3 Tips That’ll Save Your Back While Gardening

 

Man working in the garden

Gardening is a favorite warm weather activity for many people. Unfortunately, it can often send them straight to the chiropractor with back pain and stiffness. If you enjoy your garden but your back doesn’t, take heart. An estimated 80% of the population has experienced back pain or will experience it at some point in their lifetime. It is common, but it doesn’t have to keep you from doing the things you enjoy. There are some fairly simple things you can do to make it easier and less painful.

Stretching is a good way to prevent back pain for nearly any activity. The more limber you are and the more warmed up your muscles are, the more comfortable you will be while you are gardening and afterwards.

Stretches for gardeners aren’t all that different from stretches for other activities. You need to address your hamstrings, triceps, and of course your back. Then you will be ready to get in the dirt and do what you love.

Use Back Friendly Tools and Gardening Methods

It may feel wonderful to get close to the dirt as you dig, breathing in its earthiness, feeling at one with nature, but your back likely does not hold the same appreciation. You can mix it up a little, but allow at least part of your gardening time to the use of tools that are “back friendly.” You can also check out these indoor plants and other succulents that are easy to look after.

Long handled and telescopic tools allow you to do your garden work without overworking your back. This is also great for people who don’t have full range of motion in their backs or who have trouble getting up and down.

Another back saver is a raised container garden. This will put your garden within easy reach, saving you from trying to get on the ground or, worse, feeling like you have to forego a garden because you can’t get around like you once did.

You can set the containers at whatever height you choose and include benches and seats for more comfortable gardening. If you do get on the ground, knee pads or a mat can help reduce some of the stress and prevent some pain.

Change Your Position Frequently

It’s easy to get in the zone and lose track of time, only for your body to remind you when you try to move and are met with painful stiffness. Carry a small timer with you and set it so that you are reminded every 30 minutes to stop, walk around, and stretch a little. This not only prevents pain and stiffness, it also helps with your circulation and blood flow, even digestion.

You can also vary your garden tasks so that you don’t over-tax a single muscle group. You may weed for a while, then move to your potting bench for a while or pruning trees or shrubs. It isn’t good to stay in one position for too long no matter what you are doing. A physical activity like gardening, though, requires more movement. Moreover, leave dangerous work for professionals. Contact Georgia Tree Company for tree removal and stump grinding services.

Take Care when Bending, Reaching, and Lifting

Gardening involves a lot of reaching, bending, and lifting. When you don’t do it correctly you would wind up with a sore back – or worse.

To lift: Don’t bend at your waist. Squat, grasp the object with both hands while pulling it close to your body. Straighten your legs slowly, letting those muscles to the work of lifting. You may also use a dolly, wheelbarrow, or wagon to move heavy items around and minimize the need to lift them.

Push: Pushing doesn’t strain the back as much as pulling does. Push your seeder, wheelbarrow, and lawnmower and try to avoid pulling as much as possible.

Reaching: Be careful when you reach, especially if you are reaching to lift. Even something that doesn’t weigh much can throw off your balance or cause you to twist your back. Try to minimize lifting while reaching as much as possible.

Bending: Keep your knees soft when you bend and try bending from the waist. If you are doing a task that requires bending, take frequent breaks where you can stand upright. If you bend to lift, make sure you use proper lifting techniques.

Gardening can be wonderful for mind, body, and spirit. It can also be painful if you don’t take the necessary precautions. When you go out to tend your plants, remember these back-saving gardening tips. Your back will thank you.

Why More People Are Choosing Emerald Coast Chiropractic

 

destin-chiropractor

Chiropractic care is enjoying an upsurge in popularity as more people are veering away from invasive procedures and pharmaceuticals in favor of more natural treatment options for their pain. A recent Gallup poll for Palmer Chiropractic College confirms this. Of the people surveyed:

  • More than 35.5 million people said they sought chiropractic care within the 12 month (the Gallup survey was conducted from February 8, 2016 through March 11, 2016).
  • 95% said chiropractic was effective in treating their condition.
  • 89% said they would recommend chiropractic to friends and family.
  • 97% said that they would likely see a chiropractor for neck or back pain.
  • 88% said that chiropractic care is a good value for the money.

