Keep Your Back Healthy This Winter

Keep Your Back Healthy This Winter

healthy back

Keep Your Back Healthy This Winter

As winter approaches I begin to see an increase in patient’s coming in to Living Health Integrative Medicine for treatment saying, “I threw my back out”. To me, what this really means is they have had an acute low back injury, which has severely limited their ability to move. Anatomically, what has happens is they have caused a misalignment in their lumbar spine, irritating the delicate spinal nerves that exit between the vertebrae and causing pain and severe muscle spasm. This limits their ability to stand and move. These types of acute flair-ups usually occur after heavy lifting, a fall or accident, or increased physical activity. During the winter months, I see an increase in these injuries as patient’s shovel snow, slip on ice, and carry those heavy Christmas trees and boxes full of decorations.

The best way to avoid the back “going out” is to avoid the motions or activities that have caused pain in the past. However, sometimes they can be impossible to avoid, so the best thing you can do is help prepare your body for those stresses.

For more tips on how to avoid your back going out, click here

The first way to help avoid a low back injury is make sure you have appropriate core strength and stability. The core is composed of the muscles of both the abdomen and lower back. Most patients with chronic low back pain have weak core muscles. By strengthening these muscles you add stability to the lumbar spine decreasing the chances that the vertebrae will become misaligned, aggravating the spinal nerves and causing pain. A strong core will also help with balance. If walking on an icy sidewalk this winter and you lose your balance, a strong core will help keep you upright and avoid injury. A doctor of chiropractic is well trained in identifying which muscles of the core may be weak, and can prescribe an exercise regimen specifically designed to help strengthen those muscles.

The second way to avoid injury is to be sure to use proper lifting techniques. Everyone has heard the saying, “bend with your knees, and lift with your legs”. Unfortunately, most of us do not lift this way. More frequently, we bend at our waist and lift with our back, increasing the chances of a lumbar spine injury. The best way to remember how to lift, is to think about how an infant picks up an object they see on the floor. The waddle up to the object, get as close as they can, then squat straight down and straight back up. They never bend at their waist to pick up the object. This is the ideal lifting technique. You always want to keep whatever you’re lifting as close to your chest. The farther an object is held away from the body the heavier it will become and the more stress will be placed on the lumbar spine.

Another important factor to lumbar spine health is maintaining a healthy weight. The heavier a person is, the more weight their spine has to support. If the lumbar spine is constantly under stress because a patient is overweight they are much more susceptible to a lumbar spine injury.

The last and maybe most crucial factor to maintaining a healthy lumbar spine is regular chiropractic care. A thorough examination by a trained corrective care chiropractic doctor is essential to eliminating any structural issues that could make someone more likely to injure their spine. If you already experience chronic low back pain or frequently have acute flair ups after strenuous activity, you may have a structural component contributing to your condition. Unless those structural components are addressed and corrected, you will remain susceptible to lumbar spine injury.

The doctors and nutritionists at Living Health Integrative Medicine are well trained to address all the issues mentioned above that may be contributing to your low back “going out” this winter. If you’re interested in a natural and safe way to help strengthen the lumbar spine and avoid that acute injury, call our office at 410-216-6607 to make an appointment immediately.