December arrives tomorrow and with it, the season for eating great food, spending quality time with loved ones and sharing cherished traditions. Unfortunately, all of the hustle and bustle can also bring you an unwelcome gift — back pain.
Holiday activities such as shopping, wrapping gifts and skating can cause your muscles to work in ways they’re not usually used and can result in neck, shoulder or back pain.
Try these five tips to reduce your chances of pain and strain:
1. Ergonomic Gift Wrapping
After searching high and low for the perfect gifts, it’s time to wrap them up! Rather than spreading out on the floor, use a dinner table or desk. This will make it easier for you to use good posture. Just remember that sitting in one position for too long can put additional strain on your body. Take frequent breaks and stretch your hands, wrists and forearms by clenching your hands and relaxing.
2. Strain-Free Snowman
Building your very own Frosty the Snowman is top of mind for many children once the snow falls. Roll your snowballs into place and work together as a team to lift them when you’re ready. And remember, rule number one is to lift with your legs, not your back!
3. Lift Light to Shovel Right
When shovelling your driveway, let your legs and arms do the heavy lifting instead of relying on your back, and push the snow to one side to avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — face your snowbank and throw the snow straight into it.
4. Stretch, Skate and Snowboard
It’s time to sharpen your skates and grab your snowboards! To prevent injuries that can plague you for months, remember to stretch before and after you hit the slopes or ice.
A basic go-to is the hamstring stretch:
Stand tall next to something you can hold on to for support.
Prop the back of one heel up on a surface like a stair, curb or bench and pull your toes back towards you.
For a deeper stretch, bend forward slightly at the hips.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds on each side.
5. Holiday Shopping
Carrying all those bags may be a productive way to move through your Christmas list, but it’s not great for your back. Consider taking a trip to your car to drop off your bags and lighten the load. If that’s not reasonable, take breaks and set your bags down or use a backpack to help distribute the weight.
Take care of yourself during the cold-weather months.
There are lots of ways to make the short winter days a little brighter. The wellness team at Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage encourages you to make your physical and mental health a priority.
We provide our patients with more than just chiropractic and massage therapy services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so you can be at your best for work or play, every day.
As you head out to rake your leaves this month, chances are the last thing you’ll be thinking about is your posture. But you should, because an hour or so spent tidying your lawn can have long-term consequences if your body isn’t accustomed to the activity.
Ajax Chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera and the massage therapists at Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage have helped numerous patients overcome injuries, many of which have occurred while working around the home.
“Although raking may seem like an easy task, it’s actually an intensely physical activity,” says Dr. Noble. “To avoid injury, it’s important to make sure you’re performing this task correctly.”
Follow these tips and avoid a backache next time you rake.
Pick the right tool for the job
Is your rake the correct length for your height? Ideally, your rake should be about chin high. If it is too tall or too short, this could lead to improper reaching or bending and potential injury.
Get your body moving before the raking begins
Before you grab the rake, spend five to 10 minutes doing a variety of whole-body stretches. These can include a basic hamstring stretch, shoulder, wrist, and side stretches. For a full list of stretches, click here. Do each of the exercises five times, holding each for 15 seconds. Be sure not to bounce, jerk or strain. It should be a gentle stretch, not a pain.
Ensure proper raking posture
Once you’ve warmed up, keep your back straight while raking and avoid repetitive motions by switching arms and pulling in different directions. This allows you to work out different parts of your body equally.
Remember to bend at the knees when lifting
Whether you’re moving a planter across the deck or lifting a bag of leaves, remember to bend at your knees, not at your waist, and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. As you’re lifting, tighten your abs, straighten your knees and keep your back straight. For turning, you should avoid twisting at the waist by moving your feet instead.
Take frequent breaks
Every 20 minutes or so, pause for a few minutes to catch your breath and stay hydrated. Check your posture and perform a few stretches to ensure that you are maintaining flexibility throughout raking.
The warm weather is here and that means more opportunities to go outdoors and have fun. One activity that many of us look forward to in the summer months is camping. The fresh air, a well-lit campfire and a dip in the lake are difficult to resist. But preparing for camping is just as important as enjoying it. Be ready for the unexpected.
Campgrounds and parks allow us to enjoy a large variety of recreational activities, which is what makes them a summer favourite. Preparing and organizing packing ahead of time can help you manage the unexpected and tackle challenges as they arise. We want to help out all our campers this summer with some useful tips to follow before you load up the tent and strap your canoe on the roof of the car:
Test your gear to ensure it works. Before packing materials in your vehicle, test your equipment to ensure it works and do so safely.
Plan for activities. Plan your activities in advance to ensure that you have the right equipment and are physically ready for the challenge.
Familiarize yourself with your upcoming campsite. Learning about the facility and what is available to you helps you prepare in advance for what to bring.
