All posts by Graeme IMC

Osteopathic Treatment Advantages for Seniors

Osteopathic Treatment Advantages for Seniors

Every year, Osteopathic therapy helps millions of seniors regain control of their lives. There are many benefits associated with Osteopathic treatment, including improved flexibility, mobility and work, increased energy, better coordination, and chronic or acute pain relief / removal.

Osteopathic practitioners use a range of approaches including physical therapy, treatment of soft tissue, radical calming techniques, counselling for health and fitness, and counselling for nutrition and diet. Read on to learn how Osteopathic therapy helps seniors make the most of their lives and bodies.

Pain Relief

When you suffer from a disease associated with the spine that causes intense pain or discomfort, Osteopathic care is one of the best and most successful treatment options available. Many spinal injuries are caused by anomalies to the spine and the soft tissue around it.

Osteopathic practitioners are educated in the art of identifying and treating vertebral misalignments; they also know the effect of these subluxations on the central nervous system. In other words, relatively simple adjustments to the Osteopathic can significantly reduce or even eliminate the pain that you suffer.

This is a long-term approach, in the best of all. This contrasts favourably with traditional treatments like pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications, which merely mask the symptoms.

Better Balance and Coordination

Research conducted by Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that about 33 percent of seniors are suffering a fall each year, and fewer than 50 percent are actively telling their doctor. An estimated 2.5 million people are treated annually in emergency rooms for fall injuries, and falls account for more than 95 percent of hip fractures in seniors.

As we get older, it’s normal to encounter issues with balance and coordination; this is mostly due to injury or cervical spine degeneration. Structures on the back joints of the cervical spine called mechanoreceptors provide feedback for the brain; they are essential for balance and coordination.

Such structures include details about your head’s location in relation to your body. As we age, deficiencies cause these mechanisms to become weakened, resulting in a lack of body knowledge (proprioception); the effect is that you rely on your eyes to discern where your limbs are located.

To counter the lack of body awareness, your feet are more apart than normal, which causes you to take irregular length steps. At some point, your condition can worsen to the point where you begin to fall. Worse still, without help you won’t be able to get up from the table.

Osteopathic care can stimulate your cervical spine mechanoreceptors, resulting in improved balance and coordination, and decreased risk of falling.

Increased Range of Motion in the Spine

There’s a reason why top sports professional athletes hire Osteopaths to improve their range of motion: the process works! Even minor adjustments to the Osteopathic can make a huge difference in improving the range of motion in your spine. Imagine your grandchildren being able to bend down and pick up, swing a golf club, or exercise, all without pain. Moreover, the healthier you are, the less likely you are to get chronic medical problems. Also being active helps your overall health and lowers your chances of getting to a nursing home.

A Reduction in Joint Degeneration

Close to 3 million Brits suffer from osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease, according to the CDC. It is not shocking that OA is even more prevalent among seniors; it affects 33 per cent of people over 65 years of age.

The disease triggers a deterioration of the cartilage that coats the joints. Age and repetitive movement weaken the protective tissue; this leads to increased friction as the joint bones rub together. It usually affects the elbows, knees, breasts, spine and.

If you have spinal degeneration, Osteopathic treatment will lower spinal tension and normalise alignment of your spine. Other Osteopathic therapies which may help alleviate symptoms of OA include the following.

Ultrasound therapy: Sound waves may produce a massaging effect which reduces swelling, stiffness and pain.

Trigger point therapy: Gentle pressure is applied to the precise area where pain is felt.

Therapeutic stretches and exercises: The Osteopathic will prescribe physical workouts aimed at enhancing the strength and endurance.

Pain Relief Without Medication

Medication is appropriate in some situations but we have a tendency to over-medicate in the United Kingdom. The typical 75-year-old, at any given time, takes more than 10 medications for a number of illnesses, according to some reports. Overmedication of elders is now suspected to be related to increased falls, heart attacks, and kidney failures.

