Five Ways to Avoid Back Pain Over the Holidays

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December is just a few days away 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.

For more helpful shovelling tips, see this post: Follow These Tips for Avoiding Injury While Shovelling This Winter

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.

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 Ontario Chiropractic Association.

Strategies for Safeguarding Your Back While Camping This Summer

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blue tent in woods

Camping is a wonderful way to reconnect with nature, unwind, and enjoy the great outdoors. It offers an escape from the daily hustle and bustle of life, providing an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate. However, while camping has numerous benefits for our mental and physical well-being, it is important to be aware of the potential risks it can pose to our musculoskeletal health.

Let’s explore some of the common risks associated with camping and provide tips on how to tackle them.

Improper Posture and Sedentary Behavior

Camping often involves activities such as sitting around the campfire, fishing, or relaxing in a camping chair. However, prolonged periods of sitting in uncomfortable positions can lead to poor posture and strain on the muscles and joints. Maintaining an improper posture for extended durations can result in back pain, neck pain, and stiffness. To minimize these risks, it is crucial to maintain good posture, take regular breaks, and engage in stretching exercises to relieve muscle tension.

Heavy Lifting

Setting up camp requires lifting and carrying heavy equipment, including tents, coolers, and backpacks. Improper lifting techniques can strain the muscles and put excessive stress on the spine. It is essential to use proper lifting techniques, such as bending at the knees, lifting with the legs, and avoiding twisting motions. Distributing weight evenly and utilizing equipment with ergonomic designs can also help reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.

Uneven Terrain and Falls

Campsites are often located in natural settings with uneven ground, rocks, and tree roots. Walking on unstable surfaces increases the risk of slips, trips, and falls, which can lead to sprains, strains, or even fractures. Choosing appropriate footwear with good ankle support and slip-resistant soles can provide stability and reduce the risk of falls. Being cautious, using a flashlight at night, and clearing the camping area from any potential hazards can also help prevent accidents.

Repetitive Activities and Overuse Injuries

Engaging in camping activities such as chopping wood, pitching tents, or carrying water can involve repetitive motions that strain certain muscle groups. Over time, these repetitive activities can lead to overuse injuries, such as tendonitis or bursitis. It is advisable to vary tasks, take frequent breaks, and perform stretching exercises to reduce muscle fatigue and minimize the risk of overuse injuries.

Inadequate Sleeping Conditions

Sleeping on uneven ground or in an uncomfortable sleeping bag can result in poor sleep quality and musculoskeletal discomfort. Inadequate support for the spine and joints can contribute to back pain and stiffness. Investing in a high-quality sleeping pad or air mattress that provides proper cushioning and support can significantly enhance sleep quality and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal discomfort.

group sitting around campfire roasting marshmallows

Like many other events in your life, camping can pose a number of risks to your musculoskeletal health.

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:

  1. Test your gear to ensure it works. Before packing materials in your vehicle, test your equipment to ensure it works and do so safely.
  2. Plan for activities. Plan your activities in advance to ensure that you have the right equipment and are physically ready for the challenge.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Camping is a fantastic way to enjoy nature and take a break from the demands of modern life. However, it is important to be mindful of the potential risks it can pose to our musculoskeletal health. By adopting proper posture, using correct lifting techniques, being cautious of uneven terrain, avoiding repetitive motions, and ensuring adequate sleeping conditions, we can minimize the risk of musculoskeletal injuries and fully enjoy the camping experience.

Remember, taking care of our physical well-being allows us to make the most of the great outdoors while keeping our bodies healthy and pain-free.

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.

To book an appointment or learn more about the chiropractic and therapeutic massage therapy services available at our clinic, call 905-427-3202.


Five Ways to Avoid Injury While Spring Cleaning

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With the Easter long weekend behind us and another stay-at-home order in effect, you may be ready to tackle your long list of household chores. Since some of these chores require a great deal of bending, reaching and twisting — all that can increase your risk of injury — we’ve pulled together some tips to help you stay safe while checking off your to-do lists:

1. Warm up before you start to clean

As with any type of physical activity, it is very important to warm up the body before engaging in your spring-cleaning routine. You can prepare your body by walking around the house or doing some simple stretches to help prevent injury.

2. Break up heavy loads and make a few more trips

Think back to the last time you did groceries. Did you try to carry all the bags into the house at once, instead of taking multiple trips to the car? We know how tempting it is to make fewer trips, but you may be risking an injury. Take the extra few minutes and only carry a few bags at once. Don’t drive? Consider investing in a cart or buggy rather than carrying heavy bags.

3. Divide and conquer and get it done gradually

Do you save chores for your day off and ambitiously power through your list? You may find that dedicating 30 minutes every day to your household tasks can decrease your stress and risk of injury or fatigue.

Bonus: by getting a little bit done each day, you will have more time on the weekend for fun activities with family and friends.

4. Maintain proper posture while doing your chores

Vacuuming and mopping the floors often require excessive bending, reaching and twisting. Rather than stretching out your arms and bending at the waist to do the job, hold the vacuum or mop handle close to your body and walk back and forth with it. Avoid excessive twisting and keep a relaxed, neutral spine while doing these chores. Your back will thank you!

5. Switch it up and use your non-dominant hand

To prevent unwanted strain on your shoulders, neck, and back, use both sides of your body to do your spring cleaning. Every once in a while, consider cleaning the bathroom tiles or washing dishes with your non-dominant hand.

With these tips, you can feel confident in tackling your to-do list safely and effectively. However, if an injury does occur, give our clinic a call at 905-427-3202 and book a consultation with our chiropractic or massage therapy team.



With content from the Canadian Chiropractic Association