Plant Your Garden, Save Your Back

While it’s not quite time to plant, it is time to get things ready.  Gardening can be hard on your back and there are a number of ways to decrease the strain.

I made this video a few years ago to demonstrate some good ideas for weeding and digging.

Vary the tasks that you are doing and remember to take breaks.  Staying in one position for a long time is going to end in pain.  Stop, stretch, rest, do a different task.  If you’ve been kneeling, do something that requires standing up.

Of course being in the best shape going into gardening season will pay off.  Weight training to strengthen your arms, legs and core muscles will allow you to get your work done with much less stress on your body.  Keeping your body moving correctly with chiropractic adjustments will also contribute to your general well being.

So get out in the garden, make the world beautiful and take care of yourself at the same time.

 

 

How Are Your Feet?

Chiropractors work on backs, right? Well that’s true. However we also work on all joints in the body, and I must admit that I am particularly fond of adjusting feet. Our feet are the foundation of our bodies, and if they aren’t moving properly everything else gets thrown off: knees, back, and even the neck. People are often surprised how minor adjustments to their feet can translate into immediate improvements in their bodies.

feet

Most runners know the value of good shoes to decrease the impact of running, but that is usually the only attention paid to the feet. Common problems arising from improper foot movements include knee pain, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis.

Wearing shoes gives our feet support but also weakens them in a way. Actions in our feet are controlled by large (extrinsic) and small (intrinsic) muscles. Because we wear shoes, the smaller muscles do not get much work. We don’t tend to flex our toes as we walk, and these muscles can get weak. Being aware of toes while walking and making a point to flex them can help. A good way to actively strengthen these muscles is to spend some time picking up marbles with your toes.

Another exercise is to focus on your big toe and move it sideways away from the rest of your toes. Try to keep the movement level where the toe is neither pointing up or down. Do a similar maneuver with your little toe, moving it to the side away from your other toes and again keeping it level. Moving the little toe individually will take more effort and concentration than moving the big toe. Walking barefoot in the sand is also good for strengthening the feet but may not be the most practical day-to-day approach.

Like so many things, most people don’t acknowledge their feet until something has gone wrong and pain shows up. The pain may not actually show up in the feet. It could be felt in the knees, hips, pelvis, and/or the low back. Because of this, it’s important to make sure that all of the joints in the body are moving properly. Take care of your feet so that the rest of your body can feel better.