Another possible problem with overmedication among seniors is its impact on cognition and mental capacity. Over-medicated seniors are not unusual to be misdiagnosed with disorders such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and depression.

You will significantly reduce the dependence on drugs with Osteopathic care, because the treatment is drug-free. It is very important if you are taking other prescription drugs because you may be more vulnerable to adverse side effects with additional medication.

Conclusion

If your loved one is a senior citizen, persuade him or her to see an Osteopathic as soon as possible; after all, they will enjoy the golden years. The senior will benefit from a substantial reduction or even a total removal of pain with the committed care of an Osteopathic specialist. The consequence is a substantial increase in quality of life. Osteopathic care is best of all found to be a healthy treatment for the elderly.

Sources

http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/osteoarthritis.htm

http://www.healthline.com/health/osteoarthritis

http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/other-therapies/chiropractic-medicine.php

http://www.parentgiving.com/elder-care/overmedication-in-the-elderly/

http://health.heraldtribune.com/2014/05/17/digging-issue-overmedicated-seniors/

Read More
Factors That Can Delay the Rehabilitation of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Factors That Can Delay the Rehabilitation of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

As for most musculoskeletal disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) treatment recommendations initially prescribe non-surgical or conservative management, for surgery being avoided only in emergency cases, or after non-surgical options. So, is there any way of knowing who would better respond to non-surgical approaches?

To reply to this, researchers performed a two-stage study that included an initial assessment followed by non-surgical treatment, and a one-year re-evaluation after completion of non-surgical treatment. The study’s primary objective was to determine factors that lead to the long-term effects of non-surgical CTS care and to identify risk factors for failure.

The study included 49 people diagnosed with CTS, of which 37 (76 percent) reported an occupational cause. Since some patients had CTS in both hands (bilateral CTS) this included a total of 78 hands / wrists in the study. Treatment included a total of 10 whirlpool massage sessions done at home to the wrist and neck, ultrasound, and median nerve glide exercises. The subjects were divided into three classes of age: < 50, 51-59, or around 60 years.

Although, in both stages of the study, most patients reported substantial change, some did not. Patients with more serious cases, as demonstrated by weak NCV test results, were less likely to respond to treatment, which highlights the importance of pursuing CTS treatment as soon as symptoms arise. In addition, participants who tended to overuse their hands at work, or who did not change their work procedures or workstation to minimise the forces applied to the hands and wrist, were less likely to show substantial changes at the point of one year. Interestingly, age was not found to be a major risk factor, which is surprising because previous studies have identified a risk factor being over 50 years old.

Not only are Osteopaths trained in the same non-surgical methods of treatment used in this research, but they may combine these techniques with dietary therapy (to minimise inflammation) and manual therapies to enhance function in the wrist and other locations along the path of the median nerve to obtain the best possible outcomes for their patients.

Read More
Headaches and Spinal Manipulation

Headaches and Spinal Manipulation

Cervicogenic headache (CGH) refers to headaches caused by neck pain, and researchers report that 18 per cent of patients with chronic headache have cervicogenic headache. Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) is the most popular type of treatment provided by Osteopaths, and many studies have shown that SMT is extremely successful in patients suffering from neck musculoskeletal disorders, including those with cervicogenic headaches. Nonetheless, no consensus exists on the sufficient number of SMT therapies to obtain optimum benefits for CGH.

A research team conducted a large-scale study involving 256 chronic CGH patients in a 2018 study to assess how many therapies are required to achieve optimal results using CGH SMT. For six weeks, the investigators randomly allocated participants to one of SMT’s four dosage ranges (0, 6, 12, or 18 visits). The SMT method consisted of manual manipulation of the high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust in the cervical and upper thoracic regions. A short, normal spinal palpatory test from occiput to T3 to assess discomfort and controlled motion determined the position of the spinal change. In elderly patients and/or those suffering from acute pain, the manual therapy has been updated to operate at low velocity, low amplitude. To monitor continuity of visit and care of the doctor, patients began to receive a light massage treatment after the number of visits prescribed to a patient had been reached, before the six-week treatment period ended.

