Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Why Stomach Strength is Important for Posture

Whether or not we host a set of six-pack abs, stomach muscles offer a great deal of body support. Between holding us upright and keeping all our organs sitting proper (along with some help from the bones), stomachs are far more important than they’re given credit for. Sure, on the inside they hold meals and start the digestive process. But on the outside, its functions are just as important.

It’s high time we start giving the mid-section a little more recognition. After all, it’s what allows us to perform hundreds of movements each day. And without a solid set of abs – even if it doesn’t look that way on the outside – the back begins to sink and slouch. Poor posture is also one of the main causes of continual back pain; it’s often the largest contributor to poor spinal health. Without proper abs strength, however, it’s easy to bend or slouch after a short period of time. Because the muscles aren’t further developed, they tire easily, leading to underlying medical issues, such as poor posture-induced pains.

Why Abs are Important

Each person’s abs connect to the spine and pelvis, allowing you to stand in a balanced position. When that connection is strained, however, stress and pressure is placed on the back, and the abs themselves. By aligning the spine, all aspects can receive the correct support that they need.

To help this natural posture improvement, strengthen abs so they are able to sustain your back throughout the day, without becoming tired or weak. This can be done through workouts, sitting on a medicine ball, or by just sitting up straight. Make a conscious effort for a certain period of time, adding minutes each day until the posture feels natural. [Boxing Scene]

Start flexing your abs for a natural, internal way to improve posture.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Natural Ways to Encourage Sleep

Getting a good night’s rest can completely change the course of your day. Because you feel rested rather than groggy, you’re able to get an earlier start, have more energy, and begin the day with gusto. When sleep doesn’t come, however, that same energetic morning start is practically impossible.

So how do you get to sleep when it won’t happen naturally? Medications can be too strong and leave you groggier than you were tired, and counting sheep becomes boring while offering little results. But what if there were natural, effective methods to follow? Ones that could train the body to know when it’s time to get to sleep each night?

Better Sleep From Daily Habits
By following healthier practices as a rule, studies have shown folks get more sleep on a regular basis. Even those that tossed and turned before. This means healthier meals and regular movement, each of which offers their own contribution to nighttime rituals. Healthier meals means the body isn’t straining to digest heavy foods, which can cause pains or other uncomfortable functions when trying to sleep. As for exercise, this helps stretch and work the muscles, also tiring them out for the night.

Other natural factors include eating several hours before bedtime (so that foods have plenty of time to settle), and going to sleep at the same time each night. Obviously some exceptions have to be made, but when winding down around the same time each day, the body naturally learns when it’s time to sleep. This eliminates the fight that can occur when you’re tired, but the rest of you doesn’t quite agree. [NPR]

From improving eating and movement routines, as well as scheduling out a clear bedtime, one’s sleep can be greatly improved. Consider these minor, yet effective, changes to get a better night of rest.  Take care of your back and body during sleep with these products from Contour Living

Friday, December 27, 2013

Improve Overall Health with Arch Supports

It’s no new discovery that taking care of one portion of the body radiates out onto others. Reducing neck stress gets rid of headaches, eating healthy offers better circulation, and so on. The same can be said for foot health, which has the ability to spread into all other areas of the body. Back pains can be cured, muscle tension eliminated, and all while the feet themselves are getting the care they deserve.

One such aspect of foot health is the addition of arch supports into one’s shoes. Made to provide extra comfort right where it’s needed most, arch supports are an easy, cost effective add-on to any pair of shoes. Many can even be moved from shoe to shoe so users only need a single pair.

But what do these shoe accessories have to offer?

When the arch of the foot lacks support – meaning it “steps” without hitting a shoe or floor surface – weight is displaced unevenly. Over time, this can break down the foot, causing pain, swelling, and an improper use of tendons. Because there isn’t proper alignment, the feet simply can’t walk as they were supposed to. This is especially true for those with high arches – the higher the arch, the larger portion of the foot that can’t hold weight when walking.

With the simple addition of arch supports, however, that natural weight balance is restored. Feet can again walk evenly, while weight and movement is displaced in a comfortable ratio. Considering they only cost a few dollars, it’s a smart investment toward improving foot (and overall body) health with each step you take.

Whether or not you experience regular foot or arch pains, it’s a good idea to look to this simple medical solution to prevent any future walking-based ailments.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Can Heavy Shoes Reduce Your Back Pain?

In the practice of Chinese medicine, cures often come in the form of something strange. Acupuncture calls for sharp needles to be placed into the body – which in theory, should cause pain; foot massages are known to affect any part of the body; and toxins can be pulled directly through one’s skin. For those of Western medicine, it’s cures like these that are hard to accept … even when they’re proven to work.

But according to a recent report, there may just be one more obscure medical cure: extremely heavy iron shoes. Wearing them on a regular basis, some say, can cure back pain altogether.

One Chinese worker, Zhang Fuxing, has been using this method for years, saying it has completely eliminated his extreme back pain. Now weighing more than 440 pounds each, he walks about 50 feet in the shoes each day. (Most start out with smaller versions, as low as 22 pounds, and work their way up to larger weight and distance intervals.)

How it Works

According to Chinese medicine, it’s not muscles that require us to lift heavy things, such as the shoes. Rather, the physical strength comes from one’s organs. By “lifting from within” people are able to hold great weights. As Fuxing says, “When you walk with your heart it will work.”

Scientifically, the weight works to stretch out one’s spine, work the legs, or cause an extreme increase in blood flow. The movement can also strengthen the core and create an advanced sense of balance among users.

The shoes’ makeup, however, is also important. Though users place straps over their existing footwear, iron is said to be good for the body, especially the heart and bones. By combining its traits of wellness with viable exercise, a growing cure has been found.

Iron Shoes In Practice

Though critics remain strong, patients all across China are trying this method. A vocal supporter of the iron shoe, Fuxing makes them himself and sells them to friends, neighbors, and online shoppers. With hundreds in circulation, patients seem to agree that the method has had an extreme and direct affect against back pain.

While there are no studies that have tested these theories (other than actual patients), it’s certainly an interesting concept to consider: the cure for back pain just may be a new set of shoes.

Read more about Fuxing and his iron shoe store at CTV News.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hunchbacks in Pop Culture – Our Favorite Back Health Sufferers

Traditionally in society, the presence of a hunched-over back is a sign of bad health, or even alienation from the rest of the population. Cartoons used the condition as a way to show true character, live-action films offered it to create fear, and ever since, viewers have looked down upon those with irregular backs. However, bad rap aside, hunchbacks have grown into one of pop culture’s most-loved characters. Whether they had to overcome a stereotype or learn to accept themselves – abnormal features and all – here are some of our favorite spinally challenged roles.

The Beast

A title character from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” this character comes with a curved back, among other ailments (such as claws, more fur than he knows what to do with, etc.). Though the “hunch” likely comes from his transformation into an animal-like being, it’s a feature that comes to define his character, and which is ultimately overcome.

Lumpy Addams

Unfortunate name aside, Lump Addams, a cousin to the Addams family, is a key player in the series. He is the brother of fan favorite Cousin Itt, and child of Anemia and That. Though he rarely speaks, Lumpy makes appearances in both the 1991 and 1993 movie versions of the franchise.


Perhaps pop culture’s most famous hunchback, Quasimodo of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” starts the film as a kind, unloved character. Though he’s regularly told his condition is a point of shame, he and others grow to accept his differences, realizing that his loving nature more than makes up for any physical changes.


A main player in the Hindu epic, Ramayana, Manthara works as a loyal servant. In this story, however, her condition is likely a direct reflection of personality, as she uses cunning conversation and eavesdropping to alter events. The behavior eventually catches up with her, when she is nearly killed by those who she wronged – though many readers still admire her ability to overturn the main storyline’s events.

