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At home tools to use for back pain

At home tools to use for back pain


There are a few great tools you can use to help keep back pain at bay at home before coming in to see us. 

Foam Roller

A foam roller is a cheap and effective tool. It is used for mid to lower or mid to upper back pain. You place the roller under your back around the bra line area and lay down on it. Flexing your chin down and crossing your arms in front of your body, you slowly begin to roll. 

“For those of you that bake, you’ve got a thing of dough and you are using a rolling pin and as you roll back and forth over the dough, what does it do? It lengthens the dough, it makes it longer. When a muscle is hurting, a lot of times it’s in a spasm state, a shortened state that is causing pain.  A foam roller’s job is to lenghten the muscle which will help limit the spasms and pain.”


This muscle stimulator can help buy you some time before you get relief at the office with an adjustment. You attach small pads to the painful area and the device delivers small, electrical impulses that can distract the nervous system preventing the body from transmitting pain signals. Usually the unit has different levels so you can pick the right one for your pain. 

Theragun or Massage Gun

This device provides a deep massage to the affected area. This device can be great for soft tissue issues giving some pain relief. These massages let you pick the specific speed you would like. To use, go slowly over agitated muscles and sore areas. Be mindful about how long you are using it and limit to only a few minutes. 

Pull-Up Bar

A pull-up bar or really anything you can hang on can provide a great stretch to your spine. Be mindful if you have shoulder pain. They also sell hooks that you can put your elbows through to take tension off those shoulders. Hang until you feel the deep stretch. Do not use longer than a few minutes. 

Neck Pillows

You spend many hours sleeping so it’s important to have the right support for your head, neck and spine. Sleeping on your side or back is best. We get asked a lot about the right kind of pillow to purchase and we recommend a pillow that’s comfortable and keeps your spine in line with your head in a neutral position. To help prevent neck or back pain while sleeping, Dr. Dooley and Dr. O’Bryan both agree it’s changing up your head positioning and even changing your pillow every couple of days. 

Topical Treatments

Gels and creams such as Biofreeze and Icy Hot can help alleviate short term muscle pain. It’s a topical analgesic that contains menthol. It can help reduce inflammation because it mimics cold therapy and it’s also similar to the TENS unit where it distracts the pain receptors in the body so you don’t feel it as much. 


Heat is going to be more beneficial in loosening up tight muscles or spasms. Heat can be used for chronic based conditions or issues you have had longer than 2 weeks. Moist or damp heat is more beneficial than surface heat. Think hot tub or bath. It gets deeper into the muscle. Dr. Dooley and Dr. O’Bryan recommend no longer than 15 minutes at a time. 

Ice should be used more acutely or used on an injury that just happened. This can help prevent inflammation from building. Sprained ankles or a bumped head are some examples of where ice is helpful. It can decrease pain and increase range of motion.

Dr. Dooley and Dr. O’Bryan did an entire podcast episode on this topic:

Decompression Therapy (Traction Table)

Decompression Therapy (Traction Table)

Decompression Therapy might look medieval and scary but it’s a very useful tool in helping patients with cervical and lumbar issues. The table helps decompress and relieve pressure on the spine. 

The table is connected to weights and has straps to keep the patient in the proper position while stretching and aligning the spine. Decompression therapy is great for chronic issues and pinched nerves. 

The patient is typically on the table for 12-15 minutes at a time. Depending on the severity of the issue, it can be utilized a few times a week. 

Dr. Pat O’Bryan and Dr. Tim Dooley discuss this therapy in an episode of Adjust Your Life Podcast


Can you adjust yourself?

Can you adjust yourself?

Can you adjust yourself?


Have you every tried to crack your own neck or back? You are not alone. It’s a question we get in the office every week, but is it safe? Can it actually work? 

Dr. Pat O’Bryan and Dr. Tim Dooley with IPMD say an actual adjustment needs to be done by a trained professional to get the right angle and pressure to the joint. Trying to do this to yourself can cause injury and make the problem worse. 

“You can even end up on the surgery table if an adjustment is not done correctly,” said Dr. Tim Dooley. 

