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Back Injuries from Ice and Snow

February 14th, 2020

Snow sports are fun, avoiding back injuries from ice and snow are the key to winter fun. Snow shoveling, slips and falls on the ice and the inevitable tumbles that come from living in a cold weather climate can hurt. Proper technique, good equipment and knowing what to do when you do get hurt can make all the difference. Reading further now will help you keep little back injuries from ice and snow from becoming big problems later.

 

Good Equipment

First, back injuries from ice and the falls that come with it are a big reason patients call me in the spring. Why the spring? They avoid the problem thinking it will go away and it just gets worse over time. My favorite winter product to keep me upright on the ice are  yaktraxs. They can be purchased from my favorite store online or in person, Gear West in Long Lake.

Proper Technique and Tools

Secondly, snow shoveling is the bane of our winter existence here. I highly recommend avoiding it whenever possible and remember a plow service costs less than a chiropractor. If you are looking to avoid back injuries from ice and snow, that is a great way to start. Most people have pieces of their property that they can’t avoid shoveling. For me, it’s the stairs. To avoid back injuries from snow removal, start with a good shovel. 

 

avoid back injuries from ice and snow using a pusher shovel

This is a pusher shovel. If you want to avoid back injuries from ice and snow, start here. It’s great for long flat runs. If you have stairs to shovel, I recommend a shovel with a bend in it. That will help make the lifting and twisting motion of shoveling easier on your body.

Following your snow shoveling, stretch. This is a video I made on the stretches to do after you shovel. Those stretches will quiet your muscles and make you feel better.

When Back Injuries Occur

Now, even with the best of equipment, back injuries still occur. What should you do when that happens? Remember that back injuries from ice and snow are easier to treat when they are fresh and new. If your injury  sits in your body for a length of time, it becomes more involved and complicated. When you are injured and bruised, it isn’t very motivating to call a chiropractor. However, that is when your long term healing potential is best. A skilled chiropractor will know how to get around your bruises. 

Call us today at 763.553.0387 for help with your back injuries from ice and snow.

Winter Fitness: 3 keys to Staying Active

January 27th, 2020

 

Maintaining winter fitness in a cold climate can be tricky. Unpredictable weather, poor gear selection and un-motivational gray days can tank your winter fitness program. It just takes a few small tricks to keep you motivated and ready for what old man winter can throw at you. 

HEALTHY HABITS 

Go outside every day. Guess who my #1 winter motivation specialists are? Here is a hint, they aren’t personal trainers. 

Have an excited and motivated winter fitness partner!

This little sprite makes it well known that a walk is needed every day.  I make sure that I deliver at least six days a week. It maintains both of our winter fitness, especially our moods. Don’t forget the walking spikes on your boots. I have already used mine dozens of times this winter. The Yaktraks are critical and Gear West is right down the road in Long Lake. As long as our winters are here in Minnesota, hibernating will make you CRAZY. In fact, here is an article I wrote about it just last year . 

GREAT GEAR

Speaking of great gear, Gear West can ensure you have all the winter clothes and sports equipment to keep winter fun. There is no bad weather, just bad gear. I highly recommend Merino Wool. It doesn’t stink like the other wicking tech fabrics. It keeps you the perfect temperature and isn’t scratchy against your skin. Also, don’t forget the wind proofing. I love my GORE jacket and pants for cold windy days. 

 

MAKE IT FUN

 To maintain winter fitness, you must do things you enjoy. I LOVE biking. I even bought a fat bike so I can ride all year. 

 

 

Fat bikes for winter fitness
Fat biking is a great way to maintain winter fitness.

Guess what I found out? I hate biking on the Luce Line or Dakota trail in the winter. It’s a grind and all I can think about is how much more fun it is during the warmer months. I can’t count on maintaining my winter fitness doing something I don’t enjoy. Guess what I enjoy on my bike? Mountain biking in the snow on single track or going to spin classes. I transition my workout indoors or to the mountain bike areas to ride during the winter.

So the keys great gear, making it a habit and having fun things you love doing during the winter. Use those three keys and bump your level of winter fitness up so you are ready to go when the weather gets warmer.

Stress and Pain are Connected

September 30th, 2019

 

 

Has it ever seemed to you that your level of stress and pain are connected? A lot of research has been done on the mind body connection. We know that our emotions are controlled by our nervous systems. Our nervous systems also greatly affect and are affected by the health of our spines. Stress and pain are linked in your body. There are lots of natural ways to improve stress, depression and anxiety.

 

Your mood causes a chemical release that impacts how you perceive your body’s pain levels. If you are anxious, pain becomes worse. If your pain becomes worse, you get more anxious. It’s a vicious cycle and works similarly with depression.

 

Overcoming the connection between stress and pain is critical to your health. Consistently it’s been shown that the most effective mood booster, depression destroyer, anxiety fighter and pain inhibitor is exercise. The more you move your body, the better your body feels. Here is a great article from the Washington Post on stress and pain.