Through stories and portrayals, hunchbacks have long since been a staple in pop culture. And though the condition continues to affect the human population, hopefully it’s only a matter of time before the illness is considered a virtue of character – rather than a medium on which to condemn.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Ortho-Fiber Pillow Offers Custom Sleeping-Fit Alternative

When it comes to lying down to sleep each night, nothing feels better than your own bed. It’s comfortable, offers the just-right conditions, and you get to control everything from the sheets to the firmness of the mattress. That also means the option for specialized pillows, bed covers, or anything else to customize your sleeping experience each and every night. Custom orders, however, can be expensive and complicated – which is why it’s a good idea to look for the next best thing.

With the Ortho-Fiber pillow, sleepers can cradle their head, neck, and receive a personalized level of softness and support. And all at a fraction of the time and expense. For those who enjoy various positions each night, it might even be a better offer, as the Ortho-Fiber allows for ample movement without straining or restricting your comfort levels.

How the Pillow Works

By offering a fluffy, supportive outside and a sunken middle, the Ortho-Fiber cradles and holds the entire upper spine. The back is also aligned, eliminating craning or other pain-inducing positions throughout the night. By encouraging a proper sleeping posture – in two different heights – sleepers receive natural cures to their ongoing neck issues.

Additional features:

The pillow offers improved breathing alignment
It fits standard-sized pillow cases
It’s 100% hypoallergenic to reduce allergies or other nasal triggers
The pillow’s center offers quilted design to support in a soft, comfortable manner
It reduces pressure on face and ears – great for sleeping on one’s side or back
Sleepers can choose from two heights to find the perfect fit for your neck and back

For sleepers of all ailments, the Ortho-Fiber pillow is a budget-friendly way to offer nighttime support. Let its proven methods gently support the spine, and without introducing allergens or additional pains into your routine.

To learn more about what the pillow has to offer, head to Contour Living’s product page.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

10 Strange Facts About Back Health

From lifting with the back to finding new ways to prevent lumbar-induced pain, there are thousands of articles available on back health. In all these educational or preventative posts, however, few look to the strange-ness that can occur. Stats on freak accidents, average dollars spent on treatments, and more all contribute to the nation’s back health movement each and every day.

Here’s a compilation of some of the weirdest ones to date.

10. According to healthcare analysts, an upwards of 80% of the population will experience back issues throughout their lifetime.

9. United States citizens spend more than $50 million in back-related expenses each year – and that’s only the stats that are easy to identify.

8. Think you’re shorter in the afternoon than the evening? The body “settles,” leaving humans 1 cm shorter by the end of the day.

7. Lower back pain is the highest listed cause of disability throughout the world.

6. Think the backbones or spines are complicated? One quarter of your bones are located in the feet.

5. It takes 200 muscles to take one step – no wonder ongoing pain hurts with every movement!

4. Back pain is one of the biggest reasons for missing work – and the second-highest cause for doctor visits. (Behind only colds and/or respiratory issues.)

3. It takes twice as long to lose new muscle mass than it does to gain it – all the more reason to stretch and keep bodies flexible on a regular basis. (Muscle builds fast, don’t let those efforts go to waste!)

2. Stretch the back for added strength – the strongest muscle in the body is the tongue, beating out arms, legs, and the rear.

1. The majority of back pains were not triggered by a condition, such as arthritis, cancer, broken bones, etc. Rather, organic issues are blamed for these ongoing bouts of pains.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

4 Ways Stress Increases Muscle Pains

Having a stressful day is never fun – on any level – but according to some new research, it could also come with pain. Adding to any chances in mood, personality, or looming deadlines, stress can be literally painful. This is perhaps most seen in the muscles, especially in areas with ongoing injuries or recurring aches. However, each person can also experience these pains in a different format.

From tension to endorphins, here are the top five ways in which stress can trigger muscle pains.

4. Stress affects posture

Dealing with stressful situations can cause you to hunch over or perform jerky movements. This means the spine isn’t able to relax, interrupting circulation and everyday tension relief.

3. Emotions block vital energy

When in proper working order, the blood and other fluids flow freely throughout the body, increasing circulation and pain-relief efficiency. However, when stressed, emotions as a block, stopping important fluids from making their way.

2. Adrenaline is on short supply

It’s natural for adrenaline glands to produce endorphins that increase moods and decrease pains. But when stress happens, these glands are blocked, greatly reducing the amount of good-feeling substances available. This means ongoing stress has a direct affect on back or other recurring pains.

1. The body (and mind) can’t relax

Stress means you aren’t able to completely relax – this causes both the body and mind to be on edge. Without this much-needed relaxing time, muscles are tense, and don’t get the ability to rest and rejuvenate.

When it comes to stress, there are several triggers that can cause additional body pain. While some can manifest within the specific body parts (such as the back), other aches simply take place wherever the body is most vulnerable. To help avoid these stress-induced pains, look for less stressful situations – and the ability to fully relax – as an everyday rule.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Is Your Purse Causing Back Pain?

Carrying a purse – of any size – can be a convenient perk. It holds all your things in one, easy-to-find-location, it ensures belongings are organized in close proximity, and you can even use it to stash away smaller purchased items. But no matter the size or weight of your bag, it could actually be causing excess pains. Because of the weight and repetitive nature of carrying a shoulder bag, it’s a practice that might actually cause more harm than good.

Here’s why:

When wearing a purse, the body is lopsided, causing muscles to tighten or strain in certain areas. And the heavier the bag, the more weight it’s pulling on the neck or shoulders. Basically, the more a bag is used, the worse the side effects will become.

This carrying practice also causes the body to walk in an uncomfortable position. Naturally, legs and arms swing to help regulate pace and stride – known as a gait. However, weighing down one-side causes an uneven swing in either the upper or lower sections of the body, if not both. Over time, this can lead to uneven muscles and posture. For instance, one who’s right-handed will keep their purse on the right shoulder, which can mean more developed muscles on that side, less of a swing when walking, and a shoulder that sits higher than the other.

Next comes tightness in the muscles carrying extra weight, or even spasms. The neck, upper, and middle sections of the back can all be affected, suffering bouts of pain or even recurring conditions, such as arthritis. Severe cases of purse-induced pain can even come with tension headaches, which are also brought on by muscle strains, as well as frequent lifting required with purse toting. [Huffington Post]

If you suffer from back pain, it may be time to consider your purse-carrying habits. Lighten the load or talk to your doctor today for healthier walking habits.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

5 Reasons to Give a Back Massage for the Holidays

When shopping for the person who has everything, nothing says “what a thoughtful gift” like a massage. Whether in the form of a gift certificate, a power-operated chair, or a hand-held back scrawler, it’s a great way to offer comfort whenever it’s needed most. When considering the gift of massage this holiday season, consider these five compelling reasons as to why it should top your list.

5. It’s Self-Redeemable

Though it’s given around the holidays, massages can be scheduled for any time of year – right when your giftee needs it most. These post-dated presents offer a chance to redeem some holiday cheer even long after the decorations have been put away. (However, double check on gift card dates to see just how long their lifespan lasts.)

4. It Relaxes and Loosens the Back Muscles

A massage of any kind can work to ease any receiver into a more relaxed state, reducing tension, muscle tightness, and overall worries. This is often a must-need for those with stressful jobs or schedules.

3. It Can Lower Stress and Back Pains

For those with repeat back pain, a massage is a great way to relieve muscles. You can even ask for recommended types of pressure treatments, based on the location and severity of each person’s pain.

2. It’s a Gift Few Will Buy for Themselves

Though some often indulge in self-funded massages, most write it off as an unnecessary expense. What a great way to show a loved one they not only deserve a relaxing break, but that you’re willing to provide it for them.

