Spring is upon us, and for many of us, it is the time of year to start sorting out the house and garden after the winter hibernation. For most this process runs incident free as we prepare for summer. As a Chiropractor, I see many injuries related to overactivity, as well as bending and/or lifting items improperly. This article will give you the tools to be able to avoid such incidents.
Getting the garden and house sorted often means a lot of lifting and bending, especially when moving heavy things, such as plant pots, garden refuse or furniture around the house. Lifting correctly and using the ‘Hip Hinge Technique’ will help to protect you from injury. When lifting DO NOT simply bend forward using your spine, rather bend at the knees to drop your centre of gravity as low as possible keeping your hips underneath your shoulders as much as possible. Brace your abdominal muscles and use your leg muscles (not your back) to lift the weight, keeping the item as close to the body as possible. Once lifted be very careful not to twist your spine as you are moving the item, rather move your feet keeping your spine strong and stable in a neutral position (the fastest way to cause a “slipped disc” is to lift and twist the spine.) If you need to move the item any distance, then consider using a wheeled dolly and push it where it needs to go. If you already suffer from low back issues it is vital that you follow these recommendations.
The “bent over” position also puts strain on the spine, especially if it is done for an extended period of time. The ‘Hip Hinge Technique’ can prevent this type of low back pain. While standing straight, start by bracing your abdominal or core muscles, then, instead of bending from your spine (around your navel), keep your low back in a solid block and use your hip joints to bend forward as you gently soften the knees. You will need to shift your hips backwards slightly as your centre of gravity changes, this should cause your buttock muscle to engage and you should also feel a stretch to the back of your thighs (hamstrings). If you need to bend further, or reach down to the floor, then bend the knees to continue the movement to the desired level. This is a very safe position for your spine and should be used every time you have to bend for any reason. This technique uses muscles that are commonly weak from inactivity, you might feel somewhat tired after implementing the ‘Hip Hinge’ but persevere as it will strengthen these muscles as well as increase the flexibility of the hamstrings.
If you have any questions about how to keep your spine healthy and strong or if you would like to find out how Chiropractic can help you. Farnham Chiropractic Wellness is offering a special discount of our Initial Consultation for £30 (£25 saving).
Phone 01252 235310 to book your appointment by quoting “Farnham Connection”
Dr Graeme Harpham M.Tech:Chiro (SA)
Doctor of Chiropractic at Farnham Chiropractic Wellness