 

That isn’t to say if you are having back spasms you should go to the gym and do dead lifts or run five miles. The key to making exercise work for you is to meet  your body where it is at and respect your injuries while still finding ways to keep moving. Perhaps if you have been focusing on big time muscle building for the last year and your body hurts, now is the time to focus on your cardiovascular health and pick up running or cycling. If you’ve been a life long runner and your body can no longer take the impact, consider starting a core strengthening routine with weights and Pilates and dial back the running.  

 

 

One of the keys to maintaining an exercise program is to deal with injuries when they are small so they don’t keep you from working out. That is where regular adjustments with a chiropractor become critical to your health. Chiropractic will keep your body functioning as it should so that you can participate in your workout as you wish. You have a choice as to whether you allow your life to be limited by pain. It is possible to find solutions and making the commitment to your health now will pay dividends in the future.

Tips for avoiding back pain while gardening

June 7th, 2019

The gardening and yard work season is now full on which is bringing back patients into my office who have hurt themselves out in the yard. There are several tips I can give you to help avoid back pain while gardening.

 

My first suggestions is to break it up into manageable chunks to avoid hurting your back and causing pain. While I know time is precious, a five hour stretch of weeding is going to put anyone into misery. It isn’t worth it. Weed for an hour, then go on a bike ride or walk and come back to it. That will keep you from causing yourself a lot of pain. Doing smaller bits more frequently will help keep your spine healthy and free of pain. 

 

Secondly, walking is basically the cure for most yard work related back pain and misery. Do your yard work, then take the pup on a walk to work out the kinks and get your spine moving properly again. Don’t just crumble into a lawn chair or couch, it will cause you to stiffen up.

 

Third, enlist the help of a wonderful and greedy neighbor kid. If you have a retaining wall to build or a rocky border to place, there are plenty of 10 year olds who would happily carry your rocks or shovel mulch for $10/hr. I know, I have provided employment services to nearly every 10 year old in the neighborhood. You get to sit back with a book and lemonade and they get the opportunity to learn a work ethic and make money. It’s a great way to avoid back pain from yard work or at least limit it because you can certainly find yard work to do while they are doing the heavy stuff. 

 

Inevitably,  home ownership causes pain. Yard work especially causes back pain. Seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis will help your spine work better and keep you healthier. It will also keep little back problems from becoming big back problems. 

 

If you would like help, call our Plymouth office today for an appointment. 763.553.0387

Avoiding Back Pain while Shoveling and stretches for when you are done.

February 25th, 2019

When is back pain serious?

January 16th, 2019

I had a new patient in here last week asking just this question, “When is back pain serious?” Back pain will affect most adults at some point in their lives. Since it can interfere with the activities you love so much, it’s helpful to know when back pain is serious and when it is not.

First question, how long has your back pain been there? Any back pain that has bothered you for more than a couple weeks probably isn’t going to improve on it’s own.

Secondly, does your back pain travel anywhere? Does it radiate down your arms or legs? This gives us very helpful clues diagnosing where the pain is coming from. If the pain has a neuritic quality and is radiating down the front of your thigh, there is a good chance it is coming from the L3-L4 disc, back of the thigh, we look at the L5-S1 disc. There can be lots of other explanations, so please use caution when trying to diagnose things on the internet. Leave that part to a chiropractor.

Has chiropractic care helped your back pain resolve? If someone is starting to see improvement over time, we can guess that will most likely continue. Most insurance companies require a trial of conservative care before they will pay for MRI’s. In my office, we tend to use a six week standard of care. If we aren’t getting significant results and your back pain isn’t starting to resolve within six weeks of complying fully to my treatment plan, I tend to worry if there is something more serious going on. In those scenarios, we refer for MRI’s or CT scans depending on what we are suspecting we will see.

The bottom line is that if back pain is interfering with you doing what you love, you need to see a chiropractor to resolve it. Chiropractic care is the #1 choice for resolving back pain. Chiropractors get the best results with back pain of any health professional around. If you would like our help improving your health and getting you back to doing what you love, please call our office today at 763-553-0387

Pillows for less neck pain and better sleep

November 9th, 2018

I am frequently asked about pillows for less neck pain and better sleep. I am in the middle of my most recent stop on this quest myself. The unfortunate truth is that the pillows that help you have less neck pain and better sleep today, might be your neck and sleep’s worst enemy tomorrow.

I have tried all sorts of pillows; foam, down, contoured pillows, and “my pillows”. My awesome pillows will cause me to feel less neck pain and sleep better for months and then all the sudden, they don’t. Incredibly frustrating, especially for a chiropractor.

The biggest determiner of the type of pillow you need is which position you sleep. If you sleep on your stomach, which you shouldn’t, don’t use a pillow. If you sleep on your side, you need a thick pillow to avoid nerve compression. Back sleepers must support their necks.

My favorite pillow is one I sell in my office. https://www.footlevelers.com/products/orthopedic-pillows It’s made by measuring you in four places. We also ask you which position you sleep in which then determines the shape of the pillow. I have bought three over the years for myself.

I have tried My Pillows. While I have heard rave reviews from many of my friends and clients, I think they are tough to find the appropriate size if you are a woman. If you are going to go that route, definitely buy it in store. The online questionnaire to size it based on a woman’s t-shirt size, certainly didn’t do it for me.