1. It’s a Personal, Yet Universal Gift

Massages come in all lengths and types and can work into any way of life. Opt for different areas of techniques or backgrounds (acupuncture, deep tissue, aromatherapy, etc.) to best fit every massage-deserving person on your shopping list.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Best Sleeping Positions for a Bad Back

When crawling into bed each night, sometimes the worst positions are just the most comfortable. We sleep on our sides, our stomachs, and flop arms into odd angles. Those sleeping positions, however, just may contribute to back pain throughout the day. By stretching the muscles awkwardly or putting weight on the wrong areas, tings can occur several hours later.

To not only avoid pain-causing positions, but to help your back while sleeping, try these three back-friendly set ups. (Even Dr. Oz agrees.)

The Soldier

When achieving “the soldier,” a sleeper must lay on their back through the entire night. Look for a supportive mattress that will hold the rear, spine, and legs in place while achieving this pain-free night of rest.

Note: The soldier should be avoided by those with sleep apnea, as gravity allows the throat to become blocked, which is dangerous for those with difficult nighttime breathing. Back sleeping can also increase one’s chances of snoring throughout the night.

Sleeping Beauty

Graceful as it may sound, the “sleeping beauty” pose offers hard-hitting results against spinal pressure. Lay on your side with the back slightly curved, knees bent, and the arms crossed. Add a pillow between the knees to offer added hip support, or leave as is to achieve a restful position.

This is also considered one of the only side-effect-free ways to sleep – causing no outside pains or snoring tendencies.

Dead Man’s Float

Stomach down and head cocked to the side, the “dead man’s float” offers a position that any frontal sleeper can enjoy. Arms under the pillow can also work to prop the head and offer upper limb comfort.

Over time, this can cause neck twinges, which may or may not manifest in recurring pain. To avoid these side effects, do without the pillow or find another place for the arms. Another pillow under the hips will also prop the lower end of the body, evening out one’s levels. [Dr. Oz]

To gain a healthy night’s sleep, remember to look toward these back-friendly positions during all hours of the night.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The History of the Recliner: Back Pain Relief on the Rise

The recliner has long since been a staple to the American home. They’re comfortable, offer a slick way to put up one’s feet, and can be called upon on even the worst of days. Folks search for years to find the perfect fit, then spend evenings leaded back with a newspaper or a TV remote.

But once upon a time, chairs sat at 90-degree angles.

People either sat in a chair, or when it was time for relaxing, they laid down. Those were the options and there wasn’t much in-between, if any. But in 1850, the world saw its first chair/bed combo in the form of a French “reclining camp bed.” Equipped with padded armrests, the model could easily switch between chair and bed, thus eliminating the need for extra furniture. Soon an American version was also released, and was made to hold one’s book or papers for easy reading.

Decades later, in 1928, a set of cousins got a patent for a wooden recliner, an event that led to the creation of La-Z-Boy. (Though the first recliner is said to have been owned by Napoleon III.) Then in 1930, the cousins, Edward Knabush and Edwin Shoemaker, added mechanical reclining features and swapped their wooden chair for one that was upholstered.

Next for the recliner came new engineering, created by Daniel F. Caldemeyer, after his work in the U.S. Air Force. Caldemeyer also added features such as the footrest, heating, and massage, before patenting the world’s first entertainment center. His new reclining model was so efficient by way of use and kinetics that NASA used it for its astronaut seats in Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo.

President Lyndon Johnson even received 50 Caldemeyer’s recliners as a Christmas gift from the Secret Service, one of which he used to recover from gall bladder surgery. [NPR]

While today’s options are certainly more advanced by way of fabrics and storage, their reclining features still stems from these same mechanics. With just a few breakthroughs, those everywhere can enjoy their favorite chair … now with the ability to relax and recline.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Take 6 Months to Pay on Mattress Genie and BackMax

Shop Contour Living for great products like the Mattress Genie and the BackMax Wedge Cushions, and now take up to 6 months to pay with small monthly payments by Bill Me Later.     Simply choose PayPal at checkout. then choose Bill Me Later!  


Bill Me Later is a PayPal service that lets you buy now and pay later. It’s a secure, instant, and reusable credit line that doesn’t require you to keep another credit card in your wallet. Bill Me Later is offered as a payment option at thousands of online stores. (Bill Me Later is subject to credit approval and offered by Comenity Capital Bank). Bill Me Later lets you pay for your purchases in 2 simple steps—just enter your birth date and the last 4 digits of your Social Security number and accept the terms. Approval takes only seconds. Set Bill Me Later as your preferred payment method and you’ll speed through PayPal checkout even faster. And it gets better: you’ll get access to special offers, like 6 months special financing. (Minimum purchase and payments may be required).

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Best Chairs to Reduce Coccyx Pain

From reducing pressure to offering as much cushion as possible, there are several types of chairs that reduce tailbone pain. Each is designed to adjust the way you sit so weight is distributed more evenly, and doesn’t rest solely on the coccyx area. Check out these recommended chairs that offer the maximum levels of lower back relief.

Kneeling Chairs

Whether makeshift stool or actual chair, these versions place the weight on the legs and knees rather than the rear. “Sit” on this specialty-made incline to alleviate pressure where it can cause the most pain. Most are adjustable and come with ample knee padding.


With a number of available sizes and makes, these canvas-covered stools are made to fit any size. Perch on the edge to avoid tailbone pressure, or sink into the tripod model to maximize weightlessness.

Director’s Chairs

Made to sag, the director’s chair is great for all levels of coccyx pain. Find a traditional model, or a lowered version (such as a lawn chair or office version) for a gentle sitting option, no matter where you’re headed.

Medicine Ball

Because it’s inflatable and “gives,” a medicine ball is a great option to help combat tailbone pain. Adjust your posture as you go, and roll the ball to find a comfortable lower back position.

Zero Gravity Chairs

Though this option may be hard to use at a desk, it’s great for relaxing after a long day of back pain. Use it to remove the strain and pull from the lower back, which is a direct cause of coccyx inflammation.

The Toilet

Believe it or not, coccyx sufferers agree that the toilet is one of the most comfortable places to sit. The cutout middle provides relief exactly where it’s needed most. Consider taking an extra rest in the bathroom, or as some have done, find a new model solely for sitting purposes.

To learn more about your sitting options, head to Coccyx.org.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Hazards of Wearing High Heels

High-heeled shoes of all shapes and heights can cause ongoing damage to the body. Depending on frequency and length of wear, these side effects can vary from minor pain to irreversible damage. Before strapping on those stylish shoes this holiday season, consider the specifics as to what’s taking place with each step.

Calf Muscles Can Shorten

Over time, the calf muscles can shrink and shorten due to improper usage. When wearing high heels, the rear of the foot is elevated, using less of this important muscle with each step.

Shortened Achilles Tendon

Also in danger of minimizing in length is the Achilles tendon. When walking on an angle vs. flat-footed, the tendon becomes compromised and is used in an unsafe position.

Knee Pain

When wearing high heels, thigh muscles are made to work harder, which means more impact on the knee (knee cap pressure alone increases by 26%). Over time this leads to aches or injuries.

Bad Posture

Because of the way one’s weight is displaced in high heels, the rest of the body’s posture suffers. The stomach is pushed forward (as well as the chest), the rear is pushed back, tilting the lower back, and knees and ankles are bent at awkward ankles, while the toes take the brunt of the weight. This is a recipe for pain and poor circulation in all areas of the body.

Ankle Sprain

Without proper footing, ankle sprains are far more likely to take place. In heightened shoes, wearers are more likely to lose balance, slip, or misstep, which can often cause ankle injuries.