Non-Drug Treatments for Back Pain should be Sought First

In April 2017, the American College of Physicians published their updated guidelines for managing and treating low back pain. In it, they recommended seeking non-drug treatments which include the application of heat, exercise, stress reduction, and spinal manipulation before turning to medications. The purpose is to steer patients away from unnecessary medicating and toward healthier, more natural options as a first line of defense in managing low back pain.

Another study published in2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association supported spinal manipulation as a preferred first treatment option over pharmaceuticals for patients with acute low back pain. While these recommendations are primarily in response to the opioid epidemic, it is also in response to the numerous studies that show chiropractic care is safe and effective for back pain management.

Chiropractic is a Healthier, Safer Option

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that opioid abuse and overdose has reach epidemic proportions. An estimated 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. This includes opioids obtained by a prescription from a doctor.

Popular pain medications like oxycodone and hydrocodone have seen steadily increasing abuse, overdose, and death rates over the past two decades. In fact, deaths caused by overdose of these drugs as well as methadone and others, have quadrupled since 1999.

These medications are highly addictive and have many unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. While most states are taking aggressive steps to curb the over-prescribing of these medications, patients are still finding ways around the prescribing guidelines and restrictions. This is a compelling reason for patients to seek natural, non-medicinal pain relief options first – and for their doctors to recommend them.

More People are Turning to Natural Remedies

Many patients are simply getting fed up with invasive treatments and numerous pills, causing them to turn to remedies that are more natural. One benefit of chiropractic and other natural remedies is that they rarely treats only the symptom.

Instead, it addresses the root of the problem to treat the cause. This approach has many benefits beyond being medication free and non-invasive. When the cause of the condition or problem is corrected, it can eliminate other troubling symptoms as well.

Chiropractic is a Healthier, Whole Body Option

A patient who sees their chiropractor for low back pain may find that after a few treatments their headaches, constipation, and digestive issues are also resolved. This is because chiropractic treats the body as a whole, unlike traditional medicine that tends to treat it in parts.

In the body, everything is connected so a problem in one area could easily cause problems in other areas. By correcting the root of the problem, the patient receives more rounded healthcare.

Where traditional medicine will often opt to prescribe a pain pill for lower back pain, chiropractic care looks for the cause of the back pain and treats the pain symptom from the cause. The chiropractor may advise lifestyle changes, changes in diet, and even recommend supplements. With chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity increasing at an alarming rate, chiropractic care offers a solution that treats the body as a whole in a more natural, safer way.

Why Hydration Is Important To Your Spine

Water. We know that it is a vital part of our health and wellbeing. Doctors and experts have been telling us for decades. You probably already knew that adequate hydration promotes optimal organ function, good digestion, healthier skin, and even encourages a healthy weight, but did you know it is also vital for good spine health? Just as the rest of your body needs water to function properly, so does your spine. When you don’t drink enough water, and become dehydrated (even mildly) it can create problems, some of them painful.

If you want good spinal health, you have to stay well hydrated. This is because of the way the spine is constructed.

Dehydration can lead to pain, poor mobility, limited range of motion, and decreased flexibility. Your spine will age much faster and this can have a ripple effect throughout the body. The spine is the foundation for the body and provides the pathway for neural impulses. When it isn’t working, most of the body isn’t working.

The Spine

In order to understand why water and good hydration play such an important role in spinal health, you first need to understand how the spine is constructed and how it uses the water.

The spine is a column, made of vertebrae that are connected to each other by small joints. Between each vertebra is a fluid filled disc. This disc cushions each vertebra so the bones don’t rub against each other, especially when moving or bending. It also acts somewhat like a shock absorber to that the spine does not take the full impact of movement which could cause damage.