Following the end of the study’s recovery process, the participants used a headache log to keep track of their headaches for the coming year. The findings found that over the next twelve months, the patients who received the most SMT therapies had less headaches. More precisely, the researchers determined that over the next year, six additional SMT visits resulted in about twelve fewer days with headaches.

When you are suffering from headaches, consider visiting an Osteopath to decide when cervical dysfunction is a potential cause or contributing factor and whether you are a candidate for manipulative spinal treatment.

Visit one of our many practices in Glasgow & Ayrshire. We look forward to seeing you! cramosteopaths.co.uk/book-online

Read More
Osteopath Glasgow & Ayr

Why an Osteopath Recommends Multiple Visits

Patients always ask why I prescribe multiple visits early on in their care plan as an Osteopath. Why? Long term results, that’s why. At Cram Osteopaths based in Glasgow and Ayr, we seek to provide a thorough solution for our patients. As a minimum 6-10 visits are required for low back (mechanical) pain, for example, to be resolved.

However, according to a retrospective, open label, randomised controlled trial conducted in The Spine Journal, twelve sessions of spinal manipulation were found to provide the best treatment outcomes in the osteopathic management of chronic low back pain with spinal manipulation.

“Our fastidious randomised control trial shows that 12 sessions of spinal manipulation over 6 weeks for uncomplicated chronic low back pain is a reasonable care option,” said lead author Mitchell Haas, DC, Center for Outcomes Studies, University of Western States, Portland, OR.

The research was designed to evaluate the optimal number of spinal manipulation sessions required to provide the most effective treatment with the best outcomes, variables that are of concern to patients, providers, payers and policy makers, Dr. Haas said.

So Why Should an Osteopath Suggest Continual Treatments?

Well, the fact is that the “medicine” for an Osteopath is primarily given by the musculoskeletal system adjustments (MSK)-that is, the muscles, joints, related tissues and their interaction with other body systems. For a new patient, especially one who has never seen an Osteopath, it may take a number of those changes to achieve the required degree of correction of their misalignment(s).  The Osteopath discusses the root cause of the patient’s distress, as opposed to treating just the pain symptoms that caused them to seek treatment. As others have learned before going to an Osteopath, medication can hide the problem for a while but it doesn’t cure it. This is where the Osteopath excels in the treatment of biomechanical instability.

Ongoing treatment may be necessary for degenerative conditions as we age. This is to prevent and slow down the spinal and other joints becoming permanently compromised.

To keep your body health in good condition, maintenance treatment can stop problem areas becoming painful, to allow your body to do the things it wants to do like sports, gardening or lifting up grandchildren!

The Effect of An Osteopathic Treatment Course Is Cumulative

Pain is not the real problem but a warning sign that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. People are used to taking a pill when they try to get immediate relief for this or that ache. However, if the pain begins to return it will become obvious that those drugs are not the answer. It is there that Osteopathy will help.

When you wonder why an Osteopath suggests multiple visits, remember how many total pills you took (and for how long) before you decided to try an alternative treatment for health? You can be pretty well confident that when everything is said and done, the amount of Osteopath visits and the length of treatment needed to correct the problem will be far less.

Additionally, I also recommend that patients come in for check-ups from time to time, the goal being to diagnose and treat complications emerging before they become painful again. The Osteopath only wants to give their patients spines for example, which cannot be replaced, as much care and attention as they give their teeth, which can be.

Could you benefit from a check-up consultation? Book online at Glasgow or Ayrshire practice cramosteopaths.co.uk/book-online

Read More
Osteopathy

About Osteopathy

Osteopaths offer effective treatment and care aimed at promoting patient health. People of all ages see Osteopaths from infants to the elderly, who receive physical treatment, health and sometimes exercise advice, adapted to individual needs.

