It’s Spring: Here’s How to Avoid Injuries
Spring is here – and that means resuming some activities you might not have engaged in over the winter months, from working in your garden to tossing a softball.
Every kind of exercise you engage in uses different muscles. So if those muscles have been on hiatus, start out slowly, advises chiropractor Dr. Cynthia Boyd of Symmetry Health Center in Oakland/Berkeley and Alameda, California. Work your way back up to last summer’s activity level. Otherwise, you might get hurt.
Here is some advice to help you stay off the injured list:
- Warm up before you exercise, whether you’re wielding a garden trowel or swinging a tennis racket. Work the muscles you expect to be using. If you’re going to be bending forward pulling weeds, try bending backward a few times first. If you’re going to be participating in a ballgame, take a few practice throws. If your planned activity will put a strain on your shoulders, roll them forward and back, and make large circular movements with the arms before you start.
- Select appropriate footwear. Whether you’re wearing cleats, spikes or running shoes, be sure they’re in good condition, fit well, and provide sufficient support.
- Drink enough water. It doesn’t just keep you from becoming dehydrated; it can protect you from spinal problems. The discs in your spine act as shock absorbers – and they are typically 70 percent to 90 percent water. They can’t do their job properly if you aren’t well-hydrated. An added advantage: hydrated muscles and ligaments are more flexible and less likely to cramp.
- Use the right tools and equipment.
- When working in the garden, you’ll likely need gloves, eye protection and blade guards.
- If your activity is sports-related, make sure you don a helmet, mouth guards and pads as needed, depending on the sport, of course.
- Use a ladder where appropriate – that is, if you’re doing anything above the shoulders. Make sure that ladder is secure before you start climbing.
- Use kneepads if you’re going to be kneeling to pull weeds – and choose kneeling over bending. Bending for prolonged periods overstretches the ligaments in your back.
- If you’re raking leaves, choose a rake that’s the right size.
- Posture and position are important, too.
- Use your legs – not your back – to bend and lift.
- Switch hands from time to time.
- Avoid twisting motions. Turn your whole body to face whatever you are doing, keeping your shovel or rake in line with your body.
If you suffer an injury, or if you simply feel sore and stiff, consider a visit to your chiropractor. Exercise can easily lead to misalignments in the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors such as Dr. Boyd can restore alignment in the muscles and bones.
Dr. Boyd specializes in Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP), which combines adjustments, exercises, and spinal remodeling programs to realign the spine back to health.Only a small percentage of dedicated and highly educated chiropractors – including Dr. Boyd – are certified to practice CBP, the most research- and results-oriented corrective chiropractic technique. Dr. Cynthia Boyd and her chiropractic staff use state-of-the-art technology and equipment to diagnose and treat spinal conditions and postural distortions.
If you live in Alameda or Oakland, California, and you’re experiencing soreness or injury after outdoor activities, contact us today to determine whether you are a candidate for care. In Alameda, call 510-769-0125. In Oakland/Berkeley, call 510-654-2207.