Back Pain

CAUSES OF BACK PAIN

Back pain. It’s a problem that affects millions of Canadians. When your back hurts, many other things suffer too. Simple everyday tasks like getting in and out of a car, putting on a coat, picking up a child, sitting at a desk or standing for periods of time may become unmanageable.

There are many causes of back pain. Injuries, heavy lifting, ageing, recreational activities, pregnancy and the stress of everyday life can all cause back pain. Many people choose to just ‘tough it out’ but there is a better way.

Did you know?

A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) is highly trained to diagnose the causes of back pain and provide hands-on treatment that works. Ignoring back pain doesn’t make it go away. In fact, it can make it worse. It’s important to treat not only the symptoms, but also the cause.

If back pain is affecting your ability to get through the day and keeping you away from your favorite activities, consider chiropractic care. A chiropractor will assess your symptoms, diagnose your condition, and recommend a treatment plan to put you on the road to recovery. Your chiropractor can also provide expert advice to help you prevent pain and injury from recurring.

GETTING BACK IN ACTION

Chiropractic care can restore healthy function to your spine and the related muscles and ligaments to get you moving again. Chiropractors are specialists in adjustment of the vertebrae of the spine and other joints of the body. Adjustment helps relieve pain and restore normal movement – so you can enjoy your everyday activities again as quickly as possible. Complications are rare and side-effects such as temporary soreness are usually minor.

Chiropractors acquire their skills through an intensive four-year, full-time course of study after three years of university education.

PATIENTS PLAY A ROLE

The success of any treatment relies on patients playing an active role. Simple things to keep in mind include warming up before and stretching after physical activities, keeping backpacks and purses light, lifting objects safely, and stretching after an hour of television viewing or sitting at the computer.

WHEN SHOULD I CONSIDER CHIROPRACTIC CARE?

If you experience back pain that lasts more than a few days, consult a chiropractor for an assessment. Your chiropractor will recommend a course of treatment specific to you which may include spinal adjustments, joint mobilization, muscle release techniques, muscle stimulation,

and therapeutic exercises. Most people respond well to treatment and get back to their regular activities faster than waiting it out.

EVIDENCE-BASED

Chiropractors are regulated health professionals and members of your health care team. Chiropractic care has been researched extensively. Your chiropractor is well-trained to determine if your problem will respond to chiropractic care or if you require referral to another health care professional.

LENGTH OF CARE

In some cases, treatment may begin on the first visit. Length of treatment will vary for each person, but many patients will begin to feel better after a few visits. People who have lived with long-term back pain or have degenerative problems will typically be in treatment longer. People may also choose periodic care to maintain healthy spine and joint function.

A HEALING PARTNERSHIP

Your chiropractor will work with you to establish goals to measure your progress. Chiropractors are trained to prescribe therapeutic exercise, provide nutritional counselling and recommend rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies to help you participate in your care.

WHAT TO EXPECT ON A FIRST VISIT

If you are visiting a chiropractor for the first time, expect to provide a health history. This may include asking you about any illnesses, past surgeries, medications and other health issues. The chiropractor will ask you about your pain and conduct a physical examination to assess and diagnose the problem. Sometimes x-rays may be required.

Your chiropractor will explain the findings of the assessment to you and discuss the treatment recommendations, ensuring your consent to treatment is informed and your questions are answered.

 

Hockey Stretches

STARTING OUT:

Invest in equipment, sticks and skates that suit your height and size.
Be ‘head smart’ – wear your helmet with the cage, shield or visor properly secured.
Sharpen your skates regularly for better performance.
Repair or replace damaged or broken equipment.

REMEMBER:

Never stretch a cold muscle. Always warm-up before pre-game stretches.
Don’t overstretch – be comfortable.
Don’t bounce when stretching.
If you experience pain that lasts longer than your usual post-game soreness, ice the area and consult a chiropractor.

If you are new to the game, get checked by a health professional such as a chiropractor to make sure it’s an appropriate fitness activity for you. If you are a regular player, routine chiropractic check-ups can help optimize your muscle and joint function and deal with stiffness and soreness before they sideline you.

