty falling and staying asleep.

    The next night, I switched to the larger size, and the difference was dramatic. In fact, this pillow immediately felt right for back sleeping. The “ramp” that supports your neck feels natural, and your head’s downward angle is very hypnotic. I fell asleep immediately and, throughout my testing, didn’t feel the need to shift around throughout the night, which I typically do.

    However, the raised sides for side sleeping were too high for my comfort.

    The Verdict: This is fantastic pillow for back sleeping. The shape is unusual but the pillow is obviously well made. I found it very comfortable and woke up every morning with a full range of motion in my neck. The foam material feels very dense and has a great memory. As I mentioned, size is crucial for this pillow – picking the wrong size could ruin the experience, so pay attention when you order.

    I found the side-sleeping experience lacking. I’d stick with this pillow primarily for back sleeping. The largest sizes of the Therapeutica are some of the more expensive options on this list.


    3. CPAP Pillow

    Overview: The CPAP Side Sleeping Pillow is intended for people who use a CPAP machine for their sleep apnea. The pillow is intended to make side sleeping easier.
    This pillow is made for CPAP machine users, but Core Products does list neck pain as one condition it can help. Since it’s an extremely popular product for Core Products customers (and I have used a CPAP machine in the past) I included it for my analysis.

    Shape/Size: The CPAP pillow is smaller than a traditional pillow, and has a basic rectangular shape with two side panels extending from each side. It comes in varying heights– from 3” to 5” – to accommodate how much lift you want.

    Impressions: I no longer use a CPAP machine, but still have the facemask equipment still, so I was able to accurately test the pillow. I put on my CPAP mask as normal and got into a side sleeping position. The placement of the pillow’s side panels allowed me to sleep on my side with the facemask and tube hanging off, as pictured above.

    The “hanging” effect works as advertised. It keeps the facemask from pressing into your face and causing discomfort. The material was a nice transition from a traditional memory foam pillow.

    For the pillow to work correctly, you have to be in the correct position. I tend to shift and move around in my sleep, and so end up having to readjust to the right position to maintain the pillow’s desired effect. This could cause frequent sleep interruptions.

    The Verdict: The comfort factor and material is nice – this is a well-made product. It’s also great for those who prefer firm pillows. The pillow works as intended – allowing for comfortable side sleeping with a CPAP facemask – but does require frequent readjustment for restless sleepers.

    The pillow comes in 3”, 4”, and 5” thickness. That 2” can make a huge difference in your experience, so try and anticipate the right thickness for you. The pillow is also reasonably priced for a specialty product.


    4. Double Core Pillow

    Overview: The Double Core Pillow is a foam pillow that lets you choose – and adjust on the fly – the level of neck support you need.

    Shape/Size: The Double Core is similar to the first pillow on this list, the Econo Wave, in shape, size, and material. It's the size and shape of a traditional pillow, but with two lobes that support the neck. The twist is the interchangeable “core” system: foam cylinders fit into the lobes via a clever latching system. You can swap cores for varying levels of neck support. The pillow comes with four, ranging from gentle to extra-firm support.

    Impressions: Of this list, the Double Core Pillow has the most customizable options. The cores allow you to choose your level of neck support, but can also be used as part of a neck support program, in which you move through different configurations and support levels over time as you adjust to the pillow (instructions are included).

    I tested each of the four cores to varying degrees of success. I found that I preferred the firmer cores that fully supported my neck. But no matter your preference, you’ll have an option. If you wish to work through the program, which takes you from the softest to firmest core, you can do that as well.

    The Verdict: If you want the flexibility to choose your level of neck support on the fly, this is the pillow for you. The system that lets you switch out the core is clever but very easy to use, and the instructions for working through the support program are easy to understand.

    Those who prefer soft pillows may have difficulty adjusting to neck support pillows. This pillow lets you gradually adjust. I personally found the firmest level of support the most comfortable. The price is pretty affordable for all the moving parts that are included.


    5. Tri-Core Cervical Pillow

    Overview: Core Products most popular fiber support pillow, the Tri-Core Cervical Pillow “provides better support and lasts longer than traditional pillows.”

