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07/10/2018

Should I be carrying anything while I’m pregnant?

Many women are told not to lift anything while they are pregnant. This is not true, while you should carry excessively heavy object while you are pregnant, you can still lift many things. Some people recommended that you should reduce your carrying load to 20 – 25% from pre-pregnancy to late pregnancy. This is different for every woman, as woman who rarely works out will be able to lift far less than a woman who is body builder. Lifting heavy loads puts you at more risk of causing injuries to your back rather than to your baby, however each pregnancy is different.

During pregnancy, you will pick up weight as your belly grows, this causes the lower back to typically increase its curve, and this will contributes to lower back pain in pregnant woman. The increase in weight also places increased forces over your joints such as your hips and knees, which can contribute to increased joint pain during pregnancy. Balance may be affected by the changes in your posture, which theoretically means you are at an increased risk of falling, however there is no research that shown the incidence of falling in woman who are pregnant is much higher than woman who are not pregnant.

As pregnancy progresses, all the hormones released into your system start to soften your ligament and tissues in your body, specifically around your pelvis. Theoretically this can also increase the possibility of sprains or strains in your body; research however doesn’t show a significant increase in injuries with pregnancy.

If you lift heavy objects in your job, you should be fine to continue with this during early pregnancy as you are used to lifting at work. As your pregnancy progresses, adjust the amount that you lift to what makes you feel comfortable. Remember, asking for help does mean that you are handicapped or incapacitated, it means that your priorities are correct and the health of yourself and your baby is top priority. If there is any doubt in your mind, ask your doctor.

Studies of woman who worked during pregnancy has shown that woman requiring high levels of activity, such as prolonged standing, frequent lifting, or climbing, made no difference to fetal growth. However, long hours of work reduced fetal growth. When long hours (>40 hours a week) are combined with high levels of activity, fetal growth is reduced even more. Some studies indicate that when lifting weights of 12kg or more, more than 50 times a week, can increase the risk of preterm birth, but this is only among women who stopped working before 32 weeks of pregnancy.

It is very, very important that you know how to lift objects properly. When lifting, try to make sure you are close to something that you can use as support if you need too, such as a wall or a desk. Squat down and try to hold the object as close to your body as you can, and lift up with your legs, not your back. You should be lifting in this way pregnant or not, bending at your hips and picking something up with your back will only lead to excessive strain on your back, and eventually, injuries will occur.

Make sure you hydrate sufficiently when lifting or exercising, drink lots of water, this is important to keep both yours, and the baby healthy and cool.

References:

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/20023745/ns/today-today_health/t/debunking-myths-about-pregnancy-hazards/
http://www.parentsconnect.com/pregnancy/health/pregnancy-exercise/weight_lifting_pregnancy.html
http://www.pregnancy.org/question/lifting-during-pregnancy
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3702684?uid=3739368&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21100983789783
http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/37/1/6.full
http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/19/1/90.short

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Backpack safety for you and your children

Did you know that there are thousands of emergency room visits every year due to injuries related to book bags? Your children’s school bags could be the start of back pain that they may continue to have throughout their lives! Was your school bag the source of your pain over the years? Is your lap-top bag continuing to cause your back problems?

75% of children between 12 and 18 years old suffer from some form of back pain with backpack weight contributing significantly to their pain, a study done in Italy on the over-packing of backpacks showed that the average child regularly carries a back pack that weighs more than 30% of their body weight. These children often suffer from neck pain, mid-back or lower back pain; however some may only have the effects of carrying heavy backpacks later on in life as adults.

In an article by Dr Dean Wright, president of the Ontario Chiropractic Association he states, "Carrying a poorly designed or overloaded backpack can place excessive weight on a child's growing spinal column." He continued, "This kind of daily stress and strain can lead to serious back pain, changes in posture and gait, and potential irritation and injury of the spine, joints and muscles."  

Here are some tips for both you and your children:

 

  • Your child’s backpack should not weight more than 5 to 10% of your child’s body weight. The same rule applies to you and your laptop bag.
  • The backpack/laptop bag should never hang more than 4 inches below the waistline.
  • Buy yourself and your child a bag that has 2 shoulder straps – wide, padded straps are the best. Use both shoulder straps when carrying the bag. This distributes the weight over both your shoulders, not only on one. Adjust the straps to fit your body or your child’s body. 

 

References:

http://www.chiropracticresearch.org/search-result.php?aid=1021

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http://www.chiropracticresearch.org/search-result.php?aid=1316

http://www.chiropracticresearch.org/search-result.php?aid=1021

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 Happy new year!

I hope you had an enjoyable holiday season and travelled safely on the roads!

Start the new year off right by committing to a healthier lifestyle.

The American Chiropractic Association has come up with 10 healthy New Years resolutions that everyone should follow.