Weight Displacement

Feet were made to hold one’s weight evenly, not all on the ball or toes. And the higher the heel, the more pressure that’s put onto the front of the feet. This can cause corns, shortening of toes, hammertoes, bunions, and a number of other pain-inducing issues. [Consumer Healthcare]

Holiday or not, avoiding high heels on a regular basis can help you to avoid these unfortunate health issues. Stick to flats for comfort, and for your health.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Holiday Shopping Back-Saving Tips

This time of year, it’s practically tradition to get in an intense round of shopping. Stores are offering up tremendous sales, and shoppers from all around will stand in long lines to save a few extra dollars. However, no matter what’s on your list during these events, be sure to follow body-friendly routines. That means safe lifting, easy-push carts, and no diving or acrobats to reach emptying shelves – no matter how great the deal.

From staying upright to letting others push through, stick to the following:

Team Lift 

Avoid picking up heavy or large objects alone. Ask a friend (or even a stranger) for help, or wait for the next employee to bring a rolling cart. Improper lifting can cause serious back or neck strain, long-term pains, and ongoing injuries. This shopping season, save your back and wait for help instead.

Can you Find it Online?

These days, practically every item found in-store can be found online. While it may not host the same deals, a few extra funds are often worth the headache of standing in line. Before getting up at a crazy hour, check the computer to see if it’s sold through the store’s website. Many stores even offer free shipping around the holidays.

Use a Cart

Even when picking up a few items, balancing and rearranging them can make your tilt and lean in odd directions. Pick up a cart to wheel your items around with ease; it’s also a great place for the purse (so long as it’s attended), which can also cause back strain if too heavy.

Don’t Fight a Crowd

With angry (or excited) shoppers, there’s really no telling what could take place. Instead of being pushed through a crowded area, opt for times where fewer shoppers will be present. Or let others head in first for a more relaxing, injury-free day of sales.

Whether standing in line for the greatest deals or just picking up a few holiday gifts, remember to follow the above for optimal back health in any shopping scenario.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

4 Places to Avoid Falling Asleep This Thanksgiving

With a fully belly and a warm house, nothing sounds better than a nice afternoon nap. (This comes after mounting research that turkey causes sleepiness.) Whether a short catnap or lasting for hours on end, this post-dinner pick-me-up is just what eaters need to keep them going post dessert. However, before you curl up on the couch this coming Thursday, consider your other, more back-friendly options.

To avoid a backache this Thanksgiving – along with your bellyache – avoid falling asleep in these common napping locations.

4. The Recliner

Though comfy for sitting short-term, sleeping too long in this lazy-L position can cause lower back pain. Look for a sturdier lumbar placement for a power nap that doesn’t drain spinal support.

3. The Kitchen Table

When full, sometimes it’s just too difficult to stand up and move to a cozier location. Whether slouching in your dinner chair or bent over on the table, this position could cause serious repercussions to your mid-back, neck, and circulation. For the sake of staying pain-free, move to a new area before letting the turkey settle.

2. A Sagging Couch

When visiting Grandma or Great Aunt Nell, the draw to that classic family couch can grow strong. However, a sinking center means no support and little cushion for the areas that need it most. While these retro couches can be great for checking the latest football scores, try and stay awake and seated upright.

1. The Floor

The floor can be a truly awful place to take a snooze – after all it’s hard, unforgiving, and offers zero cushioning. Though stretching out may feel great after a big meal, look for the help of a leg, neck, or lower back pillow to help ease the blow of the hardened floor.

This Thanksgiving, a nap may be a well-earned necessity. However, remember to opt for comfortable, supportive locations to keep your spine in prime working order.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Stretches to Improve Lumbar Support

No matter your daily routine or level of back health, a few lumbar-focused exercises can help increase flexibility. Because these moves are specifically designed to loosen muscles and strengthen the core, their focused actions add stability right where you need it most. From the spine, to the hips, to the entire lumbar section, a few stretches and/or exercises each day can greatly improve one’s lower back.

First, start with small stretches to get your muscles loosened and warmed up. Exercising on “cold” muscles – especially within an already injured area – can greatly increase the risk for tightness and ongoing pains. This can be done by simply bending at the waist and reaching for your toes, leaning side to side, or bending sideways with an arm above your head. Start slow to see which movements ting or pull in the back; you will also increase your flexibility over time.

Bach Arch

This move is done standing, with feet placed shoulder-width apart. Palms should sit on the lower back while you bend backward and take deep breaths. Hold for five seconds and repeat multiple times.

The Pelvic Tilt

Next, try lying on your back and placing your arms flat on the floor, knees should be bent with the bottom of your shoes also on the floor. Now, press your rear into the floor so the base of the spine makes contact. Hold this for a few seconds and repeat several times.

Side Stretches

Similar to warm up movements above, the side stretch can help loosen muscles that are harder to locate in “regular” poses. Place one arm straight up into the air and bend the side toward that arm until you feel it stretch. Hold and alternate sides/arms for an even, thorough stretch. [Nismat]

Gaining flexibility throughout the lumbar and lower back is one of the quickest and easiest ways to add strength. Incorporate these moves into your daily routine for a stronger, less painful lower back.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tips for Mattress Removal/Recycling

When opting for a new mattress set, one of the hardest parts is getting rid of the old model. There may be an empty storage room down the hall, or a room in need of a guest sleeping option – but what about houses that are already up to its rafters in beds? Or what about older past-their-prime beds that just need to be pitched? From selling, to recycling, there can be several ways to make easy departure of your old friend.

The next time you decide to buy, follow this simple guide for keeping your home to the optimal mattress ratio.

Have it Hauled Away

More often than not, the furniture store will have your old model hauled away for free. Ask when shopping for the new bed, which can sweeten the pot without upping the price. Be sure to remove sheets and clear any personal items from the delivery path to ensure a quick and easy transfer.

However, if it’s not offered free of charge, you can always pay for pick up, or take your mattress to the dump (which will cost you a few dollars as well).

Sell your Old Bed

For newer models that still have several years to live, recoup some of your money with a sale. Host a garage sale, spread the word to friends, or take out an ad in the paper or online. This likely won’t pay the bill in full, but is a nice way to offset some of the sticker shock of a brand new bed.

Recycle It

Depending on the size of your city, there may be available options to recycle or repurpose your old mattress. Check city websites, local charities, recycling plants or host a Craigslist ad in the “free” section. You just may find and an artist or creative type looking for old mattresses. (Be honest about the condition so others can decide whether its worthy for sleeping or if it’s recycle-able material.)

No matter what the future holds for your bed, there are plenty of safe, environmentally safe options to explore. Consider each for a painless way to free up your bedroom floor.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Product! Contour’s Double Back Cushion

In our ever-growing repertoire of back relief products now comes a brand new revolutionary product: the Double Back Cushion. Contour’s latest release and offering two solutions in one, this new type of cushion is one we’re happy to stock our shelves with … and just in time for the holidays.

But what exactly does this “Double Back” thing have to offer?

As its name suggests, the pillow is two products in one – a stuffed leg pillow and a foam lumbar support wrap. Simply unroll for lumbar structure, or roll into its pillow form for comfort with added height.

The Double Back pillow can be used in a wide variety of combinations so patients can get the most out of their treatment options.

The “duo” works great as a supportive neck pillow; try it on the couch, in the car, or when traveling for a comfortable way to squeeze in some rest. But that’s not all the Double Back Cushion can do. When used on the back, stomach, or legs, it offers some serious relief. Place the pillow between the legs or under the ankles for cushioned relaxation, while the lumbar foam section offers mid and lower back alignment.

For those with ongoing discomfort, the duo is made to offer relief in specific pressure point areas.

Added features:

Sleepers in all positions can use the pillow, whether sleeping on their side, back, or stomach.
The Double Back is made to support both the cervical spine and the lumbar areas.
With this product, spines receive cushioned alignment, along with the hips and knees. No more twisting or pressure during sleep.
In its lumbar position, the pillow is 27 inches long, while its pillow counterpart measures 10.5 inches tall and 8 inches wide.

