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Miracle Balls

In some cases, back pain may be caused by other medical problems. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal (the narrow passageway that encases the spinal cord). Arthritis can affect the tiny joints in the spine.

Abnormal curvature of the spine (as with scoliosis) can strain the vertebrae or supporting soft tissues. Osteoporosis can weaken the bones in the spine and cause the vertebrae to fracture.

Treating Back Pain Most cases of back pain can be treated with simple measures.

Over-the-counter medications and ice or heat may help relieve some pain. For more severe pain, doctors may provide prescription medications. Bed rest should be limited to prevent further weakness from non-use of the back muscles. Exercise can strengthen the back muscles and improve flexibility. Some patients also gain relief from acupuncture, biofeedback, local injections or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). When these treatments aren't helpful, or when symptoms are severe, doctors may recommend surgery.

Miracle Balls for the Back Elaine Petrone is a dancer who, at 19 experienced an injury that led to chronic back pain. Standard therapies didn't help and she feared she would never dance again. Her search for effective relief led her to develop a technique, called the Miracle Ball Method.

As the name of the program suggests, the basis for the Miracle Ball Method is a small ball (about four-inches in diameter). The firm, but squishy ball is placed under the body. Instead of exercising and putting more tension on the muscles, you simply allow your body to rest on top of the ball. The weight of the body against the ball creates a gentle pressure and helps a user to focus on the target area. Next come some recommended breathing exercises and body positions.

Gradually, the muscles in the target area begin to relax. As the tension goes away, more oxygen flows to the tissues, allowing the area to heal and the pain to go away.

The kit for the Miracle Ball Method comes with two of the miracle balls and a detailed book of instructions. It retails for $17.95 and can be obtained through local bookstores and online retailers.