Osteopaths are highly trained healthcare professionals with experience in the musculoskeletal system (MSK)-that is, the muscles joints and related tissues and their interaction with other body systems.

People who visit an osteopath regularly show strong satisfaction with the care they receive, voicing high confidence in their osteopath’s diagnosis and recommendations, with ratings over 90 per cent for satisfaction and trust.

They also work closely with other practitioners in health care, such as consultants, GPs, nurses, midwives, physiotherapists.

Please visit our website booking page to find the closest Osteopath practice we have in either Glasgow or Ayr.

So more about what Osteopaths do

Osteopaths will use a wide variety of gentle hands-on strategies that concentrate on releasing tension, maximising mobility and optimising functionality, as well as providing useful health advice and exercise where possible.

They will also consult with other healthcare professionals, or refer you to them as necessary to ensure you receive optimal treatment. They take the time to understand each patient – their unique combination of symptoms, history of medicine and lifestyle. It helps make a detailed evaluation of the cause of your problem (not just treating the site of discomfort), and formulate a treatment plan with you to achieve the best outcome.

How osteopaths can help

For MSK disorders, such as back, arm, joint, muscle and arthritic pain, people commonly visit osteopaths. Osteopaths have a well-deserved reputation for excellence in the treatment of these conditions which is based on evidence.

People also visit osteopaths for a number of other health reasons like neuromuscular disorders including sciatica, digestive problems, headaches and prevention of migraines.

Many osteopaths work in private healthcare clinics nationwide, and you can visit them without a GP referral.

Education and Enrolment

Osteopaths are strictly regulated, and are listed by the NHS as an associated health occupation.

By regulation, for work in the UK, an osteopath has to be certified with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). A Bachelor of Science (BSc.) or Integrated Masters (MOst.), plus more than 1000 hours of clinical placements (direct patient contact time) must be completed before an osteopath can receive registration.

To retain their annual GOsC registration, osteopaths must comply with compulsory continuous professional development (CPD): maintaining up-to-date skills and knowledge and maintaining high professional development standards.

What to expect from visiting an Osteopath

When you first visit an osteopath it’s natural to feel a bit unsure about what to expect. The information below explains what happens and answers any questions you might have.

Your Consultation

Osteopaths are healthcare professionals specially trained in the treatment of health problems. The Osteopath will ask you questions about your medical history and lifestyle, as well as any symptoms you might encounter at the start of your first consultation. This is very valuable because it will help them identify correctly and recommend appropriate treatment.

They’ll write down what you tell them. In compliance with the standards of practice set by the General Osteopathic Council and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), these will be regarded as confidential. If you wish, you may request a copy of your notes but an administration fee may be paid for this.

The osteopath will need to look at the area(s) that cause discomfort in your body. Sometimes the cause of the problem may be different from the discomfort (for example, pain in your lower arm may be connected to your neck’s nerves) so you may need to investigate your entire body. For any tightness in the muscles and rigidity in the joints, they will need to feel and may need to reach certain areas to identify issues. They’ll explain what they do as they go along with it.

If you are unhappy with any aspect of this, you have the right to ask them to stop your treatment at any time.

What to Wear

As with any healthcare consultation, the osteopath may need to ask you to remove a few garments. It is so that they can see and touch the body’s areas of concern for you. Your osteopath will want you to feel comfortable, so if you feel uncomfortable undressing your clothing, your osteopath may be able to suggest wearing clothes, such as shorts and a t-shirt, or close-fitting clothes, so please discuss this with them.

You might want to seek treatment from a same-sex osteopath as yourself. You are also welcome to ask a friend or relative to accompany you during your appointment and to be present.

Your Treatment

The osteopath will make a diagnosis and will discuss a recovery plan with you. This may include more manual therapy visits – a series of gentle hands-on exercises that concentrate on releasing tension, strengthening muscles and improving mobility. Along with activities you can do at home and helpful advice designed to help you alleviate or control your pain, stay active and preserve the best of health.

