How to Avoid Lower Back Pain While Cycling
Cycling is a low impact sport, but the repetitive movements
and sustained posturing can still be hard on your back and spine. There are
several factors that can affect your spine while you ride:
Your bike fitting:
Improper bike fitting can lead to a number of issues. For example, if your seat
is too high it can cause you to shift from side as you reach for the bottom of
the peddle stroke. This increases your spinal rotation and potentially strains
the lower back. Another example is low handlebars. Riding low puts you in a
more aerodynamic position, reducing wind resistance and making you more energy
efficient. However, this can also put increased strain on the neck as you look
ahead, while causing the rest of your back to flex more. If your back begins to
bother you, try bringing the height of the handlebars up a bit. If you aren’t
sure if your bike fits you well or you find yourself struggling as you ride,
you can schedule a bike fitting consultation with a qualified professional.
Your hip muscles
and joints: Your posture on the bike puts your hip flexor muscles in a
shortened position. If you work a desk job, your hip flexor muscles are already
in this position for many hours of the day. The main hip flexor muscles have
attachments to the vertebrae of the low back, so this tightness in your hips
muscles can cause pulling on the spine. To counteract this, stretch your quads
and hip flexors after every ride. It’s also important to maintain the mobility
of your hip joints. Your body requires an adequate amount of bend in the hip,
especially the more forward flexed you are on the bike. Decreased motion at the hip joint causes
increased motion of the low back and may result in repetitive strain on the
strength: The strength and endurance of your core muscles will help stabilize
your spine on the bike, preventing excessive repetitive movement. Core
strengthening should be part of your routine for safe and efficient cycling.
This can include a range of exercises and habits, from planks and Pilates to
simply being mindful about your posture. Good form is critical to getting the
most out of your conditioning and avoiding injury, so always consult a
qualified practitioner before trying any new form of exercise.
Riding in gears that maintain high tension and require less pedal revolutions
may seem like a good way to generate speed. But the increased tension means
that your body has to work harder, leading to fatigue including the muscles
needed for stability of the spine. Furthermore, if your resistance is too high
then your cadence will be too low because you have to push harder, and it is
less energy efficient. A cadence of 80-95
rpm is ideal. If you’re a serious cyclist and you’re looking to improve your
time, schedule a session with a certified coach who can help you develop an
effective strategy that doesn’t increase your risk of injury.
PREVENTING SNOW SHOVELING INJURIES
With the impending weather this winter it is always important to have a good understanding of shoveling safety and body mechanic’s to prevent injury and illness. Shoveling is a very repetitive activity and can easily result in muscle fatigue, muscle strains, spine injuries and even fractures if performing incorrectly. Shoveling is an exercise and anyone who has contraindications to physical exertion should not shovel and everyone else should take the following precautions.
- Make sure to stay well hydrated. Again shoveling
is an exercise and just as you would hydrate during a sport, you should also
hydrate during shoveling.
- Wear good shoe wear to prevent slipping/falls.
- Take a few minutes to stretch before and after
shoveling, if you are unaware of appropriate stretches you can reach out to
your nearest physical therapist.
- Take frequent rest breaks.
- Make sure your shovel is not too long. A long
shovel can increase the lever arm which will make it more challenging to lift
- Push the snow when you are able versus lifting
- Do not fill your shovel fully with snow to
decrease the weight you are lifting.
- Keep your back straight when shoveling and use
your hips and knees to bend.
- Do not
twist your back with a full shovel of snow, make sure to move your feet to turn
Good luck during this shoveling season and consult one of our licensed physical
therapists at Vantage Sports and Rehab if
you are experiencing any pain.
Ergonomics In The Workplace
Is increasing production one of your core business objectives this year? Are you looking to reduce workers compensation claims and healthcare cost? Assuming these are your company objectives establishing or improving an ergonomics program should be top on your list.
Studies show that understanding and applying good ergonomic practice is important to the management of a healthy workforce. Ergonomic changes are more cost effective before major problem occur (proactive ergonomics). Reactive ergonomics cost more responding to a multitude of cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTD’s).
Implementing a workplace ergonomic program includes the following elements:
1. Provide Management Support– A strong commitment is key from leadership. Management should have clear goals and objectives for the ergonomic program.
2. Provide Training– Training is very important for a successful outcome. It ensures workers are educated to the benefits of ergonomics and they become more informed about ergonomics related concerns and the importance of reporting early symtoms of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD’s).
3. Identify Problems– Identify and reporting ergonomic problems is an important step in establishing an ergonomic program.
4. Involve Workers– Involving workers directly in the assessments, solution development and implementation will instill “team work” and a positive outcome of the ergonomic program.
5. Implement Solutions to Control Hazards– Identify solutions that can be implemented to reduce, control or eliminate workplace MSD’s.
6. Evaluate Ergonomic Process– Evaluation process and corrective measures should be established to periodically assess the effectiveness of the ergonomic process. When establishing an ergonomic process, the assessment should include goals set for the ergonomic process. Moving ahead, discussion should take place on the success of the implementation of the ergonomic solutions and if the goals have been met.
Establishing a ergonomic program can be tailored to meet budget guides. It is important to start with the most critical needs first. Initiating or improving ergonomic programs is money well spent in reducing cost, improving production and providing workers with a safer work environment.
Preventing Gardening Injuries:
Winter is slowly transitioning to warmer spring weather. This is an exciting time for avid gardeners. Gardening eases stress, provides exercise, and gets you outside. It adds beauty to your yard.
When gardening, it is very easy to become consumed spending long periods of time in awkward positions. It is important to approach gardening safely to prevent discomfort, pain, and injuries from occurring.
To avoid injuries you should follow these precautions:
1. Wear Gloves: wearing gloves will help reduce blistering from occurring. It will also protect your skin from bacteria, fungus and fertilizers.
2. Use proper body mechanics: It is important to remember to use your leg muscles when bending your hips and knees to lifting. Never bend at your waist to lift!
3. Avoid prolonged repetitive motions: Gardening involves repetitive motion that can cause pain and injuries from over use. It is important to vary your gardening activity rotating and mixing up chores lessening over use of the same muscle group.
4. Remember your posture: During gardening we tend to spend prolonged periods of time in awkward flexed postures. Try to use gardening kneeling pad to help maintain better posture. Take frequent breaks to allow your body to stretch. Try using long handle tools which will lessen awkward posture and allow you to work in standing.
5. Stretching before and after gardening helps prevent injuries. Before starting a new exercise routine (especially if you haven’t exercised in a while) check with your physician to see if these exercises are safe for you.
The above safety measures will lessen the risk of injuries so you can enjoy the summer months gardening. Enjoy!
Do Stretching Programs Help Prevent Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders?
Research reinforces the importance of a comprehensive program that includes flexibility & strengthening programs in preventing WMSD’s. The implementation of a comprehensive ergonomic program that includes administrative and engineering controls should be completed. The goal of the ergonomic program will identify risk factors that contribute to WMSD’s.
Utilizing administrative controls identified in a ergonomic assessment is a good place to start in making positive changes in preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Administrative controls can be accomplished with minimal budget impact.