We recently purchased this device on Amazon to use for patients we see. There has been quite an influx of patients with neck pain and headaches. This has subsequent complications including muscle spasms or cramping, and headaches. I am always on the lookout for treatment alternatives, practical remedies for pain management.
So here it is. The product name was Cosy Life. There are many brands available but this one was on a limited-time deal. So, I gave it a try.
It came well packaged. Inside included a User Manual, which was great. Many consumers require descriptive instructions on how to use it safely. The product was encased in a nice, velvety pouch, with their brand name on it.
The device itself was, of course, deflated. The inflation valve is similar to that of a blood pressure monitor. You close it to inflate and loosen it up to deflate and let the air out.
Checking out the material of this device, it is indeed a big improvement from earlier models. With the prior versions, you can feel the vinyl cover with sometimes rough edges that scratch your chin. (Indeed yes, I have tried the earlier models before years ago.)
One will readily notice the velvety feel of the material. Even Jessica, my model, noticed this right away.
The straps were long enough to fit a medium size head, like Jessica’s. The Velcro was well sewn, and the top strap had the name-brand patch on it. Very proprietary.
The inflation valve was easy to use. It did not take long before the user can feel the support and bracing action on the neck.
Overall, this was worth the price, and the overall quality was very satisfactory. As you can see in the video, Jessica, a first-time user with chronic neck pain, headaches & spasms was pleased.
She is my unofficial patient from time to time. If it’s not her foot, it’s her neck I have to work on. This is from working at a desk and working the desktop all day.
I did try to use this specific model on a patient with a smaller and shorter neck. As the straps were quite long, the first layer of the device came up all the way to her cheekbones. There was not enough length of the velcro itself to tighten the device.
I would say that this model works best with medium – to large-sized individuals. It is still a great product I would say.
QUALITY – Passed
PRICE – Passed
PACKAGING /BRANDING – Passed
COMFORT OF WEAR & Ease of Use – Passed
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE – Passed
MY OVERALL RATING: 4.5 STARS
HOW TO USE THE INFLATABLE NECK TRACTION DEVICE:
1.Always start slow, gradually increasing tension in 1-minute increments.Inflate to about 25% tension, just enough to feel a lift on your head and jaw. Stop, and leave on for 1 minute.
2. Deflate to halfway down, about 50% tension. Do not deflate all the way. This gives your neck muscles time to adjust to the stretch.
3. After about a minute rest, inflate it again. This time, way past the initial tension you reached. Hold and keep it there, then close the valve. Hold this at this increased tension for another minute. Thereafter, deflate it down to 50% less tension. You should still feel a comfortable stretch.
Repeat the same procedure by inflating the device again. This time, increase tension to the maximum tension you can tolerate. The stretch should be comfortable and not blocking your carotid. (LOL).
You will notice that despite the stretch, you can still speak and breathe comfortably. You can then hold this at this level for 1 – 5 minutes. Deflate to about 25% less tension, let it rest there for about a minute or two. Then inflate it again to that same level. Repeat 4 – 5 times.
I use this protocol with patients and it is well tolerated. Indeed, it is a very useful and helpful device for easing neck pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms.
Personally, I have used this device for my headaches. Once muscles are relaxed, it decreases tension on your intervertebral discs. This also allows better circulation and improved oxygen supply to the head.
Using this device, along with strategic neck exercises and techniques can be very beneficial for neck pain relief.
***Subscribe and get a FREE copy of my NECK TRACTION DEVICE E-Book I put together about these devices. It includes my personalized protocol for its use.
I also featured therapeutic neck exercises and symptom relief strategies I use with patients for managing neck pain.***
Get it here:
If you know of a product you would like to know about and have me check it out, message me. I would be more than happy to feature that in future articles.
(As with any use of a health device, always consult your doctor or physical therapist if the use of such device is appropriate for your specific condition.)
Chronic pain isn’t an easy condition to handle, but you can take control.
Simple changes in your lifestyle, diet, and exercise routines can help ease your pain. After all, you can be your own best physical therapist!
Try these techniques to experience relief:
1.Manage stress.Stress can increase chronic pain and make it more difficult to manage. Try a variety of strategies to relax and reduce stress to see which ones work the best for you.
·Yoga and meditation are two stress-reduction strategies that can help.
2.Try breathing exercises.
By simply focusing on your breathing, you can relax your muscles and reduce pain.
Deep breathing exercises can also reduce blood pressure, eliminate stress, and decrease heart rate. When you breathe in, breathe in through the nose and out through your mouth with a semi-pursed lip, slowly to allow better gas exchange in the lungs.