At your first consultation, most osteopaths will start the care, but sometimes they may need more testing, i.e. blood tests or scans, first. They may also diagnose a condition they are unable to handle, and may refer you to your GP or other qualified health care professional.

Is Treatment Painful?

Osteopathic treatment is typically a very gentle procedure, and osteopaths work very hard to make care as painless as possible, but during and after treatment, you may feel some discomfort. The osteopath will alert you if they think the procedure, they are about to use is going to be painful, and if you tell them you feel too much discomfort, they’ll stop.

After care you may notice a slight soreness in their body area that has been treated, this will typically go away within 48 hours. If after treatment you have severe or irregular symptoms you can immediately contact your osteopath for advice.

Read More
Spondylosis causes and treatment options

Spondylosis causes and treatment options

Spondylosis is a degenerative condition that affects the spine, also known as spinal osteoarthritis. Experts say it’s mostly caused by ageing; the older a person gets, the more he or she exerts wear and tear on their cartilage and bones. As a result, the spinal discs lose their cushioning and spurs develop in the bones, which cause pain. The two most common forms of spondylosis are lumbar (in the lower back) or cervical (in the neck).

Treatment for spondylosis requires medicine and/or surgery, depending on how severe the symptoms are.

Nevertheless, age isn’t the only factor that determines this condition. Certain causes that will put a person at risk for spondylosis include ethnicity (there is a family history of developing this condition), drinking, type of work, previous neck injury or spine surgery, mental health issues, or severe arthritis.

Common symptoms in both cervical and lumbar spondylosis include pain that comes and goes in the affected area, tenderness or numbness, feeling pain after getting out of bed, and sensation of fatigue or tingling. Pain can also spread from the main affected area to other parts of the body. Although signs progress with time, it can also be experienced all of a sudden and if spondylosis continues untreated, conditions such as chronic pain, faecal or urinary incontinence, loss of muscle capacity or even permanent disability may arise.

Conventional medicine has several spondylosis treatment options including drugs and surgery if the signs are already serious. Alternatively, less invasive approaches can be used. Here are a few of them:

  • Anti-inflammatory dietary supplements i.e. turmeric, fish oils and ginger.
  • Massage can help to relax tight muscles, which can lead to reduced pain.
  • Stretching can also help the mind relax and reinforce the core muscles, helping with lumbar pain.
  • Osteopathic treatment reduces pain the patient has felt and restores mobility of the spinal joints. It encompasses a variety of methods, such as cold or heat therapy, ultrasound, lifestyle modification, and spinal adjustment as its primary method.

Many patients with spondylosis choose alternative therapies since they do not need any medications or surgery. In fact, Osteopathic care is therapeutic and discusses the various aspects of a patient’s life, not just the stress brought on by the condition. It is a balanced approach which not only emphasises intervention but also prevention.

If spondylosis has been diagnosed you know how painful it can be. Seek Osteopathic care first before you opt for surgery to reduce the pain you experience and improve your overall health.

Read More
Plantar Fasciitis

Osteopathy Can Help with Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition and the principal cause of adult heel pain. If you have plantar fasciitis, this means the ligament running the length of your foot’s bottom, the plantar fascia, has several tiny tears inside it. If not treated, these tiny tears will inevitably lead to a bigger tear. It can be causing you a lot of pain and discomfort until then. Don’t worry, because Osteopathic care will help treat you if you’re one of the millions of us who suffer from plantar fasciitis.

Much can cause plantar fasciitis, including damage from falling or extreme exercise. Wearing the wrong kind of shoes that don’t provide enough support, standing up for long periods of time or arthritis can cause this condition too. When pain in your foot from this condition rears its ugly head, you can start compensating in the way you walk to reduce pain, but that can lead to other issues such as misalignments in other joints in your body.

Osteopathic Care Helps

There are many treatment options available for plantar fasciitis but when it comes to treating this disorder you may want to consider the several benefits of Osteopathic care, including shock wave treatment.