From holiday shopping to personalized back support, Contour’s new Double Back Cushion has something to offer everyone.

Shop today to receive our special intro sale price.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Mattresses: Why Now’s the Time to Buy

When it comes to big purchases, tomorrow, next month, or even next year is always “the best time to buy.” Because these items are expensive and bulky, we rarely make purchase until it’s a necessity. But when it comes to your mattress, the surface you sleep on every single night, buying now just may be the best bet.

Thanks to a waning market, mattress companies are offering amazing deals and incentives. And so far, their price cuts haven’t seen end in sight. For instance, on top of already great deals, mattress shops are offering buy-one-get-one-free offers – essentially a 50% discount. You may not need dual mattress sets, but maybe you have a friend or family member who’s also looking to buy. Or, take home the free model and sell it at a ridiculous discount. Since the model you already got was such a great deal, any sales profit is just an added bonus.

Other incentives are coming in the form of electronics, like free iPads or TVs (Some of which offset the price of the bed itself.) And of course, all of this comes on top of free deliveries, warranties, and a great price.

Should You Replace Your Mattress?

Even with models only a few years old, many are still opting to take advantage of these ongoing deals. Rather than paying full price once their current bed runs out of comfort power, they’re nipping the problem in the bud. Older models can then be sold or put in storage for safekeeping.

No matter the scenario, however, there is no denying that it’s a great time to purchase your next mattress. From a fancy pillow top to even the most basic of models, companies are offering ongoing deals that are almost impossible to resist.

Consider finding your next bed today and use the slow market to your advantage.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

5 Interesting Facts About the Human Back

From cause to cure, every person’s back behaves a little bit differently. Whether it’s working or sitting on a regular basis, the back supports the body and many of its regular functions. Sometimes this results in pain or injuries, while other, luckier patients, live a healthy-backed life. Due to all of the different causes and potential outcomes, it’s likely that no two back life-stories are the same. However, that didn’t stop doctors from putting stats on the most unlikely of results.

From smoking-induced pains to average yearly fees, check out this list of unusual back-related facts.

5. An upwards of 85% of back pain can’t be identified. 

Though certain causes appear more likely than others, the majority of patients (and their doctors) are unsure as to what instance(s) first triggered their ongoing pain.

4. An adult has 24 spinal sections

Growing and fusing together as the body ages, adults host 24 sections in their spine, while babies are born with 33.

3. Smoking causes back pain

Regular smokers are 2.5 times more likely to develop back pains than non-smokers. This increase is due to oxygen flow within the blood, lengthened healing times, and the degeneration of vertebra discs.

2. Back pain is more common as we age

Though it can occur younger, most develop regular pains between ages 30 and 40. Intermittent aches (such as those from sleeping on a bad mattress) also occur more often and stick around for longer amounts of time.

1. Cartilage accounts for only 25% of the spine

Connecting vertebrae and protecting the spinal cord, cartilage takes up only a quarter of the adult back length. The rest is accounted for by space, ligaments, and the spinal cord itself.

The human back is full of intricacies and random facts of interest. From the areas that cause pain to the makeup of the body itself, doctors and scientists alike are working on new ways to make life more comfortable for those who suffer from regular pain.

To learn more about the back and ways to keep it healthy, head to ContourLiving.com.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Twist Pillow: Neck Comfort While Traveling

Traveling, for any amount of distance, is bound to bring on some uncomfortable situations. Between all the waiting and the public transportation seats, which are usually foamy and made for the wrong size, rest doesn’t exactly come easily. No matter how tired you may be from the long day of traveling, it can be too uncomfortable to nap, or even relax.

But with the right travel-along product, those former fears can be put to rest. No longer are you left to crunch or squeeze your way into a comfortable position. One such product, the Twist Neck Pillow, not only travels easy, but offers an unlimited source of head and neck support. With this carry-on pillow, travelers of all ages can turn a terminal, bus station, or long car ride into a great place to take a nap.

About the Twist Pillow

Made specifically to “twist” into the perfect position, this pillow is great for those of all sizes. Simply mold it to fit your neck or head, and enjoy hours of comfortable rest. In fact, it stays so well put that travelers can even walk about with the pillow on their neck, leaving their hands free for a carry on or hand rails.

Then once you reach your destination, the pillow can even be used as a lumbar or leg pillow. Simply adjust its position, and watch it mold into the perfect supportive shape. The Twist Neck Pillow is so versatile, customers have found countless uses for this ever-changing model.

It also comes in several different versions. Purchase the original model in cream or black, or upgrade to a memory foam or massage model. The memory foam molds to create a customized fit, while the massage pillow provides soothing relief while acting out its pillow duties.

No matter how often you travel, the Twist Neck Pillow is a great option for on-the-go rest. Head to the product page to learn more.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Can Too Much Sugar Affect Everyday Pains?

Whether you’re stocking up on Halloween goodies or just have an everyday sweet tooth, there’s no denying that too much sugar is bad for one’s health. A fact that dentists have been proclaiming for years, others are also beginning realizing the harsh dangers of sugar-based meals.

But what exactly can too much sugar do?

In extreme cases, patients can develop a life-long condition, such as obesity or diabetes. Both come with their own long-term problems. For instance obesity can make movement harder and takes a toll on one’s posture and circulation, while diabetes affects diet, wellness, and requires proper foot care. While both of these are worst case scenarios (from eating too much candy, anyway), they’re some of the biggest issues to look out for. Those with family history should be on extra high alert, as they’re the most susceptible to the disease’s grasp.

Other Side Effects of Sugar

High sugar intakes have also been shown to increase acne, one’s risk of depression, and even cause folks to become “addicted” to the substance. Much like salt, the more sugar that’s consumed, the more a body craves its sweetness. Obviously this is a recipe for disaster, especially considering all the negative side effects it can bring.

As for everyday pains, these uncomfortable bouts can be increased by poor circulation and digestion – both of which can arise from heavy sugar ingestion. When repeated over time – such as someone taking in multiple sodas or pieces of candy each day – their circulation and digestion will see a direct hit. This could lead to stomach pains, cold appendages, or increased aches in the back, legs, and arms, as they aren’t getting regular blood flow. [Fitbie]

While some sugar is deemed ok (especially if it’s real sugar and not a sweetener substitute), it’s best when not eaten excessively. Keep the sweets at a minimum to avoid pains and other health problems that the substance can trigger.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

5 Monsters That Could Have Used Back Support Products

With Halloween just around the corner, monsters and other Halloween-themed items are in full force. Cereals are launching spooky versions of their breakfast foods, kids are preparing their costumes, and classic movies are making their way onto the TV. And other than their ability to scare viewers with their folklore, each of these shows seems to have a main theme in common: their characters look alarmingly uncomfortable.

Whether they had a permanent crick in the neck or just needed a better mattress, we bring you our list of top five monsters that needed a spinal support upgrade.

5. Dracula

For someone who sleeps in an un-cushioned coffin each day, Dracula was surprisingly upbeat. Think how chipper he could have been with a mattress pad, or at the very least, a neck pillow to help keep his fangs in place.

4. Frankenstein’s Monster

With metal parts throughout his body, Frankenstein’s Monster likely had headaches galore. A head-shaping pillow (a large one), would have easily helped relieve pressure while he got a good night of rest. Other tall monsters, such as Lurch and Herman Munster, might have suffered from similar issues.

3. Cousin Itt

Cousin Itt, Gomez Addams’s relative, was probably one of the hottest sleepers in history. Covered in hair from head to toe, cooling pillows and mattress pads would have done wonders for his ability to rest, even in the warmest of environments. The same goes for Michael J. Fox and other werewolves.

2. Uncle Fester

Who would sleep on a bed of nails when a plush, comfortable mattress was available? It’s likely he would have opted for a back support model, had they been available back in the day.

