Prevent Back Pain While Snow Shoveling

picture of a good snow shovel to prevent back pain with snow shoveling

Prevent Back Pain While Snow Shoveling

Would you like to prevent back pain from snow shoveling?  Any time that we are using our bodies in a repetitive way, we are stressing the muscles and tearing muscle fibres.  That is why after a snow shoveling session we may feel stiff and achy all over.  So it is important to know that before we do something as mundane as shoveling the sidewalk, like any workout, we need to warm up and loosen our muscles.  For example, try going for a walk around the block first.  Dynamic stretching is also great for loosening up the muscles.  A dynamic stretch is one in which you move through the stretch but do not hold it for any longer than a few seconds; dynamic stretches are moving stretches.

Snow shoveling stretches

snow shoveling stretcheschiropractor recommended snow shoveling stretches

11 Tips from Your Chiropractor to Prevent Back Pain when Shoveling Snow

  1. Choose a shovel that is suitable to your height.  You do not want to be working with a shovel that is going to cause you to stand in
    a stooped posture.
  2. The lighter the shovel the better too.
  3. Use a shovel with a bent shaft.
  4. Stand with your feet hip distance apart and with one foot slightly behind the other.
  5. Keep your knees slightly bent, do not hyper-extend them or lock them out, this puts added stress through the knee joint.
  6. Always try pushing the snow to the side, don’t throw it.
  7. When it comes time to picking up the snow, keep the load as close to your body as possible and avoid bending at the waist and twisting motions.
  8. Before you try lifting a load, you should try testing the weight of that load. Remember wet snow is much heavier.
  9. After you have finished shoveling you should participate in some static stretches.  Repeat the dynamic ones, but hold the stretch for a minimum of
    20-30 seconds.
  10. Rehydrate yourself! Drink plenty of water after a good bout of shoveling.
  11. If you didn’t prevent back pain from snow shoveling, ice the sore areas down afterwards.  Icing reduces any inflammation that may have occurred.  Ice should never be applied directly to the skin, make sure that it is always wrapped in something like a clean towel.  Use the 10-10 rule for icing: place the ice on the sore area for 10 minutes, and then remove the ice for 10 minutes, repeat 3 times.  Let the area be for about an hour, and if it is still sore ice again.

Snow Shoveling References:

McGorry RW, Dempsey PG, Leamon TB. The effect of technique and shaft configuration in snow shoveling on physiologic, kinematic, kinetic and productivity variables. Appl Ergon. 2003 May;34(3):225-31.

Lewinson RT, Rouhi G, Robertson DG. Influence of snow shovel shaft configuration on lumbosacral biomechanics during a load-lifting task. Appl Ergon. 2014 Mar;45(2):234-8. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2013.04.004.

By Chiropractor Dr. Kim Macanuel, Chiropractor at Forces of Nature Wellness Clinic.

What is a Quick, Easy Way to Relieve Back Pain?

ear acupuncture for relief of back pain

Ear Acupuncture for Back Pain

In a 2009 study, women who had tiny acupuncture needles held in place with tape at three acupuncture points in their ears for one week, were more likely to experience significant reductions in lower back pain and pelvic pain than those who had the needles placed at three “sham” points or women in a control group who didn’t get either real or fake acupuncture. A 30 percent or greater reduction in pain was reported by 81 percent of women in the acupuncture group, 47-59 percent of the two other groups.

Thirty-seven percent of women in the acupuncture group were pain-free after a week of acupuncture. Improvements in function were significantly greater among women who had real acupuncture compared to those who got the fake version or received no treatment.
The only side effect was temporary tenderness in the ear area, reported by only 4 out of the 159 women in the study. The treatment is inexpensive and takes about three minutes for the needles to be put in place.

SOURCE: American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, September 2009.

 

Foot Pain

woman with foot pain in her foot ankle or heel

How to Reverse Foot Pain for Happy, Healthy Feet

The human body is like a house, it needs a stable foundation. Our feet are our foundation and problems in them may result in foot pain as well as problems throughout the rest of the body.

Your feet are supported by three arches of fascia, muscles or ligaments – the transverse arch, which runs across the ball of your foot and two longitudinal arches, from the toes to the heel.

We spend a great deal of time standing, walking and running on hard surfaces in ill-fitted shoes. Therefore up to 80% of us may at some point have troubles with our feet. One of the most common problems is the collapsing of the arch. The result is “overpronation” or inward rolling of the ankles and feet when we walk. Daily activities such as walking, standing, jumping and running pull on the plantar fascia causing microscopic tears, inflammation and pain known as plantar fasciitis. There may be sharp pain in the heel or along the arch of the foot and it is often worse first thing in the morning or after periods of inactivity.

Over-pronation can also result in increased strain along the inside of the knee, internal rotation of the hip, and/or un-leveling of the pelvis all of which may affect the back. Improper alignment can lead to early wear and tear and cause conditions such as arthritis, bunions or hammer toes.

Helpful Hints for foot pain:

  • Soft tissue techniques and joint alignment by your chiropractor will help
    with correction and healing of the problem.
  • Proper arch support is also very important. For mild problems, shoes with built in arch support or a good pair of over the counter inserts should be enough. In moderate to severe cases, custom fitted orthotics will offer greater benefit.
  • Be consistent with orthotic use. You will benefit most by wearing them in all of your shoes. In the summer, wear custom orthotic sandals whose foot bed is comprised of your own custom made orthotic.
  • Run on proper surfaces. Grassy surfaces or running tracks are ideal. Dirt paths tend to get packed hard, so try running along side of them. Pavement and cement are very hard on our feet; surfaces such as these should be avoided.
  • Proper hydration – your whole body benefits

Strengthening exercises and preventative measures for foot pain:

  • In bare feet place a hand towel on a smooth floor.Use your toes to scrunch and pull the towel toward you. This strengthens the muscles that naturally support your arches.
  • Stand with feet hip distance apart. Press big toes into the floor while lifting the other eight toes, then press those eight toes into the floor while lifting big toes.
  • While sitting, roll your entire foot over a tennis ball, or in very acute cases you can use a frozen water bottle.

By Dr. Kim Macanuel, BSc, DC.

For help with foot pain, musculoskeletal problems or orthotics contact Dr. Macanuel at 416.481.0222 or by email at KMacanuelDC@ForcesofNature.ca