Is there a wrong way to rest?  The answer is yes – especially when it’s painful. And we can’t just take a day off work every time we’re in pain, right?  For those who suffer from chronic pain, sleeping, sitting and even traveling can be can make for uncomfortable situations.  If you’re suffering from neck or back pain, read these tips from the Back Pain Clinic Belleville to prevent further aggravation.

At Work: Work environments can vary drastically from desk jobs to manual labor to complete mix of both.  While spending long periods of time at a desk, try not to slouch, keeping your spine in vertical alignment.  If you find yourself shifting your weight, stand up and stretch or take a short walk.

Some of you may spend long periods of time on your feet, causing radiating pain.  Invest in a cushioned mat to absorb pressure moving up your spine or orthotic shoe inserts. Walgreens and Target have a variety of options ranging between $10-$20. A small investment with big impact.

For those of you engaging in heavy lifting or repetitive motion for hours at a time, spend 5 to 10 minutes warming up with leg, spine and neck stretches.  And if it makes sense for your job, invest in a work belt and boots for additional spinal support.

At Home: When experiencing sciatica, your first instinct is to crawl into bed; however, that may be counter-intuitive.  According to a study by, stretching or remaining active “increases the fluid exchange around the spine, which helps reduce swelling and inflammation that may occur as a result of an injury. Even if you can’t participate in a formal exercise, just moving around through your daily activities will increase blood flow to your spine more than bed rest would.”

However, bedtime can pose some problems if you don’t properly pose your spine.  Lay flat on your back with a heating pad or ice pack; prop a pillow under your legs to relieve pressure on your lower back.  For neck pain, invest in a firm pillow (memory foam) that is structured with a neck roll.

At Play:  Each mode of transportation brings its own logistical, and spinal, nightmares.  If you’re going on a road trip, spending hours of time in the car, you have the option to stop and stretch or spread out in the back seat.  When sitting in a cramped airplane seat, try to sit on the aisle for easy access to more legroom and movement.

Regardless, get comfortable immediately. Roll up a towel and place it between your lower back and seat for additional support.  Be sure to bring an anti-inflammatory medication for added relief. Stretch when possible; walk to stretch hamstrings and extend arms for neck relief. Use a neck pillow to rest for a long flight.   

When chronic pain, can’t be alleviated with these simple tasks, make an appointment at the Back Pain Clinic Belleville. Dr. Fast will consider these precautionary measures when evaluating your spine health and course of treatment.