With the recent trend this winter for significant snowfalls, snow removal has become an important part of all of our routines. Whether there is 2 inches or 2 feet of snow on the ground, there are a few things to remember in order to do it safely and prevent injury:
1) Warm up/loosen up. Cold, tight muscles are more likely to get strained.
2)Push snow when you can rather than scoop and throw
3) If you do need to lift the snow, bend your knees and lift with your legs. Do not bend at the waist as this puts too much strain on your low back.
4) Less is more. Especially with large amounts of snow or wet, heavy snow, smaller scoops may take longer, but are significantly less likely to cause injury.
5) Stretch after. You probably just used a lot of muscles that haven’t been used in a long time. Sitting immediately after can cause increased muscle soreness and even spasm. Performing a few simple low back stretches can prevent.
When it comes to surviving the winters here in Maine, sometimes an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure. If you have a strong and stable spine, you will be more able cope with the extra workload. You can find a series of spine stabilization exercises on our YouTube page.
If you do find your low back or shoulders to be sore after doing some serious snow removal, feel free to contact our office and we fix you up before you know it!
Back pain is an expensive health problem for both patients and businesses. A 2012 study reported that we spend about $635 billion on pain every year, with a significant amount of that spent on back pain. Over the years, quite a few studies have shown that chiropractic care is more effective for back pain than medical care, plus chiropractic patients spend less money on their care than medical patients do.
Because back pain is such a common problem, a group of Canadian researchers recently investigated the role that the type of primary caregiver has on financial compensation.
This was a large study of 5,511 patients who experienced a work-related back injury in Ontario, Canada. The patients saw the following providers for their first visit:
- 85.3% saw a medical doctor
- 11.4% saw a chiropractor
- 3.2% saw a physical therapist
The authors set out to “compare the duration of financial compensation for back pain” among patients from each care group.
The study found that chiropractic patients had the shortest amount of time receiving compensation for their pain and also were less likely to have a recurrence.
In addition, chiropractic patients didn’t need to see other healthcare providers for their pain. 75% of chiropractic patients saw no other provider, while 58.6% of physical therapy patients also saw a medical doctor.
The authors conclude:
“The type of healthcare provider first visited for back pain is a determinant of the duration of financial compensation during the first 5 months. Chiropractic patients experience the shortest duration of compensation, and physiotherapy patients experience the longest.”
Blanchette M, Rivard M, Dionne CE, et al. Association between the type of first healthcare provider and the duration of financial compensation for occupational back pain. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 2016 Sep 17.
About 4 percent to 5 percent of U.S. adults suffer from chronic headaches, which may occur nearly every day, according to the Mayo Clinic. While an occasional headache is something that most people experience, frequent headaches can be a warning sign that something is amiss in your body. The cause of the most commonly reported headache, tension headaches, is actually still unknown. An estimated 75 percent to 90 percent of people who complain of frequent headaches are suffering from tension headaches. Some experts believe they stem from contracted muscles, while others believe they’re related to changes in your brain chemicals, such as serotonin, endorphins and others, which help your nerves communicate. The good news is that these headaches are rarely the sign of something serious (see the end of the article for some rare, but serious, causes). Instead, tension-type headaches are related to lifestyle factors that you can influence.
The most common triggers of tension headaches include:
2. Not enough sleep
3. Certain foods and food additives, such as chocolate, cheese, caffeine and monosodium glutamate (MSG).
4. Grinding your teeth
5. Depression and anxiety
6. Skipping meals
7. Poor posture
8. Lack of exercise
9. Holding your head or neck in an awkward position for a long time
10. Hormonal changes related to menstruation (PMS), menopause, pregnancy or hormone use
11. Medications, including those for depression and high blood pressure, or overusing headache medication
12. Overexerting yourself
13. Sleeping in an awkward position
14. Eye strain
18. Sinus infections, colds or flu
What do Tension Headaches Feel Like?
Typically, tension headaches cause an aching or squeezing sensation on both sides of your head, forehead, temples or back of head. The pain is often described as a tight band around your head, or a feeling that your head is “in a vise.” The pain may be mild to moderately intense.
