Physical Supports


Physical Supports can help with the following


Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)

Treatment for chronic venous insufficiency usually includes compression stockings, which squeeze the veins and keep blood flowing so it is more difficult for blood clots to form. If the skin is not broken or leaking fluid, your doctor may recommend an anti-itch cream, such as one containing hydrocortisone; a cream containing zinc oxide to protect the skin; or an antifungus cream to prevent fungal infections.



If needed, use elastic support (compression) stockings that cover the calf and thigh. These may help restrict blood flow to the legs, thus keeping more blood in the upper body.


Heel Pain

When the cause is flat feet, an orthotic support with rear-foot posting and longitudinal arch is effective in reducing the over-pronation and allows the condition to heal. See your podiatrist to have an arch support fitted.

If you have usually high arches, which can also lead to plantar fasciitis, cushion the heel and use shock-absorbing footwear.

The plantar ligaments in your foot are prone to stretching and irritation that cause heel spurs and plantar fasciitis (mid-foot pain), when your arch is left unsupported. A specially designed footware called Z-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear has helped many treat and prevent such problems.



The simple technique of routinely using ear plugs can help provide more and deeper sleep for ‘light’ sleepers. Sounds that would have disturbed their sleep are quieted so less interruptions are experienced.


Edema (Water Retention)

The use of compression stockings is by far the most common first treatment step beyond simply elevating the feet. These elastic stockings help keep the veins from getting distended by simply squeezing the legs and feet a little. Compression stockings vary from over the counter styles which provide mild compression to high compression styles requiring a doctor’s prescription. Compression stockings can be difficult to put on and unless you have strong hands and arms, you will probably need help getting them on. One useful tip to make it easier to put them on is to wear Playtex style rubber gloves.

The veins in your legs are one of the hardest working parts of your circulatory system. From your feet, deoxygenated blood is then returned to your heart, where it is forced to fight gravity along the way. This process puts a great deal of stress on the veins of your legs. Because of this, many people are at risk of having problems with their veins later in life.

Support stockings assist the natural function of your veins by offering a mild graduated compression. This compression provides a “massaging effect” that, when combined with the muscle pump effect of the calf, helps to constrict the veins, and reduce swelling. Constriction of the veins by compression stockings, enables more efficient function of the vein valves, improving the return of blood to the heart.


Foot / Arch Problems

Z-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear contains a rigid orthotic that helps to prevent arch related problems by reducing the impact of standing, walking and running. It has an adjustable coil which can help control over-pronation and supination.


Neck Pain / Problems

Neck rolls and orthopedic pillows of different sizes and materials are available for use when sleeping. These help maintain the natural curvature of the cervical spine while lying on your back and can help maintain straightness of the spine and head when lying on your side, if incorporated into a pillow. Using such a roll or pillow can help reduce neck pain. There is even one pillow available, made from memory foam, which has a larger roll at the top and a smaller one at the bottom, giving you the option of rotating the pillow and using the position that provides the most comfort.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Splinting your wrists at night may be all that’s needed to improve the numbness and tingling of early carpal tunnel syndrome.

A study found that wearing a custom-made wrist splint for six weeks could bring long-lasting relief. “This fairly innocuous, low-cost intervention dramatically improves the level of discomfort, not only in the short-term, but the relief lasts up to a year out,” said study author Dr. Robert Werner, the chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center in Michigan. [Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, January, 2005]

Splinting devices are generally only worn at night. Some patients choose to wear a wrist splint all of the time. Compared with nighttime-only splint use, full-time use has been shown to provide greater improvement of symptoms and electrophysiologic measures; however, compliance with full-time use is more difficult. Other wrist support devices are worn during the day when engaged in repetitive use of the hands and fingers – as with work at a keyboard.

Splinting is probably most effective when it is applied within three months of the onset of symptoms.


Short Leg

After it has been determined which syndrome is evident, a correction can be considered. With an anatomical shortness, correction is made simply by placing a heel left in the shoe of the short leg. The lift can either be inserted in the shoe itself or constructed onto the inside shoe (or of your orthotic). This can be done by any qualified orthopedist, podiatrist or chiropractor.



The brace (orthosis) is a device to hold the spine in a straighter position during the growing years. The brace is prescribed by an orthopaedic specialist and is usually worn nearly full-time until bone growth has stopped.


Nervous System  

Fainting / Syncope

Elastic support hose can be useful in some cases.

Organ Health  

Dry Eye

Many patients tire of using eye drops and turn to punctal occlusion, which may provide longer term relief. Punctal occlusion closes the drain that draws away excess fluids from the eyes. The doctor closes the drain with silicone plugs, which keeps most of the fluids from being pumped away. In one study, 85% of patients with dry eyes were able to reduce their need for artificial tears to occasional use.