Treatment by Osteopaths may:

Reduce stress in the ligament – The stress placed on the ligament causing the tiny tears is the reason you are suffering from plantar fasciitis. If you do not take steps to reduce this stress, then pain and inflammation will continue to occur. Osteopaths can help remove some of the stress from the ligament and give it an opportunity to heal through adjustments.

Minimise secondary injuries – Remember one of the things that can happen when you are suffering from this condition is a change in your gait to try to reduce the pain you experience. Using Osteopathic care as part of your treatment plan will help minimise the misalignments caused by a change in your gait – misalignments that can cause problems in other parts of your body, like your feet, elbows, hips and lower back, if left untreated.

Osteopathy is a natural and non-invasive treatment, it often works well for this condition in conjunction with other treatments, such as massage or physical treatment.

If you have plantar fasciitis, book online here www.cramosteopaths.co.uk/book-online/

Read More
Shoulder Pain

Treatment and recovery from Shoulder Pain

Osteopaths are known to treat back and spine problems including back pain and neck pain. Osteopathic care, however, can also be extremely beneficial in the treatment of pain related to the shoulders and extremities. Our Osteopath practices across Glasgow and Ayrshire offer a range of recovery options, when it comes to treating shoulder pain and relieving shoulder pain.

Some of the most prevalent types of shoulder pain are:

Frozen shoulder is an exceptionally painful condition that patients who come to our Osteopathic clinics face. It can also be debilitating and disabling, as well as being very painful. Ordinary things such as putting on a shirt or even brushing your hair can be a hardship. It can also lead to insomnia and sleep disturbance. Frozen shoulder pain can continue for years without proper therapy and intervention.

Many cases of frozen shoulder (as well as general shoulder pain) are due to an upper back (thoracic spine) and/or lower neck inflammation of the nerves. Osteopathic care can be highly effective for treating shoulder pain and relieving shoulder pain, because shoulder pain has its roots in the back and spinal region.

Our Osteopaths are well versed in a number of techniques for effective treatment of pain in the shoulder and relief of pain in the legs. There is often a first rib problems/irritation at the root of a frozen shoulder and many other forms of shoulder pain.

Treating pain in the shoulder

With your particular shoulder problem, the Osteopath should begin with a tailored evaluation and assessment of where the pain point begins. Shoulder pain is usually caused by inflammation of the nerves, tendons, muscles, ligaments or capsule area.

In some cases, the problem is located near the acromioclavicular joint or on the cervical spine. To make an accurate diagnosis, these areas will all be carefully reviewed. There may also be involvement of the triceps muscle located in the upper arm, as well as the subscapularis muscle under the shoulder blade. Once the exact physical cause is diagnosed, therapy for shoulder pain will continue. Although recovery should begin after the first adjustment, it may take a series of Osteopathic adjustments to help resolve the shoulder pain problem completely.

Count On Your Osteopath To Relieve Shoulder Pain

If you have shoulder pain problems contact Cram Osteopaths. Our Osteopathic service will provide you with a range of therapy for pain in the shoulder based on your particular condition. There really is pain relief for the shoulder! Don’t spend another day with it. Contact 0141 339 0894 Mon-Fri: 8:30am-6pm on book online at www.cramosteopaths.co.uk/book-online/

 

Read More
back pain

A Less Obvious Back Pain Cause

Multiple studies have shown that hyper-pronation (HP), or too much ankle rolling-inwards, can have consequences far beyond the foot on the body. For example, abnormal ankle motion can lead to slight changes in how the knees and pelvis move while performing your normal daily activities, placing added strain on these structures and increasing the risk of injury in both the short and long term. These faulty patterns of movement can also lead to improper movement, and higher risk of injury above the hips, including in the lower back.

Researchers found in one study involving patients with low back pain (LBP) that improving both ankle pronation (with foot orthotics) and lower limb weakness (with exercise) contributed to improvements in knee, hip and low back function.

