A source of information to help you keep fit, prevent injuries from happening, and help you with therapies to get you better. Written by Dr. Derek Vinge at Fit Chiropractic in Courtenay, BC. He is a Canadian board certified chiropractor that is a qualified provider of Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) and Graston Instrument Assisted soft-tissue technique.
It's a Winter wonderland. Well, most of the time. Face it, we will have to get out and move accumulated snow away from the front door and out of the driveway. The longer you wait (the better the turkey tastes) but seriously, the snow is getting deeper every minute. Sometimes, living on the wet west coast we can just wait a few days and the rain will come and wash away all the work. But not always! It may become dangerously heavy before it snows again.
Before tackling any strenuous activity, a quick warm-up will kick-start your muscles for the activity ahead and help prevent injury.
When you get down to business remember these pointers:
1 Don’t let snow pile up
If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shovelling
will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow after each snowfall.
2 Pick the right shovel
Use a lightweight push shovel. If you’re using a metal shovel, spray it
With Teflon, so snow won’t stick to it. Lightweight plastics are recommended.
3 Push, don’t throw
Push the snow to the side rather than throwing it. This way you avoid
lifting heavy shovels of snow, and abrupt twists or turns that may result
in serious injury.
4 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.
5 Take a break
If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a break. Shake out your
arms and legs to recharge.
6 Keep comfort in mind
Layer your clothing so you can adapt to changing temperatures. If you
become too warm while outdoors, simply remove a layer or two to
7 Cool down
After you have finished doing the grunt work cool down by taking a walk and stretching
out tense muscles.Often a cool refreshment and a hot tub will accelerate relaxation.
Stop by to see Dr. Derek @ The Hub in Downtown Courtenay. 250.334.6877
The steady pounding of the your head, feeling like a thousand pounds squeezing the life right out of you. A tension headache is something that almost everyone has endured. Up to 78% of people suffer from these types of headaches and they are the most neglected. For millions of Canadians there is a way to reduce the discomfort and pain.
With a tension headache, the pain often starts at the back of your head and moves forward, so that it eventually includes your neck, scalp, and head. It’s often described as feeling like you have a tight band across your head. It may be caused by staying in one position for a long time, such as in reading, using a computer, or playing video games. It may be also caused by stress, but sometimes there is no obvious cause.
If your headaches happen 15 or more days in a month for several months, they are considered chronic tension headaches. If they occur less frequently, they are called episodic tension headaches.
Although tension headaches can be painful, they are rarely a sign of a more serious illness. A combination of lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, and chiropractic therapy can help reduce the number of tension headaches you have.
is here! Just the other day, I was able to see my first lily bud
sprouting in a neighbor's garden. This
was a prompt to me that I need to start
my own garden preparations. An important reminder for myself and
everybody else entering the "garden season" is
that there are an increased number of injuries
when starting up again for the season. The heavy lifting of fresh
sand or mulch, twisting to pick those far reaching weeds, and hunching for
extended periods of time can all contribute to the straining and spraining
of our tissues.
a few simple "pre-season" exercises can help prevent weeks
of aches and pains. Most importantly, increasing
core stability will improve our abilities
to maintain bending postures for prolonged periods of time. Recent research recommends that
building the endurance of core abdominal and lower back muscles is more important
than actually “strengthening” the low back. Keeping correct posture with strong
abdominal muscles will prevent injury down the road and enable you to
garden at all ages.
you would like some more information on these exercises and to have your own personal
biomechanics (walking, bending, lifting, kneeling) properly assessed, please come see me. Or, stop by PISE for a FREE weekly core-strengthening class every Wednesdays @ Lunch. (April 24- June 19).
I am sure everyone has seen someone with
upper cross syndrome (UCS), whether they knew what it was called or not. A
person with UCS will look like they are hunched over with rounded shoulders and
head protruding forward. See the image below to get a better visual of what UCS
Basically, if someone has UCS they will have
tight (overactive) upper traps and levator scapula muscle as well as tight chest
muscles. Along with these tight muscles, the neck flexors on the front side and
the rhomboids and lower traps on the back are weak. The tight or over-active muscles have
become shortened and the weak or under-active muscles have been lengthened. This
is what happens when there is a muscle imbalance in the body.
In the above
image, the muscle on the left is the tight (overactive) muscle
and the one on
the right is the weak (underactive muscle)
UCS is one of the more common muscle imbalances
that people possess and the majority of them don’t know they have it. Someone
can get UCS from doing repetitive things such as their job. People who sit in a
chair all day tend to hunch over and overtime will start to possess UCS. If your
job requires you to stand all day while slightly bending over while working with
your hands the same would apply. Also, people that exercise and work out the
chest/upper traps a lot more than the lower traps/rhomboids will eventually get
UCS. If you already possessed muscle imbalances before you started exercising
then it would gradually get worse as you performed exercises, unless
People with UCS may complain of symptoms such as
neck pain, jaw pain, upper thoracic pain and headaches due to the muscle
imbalances and altered posture. Over time, poor posture can lead to all the
above symptoms as well as more long term complications such as osteoarthritis or
degenerative joint disease.
So how do you fix Upper Cross Syndrome? You need
stretch the tight (overactive) muscles and strengthen the weak (underactive)
muscles. The chest muscles and the upper traps need to be stretched. Here are
some examples of stretching exercises that can be done.
Stand against an object and form a 90 degree angel
with your arm. Draw your navel inward. Slowly lean forward until a light stretch
is felt in the front shoulder and chest area. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
Switch arms. Perform 1-2 sets twice a day.
Stand in place with good posture. Draw navel
inward. Retract and depress scapula on the side being stretched. Tuck chin and
slowly flex head to one side, pulling one ear toward the same shoulder. Hold the
stretch for 30 seconds. Switch sides. Perform 1-2 sets each side twice a
The rhomboids/mid-lower traps need to be
strengthened. Here is an example of a strengthening exercise that can be
Pick a weight that you can perform 12-20 reps
easily. You can also you resistance bands. Stand with feet shoulder width apart
and with body in good posture. Draw navel inward. Pull bands/cable toward your
lower chest area and flex the trap muscles. Make sure to use your back muscles
to pull the bands/cable toward you and not your biceps. Lower your body as if
you were squatting or sitting in a chair. As you lower your body let the
bands/cable go forward. This should be done is smooth motion. Bring your body
back up to the starting position as you bring the bands/cable toward your lower
chest. Do 12-20 reps for 1-2 sets once a day. *You want to pick a weight or
resistance that you can easily perform the 12-20 reps in order to execute proper
form. ** Be careful not to elevate shoulders or protrude head forward while
performing this exercise.
Lie prone(stomach down) on the floor. Activate the
gluteal muscles and pinch should blades together. Lift chest off the floor with
thumbs pointed up and arms externally rotated. Hold for 1-2 seconds. Slowly
return body to the ground keeping chin tucked. Repeat 8-12 times, 1-2 times a
Stop by my Courtenay chiropractic clinic for some Upper Crossed Syndrome resolve.