Don't live with pain
Physical therapy helps you help yourself

Books - Web Links

Contact Us
Find a PT

Back Pain
Neck Pain
Forearm-Wrist Pain
Knee &  Heel Pain
Home Program

Ergonomic Supplies  

Cold Packs - braces for neck, back and wrist-forearm  
Soft cold packs, Cervical pillows, ergonomic fixes for home and office, Etc

Best massage tool for the neck. 
Try it in person at Brookstone locations.
Cervical Support Pillows
The main goal of a pillow is to provide extra support for the curve of the neck and provide a hollow for the head to rest in.

TIP   Make a long thin roll with one or two towels.  Take a feather pillow in a pillowcase and tuck the  rolled towel inside the pillowcase at the bottom of the pillowcase.  The towel provides firm support for the neck.  The soft feathers give way to provide a hollow for the head.  You can customize this to fit your neck by making the towel roll thinner of thicker.  
TIP   A good hotel trick is to use multiple towels to create a pillow that is custom shaped to supports your neck.  

Pillows are tough because each individual has a different shape neck.  The goal is to support your normal spinal curve.  Here are a few ideas.

nap Wedge Travel Pillow

Small and soft - this is a good pillow for filling in the gap between you neck and the headrest when flying.  Also, it and can be used for sleeping instead of the huge hotel pillows that make no attempt to contour to your neck.

Buckwheat Pillow

Buckwheat pillows work like sand at the beach.  You can carve out the exact shape to fit you neck and the pillow will retail it's shape during the night. 
You can bunch a feather pillow up under your neck to add support but as the night progresses the feathers collapse leaving the neck unsupported. 

Various memory foam pillows are available at

TIP  The problem some people have with memory foam pillows is that they are pre formed with a small and a large curve.  The idea being that the smaller curve may be adequate for supporting the neck when you rest on your back but the curve created is larger when you lie on your side.  This occurs because of the width of the shoulders. 

you can use the larger curve under your neck when you are on your side and the smaller one when you lie on your back. 

Problem: most people turn in bed at night without flipping the pillow. 

Problem: the distance between the two curves is not large enough for most heads so the top of your head ends up being pushed upward creating neck tension. 

Solution: If the pillow is comfortable
 Great- If it's not broken don't fix it.

If you are not comfortable with a shaped memory foam pillow, turn the pillow over and cut out a flap of foam foam where the top of the head rests. 
This essentially eliminates the second curve at the top in this area and allow your head to rest down in the hollow of the pillow.  

No more tired arms and shoulders from holding a book to read. 

No more stiff neck from looking down to read a book placed in your lap. 

This is a great tool.



Neck contour

large size for low back
Click on picture for link

A soft gel "colpac" by Chattanooga is a great item to have in your freezer.   They come in a variety of sizes and are very durable.


has a good selection.
Or search for "Colpac"

ElastoGel Wraps are not as cold as the colpacks from Chattanooga.

ElastoGel - Wrist

The velcro strap makes them easy to use. 


Banner Therapy has a good selection of ElastoGel products
including a pack specifically for the  wrist 
(remember ice at the elbow will often relieve wrist pain caused by tendonitis)

This provides a bit more coverage for the neck but may be a bit heavy.

Elastogel Wrap 4"x24"

This long thin gel pack is easy to wrap the neck, wrist, elbow, knee or ankle.
neck, wrist, elbow, knee or ankle.

This can be worn around the neck like a cervical (neck) collar

ElastoGel Wrap - Lumbar
specific for the low back.

Microwave hot packs

Flat electric hot packs are ok for the low back but they are hard to contour around other body parts.
has a great selection at good prices.
I like the soft (under stuffed) ones because are easier to wrap.   

Wrist Splints

This type of splint gives the most support. 

You can find a variety of splints at
Breathe Moore Easy Medical Supply 1-877-568-7200

A tennis elbow strap helps relieve strain from tendonitis.  (This is a frequent cause of wrist pain)

Breathe Moore Easy Medical Supply 1-877-568-7200

Back supports
A back support should have double closure (see small image) and removable stays.

You can find a good variety at


All in one - hot cold products, braces, home traction, etc

This site has a full line of quality equipment

OPTP Orthopedic Physical Therapy Products  
(888) 819-0121
  •   Flexaball 
    (we use Flexaball for stretching and strengthening)

     wpe8E.jpg (2207 bytes)


TIPS:  With any equipment you need to know how to use it.

  • Start slow - see how you feel the next day.

  • Forget about, " No pain, No gain,"



3 x 6inch roller

Body Trends offers a line of products and great advise on use of the products.  
Click here for a body trends article on the foam roller.

OXO has a full line of 
kitchen / garden /household 
products that are easy on your wrists and hands

Great for people with wrist pain or people who don't want to develop wrist pain.

is one of my favorites

Opening a jar puts a lots of strain on the joints of the hand and wrist.  There is a principle known as joint conservation.  This means, our joints, like all moving parts, eventually wear out.  The idea is don't put extra strain on fragile joints if you don't have to.  If you have one of these in your kitchen you can still perform the task (open the jar) with out the strain on your joints.  I give the lid a few hard taps with the V shaped end first.  This tool opens almost every jar. 

Other ideas - don't' forget to use
TLC (Tender Loving Care)
Taking good care of you body does not have to cost anything. 

There are many simple things you can do at home 
that help your body relax.  

Relaxation is our bodies natural way of letting go of the 
tension in our muscles from daily stress and strain.  

Ideas include:

  •  listen to soft music ( or a relaxation tape)

  • take a walk

  • gentle exercise and stretching

  • use of heat ( heating pad, hot bath or shower, etc)

  • lie down and put your legs up for a few minutes

Harriet Carter - Distinctive Gifts Since 1958
Harriet Carter has good prices on some essential items

A bed wedge is an essential item for reading in bed.

Leg Lift Pillow
Lying down for 10-15 minutes 
with your legs up, on a thick foam surface,
 like the leg lift pillow, 
is one of the best ways to relax 
your low back muscles.


Back and Body Care
3004 16th Street, # 303
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 626-3099