Here in the Northeast, halfway through January we thought we were going to have a mild and easy winter.
Mother Nature had other ideas.
In a short period of time, we got a record amount of snow. Truly a crazy amount.
With all of this snow came the inevitable shoveling, an activity that is not the best for your low back to say the least.
Now that the snow has cleared, people are starting to think about gardening and once again shoveling may come into play.
Here is my issue with shoveling…the worst position that you can put your back in is bending forward and twisting or side bending.
Please allow for a brief anatomy lesson.
As a chiropractor, I work with peoples’ structure to maintain proper weight distribution within their spine. We strive for 50/50 weight distribution between the right and left with 50/50 distribution from front to back.
When we bend forward, the weight shifts to the front of the spine. When we bend to a side, the weight shifts to that side. The body is designed to handle those singular movements.
The problem comes in when we combine the two.
When we bend forward and twist or side bend, all of the weight goes onto 25% of the spine. This creates tremendous pressure within the discs of the low back.
Eventually that pressure has to go somewhere and more often than not it results in a shifting of the structure which then leads to a whole host of secondary conditions, with back pain being at the top of the list.
It may also lead to the disc breaking open, also called a herniation, and that has another whole host of secondary conditions, with sciatica being at the top of that list.
As you get older, you must limit the amount of time you spend bending and twisting. The sad reality is as we age our discs dry out and can handle less pressure. The more we bend and twist/side bend, the higher our chances are of shifting our structure or worse, blowing out a disc.
If you have been spending a lot of time in less than ideal positions, email or call us and we can discuss strategies to help you stay upright and pain free.