Friday, January 21, 2011

The Scoop on Proper Snow Shoveling: Tips to Prevent Back Injuries During The Snowy Season

• Get your blood pumping and joints moving by stretching the arms, back, shoulders and legs before heading outdoors. Devoting a few minutes to exercise prepares your body for the vigors of shoveling and helps avoid any muscle pulls.

• Reduce your risk of developing hypothermia, a dangerous condition where body temperature drops. Dress warmly. Layers are best.

• To maximize your footing and help minimize the risk of a fall, wear sturdy boots/shoes with good tread. If possible, try sprinkling some sand underfoot to provide some extra traction.

• Use a lightweight, ergonomically-designed, non-stick shovel.

• Plan to shovel when the snow is fresh and light -- clear your walkway before it becomes compacted.

• If the snow is deep, be sure to clear layer by layer.

• Shovel the snow closest to you; overstretching to lift can strain your lower back.

• Start slowly and pace yourself to avoid placing a sudden stress on your heart. Cold air makes it harder to breathe and work, placing more demand on your body.

• When shoveling, try to push the snow to the side, rather than lifting. Stand with your feet apart at hip width to maintain proper balance.

• If you must dig and toss the snow, lift with your legs, keeping your back straight; tighten your stomach muscle to avoid straining your back.

• Avoid twisting your body; rotate your entire body to face the direction you are throwing in.

• Make sure to keep hydrated. Avoid caffeinated drinks.

• Pace yourself and know when to call it quits. If you're feeling pain or exhaustion, take a break.

• Avoid shoveling altogether if you are elderly, a heavy smoker, have a heart condition, a history of back problems, or lead a sedentary lifestyle. Enlist the help of family members or kind neighbors.

Even the best laid plans go astray. Injuries sometimes do occur, despite the best intentions to shovel properly. Lower back strain, muscle spasms, disc damage, and even spinal fractures are frequently experienced after shoveling.

If you experience pain, seek help immediately. Call us at 631 265 1223. We’ll help pinpoint the cause of the pain, relieve the problem, and get you feeling in tip top shape again!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Kicking off the New Year: Chiropractic Resolutions for a Pain-free Year

Ring in the new year by committing to a healthier lifestyle for 2011. A few simple and practical lifestyle changes can make a positive impact on your health and can also prevent you from experiencing a painful injury in the year ahead, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).

We, along with the ACA, urge you to adopt the following New Year’s resolutions for a healthier you:

1. I will limit my intake of caffeinated coffee, sodas and teas. The caffeine in these drinks can cause dehydration and can rob the body of essential nutrients. Stick to water, natural juices and other decaffeinated beverages.

2. I will avoid over medicating myself and my family. Many over‐the‐ counter and prescription medications have unknown side effects. Discuss alternative remedies with a doctor of chiropractic.

3. I will not carry a heavy purse or briefcase with its strap over my shoulder, unless I place the strap over my head on the side opposite the bag. Wearing a shoulder strap over one shoulder unevenly places the weight of the bag on one side of the body, potentially causing shoulder and back pain.

4. I will not allow my children to carry backpacks that weigh more than 10 percent of their body weight. Beyond that weight, the backpack can cause the wearer to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, instead of the shoulders.

5. I will not lift heavy objects over my head. These types of movements can strain muscles and affect nerves, causing severe neck, shoulder and arm problems.

6. I will not turn my torso while lifting relatively heavy objects. This rotates the spine and can bring on a "back attack."

7. I will avoid the habit of consistently crossing the same knee over the other. Such a habit can also eventually cause misalignment of the spine.

8. I will try to keep moving while I`m at work. If sedentary for the majority of the work day, it is very important to take periodic stretch breaks. Get up from the desk and take a brief walk, and stretch arms and legs as frequently as possible to avoid postural and spinal stress.

9. I will, when using a shovel, in winter or summer, remember to push rather than lift, whenever possible.

10. I will use luggage with wheels whenever possible. Carrying, lifting and moving a heavy suitcase can ruin a vacation.

Happy New Year from all of us at New Life Chiropractic!