    Shape/Size: The Tri-Core pillow comes in a few different sizes and firmness levels (standard or gentle). Two rolls on top and bottom support differently sizes of people, and lobes on the side support side sleeping. A trapezoid-shaped depression in the center is designed to cradle the head as the neck roll supports the neck.

    Impressions: This is my favorite pillow on the list. It’s easy to see why it’s Core Products’ most popular pillow. This pillow immediately felt comfortable. The divot in the center of the pillow was perfectly shaped to cradle my head as I slept on my back, which created a very relaxing effect.

    The side panels felt a bit odd when trying to sleep on my side, but this is a common issue I had across all pillows.

    The Verdict: The Tri-Core is made using top grade virgin polyester fiber, and is designed to stay resilient over long periods of usage. It shows. The most comfortable option on the list, the easiest to adjust to, and the closest to the pillow types I like (thick and supportive). It still provided great neck support and I woke up feeling refreshed after sleeping on this pillow.


    6. The D-Core Cervical Support Pillow

    Overview: The D-Core Cervical Pillow is similar to the Tri-Core. It’s a fiber pillow the size of a traditional pillow, designed to relieve headaches, neck spasms, arthritis, and snoring.

    Shape/Size: The center depression for the head is D-shaped. Bottom lobes support the neck, and raised edges surround each side of the pillow.

    Impressions: Much like the Tri-Core, I easily adjusted to the D-Core. It felt like a normal pillow, but left my neck supported and relaxed in the morning. The D-shaped divot creates a soothing effect.

    Also like the Tri-Core, I did not find the side panels quite as comfortable for side sleeping. The material is slightly less comfortable (but not dramatically so) than the Tri-Core, especially for someone who appreciates firm pillows.

    The Verdict: Another great option that is comfortable, similar to a traditional pillow, and easy to adjust to. This pillow is among the firmest I’ve tested, and feels denser. The price is quite economical and is a great alternative to the Tri-Core.


    7. The CervAlign Pillow

    Overview: Last on our list is the CervAlign Cervical Pillow, a softer fiber pillow that works as a neck support pillow and also functions as a conventional pillow.

    Shape/Size: The Cerv-Align is available in multiple sizes depending on the level of support needed for your neck. Its bottom curve shape is suited for both back and side sleeping, and it’s divot for the head is not as well defined as the Tri-Core or D-Core. The pillow’s sides both have raised sections for side sleeping.

    Impressions: This pillow has much more give to it than some of the other foam or fiber options. It’s very breathable and cool, and the material has more of a “downy” effect. This pillow has more give to it, and is definitely a good choice for those who prefer a softer pillow experience.

    Even though I prefer firmer pillows, I have to say the lightness of this pillow feels great against the skin. This pillow is my favorite option for side sleeping. The firmer pillows tended to raise my head too high when sleeping on my side. With the CervAlign, I feel comfortable sleeping on my side and my neck is still well supported.

    The Verdict: This is a light and breathable neck support pillow best suited for people who like a softer sleeping experience. It’s also the most comfortable pillow I’ve found for sleeping on my side. Though I’d likely choose a firmer pillow, this was pretty comfortable and gave me a decent night’s sleep.

    This post was posted in Education

  • The Role of Massage in Healthcare and Medical Centers

    Posted on November 10, 2016 by Core Products

    By Brian Acton


    Massage can be much more than a way to de-stress or relax. While it certainly fulfills that function, massage therapy is increasingly viewed as a very beneficial complement to traditional healthcare. In fact, massage therapists now play a role in high-profile medical centers across the country and serve as official employees at many hospitals.

    It’s important to note that we don’t recommend massage as an alternative to traditional healthcare or as a cure for any illnesses, but rather as one part of an overall treatment program. So what is medical massage?

    Medical Massage

    There’s no one official method of massage known as medical massage. Rather, medical massage is broadly defined as massage therapy prescribed or recommended by a medical doctor with a health-based outcome in mind.
    Of course, this could mean many different things, but it’s important to understand because massage wasn’t always a widely accepted or prescribed aspect of health care. While massage has been around as an aspect of medical practice for centuries, Western medicine has not always embraced it.

    Nowadays, many health insurance plans cover massage therapy if recommended and referred by doctors. Medical massage can be used to help assist in treatment and recovery for disease, injury, and pain resulting from chronic conditions.