3.Find fun distractions.Instead of concentrating on the pain, try distractions that help you forget about it.
·Hobbies and activities such as watching your favorite movie or reading a new book can help. You may also want to try drawing or other ideas that help you fill your time and avoid thinking about the pain.
4.Increase your water intake.Dehydration can make chronic pain worse. Have you tried coconut water? Choose the pure coconut water, not from concentrate, no sugar added kind. Many brands are available in the market. I know it’s an acquired taste but it is rich in natural electrolytes and potassium. Muscle cramps? Coconut water can help. You can find many different brands at your favorite grocery or health foods store.
5.Avoid inflammatory food. Fast food and processed food can increase inflammation in your body, so your chronic pain also increases. Foods with a lot of sugar and salt also contribute to inflammation and increased pain.
6.Add more anti-inflammatory food.On the other hand, nuts, leafy greens, fatty fish, berries, and other items can help you fight inflammation and reduce pain.They have antioxidants that fight damage on the cellular level.
7.Focus on posture.Posture can help reduce the stress on your back and cut down on chronic pain.
·Consider the way you sit and stand. Experts recommend that you avoid slumping your shoulders and lowering your head. The spine should be straight, so circulation is better.
8.Discuss your health.Researchers have found that talking about your health can reduce pain. The American Psychological Association points out that talking about your pain can help you discover management techniques.
9.Try massage.Massages can reduce chronic pain by improving circulation and blood flow.
·Massages help reduce back, shoulder, and neck pain. They can also help your overall health. Improved circulation, looser muscles, helps uplift your mood from the endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, being stimulated.
Try using heat or cold packs over sore muscles and joints. See which one gets you the best relief.
TIP:Heat expands: meaning, more blood flow into the area due to blood vessels and the lymphatic system more open. COLD constricts, used mostly with acute bruising or injury. Ask your physical therapist which one to use best for your condition.
10.Find support. Health experts recommend finding support groups that focus on chronic pain. These groups give you the chance to meet others who suffer from chronic pain.
·They can offer advice and tips for managing pain. They can also provide doctor and clinic reviews or recommendations. By talking to others who have chronic pain, you can learn new techniques to deal with your pain.
·Chronic pain is linked to anxiety and depression. The social aspect of support groups can also help in coping with these side effects.
·Support groups are less formal settings, and online groups offer privacy and anonymity, so you can feel comfortable sharing your experience.
Even if you take medication for your pain, you can further, reduce it with these techniques.
Follow your doctor’s advice, reduce stress and inflammation, and find support.
Life is worth living. And we do need to take charge if we want the pain relief we seek.
Headache is a pain that arises from the head or upper cervical region. It generates from structures that include the skull or the cerebrum. The brain itself has no nerves that perceive the sensation of pain.
Bones are covered with a thin layer of tissue (periosteum), while muscles surround the skull, sinuses, eyes, and ears. Meninges arteries, veins, and nerves can get inflamed and cause a headache. The pain could be a dull ache, sharp, throbbing, constant, intermittent, mild, or intense.
Headache or head pain can be hard to detect. Primary symptoms are squeezing steady, constant, unrelenting, or intermittent pain. The area involved can be in one section of the face or skull or can include the entire head. The typical region for pain in the body is the head.
A headache is an indicator of physical stress and emotional distress. It is also the result of specific medical disorders, including migraine, anxiety, depression, and even high blood pressure.
There exist more severe causes of headaches, such as tumors and strokes. Both are relatively rare and are not primary indicators. Discussed herein are the origins of the more classic headache types regularly experienced by sufferers.
Headache can directly cause other problems as well. It can be disabling. Statistics show that it is a common factor in work productivity. Sufferers commonly miss workdays and decrease work performance during work hours. Headaches are the third leading cause of missed school days.
People who suffer from a chronic migraine headache are unable to participate regularly with tasks of daily living. Whether from school or work, missed days and absence is prevalent. Depression can also result due to isolation and inability to participate in social activities.
Headache can be debilitating. What I tackled in this book are alternative strategies to cope with headaches, no matter what the type. As a physical therapist, I also discussed how correcting posture can make a difference in the relaxation of the muscles of the neck, thereby decreasing the tension to the head.
A new phenomenon since the onset of the digital age: Text neck syndrome, and computer screen syndrome. The forward neck of the head forces muscles at the back of the neck to be in constant tension. The head weighs anywhere from 11 lbs. or more, the neck and upper back musculature is not designed to be loaded with this head weight for prolonged periods of time.
Working with patients, I learned a lot. Patients are resilient and the ones who overcome disabilities and impairments are the ones who persist and persevere with the prescribed home exercise program at home.
