Now is the time. The weather has gone from warm to crisp to cold. Snow is covering your driveway and sidewalks. If your body is not in condition, snow shoveling can lead to injury.
Bending and twisting when tossing a shovel of heavy snow can aggravate lower back problems. In addition, the overall physical exertion required for snow shoveling, without proper conditioning, often results in painful injuries. And lets be honest who does conditioning for snow shoveling. We don’t practice it until the snow falls.
Here are some tips that you should follow in order to stay injury free this shoveling season:
- Exercise all year round. You may not be ready for shoveling exactly, but a well conditioned body responds better to any stress it faces.
- Plan extra time to get anywhere, whether it be work or shopping or anything else count on some shoveling/scraping time. If you don’t need it then you’ll be a little early, and that never hurts, but rushing the job can hurt or lead to injury.
- Don’t shovel in your Pajamas (or shorts), wear appropriate clothing to keep your muscles warm and flexible. Working in the cold can increase the risk of sprains or strains.
- Stretch out. Shoveling is exercise to. A good warm up before hand may be the difference between some sore muscles or a trip to the doctor.
- Use a lightweight, ergonomically designed shovel to reduce back strain. You’ll still get it done with a smaller shovel and with a lighter load each time you reduce the risk of injury.
- Push the snow don’t throw it; walk it to the snow bank. Avoid sudden twisting and turning motions, especially while lifting a load so far from your center.
- Bend your knees to lift when shoveling. Let the muscles of your legs and arms do the work, not your back.
- Take frequent breaks. A fatigued body is asking for an injury.
- Feeling sore after shoveling is normal. I know you’ve been in the snow all morning, but try putting an icepack on the affected area for 20 minutes, then take it off for a couple of hours.
- If you do injure yourself or your soreness persists, it may be time to visit a chiropractor. Find a local one. If you’re in Sandy, UT or anywhere in the Salt Lake Valley come see me. We’ll get you back to enjoying your days as quickly as possible.
The brain is constantly changing through a process called neuroplasticity. When you have an injury it sends signals of pain to the brain. Because of injury or pain you change the way you move. This can cause changes in the sensorimotor portions of the brain. These changes can persist beyond the initial injury repair and can disrupt sensorimotor re-integration (the healing process of the nerve patterns). This may explain why you may limp even after a leg injury has healed or why you have chronic pain from an old injury that healed years ago. Because of this process joint dysfunction/subluxations can contribute to the chronicity of injuries.
Medically these conditions are called allodynia or hyperalgesia. These are when the brain is reporting the wrong feedback to the body (pain with light touch, or tingling sensation when nothing is really going on). You see your brain has a sense that you may not be aware of. Beyond your touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight you have a sense is called proprioception. It’s the ability of your body to sense where any part of it is in space even without the other senses. This sense comes from all the afferent signals that your muscle spindle fibers, Golgi tendon organs, etc… send to the brain. Vertebral subluxation is a state of altered afferent input which can lead to maladaptive central plastic changes that over time can lead to further dysfunction. In other words interference in the path of communication is like playing that game telephone, and the signal that the body sends is not what the brain gets or visa versa. This interference does affect all communication that comes through the area. So, if you have a bad knee and a bad back the brain may not know how the knee is doing even after it has healed because the back problem interfered. Because these subluxations can contribute to these conditions fixing subluxations can also contribute to resolving them.
Chiropractic care improves the health and function of the spine, so that it can accurately perceive what is going on and respond appropriately which in turn helps clear up the communication between your brain, the body and the environment. When the communication lines are open for a long enough period of time then the chronic pain patterns have a chance to resolve.
Additional Research on the topic:
Is neuroplasticity in the central nervous system the missing link to our understanding of chronic musculoskeletal disorders?
Cervical spine manipulation alters sensorimotor integration
The role of spinal manipulation in addressing disordered sensorimotor integration and altered motor control.
I’ve discussed posture before. I like to talk about strong vs weak posture rather than good or bad posture because weak implies that you can do something about it, where bad implies something that has just happened to you.
Strong posture helps us stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions that place the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities. Correct posture:
- Helps us keep bones and joints in correct alignment so that our muscles are used correctly, decreasing the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
- Reduces the stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together, minimizing the likelihood of injury.
- Allows muscles to work more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy and, therefore, preventing muscle fatigue.
- Helps prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and even back and muscular pain.
To maintain proper posture, you need to have adequate muscle flexibility and strength, normal joint motion in the spine and other body regions, as well as efficient postural muscles that are balanced on both sides of the spine. In addition, you must recognize your postural habits at home and in the workplace and work to correct them, if necessary.
You don’t have to wait until you or your child is in pain to solve the problems. Come in and address your weak posture before it becomes painful.