Each disc is comprised of two parts. The center, called the nucleus pulposis, is filled with fluid. This is what protects the bones. The tough, outer ring is flexible, but strong, protecting the disc. The ring is filled with a sort of gel but the disc itself is made up of water.

If there is not enough water in the disc it cannot cushion the bone properly and this can lead to spinal problems. It can be very painful. This is what makes hydration so important.

As a person ages the discs don’t rehydrate as easily so it is particularly important for older people to drink lots of water. A sedentary lifestyle can also exacerbate the problem, making it more difficult to rehydrate the discs.

Why is Water Important?

As soon as you get out of bed in the morning, gravity starts working against your spine. Whether you are sitting or standing – and as you move about –  you are putting pressure on it, causing the vertebrae to compress the discs. This squeezes the water out. If the water it not replenished, you could find yourself with some painful spinal problems.

Drinking lots of water throughout the day helps to keep your body hydrated. A body that is well hydrated can replenish the water that was lost in the discs.

The thing is, you don’t have to be completely dehydrated to feel the ill effects. Even being slightly dehydrated can begin to cause problems. If the dehydration is prolonged, those problems can become serious.

It is important that you drink water as opposed to sodas. Aside from the sodium, sugars, and unidentifiable chemicals that you put into your body every time you drink one, sodas do not provide enough water to your body to be useful. You need to go for plain water.

If you don’t like water, there are ways you can flavor it without spending a lot or using ingredients like aspartame. Cut a lemon, lime, or orange and let it sit in the water to infuse. Mint is also nice, but you can also slice some strawberries and put them in a pitcher of water for a refreshing, fruity drink.

So, drink your water. Your spine will thank you.

3 Stretches Emerald Coast Chiropractic Patients Can Do For Neck Pain

Stretching is often an outstanding complement to chiropractic care. Blood flow to the muscles is increased and it helps lower the risk of injury and improves physical performance. More importantly, stretching is good for the joints, helping them function through their full range of motion.

Additionally, some studies show that muscles work and move more effectively when they are stretched regularly. These benefits of stretching make it a great practice to incorporate into your daily routine, especially between chiropractic treatments.

The muscles all along the spine respond well to stretching. However, sometimes it is difficult to manipulate specific muscle groups and get an effective stretch.

The cervical spine is a prime example. Although the neck turns in so many ways, finding positions that provide an effective stretch are surprisingly difficult.

These three stretches effectively work the muscles through the neck and shoulders, and are simple enough to do at home whether you are between chiropractic appointments or if you wake up with a crick in your neck.

Before You Stretch

If you are under a chiropractor’s care, you should check with him or her before you start a stretching program. This is especially important if you have a neck injury or have a spinal condition that causes deterioration or pain.

When you begin stretching, you may feel a little discomfort, but it is important to note that it should never cause pain or worsen it. If this occurs, or if it just doesn’t feel “right,” you should stop immediately and call your chiropractor.

Neck and Trap Stretch

If standing: Stand up straight with your pelvis slightly tucked (not swayback), feet shoulder’s width apart, knees soft.

If sitting: Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor.

1. Drop your shoulders and roll them slightly back. Let your arms hang down.

2. Reach behind your back and, with your left hand, grasp your right wrist. If you can’t reach to grasp your wrist, grab your fingers. If you can’t reach your fingers, sit in a straight back chair and put your right arm as far behind you as you can and slide your right hand under your right buttock to provide stability.

3. If clasping your hands behind you, gently pull your arm behind you to the left. If unable to reach behind you, drop your right shoulder.

4. At the same time, tilt your head to the left, bringing your ear to your shoulder but don’t raise your left shoulder. You will feel the stretch all along the right muscles of the neck.

5. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

6. Do the same movement for the left side.

7. Repeat the full move 3 to 5 times.

Gentle Neck Extension

If standing: Stand up straight with your pelvis slightly tucked (not swayback), feet shoulder’s width apart, knees soft, hands relaxed and at your sides.

If sitting: Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor, hands relaxed and at your sides.

