10 Back Pain-Relieving Products for Your Holiday Wish List

These are the products back pain experts wish you’d add to your holiday list.

As you make your wish list for the holidays, maybe you’re adding things like a gaming system, gift cards, or fancy cookware. But if you have a problematic back, perhaps you should consider adding some pain-busting products to your list.

In fact, it seems that back experts themselves have a few things on their wish lists—they’d love for their patients and others who deal with back pain to try some helpful products this holiday season. Touching on all price points, these ideas will give you the gift of less back pain, and we’re thinking that your friends and family will happily oblige if their gifts benefit your well-being.

Holiday back pain wish listMake sure your holiday wish list includes these back pain-busting products. Check it twice!

1. Foam Roller

Studies have shown that foam rolling can be effective for a wide variety of aches and pains and can be specifically helpful for backaches.

Michael Suer, MD., assistant professor in the department of orthopedics and rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, sings the praises of this foam-covered cylinder.

He says, “Foam rolling has been shown to have many benefits, including releasing muscle knots and tension, reducing inflammation, decreasing pain, and improving range of motion and flexibility.”

2. Wedge Pillow

Barbara Bergin, M.D., a board certified orthopedic surgeon with Texas Orthopedics, thinks that a wedge pillow placed under the back is a nighttime necessity, saying, “[A wedge pillow] takes the stress off the back and neck for late night reading in bed. Flip it around and you can take the tension off your legs, which also relieves the back.”

3. Percussive Massager

A percussive massager, a pain-relieving device that’s relatively new to the market, might be just as cool and sleek as that gaming console you’re eyeing for the holidays.

“A percussive massager, like a Theragun, can provide deep massage to many areas of the body including the low back. Many brands are available with various levels of built-in technology. But caution must be used as percussive massage can be aggressive and may do more harm than good for back problems other than muscular soreness,” Dr. Suer warns.

4. Seat Cushion

If you find that you sit at a desk for most of the day (or if the pandemic has you working at home instead of in your comfy ergonomic office chair), you might need a proper seat cushion.

“A combination used by many individuals who sit the majority of their day include a seat cushion and lumbar support,” says Dr. Suer. “An office chair with these items can also be considered, but individual cushions can be transported easily and adjusted to fit where you need them. Many features are available in each of these but there are a few items to keep in mind. Memory foam and air cells can provide the most pressure relief.”

Dr. Suer adds that if you suffer from tailbone pain, aim for a seat cushion with the tailbone cut out for extra relief.

5. Inversion Table

You don’t have to be an acrobat in Cirque du Soleil to use an inversion table. In fact, some are available at relatively economical price points (starting around $100), and when used correctly, it can successfully relieve back pain.

Holiday back pain wish list inversion tableInversion table

“Inversion tables and cervical traction devices can provide traction for the low back to help relieve pain,” Dr. Suer notes. “Caution must be used with these devices as gentle traction can be achieved with shallow angles. With larger angles, or full inversion, more traction is placed on the low back, but this will also put more pressure on the ankles and knees.”

It’s best to discuss your individual spine-care needs with a physical therapist, chiropractor, or physician before pursuing this option, Dr. Suer advises.

6. Pain-Relieving Patches

You can’t go wrong by asking for a few much-needed pain-relieving patches for the holidays—plus, they make perfect stocking stuffers. Dr. Bergin recommends Lidocaine, IcyHot, and Salonpas patches.

7. Sit/Stand Desk

In addition to burning off bonus calories throughout the day, a convertible desk with the option to sit or stand can be very valuable to a sore back.

Dr. Suer says that many people find relief by changing positions throughout the workday. He says, “A sit/stand desk can provide the frequent position changes that can help with posture, core stability, blood flow, and pain in the low back or neck and shoulders. Make sure the desk is stable and adjusted to the proper height so that your gaze is straight forward and your hands and arms are neither too high or too low.”

8. Lumbar Support

Made to reinforce the lumbar region while seated, a lumbar support is one of Dr. Suer’s top picks because “many of us slouch forward with our head and shoulders hunched forward which can strain the entire body, especially the low back,” he says. “Lumbar supports can help provide proper alignment of the lumbar spine while sitting down.”

9. Thigh Pillow

Sometimes back-pain relief can come in simple forms. One of those is a thigh pillow, or a pillow you place between your legs while sleeping. Dr. Suer says this pillow is particularly ideal for side-sleepers since the top leg can often drift downward, leading to increased stress on the hips and low back.

Holiday back pain wish list thigh pillowA thigh pillow can keep your spine aligned while you sleep.

He says, “Thigh pillows can help keep the legs aligned during sleep to relieve pressure off the low back. Often, a contour in the pillow is enough to keep it in place. However, some provide a strap to help keep it positioned properly between the thighs.”

10. Helpful Books

Last but not least, you can add a couple books to your holiday wish list that may have you feeling better before you know it.

Dr. Bergin recommends Treat Your Own Back by Robin McKenzie, “a must-have for anyone who has back pain and frankly for anyone over the age of 40,” she says.

Dr. Suer is partial to the book Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by John E. Sarno, MD. He says, “Dr. Sarno looks at the mind-body connection and teaches the reader to identify stress and other psychological factors that cause back pain.”

With these back pain-relieving gifts under the tree, you might start the new year with a new-and-improved back as well. But keep in mind that with some back conditions, products can only take you so far.

Dr. Suer cautions, “If you continue to experience pain that limits your daily function, seek help through a healthcare provider.”

Updated on: 12/11/20
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