-by Dr. Greg Eisert
I notice a theme each year as spring leads into summer that plays out in the lives of our Backfit patients. With longer days and warmer weather, we see an increase in activity levels. If we aren’t conscious about preparing our bodies for this transition, we are susceptible to injury.
Strains, sprains and everything in between are accomplished in many different ways. A few examples include: a vigorous gardening session, an epic tennis match, or the first soccer game of the year.
One thing we can all count on is that we will “feel” the effects of activities if we are not accustomed to them.
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
~Alexander Graham Bell
Our capacity for healing and recovery is greatly impacted by our level of preparation. I have included a list to follow to minimize the “after effects” of the activities we love to do.
- Plan Ahead: If this is going to be your first time gardening in 6 months, don’t plan on doing 6 hours straight. Incorporate breaks every 30 minutes to reduce the demands on your spine. Don’t overdo it!
- Warm Up: Prior to any type of vigorous activity, prepare your spine with a proper warm-up. This may include a wobble chair (or similar activity), cervical traction, range of motion exercises, as well as light stretching.
- Mindfulness: Your goal is to minimize sustained postural loading (strain) on the body. Be mindful of your posture and biomechanics when you hit the court or the green!
- Tennis: Avoid playing a gruelling 5-set marathon for your first match in 6 months.
- Gardening: rotate through body positions every 10 minutes.
- Golf: Listen to your body and stretch between holes.
- Spinal Foams: Lying on your spinal foams for as little as 5 minutes immediately after activity will help to reposition and “reboot” your spine.
- Cryotherapy: Using ice or CryoDerm will help to reduce inflammation created from the activity. Inflammation is akin to a wild fire. The longer it’s left alone, the bigger the potential problem (pain and stiffness).
- If you’re out and about and cannot foam immediately after activity, apply CryoDerm to your area of concern. When you do arrive home, get on those foams and ice afterwards.
Keeping ahead of the inflammation is the best way to keep functioning at our best.
Experiencing pain or discomfort as a result of physical stress on the body is not a reflection of the state of our health. Rather, our health correlates with how well we “bounce back” from an aggravation or injury. What takes one person one day may take another person 2 weeks. This is a true reflection of one’s health and well being.
Now that you “know” – it’s time to get outside and enjoy all that life has to offer!