5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Physical Therapy

By: Dr James Gamrat, PT, DPT

So you’ve been referred to physical therapy but don’t know what to expect. Here are 5 tidbits of information to help you understand more about physical therapy and your upcoming visit.

1. “No Pain No Gain” Does Not Apply

Contrary to popular belief, Physical Therapy, “PT” does not also stand for “Pain and Torture”.  For the majority of patients who are referred to physical therapy, our goal as a physical therapist is to alleviate your pain, which should not cause ADDITIONAL pain when you are at physical therapy. Part of a physical therapist job is to help the individual receiving treatment differentiate between “pain” and “soreness”. PT may make the individual experience temporary soreness. Through multiple treatment sessions, pain and soreness will gradually decrease leading to improvements in performance of muscles, available motion, strength, and to decrease difficulty with everyday tasks. 

2. “Location of Pain Does Not Mean Origin of Pain”

Through your evaluation, your physical therapist will identify the cause of your pain and not just the location of your pain. The human body can perceive three specific types of pain: localized pain, referred pain and radicular pain. Localized pain is “local” or close to the area of injury. However, referred and radicular pain cause the individual to experience pain and discomfort in a different area of the body. Your physical therapist will be able to tell you based on several tests, on how you move and through the exam if your pain is the direct cause of your injury or as a result of referred pain from a muscle or radicular pain from a nerve.  

3. “Quality is Better than Quantity of Movement”

 When your body is in pain, your body will adapt to find a new way to move to avoid pain. This may be good in the short term but long term, body compensation can place an increase in forces through different joints in your body which are not designed to take these new demands. This can lead to break down of cartilage in addition to overloading of muscles & tendons which are not well at absorbing force. Despite removing pain, your body may still retain and remember this new compensating movement pattern. If this is not corrected, compensation can lead to secondary areas of pain as a result. To correct these compensations, your therapist will identify these compensations, and help improve your quality of movement so you can do the quantity of daily tasks pain free away from the clinic. 

4. “You Never Finish Physical Therapy” 

Typically most therapy sessions can last between forty five minutes to an hour depending on what treatment you are receiving. If your frequency of treatment is three times a week, this can average between 2-3 hours out of 112 awake hours per week to correct your injury (based on 8 hour sleep schedule). Your therapist may give you two or three important exercises or techniques to continue with at home to help in between therapy sessions. To improve movements learned at physical therapy, one must practice and incorporate these concepts through everyday life.The more time implemented outside of therapy, it will reinforce the correct movement compared to the old painful way. Even after your last therapy treatment, successful therapy is lifelong integration of new habits, exercises and movement patterns that will keep you healthy and pain free for years to come. 

5. “Each Physical Therapist is Different” 

Just like in any profession, each physical therapist is different. Some of my patients that I evaluate say “I have been to another physical therapy clinic before and my other therapist told me that I failed”. In my opinion, the other therapist is the one who has failed that patient. I end up finding that there could have been multiple different physical therapy techniques that could have been added whether it be joint mobilizations, myofascial stretching, cupping, Class IV laser or instrument assisted tissue mobilization. If appropriate, to optimize and expedite recovery collaborative treatment such as chiropractic or acupuncture treatments with physical therapy can assist in speeding up recovery. 

If you still have additional questions regarding physical therapy you can call any one of our offices to schedule your appointment today. 

Montvale:(201) – 746 – 6577

Closter:(201) – 784 – 2700

Oradell:(201) – 254 – 7240

Chiropractic Certification & Training

An Article By Healthline

Chiropractors must earn a postgraduate degree called a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC). It usually takes 4 years to complete. Admission to the program requires at least 90 Semester Hours of undergraduate coursework, and some programs require a bachelor’s degree.

All states also require chiropractors to be licensed. The licensing requirements vary from state to state, but all states require a chiropractor to pass the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners exams.