- Tension headaches may also include:
- Neck and jaw discomfort
- Tenderness on your scalp, neck and shoulder muscles
- Irritability and trouble concentrating
- Loss of appetite
Tension headaches can come on at any time, but may be more common when you’re anticipating a stressful event, such as a confrontation at work or at home. They can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a full week.
How to Prevent, and Care For, Tension Headaches
Lifestyle changes will go far in keeping tension headaches at bay. The top tips for headache relief include:
Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Get enough quality sleep each night. If you have difficulty sleeping, try nutritional and supplements for support to gain restful sleep by calming brain activity through nutritional support specifically to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Exercise - it’s known to reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches, according to the Mayo Clinic. Exercise may even help to relieve the pain of a tension headache in progress.
Improve your posture. This will help to keep strain on your muscles, tendons and bones to a minimum.
Keep your stress well-managed. We all have stress; it’s the way you deal with it that makes all the difference. Schedule regular times to de-stress during your day by the use and calming effects of prayer, meditating, soaking in a bubble bath, reading or taking a long walk.
Learn the fine art of stretching! Regular stretching is well known to help relieve pain, including headache pain. To learn how to do the right type of stretching the kind that actually feel good while you do them (and after!) we highly recommend looking for good trainer and or instructional DVDs on stretching.
Get regular massages. Massages can help to relieve headache pain, and they also loosen up tight muscles in your neck and shoulders, which may also be contributing to your headache.
Pay attention to “triggers.” If you experience frequent headaches, experts recommend keeping a “headache diary.” In it, record what took place before your headache began. Did you have a double espresso? It may be the caffeine. Did you walk by a perfume counter? You may be sensitive to fragrances. If this is the case, this may be the time to think about doing a several day detox.
When Can Headaches be Serious? The majority of headaches do not signal an underlying illness, but in rare cases headaches can be related to serious conditions including brain aneurysm, brain tumor, stroke, or a brain infection like meningitis or encephalitis.
- You should see a healthcare provider right away if you:
- Experience a severe headache that comes on suddenly
- Have fever, a stiff neck, mental confusion, numbness, weakness or double vision along with your headache
- Are over the age of 50 and start to experience headache pain you’ve never felt before
- Get headaches from coughing, moving quickly or straining
- Have a headache after a head injury
Millions of people suffer unnecessarily every day with debilitating foot pain. In fact it is common for people to accept foot pain as a normal part of life. Foot pain suffers many times feel as though that’s the way their feet are and they just need to learn to live with the pain. There is a solution for the pain!
Because most foot pain is related to an abnormality in the alignment of the 26 foot bones the best solution will be one that directly address and corrects the foot bone misalignments. The best solution to improving the healthy alignment of the foot bones is accomplished using a specific joint manipulation procedure by a trained expert.
Chiropractors are, indeed, trained expert in performing specific, gentle adjustments to the 26 bones of the foot. Many people are familiar with chiropractic care as it relates to the spine, however, the idea of having your foot adjusted is a whole new concept to most. With standard chiropractic practices a chiropractor will improve a patient’s back pain condition by administering a gentle, specific adjustment to a misaligned vertebra. Similarly Chiropractors provide their foot pain patients with a gentle, specific adjustment to the misaligned foot bones; thus providing the patient with relief. Because the chiropractor is actually improving the alignment of the foot bones it is truly getting to the root cause of the problem.
Common Areas of Foot Pain
Bottom of Foot Pain / Heel Pain
Bottom of foot pain can be related to several different factors depending on the location of the pain. Other factors include type of footwear, activities and hobbies, age, weight, and overall health. Some of the more common bottom of foot pain conditions include plantar fasciitis, heel spur syndrome and metatarsalgia.
Ball of Foot Pain
The ball of the foot is that area on the under surface of the foot where the toes join to the long bones (or metatarsals). This is a common area that can become irritated or injured and develop pain. There are a few main reasons or causes for most cases of pain in the ball of the foot. If one or more of the metatarsal bones become misaligned this can alter the foot’s ability to naturally distribute weight during the gait cycle (walking cycle). People suffering from this type of pain will many times report that it feels like there’s a lump under that portion of their foot when they stand or walk. Ball of foot pain is commonly referred to as Metatarsalgia. There are other reasons for this type of pain such as stress fracture, improperly sized shoes or from wearing high-heel shoes.
