Tag: lift

chiropractor chiropractic Philippa oakley emsworth mckernan Hampshire

Six back pain myths- busted!

It may or may not surprise you to find out there’s a lot of misleading information about back pain out there- more specifically, about what to do when back pain strikes and how to prevent it from recurring. This has not only over-simplified how to treat back pain but also lead to some weird and wonderful rehabilitation strategies.

Let’s bust a few of these back pain misconceptions.

1. Sit-ups will help improve your spinal health

Did you know that the average sit-up causes compression of the lower back that almost exceeds the safe limits set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (the unified set of manual lifting recommendations based on the convergence of medical, scientific, and engineering points of view which helps determine safe work practices)

Physical fitness does have an impact on our spinal health, but it is more important that we are getting fit in the right way. Studies have shown that increasing abdominal strength through sit-ups causes stress on the discs in our back and compresses the lumbar spine- enough for researchers to conclude that sit-ups may cause problems in almost anyone.

2. “Lift with your knees, not your back”

Have you ever tried to do this? Ever tried to do it all day long? It’s almost impossible to do this every single time we go to lift something. Forget the old squat technique, instead, the way you lift should depend on what you’re lifting, where you’re moving it to, your own build, how many items you have to lift and so on.

For more information on how to lift correctly (and give your knees a break) click here.

3. Strong muscles, strong back

Feet back pain chiropractic chiropractor osteopath physiotherapy massage back pain neck pain treatment injury recovery Hampshire Emsworth Chichester SussexNot so, my friends. Muscle strength doesn’t help us predict who will or won’t get back problems, and focusing too much on strength instead of stability will be sure to cause problems. Instead, focus on muscular endurance (i.e. how long your muscles can sustain an activity for). Remember, muscles have three main properties: flexibility, strength and endurance. Any issues that results in a lack of flexibility, strength or endurance will be enough to stimulate the nerves within your muscles and start telling your brain that something’s wrong. What’s the end result of that? Pain.

4. Tight hamstrings and unequal leg lengths cause back problems.

These types of issues are often given as easy diagnoses to simplify the cause of a patients’ complaint. Don’t be fooled. Some studies have shown that in athletes with ‘tight’ hamstrings, these muscles function almost like springs, to help jump higher or run faster. It rather appears that tight hamstrings aren’t the issue, it’s how well these tight hamstrings can cope with stretching that determines whether or not you’ll have back pain. Studies have found that people with chronic back pain tend to use their hamstrings instead of their gluteal muscles to extend the hip, which can increase the amount of force on the spine during squatting- correcting this is going to be a fundamental aspect of care.

Interestingly, back pain also wasn’t found to be definitively linked with leg length discrepancies even in cases where the difference in length was 5cm!

5. Scoliosis= A lifetime of back issues?back pain neck chiropractic scoliosis myth chiropractic chiropractor spine health acorn health emsworth chichester hampshire treatment therapy portsmouth southampton

Not true! We see so many adults who were abruptly diagnosed with a ‘scoliosis’ after being
asked to bend forwards and touch their toes by the school nurse back in the 1970’s.  The difficulty with this is that
the tests for assessing scoliosis have a false positive rate of at least 60%, and the statistical risk of having a scoliosis that requires treatment is only 0.2%.  Why are we telling you this? Because once we’re told we have a “condition” it becomes ingrained in us. Part of who we are. So time and time again we see adults who tell us they have a “scoliosis”, and have been plagued by a lifetime of avoiding activities because of their diagnosis, when mild scoliosis (less than 30 degrees deviation) may simply be monitored and treated with exercise.

6. Knees to chest- the ultimate back stretch

Sure, it feels good, lying on the floor pulling your knees into your chest. Depending on your diagnosis, it might even be the right exercise for you, but if you’re one of the many patients I see who doesn’t cope well with forward bending, this exercise isn’t ideal. Why? Because pulling the knees to the chest gives you the perception of relief from your lower back pain (because the stretch receptors in your erector spinae muscles are stimulated) but this type of exercises causes more cumulative damage to the discs, leading to increased pain and stiffness the next day. As practitioners, we know to eliminate these type of exercises and prescribe ones appropriate for your needs- in fact this bespoke rehabilitation plan is one of the main benefits of coming to see a chiropractor.

 

So where do we go from here?