Some chiropractors specialize in a particular area of chiropractic treatment and go on to do a residency for several more years.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, there are more than 70,000 chiropractors in the United States.

Here are some suggestions for finding a qualified chiropractor in your area:

  • Ask for recommendations from your doctor, physical therapist, or other healthcare providers.
  • Ask your friends, coworkers, or family members if they have any recommendations.
  • Make sure your chiropractor is licensed by your state chiropractic board.
  • Try using the American Chiropractic Association’s Find a Doctor Tool
  • Schedule a consultation with a chiropractor to see if they’re a good fit before starting treatment. Don’t feel obligated to stick with a chiropractor if you feel they aren’t right for you. It’s OK to consider several chiropractors before you decide on the best one for your needs.

The Bottom Line

Chiropractors use hands-on adjustments to reduce pain and help your body heal itself. They often focus on issues dealing with the spine.

Research has found that chiropractic adjustments may be an effective treatment for various forms of neck or back pain. Seeing a chiropractor may also lower your need to take pain relievers or undergo more invasive treatments like surgery.

Injury Prevention with Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is a type of therapy that involves non-surgical, low-cost treatment that focus on disorders involving the nervous or musculoskeletal system. This is done through maintaining a unique focus on spinal manipulation and treatment of the surrounding structures. These treatments are administered by a professional chiropractor, who uses a series of quick yet gentle trusts to manipulate certain points in the human body.

And while you’ve probably heard of chiropractic care for treating injuries or addressing problem areas, they can also prevent some of these issues from ever occurring. Here are four common issues that chiropractors can help you avoid:

Back Pain

The most common function of chiropractic procedures is to treat lower back pain and other similar spinal conditions through manual therapy. This type of procedure, called a chiropractic adjustment, involves short lever arm thrusts on the backbone to improve functionality and reduce nerve irritability. This has helped the likes of decorated Boston Red Sox slogger Wade Boggs, who suffered from chronic back pain for almost a decade. He found that besides curing his condition, chiropractic care also helped him maintain nerve alignments so they won’t touch and cause more pain in the future.

Joint Degradation

With the aging population growing each day, falls are becoming a more common health problem in the country. In fact, statistics on Maryville University reveal how the number of U.S. citizens over the age of 65 has risen from 35 million in the early 2000s, to nearly 50 million in 2016. Fractures, dislocations, and head wounds are only some of the more common fall-related injuries that can happen to these seniors as a result of brittle bones and poor motor skills. A review by the University of Sharjah found that nearly 35% of people over 65 falls each year — a number that increases drastically for those over the age of 70. This is a major risk factor for injuries and joint problems. Chiropractic care, especially exercises that are concerned with keeping the joints and soft tissues in optimal condition, is one way to remain healthy and active even in old age.

Infantile Spasms

When administer by a licensed pediatric professional, chiropractic care can even be beneficial for babies. Dr. Douween van Staden points out how a pediatric chiropractor won’t “crack” or adjust a baby’s spine, like they would for adult patients. Instead, they apply softer pressure to make gentle alignments to a baby’s spine to help the nerves and muscles function better. This can help prevent a condition called infantile spasm, which is a seizure disorder that can make a baby’s arm and leg muscles stiff. This, in turn, can impact development in motor skills like babbling, sitting, or crawling, as well as accidents if not addressed. Chiropractic treatment can help prevent these spasms, which are often the result of mechanical restrictions in the baby’s spine.

Fatigue

Most injuries can occur when you push your body to the limit. Regular sessions cannot only help align your spine; they can improve your body’s innate ability to heal itself. A well-aligned spine and better circulation can help you fight off fatigue more effectively and manage your energy more efficiently. This way, chiropractic care can help in avoiding circumstances where your body is more susceptible to injury.

If you do visit your chiropractor to avoid these ailments, it is important to understand that similar to most hospital-based treatments, you may experience minor side effects after chiropractic adjustment. These symptoms can range from headaches and fatigue to mild pain and discomfort in the parts of your body that were treated. But don’t worry, these side effects are temporary and usually disappear after a few days to make way for a healthier spine.

