Chiropractic News and Info

Is Your Body Tuned Up for the Winter Season?
Here are some tips to avoid back and neck strain during your holiday shopping:
o Avoid slinging large bags or a backpack over one shoulder. Evenly balance the weight you
carry in each arm or place your smaller bags in a backpack and carry with both shoulder
straps on your back.
o Once you feel you have too heavy a load of bags, drop them off at your car (ensure they are
out of sight) and return for more shopping. Most malls have a parcel drop off that you can
use to unload heavy parcels as well. This gives your back, hands, neck and shoulders - not
to mention your feet - a well deserved break.
o Put all your gift bags into a cart and push them around to avoid the strain altogether. If you're
shopping with your wee ones - use the bottom basket of the stroller to load bags into.
o Remember to take frequent breaks and put your bags down on a regular basis.
o Wear good walking shoes with lots of support - your feet and back will thank you.
o After a long day of shopping, remember to stretch your back, neck and shoulders. After all -
you've just done a workout!
To assess your risk for neck, back or shoulder strain, take the "What's Your Risk for Back Pain" quiz on
our website at Or, consult a chiropractor about your general health and preparing
your body for winter activities. Chiropractors are specialists in back and neck disorders and are
specifically trained to diagnose and correct improper functioning of the spine.
For more winter health tips or to find a chiropractor in your area, visit


Watch your back this winter -- Snow shoveling, along with slips and falls are the top causes of winter back pain say back specialists.

Heavy snowfalls and frigid temperatures bring about a number of winter hazards. Slips, falls, strained and sore muscles could be on the rise this winter as the snow piles up and ice coats our drive and walkways.

"Every winter, Alberta chiropractors see an increase in back injuries due to improper lifting when shoveling snow," said Dr. Les Shaw, President of the College of Chiropractors of Alberta. Improper shoveling techniques can be anything from bending at the waist instead of at the knees, to throwing snow instead of pushing it. When you combine improper lifting with the weight of one shovelful of snow (three to five kilograms) the result can be a serious problem for both adults and children who help them.

Back problems often surface in patients during the winter, especially those who are unaccustomed to participating in challenging physical activity on a regular basis," said Dr. Shaw. "Activities requiring exertion, such as winter sports or pushing a stranded car, can lead to back injuries. However, snow shoveling, slips and falls are still the top reasons patients present with back and muscle pain in the winter."

Chiropractors are experts in the area of back, muscle and joint disorders. As education and preparedness are the keys to avoiding or correcting these and other health problems, the College of Chiropractors of Alberta offers the following preventative tips:

1. Warm up. Before beginning any snow removal or strenuous winter activity, 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.
2. Don't let the snow pile up. Removing small amounts of snow on a frequent basis is less strenuous in the long run.
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.
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.
5. Bend your knees. Use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.
6. Watch the ice. Course sand, ice salt, ice melter, or even kitty litter can help to give your walk and drive ways more traction, reducing the chance of a slip or fall.
7. Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
8. 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.

Remember to "lift right, shovel light." If you experience back pain related to winter activities, consult a chiropractor. For more information about chiropractic or to find a chiropractor near you, visit the College's website at


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