 

#1 HAMSTRING STRETCH

Lay on your back and bend one knee towards the ceiling. Hold the back of the thigh with both hands and straighten the knee as much as you can by raising your foot towards the ceiling. Hold the stretch for one second, then bend the knee and straighten again. Repeat 20 times on each leg.

#2 GROIN STRETCH

Stand with your feet slightly wider apart than your shoulders. Bend your knees. Shift your weight to the right leg. Reach down and across your body with your left hand to touch your right foot. Point your right hand up to the ceiling. Keep your back parallel to the ground. Shift your weight to the left leg. Repeat 10 times on each side.

#3 HIP FLEXOR STRETCH

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with your right foot into a lunge position. Your right knee should be directly over the toes of your right foot. Keep your left leg and your back straight. Extend your arms straight in front of you and bring your palms together. Turn your upper torso to the right keeping pelvis and hips stationary. Hold for one second and repeat 10 times on each side.

#4 QUAD STRETCH

Stand with your back to a wall or the rink boards. Kneel onto your right knee (use a pad for cushioning) with your right foot flat against a wall. Your left knee should be bent in front of you at a 90 degree angle for support. Place your hand on your left knee for balance and lean back slightly to stretch your right quad muscle. Hold the stretch for ten seconds. Switch legs and do three stretches on each side.

#5 GLUTE STRETCH

Sit on the ground with one leg slightly bent behind you and one leg slightly bent in front of you. Lower your chest toward your knee keeping your back straight and holding your chin up. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Switch legs and repeat three times on each side.

#6 HIP STRETCH

Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat apart on the floor slightly more than shoulder width apart. Lower your right knee to the floor and place your left ankle on top of it pushing the knee towards the ground. Keep your hips on the floor. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Switch sides.

Snow Shovelling

During the winter months snow shoveling can be a pain, considering that each shovelful of snow weighs about six pounds. That’s a lot of repetitive lifting, and wear and tear on your back. These back health tips will ease the hassle of clearing your driveway and help keep your back in shape.

WARM UP BEFORE YOU START
Before tackling any strenuous activity, a quick 10-minute warm up such as a walk around the block will kick-start your muscles for the activity ahead and help prevent injury

DON’T LET SNOW PILE UP
If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shoveling will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow after each snowfall.

PUSH, DON’T THROW

Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.

BEND YOUR KNEES

If you need to lift shovels of snow, bend your knees and use your leg and arm muscles to do the work while keeping your back straight.

TAKE A BREAK

If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a break. Shake out your arms and legs to recharge.

WATCH FOR ICE

Be careful on icy walkways and slippery surfaces. Intermittent thaws and subsequent freezing can lead to ice building up underfoot, resulting in nasty slips and falls. Throw down some salt or sand to ensure you have a good footing.

PICK THE RIGHT SHOVEL

Use a lightweight push shovel. If you’re using a metal shovel, spray it with Teflon or silicone spray, so snow won’t stick to it.

KEEP COMFORT IN MIND

Dress for the weather
Layer your clothing so you can adapt to changing temperatures. If you become too warm while outdoors, simply remove a layer or two to maximize comfort.

Stay hydrated
Even though it’s cold outside, your body still needs plenty of fluids. Be sure to drink lots of water or fruit juice before, during and after shoveling. Remember – if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Take it slow
Rest when you feel tired or short of breath. Stop shoveling if you experience sudden or prolonged joint or muscle pain.

10 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY BACK

1. Exercise regularly.

2. Follow a healthy diet.

3. Maintain good posture.

4. Warm up and cool down before and after physical activity.

5. Don’t overload your backpack or shoulder bag.

6. Stretch your legs and back after each hour of sitting.

7. Never cradle the phone between your neck and shoulder.

8. Sleep on your back or side, not on your stomach.

9. Invest in a good chair, pillow and mattress.

10. Have regular spinal check ups.

 

WorkSafe