Contributed by J. Louis for thespineandhealthcenter.com
(Featured Image Credit: Drravelling)

 

Scoliosis

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis affects about 5-7 million people in the U.S., scoliosis is a lateral curvature of more than 10 degrees in the spine. A person with scoliosis will have a C- or S-shaped curve in their spine. It can appear at any age, but it often presents from the age of 10 to 12 years, or during the teens, but infants can sometimes have symptoms. The reasons for the change in shape are not usually known, but some cases are linked to cerebral palsymuscular dystrophy, spina bifida, or a birth defect.

A structural curve is permanent, and may be due to another condition. A nonstructural curve is temporary and it is likely to disappear with time. A very small number of patients with scoliosis may require surgery. Complications of scoliosis include chronic pain, respiratory deficiencies, and decreased exercise capacity.

 

What are the Symptoms of Scoliosis?

The most common form of scoliosis appears in adolescence. It is known as adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. It can affect children from the age of 10 years.

Idiopathic means that there is no known cause. Symptoms can include:

  • The head is slightly off center
  • The ribcage is not symmetrical – the ribs may be at different heights
  • One hip is more prominent than the other
  • Clothes do not hang properly
  • One shoulder, or shoulder blade, is higher than the other
  • The individual may lean to one side
  • Uneven leg lengths

Some types of scoliosis can cause back pain but it is not usually very painful. Back pain is not uncommon in older adults with long-standing scoliosis.

If scoliosis is left untreated, problems can arise later in life, such as impaired heart and lung function.

What are the Causes of Scoliosis?

  • Neuromuscular conditions: These affect the nerves and muscles and include cerebral palsy, poliomyelitis, and muscular dystrophy.
  • Congenital scoliosis (present at birth) This is rare and occurs because the bones in the spine developed abnormally when the fetus was growing inside the mother.
  • Specific genes: At least one gene is thought to be involved in scoliosis.
  • Leg length: If one leg is longer than the other, the individual may develop scoliosis.
  • Syndromic scoliosis: Scoliosis can develop as part of another disease, including neurofibromatosis and Marfan’s syndrome.
  • Osteoporosis: This can cause secondary scoliosis due to bone degeneration.
  • Other causes: Bad posture, carrying backpacks or satchels, connective tissue disorders, and some injuries.

What are the Types of Scoliosis?

There are a number of ways to differentiate between the various forms of scoliosis, but the most common method for classification is based on etiology, or the underlying cause for the condition. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) suggests there are three categories into which the different forms of scoliosis fit: idiopathic, congenital, and neuromuscular.

Most types of scoliosis are idiopathic, which means that the cause is unknown or that there is no single factor that contributes to the development of the disease.

Congenital forms of scoliosis typically result from a spinal defect present at birth, and are therefore usually detected at an earlier age than idiopathic forms of scoliosis.

Neuromuscular scoliosis is spinal curvature that develops secondary to some kind of neurological or muscular disease, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. This form of scoliosis tends to progress much more quickly than others.

What is the Treatment for Scoliosis?

As a Chiropractic Physician, I will do a physical examination, postural analysis, and take x-rays. I design an individualized treatment plan that will focus on pain management and postural fixation. Spinal manipulation, therapeutic exercises, and other treatments may also come into play. Initial treatment usually lasts 4-8 weeks and I then recommend my patients to follow up every 1-2 months to monitor the curve of the spine in clinic.

The following factors will be considered by the doctor when deciding on treatment options:

  • Sex: Females are more likely than males to have scoliosis that gradually gets worse.
  • Severity of the curve: The larger the curve, the greater the risk of it worsening over time. S-shaped curves, also called “double curves,” tend to worsen over time. C-shaped curves are less likely to worsen.
  • Curve position: A curve that is located in the center part of the spine is more likely to get worse compared with curves in the lower or upper section.
  • Bone maturity: The risk of worsening is lower if the person’s bones have stopped growing. Braces are more effective while bones are still growing.