Low Back Pain / Problems

If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your head and shoulders, a rolled up towel under your neck, and one under your knees to maintain your natural spinal curves. Always use a supportive mattress, and never sleep on your stomach. If you sleep on your side, place a pillow under your head and neck and make sure that your neck is level with the rest of your spine. Put a pillow between your knees, and bend them to relieve strain on your low back. Keep a pillow near your chest so your upper body doesn’t roll forward. Before getting out of bed, stretch, raise up slowly, and use your arms to support you as you swing your legs to the floor. Getting out of bed correctly may prevent an injury to your spine.

In 42 male and 116 female subjects with chronic, non-specific low-back pain, those who slept on a medium-firm mattress had less back pain on rising, less disability, and less daytime low-back pain compared with those who used a firm mattress. This benefit took place over a 3 month period. [Lancet. November 15, 2003;362: pp.1599-1604]

Traction was found not be helpful. In evaluating 151 patients over 6 weeks for nonspecific low back pain it was found that traction was not effective for patients with low back pain. [The Lancet, December 16, 1995;346: pp.1596-1600]

In the largest prospective cohort study of back belt use, adjusted for multiple individual risk factors, neither frequent back belt use nor a store policy that required belt use was associated with reduced incidence of back injury claims or low back pain. [JAMA. 2000;284: pp.2727-2732] However, some people believe that wearing a back belt does remind them to lift properly.

In sciatica, proper support of the lumbar spine helps take pressure off the lumbar disks and can be a valuable adjunct in an overall treatment program for sciatica. Seat wedges can often better disburse pressure equally across the thighs rather than having a seat that applies localized pressure to the sensitive sciatic nerves.

Z-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear was invented by Al Gallegos, a runner and shoe-store owner who was plagued by heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, and other foot troubles. Knee and back problems have been helped by the use of this shoe also. Since the first Z-CoiL running shoes were manufactured in 1997, the product line has expanded to include casual dress shoes, sandals, clogs, hiking books, and work boots.

Although the shock-absorbing coil springs are the most obvious difference between Z-CoiLs and conventional shoes, the product has other unique features: The front of the sole has 20 mm (3/4″) of neoprene rubber cushioning to protect the forefoot, and the shoe’s footbed incorporates a rigid plastic orthotic for arch support and stability. Such design features have helped Z-CoiL shoes to gain a cult following among nurses, chefs, and other people who work on their feet all day.


Sleep Apnea

There are several different styles of devices available over the counter to enhance nasal breathing. Some remain on the outside of the nose, sticking to the skin and supplying a lifting action. Others insert into the nostrils, forcing them to remain open.

Several oral devices have been tested to treat people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), including a tongue-retaining device that is worn while sleeping. It pushes the tongue and jaw forward, improving airflow. Changing the position of the lower jaw enlarges the airway and decreases the chance that it will collapse when you inhale. Some oral breathing devices supply electrical stimulation to the throat muscles to prevent the airway from collapsing when you sleep.

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, therapy. A CPAP machine is usually about the size of a shoebox but may be smaller. A flexible tube connects the machine with a mask or other interface device that is worn over the nose and/or mouth. CPAP works by pushing air through the airway passage at a pressure high enough to prevent apneas and can be prescribed for both obstructive and central sleep apnea. The pressure is set according to the patient’s sleep apnea.

Because CPAP is a medical device, all CPAP units must have FDA approval (in the US) before they can be sold. For the same reason, you must have a physician’s prescription in order to obtain a CPAP.


Problems Associated With Snoring

A MAD (Mandibular Advancement Device) is a device worn in the mouth at night to hold it closed and the lower jaw forward. The device increases the space behind the tongue, which lessens snoring and may help obstructive sleep apnoea. They can be obtained from those dentists familiar with them.


Erectile Dysfunction (ED, Impotence)

The major cause of impotence is leakage through the veins. This happens when the veins carrying blood out of the penis are not shut completely, allowing blood to be drained out of the penis at the same rate as it enters. This results in prevention or loss of erection.

There are a variety of bands and rings on the market which help by shutting off the veins externally with a tourniquet effect, hence trapping sufficient blood in your penis to give you a natural, longer and harder erection for successful sexual intercourse within a minute of wearing it. This type of device will not work if there is restricted blood flow to your penis or if you suffer from serious health problems, such as diabetes, stroke or penile nerve damage.


Vulvodynia / Vestibulitis

To relieve pressure on the vulvar area when sitting you may use a pressure relief cushion.


May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended

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