1. Voldermort

All that flying can be hard on the spine, causing it to twist and turn in odd directions. Unless he had a great wizard bone adjuster, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named could have done wonders with a pillow-top mattress. Not to mention a seat cushion for his long Death Eater meetings.

Who are your favorite monsters? What product would have helped their health?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How Much Damage Can High Heels Really Cause?

It’s no secret that wearing high heels for hours on end is less than comfortable. While they may look nice, the shoes leave feet pinched and prodded into their unnatural shapes. They then cause feet to ache, toes to cramp, and begin shooting some of those pains upwards into the legs and lower back. Perhaps even affecting posture.

And all in the name of beauty.

Of course, there are now “orthopedic” versions of heels – or at the very least, more expensive models that come with cushioning and extra support. But when the foot is resting at such an awkward angle – and then walked on – how comfortable can it really be? Not to mention the level of damage it’s causing in its wake.

Much depends on how long the wearer has been sporting her heels – for the span of the day or life. But according to some recent research, the ongoing damage could just be irreversible.

Foot Scan in High Heel

By scanning a foot still wearing a high heel, specialists were able to see just what shape the foot takes on. They found that the ball is pressed flat with the toes, which also supports the majority of the weight. The rest of the foot sits at an extreme incline, until reaching the heel, which hosts some weight, but still on a slant. The specialists also said that individual tests should be done to show just how much damage each woman has sustained. [ABC News]

Whether contained to stress within the foot, or having affected the legs and back, it’s clear that improper weight placement can cause ongoing pain and damage.

To lessen the effects, doctors say women should stick to flats. However, if heels are a must, wedge and platform versions provide more mid-foot support.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Customer Love for the Kabooti Donut Cushion

At Contour Living, we love hearing from customers – especially when they tell us how our products have helped reduce their chronic aches and pains. Over the years, we’ve sold thousands of pillows and sleeping-related devices, and though they’re designed specifically to help, it’s great to hear it directly from those who were affected most.

Our latest praise comes from a dental hygienist in New Jersey. After more than two decades in the profession, she wrote to tell us that her back pain was finally gone. With the Kabooti Donut Cushion, she is now able to perform her job in a pain-free environment.

She writes, “I recently visited a medical convention in Orlando, Florida, and enjoyed the convention and conference expo. While there I discovered the Kabooti [cushion] at your booth. I brought a sample pack back to the office and I love it. In two days I have noticed a major difference in my posture and comfort level while delivering dental care to my patients. It’s great!! The cushion provides super support with minimum movement on the dental chair surface. After 21 years of delivering dental hygiene I have finally found a back saving solution!!!”

Thanks to our hygienist for writing in – we’re so happy to hear the Kabooti has put an end to your painful working days. It’s also an inspiration to others in the profession that there’s hope for ongoing comfort – even after years of suffering.

To learn more about the Kabooti Donut Cushion, head over to the product page for specs, replacement covers (there’s even one in camo!) – and an overview as to how the cushion works. By combining a donut ring, coccyx cushion, and a seating wedge, the Kabooti has everything you need to keep your booty comfortable.

And if you have any questions or comments – let us know. It might even make the blog!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Benefits of Lumbar-Focused Exercise

No matter what type of shape your back is in, strengthening the lumbar area is a great way to improve its health. Stretching, moving, and exercise all work to get your back breathing and working correctly. Whether injured, in slight pain, or dealing with a healthy, pain-free back, making sure it’s properly supported can reduce any future or ongoing issues. Think about it – legs need to walk, arms need to move, hips need to turn – why shouldn’t the back get special treatment as well?

But that’s just a portion of the benefits that lumbar exercises have to offer.

With stretches alone, the lumbar area can loosen, relax, and even lengthen itself. This means added comfort, support, and an easy way to help gently brush away recurring pains. This goes for legs and rear stretches as well. Both muscles correlate with the back, and stretching them will travel up and into the area that needs it most. The more regularly you stretch, the more benefits that can be found from keeping a loosened back.

Another added benefit comes from removing pressure. Through chair (or bench), step, or medicine ball work, you can easily remove bodyweight and pressure from the back. This allows the body to gain some much needed relief, not to mention lessen any swelling or excess weight that may be causing additional pain.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, lumbar exercises, strengths, and conditions the entire back. This means that during new or strenuous activity, the area is ready for whatever it may encounter. Not only does this reduce the chance of an injury, it’s great motivation to stay in shape. Regular movement = healthy back.

To keep your entire lumbar area in healthy working order, consider adding back-orientated exercises into your daily routine.

Stay tuned for even more back-related strength and exercise tips.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sore Muscles? Try Trigger Point Therapy

When suffering from a sore muscle, there are few tasks worth performing. Even those that are necessary. Depending on where the affected area may be, it can be painful to twist, turn, move one’s head, or make even the slightest movement. When rare or taking place after a specific injury, this becomes much easier to swallow. But when waking up with ongoing pains, everyday tasks are difficult, if not downright impossible, to complete.

One of the easiest ways to find some relief comes from exercise treatment or specialized therapies, which actually work to heal each area rather than mask its symptoms. By working on an area from the inside out, the suffering can not only be reduced, but leave an area healthier in the process. One such form of therapy does just that. By placing specific pressure on a “trigger point” – a muscle that causes pain – the area can relax and heal.

Generally, the therapy is performed by a trained masseur and takes place over several appointments. The masseur presses (firmly, depending on the level of pain) on the injured area, and then removes all weight, acting as a pressure and release routine. Over time, the muscle is able to relax, loosen (allowing the patient to feel less pain), and reconstruct itself.

Trigger point therapy also works with timed breathing cycles and various pain assessments to determine exactly which area of the body is the “trigger”. Though it’s considered less relaxing than a traditional massage – as the receiver actively participates through responses – this therapy is meant to heal rather than to pamper. Patients regularly report positive results, and some said they also received alternate massage treatments to help relax the rest of the body. [TPTherapy]

And with any type of massage, heavy hydration before and after is recommended. By consuming plenty of water, the body can flush out any unnecessary toxins, which help to advance the affects of the treatment.

Talk to your masseur or local parlor/salon to find out more.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Four Yoga Poses to Reduce Back Pain

Whether or not you’re an active yoga master, it’s an exercise that’s known to relax and strengthen the body. From everyday yoga posers to those who have yet to try it, this exercise has something to offer everyone. Beginners can start out slow, while pros can work toward more challenging balances.

To receive the most back relieve out of your yoga routine, try these proven poses. Designed specifically to stretch and heal the back, these exercises will have you feeling better in no time. Best of all, they’re great for those of all yoga backgrounds.

4. Fists Forward Bend

Performed by bending the knees and bending until your torso meets your thighs, this pose allows the back to deeply exhale and reduce tension. You should also place your fists in opposite elbow bends to create a cohesive motion with the arms.

3. Downward-Facing Dog

Perhaps one of the most popular yoga poses, downward-facing dog takes place by planting the balls of your feet, and bending until your arms touch the ground. The body should bend at a 45-degree angle, creating a relaxing, yet stable pose. Keep your head down to avoid a neck strain during this pose.

2. Wall Plank

With the wall plank, you can get extra help (yes, from the wall) during your exercise. Stand arm length away, then place your hands flat on the wall, fingers up. Legs should be straight, while the hips and stomach bend at a 90-degree angle.

1. Pigeon Pose

Generally for the flexible, the pigeon pose takes place when one leg is bent, and the other left straight to stretch and reduce back pressure. Here, the right knee should touch the right wrist (as if from downward-facing dog), with the tops of your feet touching the floor. Hips can then be centered and pushed down for added relief.

Start practicing these poses today for an easy at-home cure for back pain.