What About Braces?

If the patient has moderate scoliosis and the bones are still growing, I may recommend a brace. This will prevent further curvature, but will not cure or reverse it. Braces are usually worn all the time, even at night. The more hours per day the patient wears the brace, the more effective it tends to be.

The brace does not normally restrict activities of daily living. If the patient wishes to take part in physical activity, the braces can be taken off.

When the bones stop growing, braces are no longer used. There are two types of braces:

  • Thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO) – the TLSO is made of plastic and designed to fit neatly around the body’s curves. It is not usually visible under clothing.
  • Milwaukee brace – this is a full-torso brace and has a neck ring with rests for the chin and the back of the head. This type of brace is only used when the TLSO is not possible or not effective.

One study found that when bracing is used on 10-15 year olds with idiopathic scoliosis, it reduces the risk of the condition getting worse or needing surgery.

References

Nordqvist, C. (2017, December 22). Scoliosis: Treatment, symptoms, and causes. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/190940.php

7 Types of Scoliosis & Their Differences [Comprehensive Guide]. (2018, December 28). Retrieved from https://www.treatingscoliosis.com/blog/scoliosis-types-differences/

I have Bursitis and Tendonitis! What is it?

I get so many patient’s that are diagnosed with bursitis and tendonitis and they have absolutely no idea what it is.  All they know is that they went to their doctor, they looked at the area of complaint for a second or two.  They saw that the patient can move the body part ok, but they had pain. The answer…BURSITIS or…..TENDONITIS.  What the heck is bursitis and tendonitis.  Lets begin by getting a definition, then we will break it down by location, the mechanism of injury and ultimately how to get rid of it (which is obviously the most important thing).

BURISITIS:

First, lets break the word down.  Burs- stands for bursa.  A bursa is a fluid-filled sac lined by a membrane.  It provides a cushion between bones and tendons and/or muscles around a joint. This helps to reduce friction between the bones and allows free movement. Bursae are filled with synovial fluid and are found around most major joints of the body.  -Itis stands for inflammation.  Therefore, when we put it together bursitis stands for inflammation of a bursa.  The most common locations for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow and hip. But you can also have bursitis by your knee, heel and the base of your big toe. Bursitis often occurs near joints that perform frequent repetitive motion.  If you have bursitis, the affected joint may feel achy or stiff, hurt more when you move or press on it and may look swollen or red.  A lot of my patients get bursitis from throwing a baseball or lifting something over their heads repeatedly, leaning on their elbows for long periods of time, excessive kneeling like my carpet guys or scrubbing floors like my cleaning people and my patients that sit for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.  Does this remind you of someone?

TENDONITIS or TENDINITIS

Again, lets break it down.  Tendon-stands for a thick elastic band that attaches the muscle to a bone.  -Itis again is inflammation.  So putting it together means inflammation of a tendon.  Sometimes the tendons become inflamed for a variety of reasons, and the action of pulling the muscle becomes irritating.  If the normal smooth gliding motion of your tendon is impaired, the tendon will become inflamed and movement will become painful.  There are too many causes for tendonitis to even list.  Anything that you do can case tendonitis if the right mechanisms are there.  Unlike bursae which are not located all over the body, every muscle has a tendon so tendonitis can occur anywhere.  The most common sites are at the base of the thumb, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee and achilles tendon.