Every profession has their quirky way they say things. Chiropractors are no exception. While it may take a couple of days for you to know if the medication that you took will be a successful treatment, it is not uncommon for a patient to look up from the chiropractic table and say something like “did it go?”, or “it went!” Those same patients may come back a few days later and say something like “It didn’t hold.” Then they want you to “pop it back in” because it “went out.”
It has come to my attention that most people don’t know what a chiropractor does. Everyone knows that the chiropractor “pops your back,” but that pop/crack/cavitation is usually the result of an adjustment/manipulation/mobilization to a subluxation/segmental dysfunction/misalignment/restriction because your back went out, was thrown out, blew a disc, or is acting up. A chiropractor practices chiropractic similar to how a medical doctor practices medicine, but they tend to view health a little differently. You see a chiropractor see’s health as – the state of optimal physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity
I have yet to meet a person who didn’t understand these statements, but they are far from the scientific jargon that we are used to in health care, and they sure sound funny. Please leave a comment here of other things you hear around a chiropractic office, and perhaps their meaning.
Here’s the real secret to weight loss. (Within reason) all diets work! If you follow them strictly they will help you lose weight. That is because quite simply if your caloric intake is less than you burn you will lose weight. The problem is that they don’t work for so many people. Some of them are even dangerous.
There are many reasons that dieting doesn’t work. Some diets are unsustainable because of what they ask you to eat or not eat. Some require more prep time than you can fit in. Some are so packaged that the food they provide is not healthy. Some provide good food, but cost too much. Some are too hard for you to stick to. Some do help you lose weight, but damage your body in the process, so that you may weigh less, but you feel horrible.
The biggest reason that diets fail is because they are not lifestyle changes. Once you lose the weight you stop the diet and start behaving the same way you did before when you gained the weight. There are some programs (weight watchers, simple2lose, etc..) that do have support even after you reach your goal as well as throughout the process. But in order to be healthy you must act healthy. That doesn’t mean just after the Holidays, or for swimwear season. You must adopt a lifestyle that fits the level of health that you want.
Chiropractic care can be an ideal solution to your weight problem. Your chiropractor can help you to achieve and maintain your personal best level of health. With chiropractic care you get regular visits with your doctor who can answer questions, monitor your status and recommend changes. He can help you focus on your goals, and help you with setting realistic ones. He can provide you with education and support. Even if you choose to use a program outside of his office he can help you to achieve your best possible results. See your chiropractor about your weight loss and diet plans.
Water does affect weight gain and weight loss, and not just because of so called water weight.
Water improves digestion (absorption, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients) circulation, cellular communication and maintenance of body temperature. Water also decreases caloric intake by filling you up. There are so many ways that water helps your body that I’m creating a post about it next.
In regards to water and loosing weight there are a few tips, but the most important to remember is to just drink enough regularly. Drinking a gallon of water all at once is not as good as drinking plenty throughout the day. Having a water bottle with you is a great way to remind yourself to drink as well as to encourage periodic drinking.
Drinking before you sit down to a meal can help you feel more full and eat less. While drinking before exercise can keep you exercising longer and with more intensity. Ideally you should keep yourself hydrated rather than drinking immediately before exercise, but for that extra hydration try drinking a whole water bottle about 1-2 hours before working out. This will allow the water to absorb into your system rather than just sloshing around in your stomach. When you’re done working out you will need to replenish that water and so you should drink at least another bottle within the 2 hours after working out.
Most people don’t keep track of how much water they drink, but everyone wants to know how much they should be drinking. A general rule is that you should be drinking at least half of your body weight (in pounds) in ounces each day. So if you weigh 150lbs you should be drinking at least 75 ounces of water every day, and that doesn’t count the extra water that you should be drinking when you work out. That’s about 2 1/2 of those plastic 1 liter sports bottles. Another way to make sure you’re getting enough is to check the color of your urine stream. If you are well hydrated your urine will be clear. The darker the urine the more water you need.
If lack of sleep (insufficient rest) is causing your weight gain then the solution is easy to figure out, but not so easy to implement. You nee to be getting more and better rest. The Average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. If you’re not getting enough quality sleep your weight can increase, but that’s not the only thing that sleep affects. Lack of sleep increases accidents, decreases cognitive ability, increases heart problems, speeds the aging process, and decreases sex drive. The reasons for the effect on weight is that lack of sleep affects your hormones that regulate hunger, metabolism, appetite.
To help you sleep there are many things that you can do. This may mean adjusting your bedtime schedule or routine. It may be as simple as getting a new pillow or bed. It will be different for every person, but improving your rest will benefit your whole health, and that includes your weight. Here are some simple things that you can do to improve your sleep:
- Have a sleep schedule , even for weekends
- Have a bedtime ritual
- Find your ideal sleep environment including light, sounds and temperature.
- Get a quality bed (Intellibed) and pillow that is comfortable for you .
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Avoid electronics before bed.
- Know your best sleep postures.
Thank you to Dr. Posture and the National Sleep Foundation for their great charts.