If lying down: Lie flat on the floor. If necessary, put a pillow under your knees to take pressure off of the lower back. Stretch your arms down by your side.

This complex is recommended by injury care center Jacksonville Fl.

1. Push your shoulders down towards your feet.

2. Tuck your chin to your chest but don’t let your shoulders lift.

3. Slowly raise your chin, feeling the stretch along the front of your neck. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds.

4. Return your head to its normal, upright position for 30 seconds. Repeat the entire movement 5 to 7 times.

Stretch for Traps

If standing: Stand up straight with your pelvis slightly tucked (not swayback), feet shoulder’s width apart, knees soft, hands relaxed and at your sides.

If sitting: Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor, hands relaxed and at your sides.

If lying down: Lie flat on the floor. If necessary, put a pillow under your knees to take pressure off of the lower back. Stretch your arms down by your side.

1. Start with your head in the normal, upright position.

2. Bend your neck to the right side, moving your ear towards your shoulder.

3. Raise your left hand to your head and apply gentle pressure to facilitate the stretch while drawing up your left shoulder. Hold for 20 seconds.

4. Return to your starting position.

5. Repeat the same movement on the right side.

6. Do 3 to 5 sets.

If the reason for you pain in neck, back, or leg is the injury you got in an auto accident, contact City Wide Injury and Accident clinic as they specialize in treating auto accident and personal injury patients.

Why We Get Shorter As We Age

If you are in your 40s, and you measured your height, chances are you would not be the same height that you were in, say, high school. It’s true. As we get older, we tend to shrink. A French study in 2010, measures more than 8,000 women who were over the age of 60. They then asked each woman to estimate her own height. Nearly all of the women in the study overestimated their height. Some overestimated by as much as 2 inches. This is not wishful thinking on the women’s part; they were recalling their tallest height. Shrinking in stature is a normal part of the aging process, but there are ways you can stop it – or at least slow it down.

What Causes People to Shrink?

There are several reasons why a person may lose some height as they age:

  • A condition like osteoporosis can cause loss of bone density, leading to a compression fracture which is essentially a collapse of the vertebrae
  • Flattening of the feet. As we age our arches flatten out and this can take inches off our height
  • Dehydration of the discs that lie between each vertebra. The dehydration can cause the discs to com press.
  • A stooped posture caused by loss of muscle in the core or abdomen

Getting Shorter by the Numbers

It is estimated that the average person will lose about ¼ to ½ inch every decade after they turn 40 (although some estimates say 30 and others say 50). Women are also more prone to height loss than men. The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) found that between 30 and 70 years of age, women lost, on the average, 2 inches while men lost around 1 inch of height. By the age of 80, women had lost a little more than 3 inches while men lost 2. However, with all of the varying factors, some people will lose more and others will lose less – and some don’t shrink an inch.

Health Implications of Height Loss

It is important to know that height loss can be an indicator of a problem. Probably the most concerning of the conditions is skeletal problems, such as a compression fracture.

Such a condition can be debilitating, causing back pain and mobility problems. Muscle loss can also cause pain, as can compressed discs. It is important to stay on top of it, get ahead of any potential problems.

Height loss can also be a symptoms of other problems that are physiological or metabolic in nature. It can also indicate inadequate nutrition or poor health. In short, if you experience height loss, it may be in your best interest to pay attention and talk to your doctor.

Combating the Shrinkage

While genetics does play a large part in certain conditions that can cause you to lose height, there are some things you can do that may help. If you are still below the threshold age, start now to take care of yourself, get the proper nutrition, exercise, get enough sleep, and drink plenty of water. The better foundation that you build when you are young, the better off you will be as you age.

Older people may be able to slow the shrinkage by eating a healthy diet that is rich in calcium, doing weight bearing exercises, staying hydrated, and avoiding unhealthy practices such as drinking alcohol and smoking. Study after study shows that exercise works, so that should be a priority. Hydration is also key. In the end, the better you take care of your body when you are young, the better care it will take of you when you are older.