 

 

So I have Bursitis and/or Tendonitis, what do I do?  Usually by the time my patients get to me they have tried a long period of “wait and see”.  I usually tell people to avoid the “wait and see” mentality all together.  I know its tough these days, when you look everything up on the internet and it says that most things will go away on its own.  Although, this may be true sometimes, it is definitely not true all the time.  My philosophy is that if your body can handle it, your body won’t even let you know you have something wrong.  By the time your body gives you conscious awareness of a problem (a symptom) for example pain, swelling, redness, spasm, fever it should be looked at by a professional.  Again, most things are not severe, but what if there is something severe going on and you don’t have it checked by a professional, now we have a problem.  The worst thing that can happen with a non-serious condition is that your doctor sends you home and tells you that there is nothing wrong.  However, when you don’t go to a professional and there is something serious going on, the worse case scenario can be very severe. (just my two cents!!!).  Back to the treatment.  The first thing anyone wants to do when they have bursitis/tendonitis is stop the activity that caused it from happening.  Continued irritation will only make the condition worse.  If you are throwing you need to stop throwing, if you are kneeling you need to stop kneeling.  A lot of times just eliminating the mechanism of injury will heal the problem.  Another modality to use is ice.  If you look back into my heat vs. ice blog you can learn more about the benefits of ice.  Anti-inlammatories are helpful for these conditions as well because as we said -itis is inflammation so taking an anti-inflammatory will help reduce the inflammation and help with the overall pain.  I tell all my -itis patients that if you got it once you may be prone to getting it again so strengthening is usually very helpful to prevent further episodes.  There are a few cases that do not respond to general therapies like a just listed so more aggressive or advance therapies are available.  In my office we offer a class IV 15 watt laser therapy to heal tendonitis and bursitis.  We perform techniques like Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) and Graston technique.  We use Kinesio Tape and other supports to help.  Our physicians perform cortisone injections and even P.R.P. injections for the very advanced cases.  This is not the only way to treat it but a very effective combination is usually very successful with my patients.  If treated properly a full recovery is expected and when done correctly therapy prevents the prevalence of further episodes as well.

Don’t Let The Light Fluffy Snow Fool You While Shoveling! Tips To Not Injure Your Back:

   Even know the snow looks light and fluffy out there, don’t let that fool you when shoveling.  Sometimes it is not the weight of the snow so much as the repetitive movements of shoveling.  This light, fluffy snow is better than the heavy, wet snow, but it can still cause injury.  Here are a few tips to help prevent an injury: 1.  Take your time – if you are anything like me you want to complete the job ask quickly as possible.  However, in the case of shoveling snow, this is a recipe for disaster.  The key is to take your time, slow and steady wins the race (winning is not injuring your back). 2. Take breaks frequently – most people don’t realize how much energy they are expending when they are shoveling.  When you do take that break, you are usually very fatigued.  The key here is to take breaks every certain amount of minutes, for example every 5 minutes.  Set a timer on your watch or phone.  This is will allow your body to recover before you continue again. 3. Bend at the knees and hips – and lift the weight with your legs as you all know you should.  Do not use your back to lift because that is the easiest way to “blow out your back”.  The small muscles of your back were never designed for lifting and carrying, it is actually the large muscles of your hips and legs that were designed to do the heavy lifting. 4. Maintain a neutral spine – what does that mean?  Most people when they lift and carry flex their spine (rounding of the back).  This puts tremendous pressure on the spine and discs which are the cushions in between the bones of your spine.  It is the easiest way to injure your back because you are applying abnormal stress to parts of the spine which can’t handle that type of stress.  To stay in a neutral spine, you want to flatten your back or even put it in a very slight arch.  This will put the weight on the correct part of your spine and minimize your potential for injury. 5. Do not reach – the last thing you should do is try to over reach to get to an area.  This creates a “long lever” which can be harmful.  When reaching you put excess pressure with less support which can lead to injury. 6. Do not hold you breath – When you hold your breath while exerting you increase the pressure in your body, and everyone knows that we don’t work well under pressure!!!  Breathing is key for so many reasons.  It helps bring oxygen to your muscles to supply them with the energy they need to perform the tasks you are asking them to accomplish.  It also prevents from over-exertion injuries which can prevent things like light-headedness and headaches. The most common injuries are sprains and strains of the low back, herniated discs and pinched nerves.  You can prevent these injuries by following these tips.  The cold is another reason why so many people hurt themselves while shoveling.  When your body is cold, the muscles are tight and less elastic and less flexible.  When you put stress on a cold, tight muscle it is much easier to injure.  Another way to prevent injury while shoveling is by warming up and more importantly staying warm.  Drinks lots of water to keep your body hydrated as well.  Please use these tips wen getting out there to shovel.  If you have any questions you can always contact us at the office and we can provide you with even more information to help you with an injury free winter!