    Here are a few specific ways massage can be incorporated into medical treatments at hospitals and other medical centers:

    Hospital Massage

    Massage therapists can play a strong role in many types of recovery onsite at hospitals. In the past, nurses often provided massages to their patients to ease muscle tension, promote relaxation, and undo knotted muscles caused by lying in bed. Now, hospitals often keep full time massage therapists on staff to help when massage is an important part of patient treatment. Hospital massage therapists are often on call during their shift and travel throughout the hospital to wherever they’re needed.

    The conditions massage therapists treat in hospitals are varied, but they can help medical professionals with concentrations in cardiology, sports medicine, and surgery.

    Oncology Massage

    Oncology massage uses traditional massage therapy techniques that are modified to work safely with patients who are undergoing (or have undergone) cancer treatment.

    There are trainings and certifications devoted solely to oncology massage, as oncology massage therapists need to understand how cancer and its treatment affect the body. Oncology massage therapists must be able to adjust their massage techniques to adapt to the symptoms and side effects of cancer and treatment, and they must be proficient enough to make these adjustments from patient-to-patient if necessary.

    For instance, deep-tissue massage may be ruled out for many oncology patients, but gentle massage could help patients relax, sleep, and relieve pain or anxiety.

    Hospice Massage

    For patients in hospice care, the focus of massage therapists is usually to provide comfort during the patients’ final days. Usually, this does not come in the form of a traditional table massage. Instead it could include very light massage and gentle touch, with patients clothed and remaining in bed or a chair.

    For hospice patients, massage therapy can be a pain reliever, promote healthy sleep and bodily functions, reduce swelling, and relieve anxiety. While this can be a very difficult and emotional function for massage therapists, it can also be very rewarding and meaningful to help someone pass away in the most comfortable way possible.


    In the past few decades, massage therapy’s legitimacy among medical professionals has grown by leaps and bounds. Massage therapists could conceivably work in the medical field their entire careers, and the medical field is quickly growing so the industry should continue to see many opportunities. No matter the type of medical massage practiced, massage therapy is now integrated with our understanding of healthcare.







    This post was posted in Education

  • The Difference Between Soreness and Injury After Exercise

    Posted on November 3, 2016 by Core Products

    By: Brian Acton

    Sore vs InjuredAnyone who’s completed a tough workout can attest to the transformative nature of exercise. Strenuous workouts can help us improve our overall fitness, gradually conditioning our bodies and increasing our strength or endurance.

    Soreness is a natural result of pushing our bodies through difficult physical tasks. Putting tension on your muscles actually causes micro tears to form, which repair themselves in the days following your workout. But how can you tell the difference between muscle soreness – which is a natural and expected consequence of working out – and pain due to an injury?

    Here are a few ways:

    Time of Discomfort

    Soreness after exercise often peaks between 24-72 hours after exercise. Known as Delayed Onset Muscular Soreness (DOMS), this soreness is the body’s natural reaction to exercise. DOMS can cause tender, aching muscles. But after a few days, that soreness should be subsiding or have completely disappeared.

    If your discomfort is lingering beyond the 72-hour mark, it’s possible that you have experienced an injury.

    Type of Discomfort

    Sometimes, soreness and injury can feel similar. But often the difference should be obvious. Soreness generally comes in the form of achy or stiff muscles that react when we work them during everyday activity.

    On the other hand, if you are feeling sharp pains that cause an unusual restriction of your mobility, you may have experienced an injury. Also, if the pain is consistent and occurring whether you’re at rest or moving, this is indicative of an injury.

    How to Treat It

    If you’re experiencing the kind of soreness typical of a killer workout, you can help yourself by treating your body right: getting enough sleep, hydrating, and eating right will help your body recover. You can also work out tight muscles using a therapy roller, get a massage, and make sure to stretch. Other than that, the best thing to do is wait out the soreness – it will go away in time.

    If you’re feeling sharp or extreme pain, or pain that lasts well beyond 72 hours after exercise, it’s very possible you’ve sustained an injury. Depending on the injury, hot or cold therapy can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. But don’t wait for the pain to subside if you expect you’re injured. You can schedule an appointment with your doctor or physical therapist just to make sure you’re treating your injury properly.





    This post was posted in Company

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