And if you need more instruction (or pictures), head to MindBodyGreen.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Health Perks of Going Barefoot

Going without shoes – or barefoot – is usually a hit or miss trend. Either you love it, or you hate it and are sure it’s going to cause all types of sicknesses. But despite your previous allegiance, there are several benefits to be had from going without shoes. No, you still shouldn’t run down the street or venture into the porta potties without foot protection, but in safe, clean environments, you can easily improve your health just by going without shoes.

And if you’re still weary about it, start at home, then venture into the yard. Then try a friend’s house, water park, or any other (clean) public place where a lack of shoes is kosher. Before long, you’ll have developed a newfound freedom that only the shoe-less can enjoy.

What can it do for your health?

Avoiding shoes for an hour or two each day can work to improve your posture, mood, and feet placement. Without a shoe to guide and align the feet, we’re left to figure it out for ourselves. This is like hitting a “reset” button on our posture, letting the legs, back, and feet redefine what’s comfortable and supportive.

Runners are beginning to jog without foot support as well, but this is a more extreme switch. Try it if you dare (with your doctor’s approval), but a few hours around the house each day should also do the trick.

It’s also said that going barefoot can help to improve one’s mood. By connecting directly with the ground, there’s a scientific theory that says it will help reunite you with the earth. This may sound somewhat sketchy, but there is actual data showing that electrons from the ground can be absorbed by one’s body; scientists say this works to rejuvenate energy levels, which often results in a lifted spirit.

Walking outside while barefoot has also been shown to act as an antioxidant, and have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. [Peak Fitness]

Whether or not you believe in self “grounding,” going without shoes can offer a number of benefits. Test it out today to start getting the most out of your time outdoors.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Can Acupuncture Relieve Back Pain?

When we think about ways to relieve pain, few are comforted by the thought of having needles shoved into their skin. But despite the theory behind acupuncture, it’s a treatment that’s been shown to relieve a great deal of pain and stress. Working by sticking needles into strategic points in one’s skin (and at varying depths), the practice is meant to poke and prod away pain.

So does it work on backs? While the science behind the treatment is shaky – some say yes, some say no – patients to test the practice give acupuncture two thumbs up. According to their assessments, extra pain up front equals less pain overall. As for the doctors, even they agree that acupuncture provides more relief than no treatment whatsoever. [Mayo Clinic]

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Using very thin needles, a trained professional places them into a patient’s skin. Known as “acupoints,” the needles are put in specific places that will help reduce pain and stress. It is thought that stimulation these various points allows the body to naturally heal itself, providing enhanced abilities.

Each person hosts about 2,000 acupoints across their body. Obviously not all of them can be accessed in a single setting, however, some believe that more needles equals more results. You can also talk with your acupuncturist about different pains you’re experiencing to ensure affected areas will see results.

Additionally, those who receive regular treatments are able to see which areas provide the best results.

Different Types of Acupuncture

There are at least five different types of acupuncture, each of which offers a different format. For instance, Auricular acupuncture deals only with ears. Hosting over 200 acupoints each, a person can gain relief throughout their entire body while only hosting punctures in their ears. In contrast, traditional Chinese acupuncture covers the entire body, and even stimulates the organs. Japanese acupuncture is quite similar, though its needles are shorter and thinner. This is a good option to anyone experiencing fear and anxiety about the needles.

There are also five element and Korean hand acupunctures – the first of which gives spirit and mind relief, while the latter focuses on one’s hands. [Discovery Fit and Health]

Though acupuncture is a very personal experience, it’s generally said that full-bodied options provide the best back pain relief, especially in the lower back. Talk to your acupuncturist to see which options may work best, or give varied treatments a try and compare notes.

While it may sound like a nerve-wracking process, acupuncture is shown to provide a great deal of pain relief. Sign up today to see just what the practice has to offer.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Exercises to Improve Back Health

Throughout the day, we sit, stand, stretch, and slouch our way through activities. Day after day, along with work, exercise, and any other actions we may take, our habits can get the best of us. Back pains occur, strains begin to take place, and muscles become sore or achy after this repeat behavior. And while extreme or ongoing injuries should certainly be discussed with a doctor, there are also many at-home remedies to help ease the issues at hand

One of the easiest ways to loosen up the back is through regular movement. By stretching and exercising your back, you can easily work to reduce ongoing strains.

To receive continued relief, remember to get moving on a regular basis.

Back Stretches 

If you don’t enjoy exercise or aren’t physically able, stretching can be a great alternative. Raise your arms, twist your upper body, or ask a friend or family member to help stretch you out. Leaning and reaching offer great muscle toning options as well.

No matter your agreed-upon routine, stretching can greatly improve mobility and blood flow throughout the back.

Swimming and Other Forms of Cardio 

Swimming is one of the best exercises for a back-friendly workout as it eliminates gravity. Without excess stretch or pull, the back can relax and heal in a stress-free environment. This can be done by swimming laps, treading water, or even walking in deeper water (stomach to chest level).

By providing resistance without gravity, swimming can get you moving without adding unnecessary pressure. Other forms of cardio such as jogging, biking, hiking, etc. offer equal perks, but should only be done by those with strong, healthy backs. Talk to your doctor if you’re unsure if these activities are back friendly.


Much similar to stretching, yoga allows participants to stretch and strengthen the back at the same time. What’s great about the sport is that it can be adjusted to virtually any user’s comfort level. Start off slow and work up to more intense levels of exercise that help both the back and the rest of your body.

When taking classes, ask an instructor for back health poses to get the most out of your sessions. (Which you can then practice at home.) From invasive exercise to light stretching, there are a number of moves that can help improve one’s back health.

Test out the above, talk to an exercise guru at the local gym, or check with your doctor to see which moves will best help you and your back.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Align your Spine with a Cloud Mattress Topper

A few weeks ago, we talked about the benefits of the Cloud Bed Pillow, how its unique design helps align the neck while sleeping. And, just how many perks can be had from a comfortable, ergonomic night’s sleep – all from a single customizable pillow. But did you know there’s more to the Cloud line? In addition to this unique pillow, there’s a Cloud- issue mattress topper, which works to align the spine.

Just stretch the material over your bed (and under the sheets), and sleep like you would on your original mattress. Over time, the topper will adjust and conform to each sleeper’s individual shape and weight, providing an entire new level of nighttime sleeping support. Not only is the Cloud Mattress Topper a great addition of comfort, it has multiple alignment benefits as well. Like its pillow cohort, the topper is made of three levels for maximum support retention. The foam allows for multiple layers of softness, which molds to the sleeper’s body, but won’t break down or wear in the process.

Additionally, the Cloud Mattress Topper:

• Has an ergonomic, orthopedic design to help maximize spinal health
• Can reduce back or hip pain
• Can reduce tossing and turning throughout the night
• Can improve comfort levels
• Works to cradle the body through spinal and lumbar support
• Can lengthen the lifespan of your mattress, or improve the quality of cheaper models

Though the topper is great for any sleeper, it’s ideal for those with all over back aches, as it’s specifically designed to provide relief to the entire spine. Use it along with your Cloud pillow, leg cushion, or test out the topper on its own for pinpointed relief. Or, give it a try to improve one’s sleeping patterns.

Because it helps reduce movement while increasing comfort levels, sleepers are able to achieve longer, deeper sessions of rest. Sleep efficiency studies even showed that test customers received more restorative sleeping cycles than with their original mattresses.

The topper is also built for maximum airflow and cooling abilities. That way hot sleepers don’t sweat or overheat throughout the night because of the extra mattress layer. Or, to receive even more cooling comfort, consider the addition of moisture-wicking pajamas, cooling blankets, or a good old fashioned chilly bedroom. No matter the use – for sleep assistance or for spinal health – it’s sure to offer cloud-like comfort throughout the night.