Decrease Stress! No Problem… Just Breathe….. From your belly that is!

Decrease Stress! No Problem…

Just Breathe….. From your belly that is!

More and more studies are coming out about the power of breathing correctly. Due to our everyday stresses, we have a tendency to breath from our chest. This causes a decrease in oxygen to the right places and untimely increases stress to our body.  This type of chronic stress will affect your overall health and decrease your immune system.

What to do?

                                  Practice! Practice! Practice!

You can do this either sitting or standing. You will place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your belly. When you take that nice deep breath in, I want you to focus on pushing the hand that is on your belly out first. As you exhale, make sure you release all the air that you took in.  People, who take deeps breaths in but don’t let all the air out, will increase carbon dioxide in the body. Counting while you do this will be helpful. If it takes you 3 seconds to breath in, make sure you exhale for 3 seconds as well. The goal is to get to 10 seconds each way! As you are practicing this exercise you want to make sure that the only hand that is moving is the one on your belly. Try to not move the hand that is on your chest at all.

Consciously practicing your belly breath will increase oxygen through out the body, decrease stress, and increase your health!

Stress Management – Quick Strategies for Coping with Stress

The Quick Take Away:

  • Eat less sugar: sugar is an extraordinary stress-inducing food that undermines our health in countless ways.
  • Sleep more: go to bed earlier because you still have to get up at your usual time, so to get more rest – one the most effective stress relief behavior you can engage in, and it’s free and feels great.
  • Exercise more: the body’s response to exertion is categorically a must for health in general but a key strategy for melting stress
  • Say no … more often: reduce the demands on your schedule by simplynot committing to so many … things (for you, for your kids, at work).

We all do what we need to do to survive, “get by,” and in hopefully most cases, succeed.  In all of these, good, bad, or ugly, stress accumulates and adds to the load we’re already carrying through life.  Thankfully, we are surrounded with abundant information on how to productively quarantine, reduce, or ideally, dissipate the stress – the question is, have we looked into it yet?

There are none more powerful in managing stress levels than ourselves, and so we are charged with the responsibility of keeping tabs on how we are allowing stressors to affect us psychologically and ultimately, physically.  We understand a few of the physiological effects of chronic stress, and are tasked with finding practical methods to incorporate daily to prevent stress-induced deficiency.

Here are some great “weapons” in our arsenal that everyone can use to combat chronic stress:

  • Get Enough Sleep (usually at least 8 hours)
  • Exercise (doesn’t need to be much, at least 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week)
  • Drink water (you should never feel thirsty, if you are thirsty you need to drink more water)
  • Eat a well balanced diet (plenty of fruits and vegetables)
  • Get adjusted (a balanced body is a healthy body, adjustments keep the body in balance)

We need to practice removing ourselves from our everyday stressors, even if for a few seconds at a time while right in the middle of them, and we need to be on-purpose about it.

One particularly inconspicuous strategy that is fun and costs nothing is a “three second vacation.”  For three seconds, close your eyes and let your mind transport you to the most relaxing place on earth – sights, sounds, scents, everything.  Breathe it all in deeply for three seconds, and then resume your activity (extend duration and/or repeat as many times throughout the day as necessary).