They are:

  1. I will limit my intake of caffeinated coffee, sodas and teas. The     caffeine in these drinks can cause dehydration and can rob the body of essential nutrients. Stick to water, natural juices and other decaffeinated beverages.
  2. I will avoid over medicating myself and my family. Many over-the-counter and prescription medications have unknown side effects. Discuss alternative remedies with a doctor of chiropractic.
  3. I will not carry a heavy purse or briefcase with its strap over my shoulder, unless I place the strap over my head on the side opposite the bag. Wearing a shoulder strap over one shoulder unevenly places the weight of the bag on one side of the body, potentially causing shoulder and back pain.
  4. I will not allow my children to carry backpacks that weigh more   than 10 percent of their body weight. Beyond that weight, the backpack can cause the wearer to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, instead of the shoulders.
  5. I will not lift heavy objects over my head. These types of movements can strain muscles and affect nerves, causing severe neck, shoulder and arm problems.
  6. I will not turn my torso while lifting relatively heavy objects.      This rotates the spine and can bring on a "back attack."
  7. I will avoid the habit of consistently crossing the same knee over   the other. Such a habit can also eventually cause misalignment of the spine.
  8. I will try to keep moving while I'm at work. If sedentary for the majority of the work day, it is very important to take periodic stretch breaks. Get up from the desk and take a brief walk, and stretch arms and legs as frequently as possible to avoid postural and spinal stress.
  9. I will, when using a shovel - in winter or summer - remember to push rather than lift, whenever possible.
  10. I will use luggage with wheels whenever possible. Carrying, lifting and moving a heavy suitcase can ruin a vacation.

I hope these resolutions help you find a healthier, better you for 2014!

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 Chiropractic for Sports

Every coach wants their athletes, as well as every athlete wants to perform at their best whilst they are training and competing. It does not matter if you are a cyclist, rower, runner, swimmer or gymnast; the end goal is to perform at your peak.

To excel in the sports arena, your body needs to function optimally. Chiropractic care can play a very important role in achieving and maintaining optimal balance within your body. Chiropractic care can help with enhancement of your sporting performance, rehabilitation after a sports injury as well as preventing injuries before they can occur. This is done by enhancing the function of your nervous system, restoring proper joint motion throughout your body as well as enhancing muscular balance. Regular chiropractic care can improve your reaction time, mobility, flexibility and co-ordination while decreasing your risk of injury and aiding in faster recovery time.

Many athletes such as: Golfer - Tiger Woods, Tennis player - Roger Federer, Cyclist - Lance Armstrong, Rower - Anna Cummins and Boxer - Evander Holyfield, to name a few get regular chiropractic care. They do this while training and prior to any competitions to ensure they perform at their peak. They then receive treatment after competition to enhance their recuperative process after the stress placed on their bodies during their events. 

Most sporting injuries are due to repetitive micro strains caused by incorrect joint movements, sudden movements or accidents. Sporting injuries often include conditions like sprains, strains, tendonitis and bursitis. You can help prevent these injuries by getting regular chiropractic care.

Research has shown that chiropractic care can significantly improve mobility, agility, balance, power, reaction time and kinaesthetic perception (Awareness of your body and limb position). Chiropractic can also improve attention span and concentration levels.

For athletes, regular chiropractic care is essential for optimising performance. In the same way that you would not drive a car without getting a regular service, a chiropractic ‘tune up’ should be considered a regular part of your sporting preparation. This will allow you to perform at your peak, as well as minimising injury and enhancing recovery.

 

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Why do stomach crunches hurt my back?

If I do lots of sit-ups, then my core and my back should be strong shouldn’t they? So then why do I get back pain? Having strong abs does mean you have a strong core. You can have a six pack and still have a weakened core. There are many muscles in your back that also form a part of your core musculature. Stomach crunches do not strengthen these muscles, and if you are doing sit-ups incorrectly, you can strain them. It is important to focus on strengthening your core muscles in your back, not only your abs.

It is always a good idea to see an experienced biokineticist or a skilled pilates instructor to get exercises designed for you to strengthen your core.

Dr Stuart McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics, believes if you focus on strengthening only one set of muscles within the core, you can destabilize your spine and pull it out of alignment. Dr McGill did research and he found that the amount of load that the spine can bear without injury is greatly reduced when the person pulled in their belly button during crunches. He has come up with a set of basic exercises that can be done to strengthen the entire core, not only the stomach muscles. Below is a picture that depicts the exercises.

If you would like to find out more about Dr Stuart McGill and the work that he does, this link will take you to a You tube video he has created: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=033ogPH6NNE

Many people want to have a flat tummy, but don’t put your back at risk in order to get it. By doing these exercises you can have the best of both worlds, a flat tummy and a strong back.

 

 References:

 

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