The other pillow I have had good luck with is the Brookstone tempurpedic pillow. Though this isn’t exactly my model, it looks like this: https://www.brookstone.com/pd/tempur-pedic-swedish-neck-pillow/175414p.html

Sadly pillows aren’t returnable so most of us with neck issues end up with a collection. Your neck is definitely worth the price. The biggest thing that will help your neck feel better is getting regular chiropractic adjustments to keep everything moving properly and encourage good posture.

If you don’t have a chiropractor, we would love to be yours! Call us today for your new patient appointment.

 

 

When your back goes out and you can’t stand up

July 16th, 2018

The most frequent way our website is found is the google search, “When your back goes out and you can’t stand up”. While we would prefer to see you when the first warning signs of this problem appear, if you are currently lying on your floor unable to move, let this short video help.

The take home message, alternate ice and walking, then call us so we can correct the problems that led up to this. Ignoring the problem once you are out of the woods only leads to more episodes later on. If you have found yourself in the position where your back goes out and you can’t stand up, listen to your body and call for chiropractic help now.

Warm up and cool down stretches for golfers

May 4th, 2018

I have had two requests already this morning for warm up and cool down stretches for golfers. A good video sess on warm up and cool down stretches for golfers sounds like a good way to conquer my writers block. By the end of these videos, you will clearly see why being a chiropractor was my calling and not an actress or hairstylist. In fact, after the freeze frame in the first one with the constipated face, it will also be clear I don’t know how to edit videos at all. That’s ok. In the name of all of you feeling good, I will sacrifice my dignity once again!!

It isn’t hard to understand why 80% of golfers have back pain, especially this time of year. When you add up the swings you take during your round including your shots and all of your practice swings, it ends of being a lot of one directional repetition. The golfers that I see tend to be really limber in one direction and very stiff in the other. There are a few simple steps you can take to minimizing your chances of injury with warm up and cool down stretches for golfers. This will help you feel good while doing the sport you love.

Tip 1-Warm your body up BEFORE you golf. This does NOT mean stretch. A lot of us rush to the course after work, hop out of our car hoping not to be late and run up to the first tee to take our swings.
Next time you golf, try this. Start with spinal twists-spread your feet shoulder with apart, interlace your fingers, point your hips forward and rotate your shoulders INDEPENDENTLY of your hips. This will help loosen up your spine.

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPz1_eldYOIXtJXiNd8Nr8-IIAslT2Ok_L5hb8KinKPPxhNqtjXpEs3KO0cn7s6uw/photo/AF1QipMCVyd_zQSA0j7xVmtKq54feFirHhLNVqs-ST82?key=dkV1TFRsN0dDZjFZNDdyU0VjQjlHcUJEdEtTZlRR

Second–Try some walking lunges. This will help loosen up your hips and start firing your muscles.

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipMPyTA3Ca2ttRycyyz0VisiajxtlHkxUwgSz0VMl3febikO9_I1sa688SirgRR-fA?key=OUpmSGxSdjJLc2RxbHg4NlhmaE8wR1RTdk40SUpR

Third- Activate your hip flexors with some high knee marches.

http://https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipP2qZmjlCVz1MJ0oaohpjhhE78VuqfjbMby-Edx6Ym40V32qEhooCNovveg2xo0lw/photo/AF1QipMS-cWPHiHrV4rtynVAT7Ba5v40ngM8ilhml0ou?key=aVU2LVNnMmlZYnZpa3otWGkzX1RKZy0xTUVrVkJn

Lastly, try some standing crunches to activate your abs. While your standing, grip your finger tips LOOSELY behind your head. Crunch your opposite elbow to your opposite hip. Do about 15 of these on each side. ( Sorry, my expert videographer Sue went into a massage before I could make this video. You can figure out how to do standing crunches though. If not standing, lie on your back. Now you are ready to golf!

Tip 2-While you are out on the course, take a practice swing in the opposite direction before each hole. This will counter the effects of always swinging the same way. More and more we are seeing the pros on the tour do this. It will help keep you limber in BOTH directions.

Tip 3-Stretch yourself out after you golf before your body has a chance to cool down. Try a gentle forward fold while dropping your head down to stretch your back and hamstrings.

Make sure you stretch your hip flexors out doing a lunge as well and holding it. (Also no camera woman for this one, sorry!)

Any spinal rotation stretch you can do would help too.

(I was pretty much sick of taking these pics of myself by this point…couldn’t help it.)

Most people don’t hold their stretches long enough. Stay in your stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. Also, keep in mind, the first point of injury is wrestling the golf bag out of the trunk.

If you have any questions on how to customize a stretching plan for yourself and your sport, call me. I’m happy to help!

Kinesiotaping for Runners Knee

March 5th, 2018

Here is a little video I made to show kinesiotaping for one of my patients who has runner’s knee. It’s a great tape job for those of us with sloppy slightly arthritic knees without major ligament damage. As with any kinesiotape job, the taping is only as good as the person putting the tape on and you need a correct diagnosis to find the right tape job.

Primarily I am making this video for a specific patient but thought I would share so that I can send people back to this link.

If you click here, you can follow along with your own roll of tape.

Attention Chiropractors

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