‘I hurt my back shovelling snow. What can I do to get relief?’

We asked two different experts for their advice on dealing with lower back pain due to an injury. Here's what they said

'I hurt my back shovelling snow. What can I do to get relief?'Photo by Shutterstock.com

Source: Best Health magazine, January/February 2016


The chiropractor says’

First, try to keep moving. Walk around at a moderate pace and keep your arms swinging gently. Generally, a good stretch away from the direction of injury is helpful. Since shovelling involves bending forward, stretching backwards may help de-stress the area. A deep back bend feels best for me. Ice is a great treatment in reducing inflammation; I recommend 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. CryoDerm, a medicated ointment containing arnica, menthol and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), helps to manage both inflammation and pain.

Thousands of back injuries occur at this time of year, but there are a few steps you can take to reduce your risk. For starters, shovel later in the day; morning is the most common time to hurt your back (due to the natural swelling of back discs combined with the inactivity of muscles during sleep, which results in additional pressure on the area and slower reaction times). Before starting, walk and swing your arms around to warm up your muscles.

Pace yourself while shovelling. Push the snow rather than lifting and throwing it over your shoulder. When you do need to lift a shovel full of snow, keep your spine stiff and bend your legs, not your back. Take a 30-second break every five minutes or so and avoid twisting your spine ‘ think ‘nose between toes.’
‘ Dr. Brent MacNeil, chiropractor, Spa Solutions, Dartmouth, NS

The Reiki practitioner says’

As we age, bone strength and density lessen and muscle tissue begins to weaken, making the elderly in particular more prone to shovelling-related back injuries. Most clients I treat suffer from lower back pain, with sciatic pain being the most persistent. Working on your flexibility and balance is key to preventing serious back injuries, and yoga, tai chi and qigong are excellent ways to work on staying both physically and mentally fit. These practices also help maintain and restore energy balance, which is directly related to chronic pain. When our energies are out of balance, chronic pain remains active, regardless of the actions taken to cure it.

Reiki works on energy distribution, allowing an even flow throughout the body. When our energy is balanced and evenly distributed, the back pain you’re experiencing will gradually decline as the body heals itself. Reiki is very beneficial when combined with other medical treatments, such as chiropractic and acupuncture.
‘ Carla Marie Hogan, registered reiki practitioner, Purelight Wellness Centre, Chestermere, AB

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