Foot orthotics often include a thicker inward pronation-correcting wedge, and tapers narrow to the outside to correct the ankle’s rolling-in impact. One research measured the impact on the lower limb up to the thorax by a 5 degree heel wedge, noticing major 3-dimensional kinematic changes occurring on the hip, pelvis, and thorax. Over correction (at 10 degree), however, had detrimental effects on proper movement elsewhere in the body, underlining the importance of obtaining an accurate prescription when fitting orthotics with the foot. Many studies have also shown that it may also be important to have a forefoot orthotic to ensure proper biomechanics when walking.

A survey that included 213 cross-country runners in high school and college (107 male, 106 female) found that 37 (17.4 per cent) wore foot orthotics. 17 (54.8 percent) of the 37 orthotic users used them for exercise-related leg pain, of which 15 of the 17 reported benefits. Another study compared the pressure on the Achilles tendon while running with and without foot orthotics and found that running with foot orthotics was associated with significant reductions in Achilles tendon loading as opposed to running without orthotics.

Such results clearly support the many advantages that foot orthotics have for the entire body or structure, which encourage both short- and long-term treatment of conditions such as low back pain! Osteopaths often fit foot orthotics for lower extremity complaints, as well as LBP complaints.

Read More
Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain – Injuries of the Seasons

Every season brings different activities that require us to do some of the physical activity that we may not want to do but have no choice. Shovelling snow comes to mind in the winter (at least in some parts of the country) while spring, summer, and autumn may include sweeping, mowing, and raking in the garden. All these seasonal events are the”… I’ve got to..” daily living activities (ADLs), rather than the ADLs we want to do. Let’s just think of snow shovelling. Of course, if snow isn’t a matter where you live, this knowledge can also be applied to gardening, digging a hole, or some other shovelling activity related to the garden.

Next, a few details that help us understand why back pain when we shovel is so common: 1. About 2/3rds of our body weight is supported as we lean over, in addition to what we are lifting. Thus a person of 180 pounds (~80 kg) must lift 120 lbs(~54 kg) of body weight whenever he or she bends. 2. A weight of 5 lbs (~2,25 kg) will put 50 lbs (22,5 kg) of load on your back when it is held at the end of a shovel in front of you! 3) Our legs are much smaller than our arms and back. If a person can press 300 lbs (~136 kg) on the bench, they can normally press 500 lbs (~236 kg) of the legs-almost 2x more. Yet most of us, when shovelling, use our arms and not our legs. 4) Most of us use poor technique to lean over, raise the shovel with the arms and back (not the legs), and easily stretch and twist the back as we throw the material from the shovel! 5) Then, this faulty action is repeated many, many times, and on top of that, it’s not something we’re used to doing and, therefore, we’re not physically adapted or “in shape” for shovelling. It’s no wonder with all these “truths,” why we can still barely move after an hour of shovelling!

I suppose it makes more sense to hire a gardener (or convince your own child) to do the shovelling, but let’s presume you have to do it yourself … We can’t change the fact that most of our body’s weight is above our waist so we’re stuck with it and we won’t lose excess weight in time before shovelling. Nevertheless, we can certainly put less material on the shovel so there’s less pressure on our back. It’s necessary to use your strong leg muscles to squat down while keeping your back as straight / vertical as possible – Do NOT bend over. Try to stick your bottom out (to maintain an inward curve in your back), raise the shovel / material load straight up with your hands, holding the arched back / bottom out pose. Keep your arms / elbows straight and walk the load of the shovel to the dumping location – do not try to throw the load away by twisting your body.

When you injure your back-using a cut comparison on your face-avoid picking on the wound to repair it. Using ice / rest accompanied by gentle stretching and adjusted exercises if your back hurts after shovelling – don’t go back out and shovel (i.e. don’t pick at your cut!). Some wise shovelling considerations include warming up before you start, keeping “in shape” by year-round workouts, maintaining a good balanced diet and getting enough sleep.

Read More