Little victories of being able to walk without a cane or walker after surgery, someone going back to playing golf, someone able to drive again, is celebrated. Quality of Life. When it is gained, it makes me fulfilled as a clinician.
I felt compelled to share a simple guide about this affliction that plagues many individuals: most of whom, are still in their productive years.
My most recent patient 57-year-old Kathryn (not her real name), was diagnosed with chronic fibromyalgia since she was 25 years old. She is deaf. She lip reads however and is also obese. She lives alone and has a baby dog weighing over a hundred pounds that she had to walk daily.
She complains she aches all over after walking her dog, but she still does it daily. When I first saw her for an evaluation, I just really thought she hated me on sight.
She complained about everything: how she had physical therapy before many times and it never helped. She added that she had been reading on the internet about fibromyalgia and that she knows that there is no cure for it. She saw pain management doctors and the shots she received did not help her either, as she stated. “Nothing worked, NOTHING will work, and you can’t help me either!”
There was only one question I asked her: “Have you ever tried letting KATHRYN, help …. KATHRYN?
This lady did a turnaround and took charge. First, we corrected her posture. I gave her exercises and instructions on how to correct her posture. We made it fun. She completed her physical therapy program just a few weeks ago. She made me so proud. What a difference she made in her life by working on changes herself.
Kathryn is not the only fibromyalgia patient that I had the privilege of working with. The ones who made a decision to make a change and stick with it were winners in my eyes.
The smallest of victories as being able to drive again,being able to carry a grandchild, or attend a son’s wedding? It meant the world to them.
Most of all, it means a lot to me.
Fibromyalgia is the 2nd major “rheumatic” disorder. Its prevalence is about 2 to 8% of the population. It has a woman and man ratio of 2:1. It resembles some chronic pain diseases. Fibromyalgia may affect individuals of any age, including children. Its prevalence is the same in different regions, cultures, and ethnic groups.
Fibromyalgia patients complain about chronic pain in their entire body. Fibromyalgia patients have a history of irritable bowel syndrome, dysmenorrhea,headaches,fatigue, and some gastrointestinal disorders including interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, etc.
It is a lifelong disorder that begins in adult age or young age manifested by pain. It is observed in different areas of the body.
Studies have found that there is about 50 percent of the risk of developing fibromyalgia due to genetic reasons and the remaining 50% risks are due to environmental causes. Environmental factors may initiate fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia or similar disorders, like chronic fatigue, can be initiated by different kinds of infections (e.g., Lyme disease, EB virus, viral hepatitis, Q fever) and trauma. Psychological stress can initiate fibromyalgia too.
***The most efficient way to approach fibromyalgia is to integrate pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatments to engage the affected person to participate actively in this procedure. ***
There are various methods are developed to manage symptoms of fibromyalgia.
In chronic conditions, non-pharmacologic methods are used to reduce symptoms.
These methods enhance control over the condition. Studies have found that by regular exercise/yoga and following nutritional, behavioral, and physiological interventions, we can reduce the symptoms such as fatigue.
Some pharmacological therapies that address pain, depression, and sleep can manage the symptoms significantly. However, fibromyalgia patients are also advised to avoid short-acting drugs because it may lead to drug dependency.
5 STRATEGIES THAT CAN BE USED TO MANAGE FIBROMYALGIA SYMPTOMS
Self-initiated activities: It includes management strategies. i.e distraction, prayer, planning, and exercising.
Professional treatments: It includes acupuncture, physiotherapy, group or psychotherapy, and ultrasound therapy.
Escape behaviors: Avoiding pain medication and alcohol.
Resignation: Reflecting hopelessness and lack of control.
Passivity: It includes ignoring pain, self-care methods and comparing current circumstances to others.
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR FIBROMYALGIA
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that fibromyalgia affects approximately 2 percent of the adult population in the USA.
There is no complete cure for fibromyalgia: but we can reduce and manage the symptoms by natural remedies, lifestyle changes, and medication.
For patients with fibromyalgia, it is difficult to exercise regularly. But such a condition can be managed by gradual and persistent exercise.
By building strong muscles, pain and discomfort can be reduced. Before starting any type of exercise, the patient should consult the doctor or physical therapist.
Aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, and cycling are very beneficial for patients with fibromyalgia. These help improve the health and the overall well-being of the body. It may also result in reduced pain, stiffness, and fatigue.
Neurological studies have found that a program of a 15-week exercise can lead to better brain functioning in people that are affected by fibromyalgia.
