As hardy Canadians, we should embrace winter and take advantage of the great outdoors. While many people recognize that shovelling snow is hard work, physiotherapists caution that shovelling can place severe stress on your heart, and cause stress and strain on your body. Every year, people sustain injuries such as pulled and strained muscles from repetitive twisting and improper lifting.
The Canadian Physiotherapy Association offers the following tips while shovelling:
Choose a shovel that’s right for you:
- a shovel with a curved handle and adjustable length will minimize painful bending
- a shovel blade made of plastic will be lighter than metal, putting less strain on your spine
- a smaller blade will not allow too much snow, and won’t be too heavy for your body to carry
Use proper techniques:
- whenever possible, push the snow rather than lift it
- always face forward, bend at the hips, squat with your legs shoulder- width apart, and keep your back straight
- lift with your legs and scoop small amounts of snow into the shovel
- keep the load close to your body to reduce the strain on your back
- step forward in the direction you are throwing the snow, in order to prevent twisting of the low back. This is the most common reason for back pain the next day
- if you have any concerns about your ability to shovel snow this winter, due to health concerns, injuries or inactivity, ask for help, hire a company to clear your snow or speak to a physiotherapist who can help prepare you for the winter ahead
- clear snow in two stages - skimming snow from the top, then removing the bottom layer
- take frequent breaks when shovelling-stand up straight, walk around periodically to bring your spine back to a neutral position
- do standing extension exercises by placing your hand in the small of your back, bending slightly backwards, hold the position for several seconds - repeating 5 to 10 times
Prevent slips and falls
- use a de-icing product on all stairs and walkways - it saves you shovelling and chipping ice unnecessarily
- wearing good winter footwear can avoid slips on the ice - boots with good traction or external grips can be very beneficial.
This winter, get outside and enjoy the fresh air and the fluffy white stuff. Canadians can still enjoy cardiovascular benefits from snow shovelling if they prepare themselves and listen to their bodies.
Originally Published: December 23, 2017
Concussions have become the new hot topic among the sporting world, and it’s an old problem that is now taking a front seat within the medical community. Concussions most commonly occur during or immediately following a sporting event, and they can happen at any age and with any kind of high-impact force to the head. They are also very common in car accidents, or with something as simple as a slip and fall where the head, face, neck, or other body parts make contact, resulting in an impulsive force being transmitted to the head.
A concussion is a brain injury and is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain induced by traumatic biomechanical forces. It is estimated that 3.8 million concussions occur in the US each year during competitive sports and recreation activities, with as many as 50 percent going unreported. There has also been a disturbingly steep rise in the number of concussions occurring in younger children and adolescents.
Fortunately, 80 to 90 percent of those who experience a concussion will fully recover, with the majority of people recovering in seven to 10 days post injury. For the other 10 to 20 percent who have ongoing symptoms or post- concussion syndrome (symptoms lasting longer than three months), further treatment is often necessary.
Treatments for concussions are multifaceted and can include several professional disciplines including physicians, physiotherapists, massage therapists and occupational therapists, with each profession catering to specific parts of post- concussion rehabilitation.
As physiotherapists, we can assess and treat a variety of issues following a concussion, including muscle tightness and imbalances, headaches, dizziness and even balance disturbances in more severe cases.
Probably the most important part of our customized treatment programs for patients suffering from concussive symptoms is education for patients, parents, teachers, coaches and trainers. With various outcome measures and graduated return to play or school guidelines, we will work with you and your support team to get you through this difficult time, with the goal of successfully returning you to your sport, school or back to your everyday life, symptom-free.
Information for the article has been taken from lecture notes from concussion courses given by Jacquie van Ierssel and Shannon McGuire.
Originally Published: November 16, 2017