Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Preparation For Snow Shoveling Prevents Injury

Well New Yorkers, here we go again!

Predictions are 6-12 inches so I would like to share with you an article I read from my Chiropractic association.

The ACA advises you to be prepared and follow these tips for exercise of the snow shoveling variety:

  • Be prepared.  Maintain your exercise program year-round.
  • Listen to weather forecasts so you can rise early and have time to shovel before work; rushing the job can lead to injury. 
  • Wear layers of clothing to keep your muscles warm and flexible.
  • Do some stretching before you grab the shovel. 
  • For big jobs, use a motorized snow blower.  If you shovel by hand, use a lightweight, ergonomically designed shovel to reduce back strain.
  • When you do shovel, push the snow straight ahead. Don't try to throw it; walk it to the snow bank.  Avoid sudden twisting and turning motions.
  • Bend your knees to lift when shoveling.  Let the muscles of your legs and arms do the work, not your back.
  • Take frequent rest breaks to take the strain off your muscles.  A fatigued body asks for injury.
  • Stop if you feel chest pain, or get excessively tired or have shortness of breath.  You may need immediate professional care.
  • If you feel sore after shoveling, apply an ice bag to the affected area for 20 minutes, then take it off for a couple of hours.  Repeat a couple of times each day over the next day or two.
If you continue to feel soreness, pain or strain after following these tips, it may be time to visit Dr. Peloquin.  For more information on chiropractic care please visit http://www.handsofgoldchiropractic.com/


Friday, January 7, 2011

Four Resolutions for a Healthier Back

Eat more vegetables. Stress less. Take the kids out to the park more often. You may already have a long list of resolutions for the new year. This year, honor your spine, too. With the help of your doctor of chiropractic, these simple steps can promote a healthier back for the new year.

Consider replacing your pillow or mattress.

Do you wake up with aches and pains? It could be time to purchase a new mattress or pillow. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends finding a mattress that evenly supports your whole body. There should be no gaps between you and the mattress when you lie down. When choosing a pillow, select one that supports your head and neck in alignment with the rest of the spine, whether you sleep on your side or back. Keep in mind that what works for your partner may not work for you— there isn’t one mattress or pillow that fits everyone. Simple adjustments, such as adding foam padding, can help tremendously.

Re-evaluate your posture at work.

Americans spend an average of 44 hours at work every week— often behind a desk. To avoid poor posture that can lead to tension, back pain, and joint problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome, check that your chair is the right size and adjusted correctly, says the ACA. Do your feet rest comfortably on the ground? Does the chair offer lumbar support? Are you able to tilt or swivel easily while performing tasks at your desk? Also, be sure you have adequate light (so that you aren’t straining to see documents or a computer screen), adjust your computer monitor so that it is at eye level, and wear a headset for longer telephone conversations. And don’t forget to take frequent breaks and stretch throughout the day.

Learn how to lift correctly.

Many back injuries are caused by improper lifting of items such as luggage, backpacks or briefcases, storage boxes, or even groceries. But knowing how to lift properly can prevent serious injury. First and foremost, don’t bend from the waist. Keep your back straight, and squat to reach the item. Then, keep it close to your body as you lift, and avoid twisting motions. When traveling, check all bags that weigh more than 10 percent of your body weight.

Eat right and exercise well.

Eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise helps your body stay toned and tension-free— and promotes a healthy weight and a happier spine. Smart exercise and a good diet can also prevent osteoporosis, which affects over 20 million American women. To start, the ACA recommends eating out at restaurants less (to reduce the amount of unhealthful fats and sugars you consume) and adding more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet. Aim for a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes of exercise, three or four days a week.