As you can see, misleading information and advice regarding back pain can lead to us performing the very movements that worsen our back pain in our attempts to get it better. Ensuring you have an accurate diagnosis, treatment plan and rehabilitation strategy is vital to recovery.No treatment plan can be truly successful without incorporating spinal rehabilitation exercises that work to remove the faulty movement patterns that cause back pain problems.  We have to work with our clients to ensure that we incorporate exercises that help you build the capacity of the muscles in your back to cope with the tasks you ask of it each day. As you can imagine, each persons’ day is different, and so your treatment plan will be too.

 

1, 2, 3, Lift!

Back injury is the number one cause of days off work in the UK,  and so injury prevention and rapid return to work of injured workers is a major focus of industries throughout the world.  The burden of low back pain is huge, both financially for companies, and emotionally for workers.  Reducing injury at work is crucial, for both employee and employer.

Many companies try and counterract this by paying for employees to take manual lifting courses, teaching us to “bend through the knees and hip, not the back.” Unfortunately, this conventional method of lifting isn’t always possible, or appropriate.  Objects have to be lifted from the floor, from parts bins, from above- any number of possibilities, and so this conventional lift won’t help avoid injury in these situations.

Lifting man
Source: chiroone.net

The thought process behind a conventional lift is that it reduces physiological load (the amount of stress put on your joints and muscles) and is more energy efficient, however the validity of this depends on a number of different factors, such as the size, weight, and density of the object, coupled with where we are moving it from and to, over which terrain, and how many times we have to repeat the lift.  Squatting repeatedly throughout the day is physically tiring, and we know that many workers end up stooping to lift objects as they tire throughout the day.

If there is no one perfect lift, how do we help avoid injury?

  • Remove the stressors that are causing or aggravating the injury
  • Enhance the activities that build healthy supportive tissues

Injuries don’t often occur as the result of one major event- often because minor injuries accumulate over time, amounting to pain and problems when eventually the structures are no longer able to cope with what is being asked of them.  It is therefore more important to address the cumulative causes of the injury in order to prevent reoccurrence.

Woman files
Source: woman.thenest.com

You may think that injuries are more common in those with physical jobs, however injuries are just as prevalent in those who have sedentary jobs.  Gagnon (2003) studied “expert lifters” and concluded that their personal body movements, as well as their individual lifting strategies, were key to their avoidance of injury- in fact some evidence exists to suggest that our personal spine movements (how we naturally move our backs) can influence whether or not we will become injured.

Olympic weightlifters often provide the best example of lifting technique, as they have recognised the importance of avoiding lumbar flexion (bending from the lower back) to prevent injury.  We therefore need to stop emphasising the importance of stooping or squatting to lift, and instead work on placing the load closer to the body to help reduce forces on our joints, and avoiding full flexion of our lumbar spines when lifting.  This avoidance of full flexion is really the key element in lifting.

So what other lifting techniques could be used?

Here’s two alternatives for the conventional technique and when they could be used.

Golfer’s lift-

Golfers lift
Source: experiencelife.com

When to use: Great for picking up light objects out of deep bins/containers or picking up small objects off the floor

How:

1- Place one hand on a stable surface next to the object to be lifted- this is to help stabilise your upper body during the lift.

2-  Keeping your back straight, lean forward, allowing the leg opposite the stabilising hand to swing out straight behind you as you lean down.  This will act as a counterbalance to the weight of your body.

3- Prepare for the lift: Look forward, and begin to push down on the stable surface with your hand as you lower your leg to the floor.  Focus on keeping your spine straight.

Tips: Good for people with knee problems.

Tripod lift-

When to use: Good for heavy objects with uneven weight distribution (such as sacks of food)

Tripod lift
Source: veitchphysio.com

How:

1- Put one foot next to the object, keep your spine straight, push your buttocks out and lower yourself down to the floor, keeping one knee bent up, one knee on the floor.

2-  Position the object close to the knee on the ground.

3- Slide the object from the ground on to the mid-thigh of the knee on the ground.

4- Keeping your spine straight, lift the object on to the opposite thigh.

5-  Palms upwards, put both forearms under the object and hug it into your chest.

6- Prepare for the lift: Extend your legs with your back straight, pushing your buttocks out, keeping the load held close to your body.

Tips: This is a good lift for people who may not have great arm strength.

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Opening Times

Monday 08:30 – 19:00
Tuesday 09:00 – 19:00
Wednesday 09:00 – 19:00
Thursday 09:00 – 19:00
Friday 08:30 – 19:00
Saturday 09:00 – 12:00

Acorn Health Limited © 2014 - 2019

Website Created by WebHolism