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Yes, yoga can cause back pain

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Even the best cures can cause back pain and yoga is no different. The answer is yes, even as much as yoga can help back pain, yoga can cause back pain.

How is this possible? There are several ways that yoga can cause back pain. Let’s get a few things straight first. I am a trained yoga teacher who taught yoga for several years. I practice yoga myself. On top of that, I have an anatomy, physiology and injury prevention knowledge base that 99.99% of yoga teachers do not have. Yoga can be great for you in moderation and can help you resolve stiffness and tension in your body that has troubled you over a lifetime. Yoga can also be party to debilitating back and neck injuries. I have personally witnessed people blow discs in their back while practicing. I have personally taken care of many yoga instructors and yoga students who think that even though they practice yoga five days a week, their spinal pain can be resolved with even more flexibility.

Who are the people most likely to be injured at any activity? Research shows again and again, it;s your five percent least flexible and your five percent most flexible who find themselves in the most trouble. When I was teaching, it was hard to me to understand why so many of my co-teachers had more pain than any of their students and failed to see the cause.

Here are a few ways you can avoid hurting yourself. First, if you can’t breathe there, you shouldn’t be there. If you can’t comfortably inhale and exhale in a relaxed manner you are pushing yourself too hard. The goal isn’t to push yourself until you are able to tie yourself in a knot. It’s to relax your body as well as your mind and be healthy.

Second, building strength is just as important as building flexibility. This especially applies to women. If you are doing yoga twice a week, you should be doing strength training twice a week. No exceptions.

Third–common sense needs to prevail. If you inherently know that your body can’t bend like the teacher in the demonstration pose or have a fear of a pose, listen to your brain and don’t do it.

Finally- If you do yoga on even a weekly basis and your back pain or any other injury isn’t resolving, yoga isn’t going to solve it. It’s time to hit the chiropractors office and find out why you are in pain and create a strategy to solve it.

Backpack Safety for Kids

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

With kids returning to school and summer drawing to a close, parents are out in force purchasing backpacks for their kids. Here are a few tips on keeping a backpack from damaging your child’s spine. While kids want the coolest design or the best super hero’s on the back of the pack, parents need to look out for┬ásafety.

Purchasing a backpack with nicely padded straps is critical to avoiding pressure on their neck or the big bundles of nerves that lead into both of the arms. Secondly, just like purses-the bigger the pack, the more your kid will stuff in it. Limiting the weight in the backpack is important. Your child can only safely carry a backpack that weighs no more than 10% of the weight of your child.

Carrying the pack properly is also important. Teach them to use both straps. Slinging the backpack over one shoulder will cause a problem long term. Teaching them how to take care of their bodies now will prevent injuries later.

In my Plymouth chiropractic office, I see many more kids than I did ten years ago. Many parents now have a chiropractor who sees their entire family including the kids. If your child is experiencing back pain, headaches or other recurring symptoms that your pediatrician has not been able to give you an acceptable solution for, call us. If I can help you, I will and if you need a referral to another provider, we can do that as well.

Golf Stretches and other Tips for avoiding back pain

Friday, August 13th, 2010

80% of professional golfers have re-occurring back pain. Does this surprise you? It shouldn’t. 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 avoid creating back problems 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. Second–Try some walking lunges. This will help loosen up your hips and start firing your muscles. 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. 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. Any seated spinal rotation stretch you can do would help too. Most people don’t hold their stretches long enough. Stay in your stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds.

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

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