Month: December 2013

Shovel Right!

ImageBurrr…. It’s cold out there! I love to see the snow fall from the sky, but yet dread it for the mere thought that snow = shoveling.  Shoveling can be a great form of muscular training and even provide some cardiovascular exercise, yet it can also be the source for a lot of pain. Shoveling may result in what we as health practitioners call “DOMS”, which stands for delayed onset muscle soreness where you feel pain a day or two after working out, or a pulling of a muscle or ligament called a strain or a sprain, or something more sinister, such as a disc herniation.  Whatever results from your shoveling experience, we are here to help! But first, let’s start with the most effective treatment – prevention!  So let’s start there.

Here are some great tips to help you shovel right:

  1. Warm-up! Just like any other exercise you do it is important to warm-up. Whether you take a 10-to 15-minute walk, do some jumping jacks or even do high knee walks these will help get your body ready for exercise. Do a few simple stretches after this and you are good to go!Image
  2. Push the snow, don’t throw it! Push the snow to the side rather than throwing it. By throwing the snow you risk causing unnecessary strain on your back, and possibly perform a twisting movement that is known to aggravate disks.
  3. Bend at your knees! You’ve heard this phrase from your chiropractor before, haven’t you? Remember to bend at your hips and knees and have your leg and arm muscles do the lifting.  Remember to keep your back in a neutral position with a slight curve inward in your low back.
  4. Take Breaks: Once we start shoveling we just want to push until we finish (pun intended!), however we need to listen to our bodies. If you feel a shortness of breath or tired then take a short break. If you feel chest pain or back pain stop immediately. If you are having severe chest pain this may be a medical emergency and you should seek medical attention. If you have back pain see your chiropractor or physiotherapist for help.
  5. Pick the right shovel! A lightweight, pusher-type shovel is the best. Heavy metal shovels can be hard on your back and require additional energy to remove the snow.
  6. Stay hydrated! Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you don’t sweat. Your body still needs plenty of fluids, even in subzero temperatures.  So remember to drink plenty of fluids before and after shoveling. If it’s a big snowfall, bring a water bottle to keep yourself hydrated.
  7. Give your back some love! Whether you pick up a few low back exercises, learn proper lifting technique, your chiropractor is here to help!

If you follow these tips then you should have a great shoveling experience this winter! If you injure yourself shoveling this winter, we can help! Need exercises to strengthen your back? We can help.  Want to learn proper lifting technique? We can help. Call our Trigenics office at (416) 481-1936.



Posture 101

ImagePosture 101

When people come in for their initial assessment and I go to assess their posture, without any comment on my part they often admit, “I know I have horrible posture.”  My internal thought to this is always, well if you know you have terrible posture then why don’t you fix it? If only it were that simple! Of course sometimes there is underlying anatomical variations or muscle insufficiencies that result in poor posture that require chiropractic intervention. However, in lieu of this or in addition to this huge differences can be made with some small changes.

The benefits of correct posture has many benefits: it keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly, prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently,  helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis, prevents strain and overuse injuries decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together, prevents backache and muscular pain and even contributes to better body image and better appearance. So what better day to work on your posture than today!

Here are some tips to improve your posture:

 1.        Identify good posture.

  • Before we can get good posture we need to know what it is. We realize that this is keeping our body in alignment, so that means our back straight, shoulders squared, chin up, chest out and stomach out.
  • If you draw a line from your earlobe down it should cross your shoulder, hip, knee and the middle of the ankle as it migrates down to the floor. If it falls infront or behind these structures you likely have poor posture.
  • If you were to assess yourself from the side you should see a ‘double C’ curve where these are present in the neck and low back areas. These are associated with what medical professionals refer as the cervical and lumbar lordosis.Image
  • Also a great way to see if your weight is distributed evenly between both your feet is to stand on two scales and notice the difference. A few pounds difference is acceptable, but beyond this may indicate that you are favouring one side over the other and this can result in more wear and tear on the weightbearing side. Chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists at Trigenics Physio-Rehab Centre can help to correct this issue.

2.       Let your muscles help

  • With so many people spending the majority of their time in front of a computer or driving in a car our heads creep forward and our muscles along the front of our chest and neck get tight. We aren’t asking you to spend hours in the gym and you don’t need to acquire a body builder physique, but we do need to strengthen some muscles. However, it is important to train your body to maintain correct posture without fatigue. Exercises that strengthens the upper back and shoulders will help your posture significantly. Some examples include raising your arms straight out to the side with your palms up until your arms are alongside your ears, arm circles, cat-camel, and shoulder shrugs. For more exercises catered to your needs book in with our physiotherapist or chiropractor.

3.       Sweet dreams!

  • Sleeping can play a huge role in creating better posture. Minimize your spinal curves by using pillows as necessary and limiting the amount that you use or upgrading your mattress. Stretching before bed can ease tense muscles. You can sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs, on your back or under your knees for better support. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as this can cause pressure on your cervical spine and stretch muscles into abnormal positions.

Not sure about your posture? Looking for exercises to improve posture? Do you have some muscles that are tight and others that feel so weak? Trigenics is the solution to your posture concerns. Call our office at (416)481-1936 to book a complimentary assessment.