Top of Foot Pain
Top of foot pain is not as common as pain on the bottom of the foot but it can be equally as debilitating. People with flat feet may tend to experience an irritation to the joints between the foot bones on the top surface of those joints. As a result they may complain of pain and discomfort on the top of their foot. High arched feet can also develop stress and result in pain on the top of the foot, however this is usually do to tensed or strained tendons that pass over that area. In both cases the underlying cause of the top of foot pain is related to a mechanical dysfunction or misalignment of the bones in the foot.
Side of Foot Pain
Foot pain can be present at several locations on either the inside or outside of the foot and/or ankle. In most cases these pain symptoms are related to some mechanical stress or misalignment of one or more of the 26 foot bones. People who run or are active on their feet often complain of pain on the side of their foot. Another common cause of pain of the side of the foot is from shoes that are too tight and cause a constricting pressure on either side of the forefoot. This can cause pain at either the big toe are or the outside of the fifth toe.
Some common conditions that are related to side of foot pain are: bunions, tailor’s bunion, ankle stress or ankle sprains, flat feet, and possibly even tendonitis. When the foot bones lose their healthy alignment it will lead to an increase in stress to the foot bones and joints as well as significant stress to the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the foot.
Back of the Foot Pain / Back of Heel Pain
The most common condition that affects the back of the foot is known as Achilles tendonitis. This condition occurs when there has been a great amount of stress and strain on the Achilles tendon due to various activities and abnormal movements of the foot, ankle and leg. A misalignment or mechanical dysfunction of the hind foot will generally be present when a person is suffering from this condition. Many times the patient will report having had a prior history of an ankle or sprain to the foot, possibly even months or years prior to the achilles tendonitis developing. Other times this painful condition may have developed due to repetitive movements of the foot and/or ankle over an extended period of time.
Common Foot & Leg Conditions Treated:
- Planter Fasciitis
- Heel Pain
- Heel Spur Syndrome
- Bottom of Foot Pain
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Ankle Sprains
- Ankle Pain
- Arch Pain
- Ball of Foot Pain
- Tailor’s Bunions (Bunionette)
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Generalized Foot Pain
- Flat Feet
- Over Pronation
- High Arches
- Sever’s Disease
- Haglund’s Deformity
- Shin Splints
- Compartment Syndrome
- Knee Pain
Chiropractic is a health care system that holds that the structure of the body, particularly the spine, affects the function of every part of the body. Chiropractors try to correct the body’s alignment to relieve pain and improve function and to help the body heal itself.
While the mainstay of chiropractic is spinal manipulation, chiropractic care now includes a wide variety of other treatments, including manual or manipulative therapies, postural and exercise education, ergonomic training (how to walk, sit, and stand to limit back strain), nutritional consultation, and even ultrasound and laser therapies. In addition, chiropractors today often work in conjunction with primary care doctors, pain experts, and surgeons to treat patients with pain.
Most research on chiropractic has focused on spinal manipulation for back pain. Chiropractic treatment for many other problems—including other musculoskeletal pain, headaches, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia—has also been studied. A recent review concluded that chiropractic spinal manipulation may be helpful for back pain, migraine, neck pain, and whiplash.
“Spinal manipulation” is a generic term used for any kind of therapeutic movement of the spine, but used more precisely it is the application of quick but strong pressure on a joint between two vertebrae of the spine. That pressure twists or rotates the joint beyond its normal range of motion and causes a sharp cracking noise. That distinctive noise is believed to be caused by the breaking of a vacuum or the release of a bubble into the synovial fluid, the clear, thick fluid that lubricates the spinal and other joints. Spinal manipulation can be done either directly by pushing on the vertebrae or indirectly by twisting the neck or upper part of the body. It should be done to only one spinal joint at a time. Chiropractors and other practitioners accomplish this by positioning the body so the force they exert is focused on one joint while parts of the spine above and below it are held very still. Most spinal manipulation treatments take somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes and are scheduled two or three times a week initially. Look for improvements in your symptoms after a couple of weeks.
In addition, a chiropractor may advise you about changing your biomechanics and posture and suggest other treatments and techniques. The ultimate goal of chiropractic is to help relieve pain and help patients better manage their condition at home.
via: Harvard Medical School & Harvard Health Publications