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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 Tips for Avoiding Injury While Spring Cleaning

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man cleaning blind slats

With the Easter long weekend behind us and a warm breeze coming through your newly open windows, you may be ready to tackle your long list of household chores.

Since many of these chores require a great deal of bending, reaching and twisting — all movements 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

Your Back-to-School Guide to Backpack Safety

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ajax chiropractor pickering chiropractor

If you’re preparing to send your children off to school next month, Ajax chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera encourage you to use common sense when choosing their new backpack for the school year.

How your children carry their backpacks can affect their health.

Carrying a heavy load that is unevenly or improperly distributed can result in poor posture; and even distort the spinal column, throwing it out of alignment. This can cause muscle strain, headaches, back, neck and arm pain, and even nerve damage.

A heavy backpack carried on one shoulder, for example, forces the muscles and spine to compensate for the uneven weight. This places stress on the mid and lower back and may increase the likelihood of back problems later in life.

While we don’t often associate neck, shoulder and back pain with children and teens, we should. More than 50 per cent of young people experience at least one episode of low back pain by the time they reach their teenage years, with research indicating that the improper use of backpacks is one of the major causes.

If your child does complain of back pain, numbness or weakness in his or her arms and legs, it’s crucial that they get help to prevent future problems. Contact the Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage Therapy clinic to learn more at 905-427-3202.

Does your child know the proper way to carry a backpack?

Prevention is key. Here are a few tips for helping your school-age children carry their backpack comfortably and safely.

Choose the right backpack

Leather may look great, but it’s far too heavy. Go for vinyl or canvas instead. Choose a backpack that has two wide, adjustable, padded shoulder straps, along with a hip or waist strap, padded back and plenty of pockets. Make sure the pack fits properly, is not too snug around the arms and under the armpits, and that its size is proportionate to the wearer’s body.

Pack light — they’re not moving out!

Make sure your child’s backpack contains only what is needed for that day, ensuring that the weight is distributed evenly. It’s a good idea to know roughly what each item weighs. The total weight of the filled pack should be no more than 10 to 15 per cent of the wearer’s own body weight. Pack heaviest objects close to the body, and place bumpy or odd-shaped ones on the outside, away from the back.

Teach your child the proper way to put on a backpack

It’s a good idea to help young children with this, at least the first few times. Put the backpack on a flat surface, at waist height. Slip on the pack, one shoulder at a time, then adjust the straps to fit comfortably. Remember when lifting a backpack, or anything, to lift using the arms and legs and to bend at the knees.

Wear it right — make the backpack do the work!

Both shoulder straps should be used, and adjusted so that the pack fits snugly to the body, without dangling to the side. Backpacks should never be worn over just one shoulder. You should be able to slide your hand between the backpack and your child’s back. The waist strap should also be worn for added stability.

To learn more, book a consultation with Ajax chiropractors Dr. John Noble or Dr. Mark Fera at Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage. Call us today at 905-427-3202.

With content from the Ontario Chiropractic Association