PHYSIOBALL EXERCISES FOR PAIN RELIEF THROUGH SELF STRETCHING
Although there are many exercises one can search for online, I will share a simplified routine that has worked great with my fibromyalgia patients. Why do I like to use a physioball? I want to keep it simple and easy to get started with. Especially so with fibromyalgia patients.
The ball provides good support to the heavy lower extremities and supports the back when laying down on the back (supine position).
A SIMPLE TIP: When lying down flat on the back, always keep knees bent, or place pillows for support under the knees. This takes the stress of the lower back. It is important to maintain the natural curve of the low back (lumbar lordosis).
More of this type of exercise is discussed in the book. With the chronic muscle pains from Fibromyalgia, it is important to maintain flexibility, decrease muscle tone for better tolerance to functional activities.
Scoliosis can develop from the degeneration of the lumbar spine caused by normal wear and tear. Osteoarthritis is also a common cause. It is also common in the elderly as the spine deteriorates from degenerative disc disease. This will also have developed since adolescence but was undetected. furthermore, most cases of scoliosis have no known cause,
A common problem due to degenerative changes in the spine and common in the adult population, I see this a lot in the clinical setting. Complaints from individuals including back pain, sciatica, and functional decline due to anxiety with functional activities from anticipating pain.
Here, I want to share Ms. Carol’s story about her personal journey with this condition. I admire her tenacity as she continues to take charge of her own wellness despite her physical problems. Carol L., has been a patient of mine for over a decade. She is very active in life. She volunteers at a local zoo engage in social and community service activities, joins exercise classes and continues to live her life to its fullest. As told to me, this is her story, verbatim. This is exactly how she wrote it.
“I am 74 years old, and I have been living with scoliosis for the last twenty years or so. A recent x-ray described my spine as follows; “Marked thoracolumbar scoliosis convexity to the left, some 74 degrees.” I’ve been told that I could have been in a wheelchair with this kind of curvature. Instead, I am active, healthy, and flexible.
But, I’ve had to work – consistently – over the last 20 years to maintain my strength and flexibility.
Scoliosis is degenerative, so things change. Scoliosis itself doesn’t hurt – it’s the way it pulls the rest of the body (spine, pelvis, hips, shoulders) out of alignment, causing sore everything and often pinched nerves. It hurts to move, so you don’t! That’s the problem.
My first major episode was a pinched sciatic nerve in about 1995, and I thought I would never walk again. Doctors wanted to prescribe drugs and bed rest. I chose to see a chiropractor. The adjustments would not hold, and I was referred to a physical therapist. After about three physical therapists, I finally found someone who understood my problem and said – Ha! Your pelvis is out of alignment! Let’s work on core strength and stabilize the pelvis.
It’s essential to work on physical therapy, understand the problem, and continue to do the exercises. But, life happens, so you slack off your workouts, you get older, and your curve gets worse. So on and off, I’ve been back in real therapy-each time focusing a little differently on scoliosis, and of course, arthritis!
I have been fortunate to see the same physical therapist – someone who understands the problem and is not afraid to make me work! Staying active – moving – is critical. I’ve tried almost every medication in the market without much success – so I’ve not taken any medication for a long time.
The last episode had been complicated by moderately severe stenosis (according to my MRI), causing nerve pain, and I finally got a steroid injection. With that relief, and some new strengthening and stretching exercises from my physical therapist, I’ve been able to manage the pain reasonably well and achieve much better posture! Now, my focus is on maintaining strength AND flexibility, AND posture! I do a little routine in the morning to get ready for the day. You know when you are out of alignment – you hurt!
The June 2017 issue of Consumer reports says that growing research shows that a combination of ‘hands-on therapy’ (Yoga, Tai Chi, massage, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic) is more effective than drugs or surgery. I do them all (well, almost all), and it works!
Am I pain-free?? No. Have I been pain-free for the last 20 years? No. But it’s manageable with the exercises, I can do pretty much anything I want to do – walk, climb stairs, stand for hours, volunteer, travel, etc. My therapist warns me I’m getting old and have to be more careful about breaking bones and causing serious injury – so I’m trying to take it a little easier – but not too much!”
– By Carol L. (written 5/31/2018)
It is always possible to make adjustments to inabilities, and one can still live a productive life despite physical challenges. I have so much admiration for this hardworking lady who grabs the bull by its horn and just so inspiring to know!
She was back again for PT this year, for back pain; not a lot of complaints this time, mostly concerned with her R hip and leg. As always, she always gets better and returns to usual activities. She still actively goes to the gym and does her usual volunteer work at the Brevard Zoo 2 days a week.
It was a great pleasure to see her again overcome her difficulties..