Find out more about the Cloud Mattress topper on our products page.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What is the BackMax and How Can it Help?

With a name like “BackMax” is pretty easy to tell this product was specifically designed for spinal health. But other than claiming the maximum amount of comfort, size, and whatever it is this product holds, the name doesn’t give justice to what it can do. Just as it promised, the BackMax offers the highest amount of functions possible. With a single product, users can relax, relieve pain, sleep, lounge, or perform any other number of sitting options.

So, what exactly is this miracle product? The BackMax Body Wedge is a large folding cushion that has the ability to mold and form into several different positions. Users simply adjust for the best setup, then sink into the wedged cushion to receive back support and relief from all angles. There’s even a BackMax Plus, which is a wider version of the original. The Plus also comes with a fleece cover for extra cleanliness and textural appeal.

How the Back Support Product Works

Folding into eight different position, the BackMax works to alleviate pain by removing excess pressure on the back. From its standard zero gravity make up to its stomach-friendly holds, the BackMax allows each user to sit or lay in a way that feels most comfortable. Best of all, it’s easy to change position without purchasing another product or pillow. Just fold and move to find your new favorite back position. Use the entire Max, or unzip and remove different sections to best support the legs, lower back, or neck.

Use the BackMax while lounging on the floor, in bed, or on the couch – its versatility allows the product to move almost anywhere.

BackMax’s Benefits

With the BackMax, users can:

Watch TV, read, nap, or sit and relax
Elevate legs for circulation
Reduce pressure or strains along the entire spine
Easily lay on one’s stomach
Eliminate gravity for relaxed, pain-free back relief
Recover from knee or hip surgery without adding excessive weight or stress to the injured area.

Made of supportive foam, the wedge is able to uphold the body without wearing or sinking in the process. You can even wash its plush cover for an extra clean section each time you use it.

From back pain, to surgery relief, to a comfortable place to relax, the BackMax (and its Plus counterpart) offers a unique, proven way to cradle the back. Consider this one-of-a-kind product for all your back health needs.

Ready to see more, head to the BackMax page at Contour Living.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Eliminate Coccyx Pain With Sitting Habits

Whether we like it or not, sitting is one of the most frequent things we do each and every day. From work, to eating, to relaxing in the evenings, taking a load off is practically an American past time. And though the reasons may change, the amount of time spent on one’s rear rarely does. If one day we go on a long walk or spend some time on yard work, the next it might be raining and require an indoor reading session. There’s always a turn of events sending us into the nearest chair.

However, if not sitting on the proper chairs or cushions, serious side effects can occur, such as back pain, aches, or throbbing of the coccyx – or tailbone. Without support that works to align and protect these body parts, our sitting practices can actually cause more harm than they do rest or relaxation.

To help ease the coccyx pain, consider your everyday sitting habits. This can include chair health, available cushions, posture, and frequency in which one disperses their weight. The more often you sit in unfavorable positions, the more likely you are to experience ongoing pain. Which is why it’s all the more important to sit correctly.

To improve your sitting habits remember to:

Pay attention to posture – though it’s easy to forget, sitting at a 90-degree angle can help the body stay alert while keeping one’s spine in check.
Consider a new seat or back support pillow that transfers, no matter where you’re sitting. These models fit in the car, office chair, couch, or any public sitting scenario.
Stretch – with your doctor’s approval, try various stretching or movement exercises to keep the blood flowing. This added movement can offer pain relief through regular muscle relaxation.
Stand when possible – oftentimes coccyx pain occurs from regular sitting. By walking or standing when time allows, stress can be taken off of the back and therefore alleviating some of that pain.

For chronic sufferers, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor about what options are available to treat and cure coccyx pain. You can also reach out to various support groups to talk with others who are dealing with the same symptoms.

While tailbone pain is a serious problem, there are also steps to be taken, specifically by the way you sit and handle everyday back-related events. For mild cases or intermittent relief, remember to follow the above; sitting habits can greatly and easily improve one’s health.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Make the Workday go Faster with an Office Chair Cushion

Sitting long hours on any surface isn’t exactly a day at the beach – unless you’re sitting on an actual beach that is, and even then squishing through sand is less than comfortable. No matter what the surface, rear ends simply weren’t made to withstand hours of repeat sitting. From office chair, to couch, to lawn chair sunk into the sand, there comes a point when everyone gets uncomfortable. Maybe numbing takes place, maybe pain, or perhaps your back even begins to hurt – no matter the results, it’s time to quit suffering from long-term sitting engagements.

One of the most common causes of sitting comes from office work. Employees of all kinds sit at a desk for hours at a time compiling paper and computer work – most of which cannot be done while standing, walking, or getting much movement of any kind. (Other than typing, that is.)

To combat these pains, consider the addition of an office chair cushion. Small, compact, and supremely comfortable, these pint-size cushions offer an added bit of spring to help relieve the all-day sitter’s pains.

Chair Cushion Options

From back support to extra padding for the rear, there are a number of different types of cushions. Test out a style or two before making a permanent decision, or see what others have to say about their specific needs. And for those with chronic or ongoing pains, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor about which chair cushion type will best fit your needs.

Medical cushions are padded and made specifically to add extra support right where it’s needed most. Some models even offer a donut or rounded area for added comfort without the bulk.

Seat back support cushions cover the back of the chair rather than the bottom. These versions work to keep the spine in place – whether through placement or cushion. Back support cushions are great for those with back pain, or when wanting to keep the spine in its proper location.

Finally, seat cushions offer comfort and padding to any sitting surface. Place them on your office chair, keep one in the car while driving, and then use it at the dinner table. No matter the cause for your pain, these seat cushions are meant to offer plush pain relief in any sitting setting.

Despite the work load placed on your desk each day, you can rest easy knowing there’s a comfortable office chair cushion waiting. Remember to keep in tow for all of your long-term sitting engagements.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Add “Back Support” to your Travel List

Planes, trains, and automobiles – as the old saying goes – are often a necessary choice when traveling across town, state, or even the world. No matter the distance, these vehicles get us where we need to go – hopefully in a timely fashion. However, when made for speed and distance, some transportation machines don’t have all the necessary comfort features that we’d like. For instance, headrests that are made for those over six feet, cushions that are too spongy, and seats that are often worn out from seating multiple travelers.

Of course, adjustments can be made to personal vehicles, such as your car or a bus seat. (Which are bulky, but provide ample cushion.) But when it comes to airplanes or long rides with a friend, sometimes the basics just won’t cut it.

However, thanks to a small travel carry along item, your comfort issues can be easily fixed.

Comfort That Defies Location

With the Contour Travel Back Support cushion, journeys of all lengths can be met with the proper spinal and rear adjustments. Simply attach the small travel piece to the back of your chair, and enjoy hours of extra back support. Through turbulence, red lights, and any kind of traffic jam, your back will be properly held into place. The cushion even folds down flat for easy storage. Keep it in your purse, carry on luggage, or slide in next to your newspaper; the cushion is so small and lightweight, it’s hardly noticeable.

The Back Support features can also be customized for the individual traveler. Because it sticks to your chair (or cushion’s) back, it can be set on any height. Use it for the lower back, mid-range, or upper back to address any section of pain. Then set it to firm, soft, or anywhere in between – it’s truly made to support any back needs. 

The Travel Back also comes with:
  • Four-position lumbar support
  • Folding flat capabilities
  • Built-in hook fasteners
  • Winged sides to protect adhesive
  • Ventilation holes
  • Center slots for spine placement

Coming in as one of Contour’s more affordable products, the Travel Back Support is a must-have for the frequent (and no so frequent) traveler. With its versatility, ability to provide support, and ease and which it can be transported, this is a product every traveler should keep on their packing list.

To learn more about the Contour Travel Back Support or to order yours today, head to our product page.