Make a list and check it twice. Preparation is key! Make a list of the items that you may need, but consider what is truly essential. Packing extra weight can put a strain on your body, so be discerning and keep things light.
Like many other events in your life, camping can pose a number of risks to your musculoskeletal health.
Preparing for the challenges ahead can also help prevent potential injuries. If you plan on doing any activities during your camping trip such as hiking, biking, or running, it is a good idea to see your chiropractor in advance for tips and advice on how to physically prepare yourself when outdoors. Here are some tips to consider:
Support your back. From packing to pitching the tent or while on a hike, keep neutral curves in your spine while keeping your core engaged and active. (See our blog on how to maintain good posture.)
Mind the lift. Remember to bend from the hips and knees while using your legs to lift. Keep a neutral spine and use your entire body to turn. Pivot from your feet to move your body.
Pack light. Carry only what you need, and avoid excess. This can help prevent fatigue and strain from packing, hiking, or even canoeing. Being a minimalist can help prevent injuries. For tips on packing light, click here.
At Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage, we provide our patients with more than just chiropractic and massage therapy services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so you can be at your best for work or play, every day.
No matter where you live in Southern Ontario, snow is pretty much guaranteed. And while that means more chaos on the road for drivers, it also means more homeowners suffering from sore backs as a result of improper snow shovelling.
“Shovelling out after a storm doesn’t have to leave you stiff and sore,” says Ajax chiropractor Dr. John Noble.
In this video shot a few years ago during one of our bigger snowstorms, Dr. Noble offers a few common-sense tips on how to shovel safely.
Unfortunately, just because we’re Canadians doesn’t mean we’re experts when it comes to shovelling snow!
Follow these guidelines from the Ontario Chiropractic Association and with a little know-how, you can clear your driveway without any back, neck and shoulder pain ruining your day.
Before You Head Outside to Shovel
Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in the winter months as it is in the summer.
Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as you get warm.
Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight, non-stick, push-style shovel. A smaller blade will require you to lift less snow, putting less strain on your body. An ergonomically correct model (curved handle) will help prevent injury and fatigue. Also, if you spray the blade with a silicone-based lubricant, the snow will slide off more easily.
Before beginning any snow removal, warm up for five to 10 minutes to get your joints moving and increase blood circulation. A brisk walk will do it.
Follow These Tips To Avoid Injury While Shovelling
1. Push, Don’t Throw
Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.
2. Bend Your Knees
Use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.
3. Watch for Ice
Be careful on icy walkways and slippery surfaces. Intermittent thaws and subsequent freezing can lead to ice building up underfoot, resulting in nasty slips and falls. Throw down some salt or sand to ensure you have a good footing.
The warm spring weather that has many of us spending an increasing amount of time outdoors — walking, running, hiking, golfing, playing tennis — often means an inevitable increase in strains and sprains.
Assuming your injury isn’t serious enough to warrant a trip to the ER, you may be wondering how to treat your new sprain or strain.
Should you apply ice? Or is it heat? What else can you do?
The best treatment for a sprain or strain is with the “PRICE” method, a helpful acronym that is useful to remember when you have an acute injury.
Please note, if you are unsure of the severity of your sprain or strain, you should talk to your doctor before beginning any treatment or rehabilitation.
These five simple rules will help speed up your recovery in the first 48-72 hours of a sprain (ligament) or strain (muscle) injury.
P is for PROTECTION.
Protect the injured area from sustaining any more damage.
R is for REST.
Allow the injury time to heal.
I is for ICE.
Ice should be applied to an injured area as soon as possible.
Use the 10/10/10 method of ice application: 10 minutes of ice; followed by 10 minutes of rest without ice; followed by 10 minutes of ice again. Do not apply heat. Ice works to reduce pain and inflammation to your injured muscles, joints and tissues and may even slow bleeding if a tear has occurred.
C is for COMPRESSION.
Use a tensor bandage to wrap the injured area. When wrapping, begin at the end furthest away from the heart.
E is for ELEVATION.
If possible, raise the injured area above the level of the heart, especially at night, by putting a pillow under the injured area.
After the first 48 hours, slowly start to use the injured area again and continue icing for another day. If you are unsure of the severity of your injury, consult a docotr or chiropractor for an evaluation.
The wellness team at Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage provides our patients with more than just chiropractic and massage therapy services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so you can be at your best for work or play, every day.
To book an appointment or learn more about the chiropractic and therapeutic massage therapy services available at our clinic, call 905-427-3202.
With content from the Canadian Chiropractic Association.
The Village Chiropractic Clinic consists of a group of knowledgeable, and friendly professionals that have worked as a team to help me obtain and maintain my optimal health goal through chiropractic and massage therapy.