“We advise against any abrupt movements or moves that force the joint against its normal range of motion,” said Dr. Pat O’ Bryan.

A lot of people think if they get a crack when they bend their neck a certain way, that’s an adjustment and the problem or pain is fixed. This is not the case. The “pop” or “crack” is just gas/air releasing between your joints. The sound does not mean the entire problem is fixed. The goal of an adjustment is to relax the muscle or improve/restore joint function.

Trained doctors use x-rays and physical exams to help determine what joints need adjusted. 

Abruptly moving a joint can cause some inflammation or even more pain or damage than you started with. If you are forcing the joint against its natural range of motion, it can also cause it to get too loose and make it more difficult for a chiropractor to fix.

“Every time you turn and crack it, the joint that is the least stuck is going to be the first one to pop on repeat so you might not be hitting the spot that you need to hit and putting hyper-mobility or too much movement into a joint that doesn’t need it and when you go to a chiropractor to adjust it, the joints that you have stretched out are the ones absorbing the force,” said Dr. Pat O’Bryan.

This can make correcting the problem even more difficult. The reason Chiropractic care works is because you have another person, who is properly trained, delivering pressure to a specific area, at a specific angle. There are some areas you just won’t be able to get on your own.

“You can start developing headaches and posture issues,” said Dr. Tim Dooley.

However, Dr. Dooley and Dr. O’ Bryan agree there are several stretches that patients can do at home to help alleviate pain and discomfort. They suggest always consulting your Chiropractor first so you don’t aggravate your condition. See below for some demonstrations. 


Neck pain? Avoid any quick movements. Turn neck slowly to one side like you are looking over your shoulder or try this chin tuck stretch. 

Mid-back pain? Interlock fingers behind your head. Sink back toward the ground. Hold for 5 seconds. This is providing an extension in your mid-back.

More back pain? Try a foam roller. It’s the #1 thing we suggest our patient’s purchase for their back. It helps joints move and lengthen muscles. Retain a proper flexed position, hug yourself and lift pelvis up. Roll up and down. Focus on your breathing. 

Dr. O’Bryan demonstrates full stretches below:

Botox, Facial Peels now available at IPMD

Botox, Facial Peels now available at IPMD

IPMD is partnering with Simply ReNew to offer several new services at our Centerville office.

Nurse Practitioner, Sara Edwards will be providing medical grade chemical peels, aesthetic Botox, Derma-Filler, and micro-needling.

Sara Edwards, MSN, RN, FNP


Sara Edwards is a Family Nurse Practitioner.

She worked 17 years in the NICU as a nurse. Once she obtained her FNP she wanted to make a change. She decided to open her own practice and do medical aesthetics. She also teaches at The Ohio State University.

Sara can be reached at 937-267-6799 to schedule a consultation. She can also be reached via email at sara@SimplyReNewllc.com



Adjustments 101

Adjustments 101

Chiropractic adjustments are used every day at Integrative Physical Medicine of Dayton. They are one of the main tools we use to get our patients feeling better, quicker.

Adjustments or spinal manipulations often involve the patient lying face down on a specially designed padded table. Our chiropractors use their hands to apply sudden and controlled pressure to a spinal joint. This helps the spine re-align which alleviates pressure from nerves which could be causing the pain in the first place.

Why the popping?

This is caused by pockets of air or gas that surround the joints. When pressure is applied to that area, those joints and those pockets move, causing the popping or cracking sound. It sounds worse than it is!

Does it Hurt?

Typically, adjustments don’t hurt. Depending on what area of the body the chiropractor is adjusting, there may be some pressure which can be slightly uncomfortable for some people but that is rare. After the adjustment, there may be slight soreness to the area that was worked on. This is usually caused by inflammation of the tissue around the joint that was out of place. A cold or hot compress can help. Typically, our patients like being adjusted and feel better afterwards.

What’s Next?

Your chiropractic doctor will talk through your care plan. Treatment plans vary and depend on the individual person and their problem. They may include more adjustments to make sure your joints are staying in place. They also may recommend physical therapy or traction therapy which uses a table to help stretch out certain areas. In extreme cases, your chiropractor will refer you to a medical doctor or surgeon.