On a larger scale, we challenge you to use some of the most gratifying activities you’ve come to enjoy to assist in the battle against stress.  They don’t necessarily need to cost anything (it doesn’t cost much to take a sketch pad out to draw a landscape or to get out and climb a tree…preferably your own tree), but a reasonable expense is also acceptable (a ride along the coast on a sunny day, top-down in a rented convertible, a round of golf, or a session out on the community airfield with a radio controlled airplane…however, if the expense or challenge of the mechanism adds stress, please find another coping mechanism to use).

We’re all different and there’s no sense in stressing about choosing coping mechanisms, so find your fun and you’ll discover a mechanism that works for you!

Full, Bloating, Turkey Overload? Here are a few great ways to lose weight after the Holidays!!!!!

1. DRINK WATER: Drinking water, especially seltzer water, helps you feel full. People often mistake thirst for hunger, so squeeze a little lemon or add your favorite fruit and drink drink drink. 2. EAT MORE OFTEN: you should be eating at least 5 meals a day. It keeps and even speeds up your metabolism. Digestion itself burns calories and eating smalls meals through out the day boosts your energy and can improve your mood. 3. ADD SOME SPICE: Making your food a little spicier can not only help curb your appetite but it can speed up your metabolism. Put some salsa on your eggs or chicken, and sprinkle a little cayenne pepper on your meals. It can really help heat/speed things up! 4. SET REALISTIC GOALS: One of the top things I continually tell my patients is to set a goal that is easily attainable. I like to follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I am eating healthy through out the week and I set aside 20% to have a little fun. Using this goal makes it easier to get to your target weight with out giving up all the fun. 5. KNOW HOW TO MEASURE: Portion size is very important. We have a tendency to overeat, even if we are making the right food choices. Get out the measuring cups and spoons, even get a food scale. When measuring your food regularly, you will find that you are more satisfied with a little less.  

THE FIRST SNOW IS UPON US, SO HERE ARE A FEW TIPS:

<p><!--<a href="http://shcnj.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/first-snow1.jpg"> <img class="aligncenter" title="first-snow" src="https://shcnj.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/first-snow1-150x150.jpg" alt="" width="150" height="150"></a>--></p>
 
<p><strong>Now that the snow is obviously here, I want to make sure you protect yourselves from getting hurt. &nbsp;</strong></p>
<p>A recent poll points to snow shoveling as the leading cause of back and neck pain during the winter months. "Chiropractors are finding that some patients experience back and neck pain as a result of improper snow shoveling technique," said Dr. Dennis Mizel, President of the Ontario Chiropractic Association. "Improper technique can be anything from bending at the waist instead of the knees to throwing snow instead of pushing it. When you combine improper technique with the average weight of one shovelful of snow (five to seven pounds) it becomes even more evident that this is a serious problem for both adults and the children who help them."</p>
<p>We find at The Spine and Health Center of Montvale that back problems always surface in patients during the winter, especially those who are not used to participating in challenging physical activity on a regular basis.&nbsp; Activities that require exertion that is more than someones normal daily routine like as winter sports or pushing stuck cars can cause back injuries. However, snow shoveling is the number one reason patients present with back pain in the winter.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p><strong>Don't let winter be a pain in the back - 'Lift light, shovel right.' Here are a few things to help prevent you from getting hurt:</strong></p>
<p>1. Warm-up. Before beginning any snow removal, warm-up for five to ten minutes to get the joints moving and increase blood circulation. A good warm-up should include stretches for the back, shoulders, arms and legs. This will ensure that your body is ready for action.</p>
<p>2. Don't let the snow pile up. Removing small amounts of snow on a frequent basis is less strenuous in the long run.</p>
<p>3. Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight push-style shovel. If you use a metal shovel, spray it with Teflon first so snow won't stick.</p>
<p>4. Push, don't throw. Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it as much as possible. If you have to throw, avoid twisting and turning - position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.</p>
<p>5. Bend your knees. Use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.</p>
<p>6. Take a break. If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest. Stop shoveling immediately if you feel chest or back pain.</p>
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