How to prevent injuries while traveling

How to avoid injuries while travelingFor this article, I decided to give a few recommendations to those of you who will have the chance to travel during the March break.

First, it is very frequent to get injured after lifting our luggages. To avoid injuries, try to lift using your legs and thighs instead of your back. The muscles in your legs are strong enough for this task compared to your back muscles. Also, remember to avoid doing any twisting movement of your back, especially if you have something heavy in your hands (your luggages). This type of movement creates a big stress on the back, especially on the small cushions (the intervertebral disc) located between the vertebrae.

If you travel by plane, it is recommended to use a pillow, a cushion or a rolled sweater to put on your lower back. This way, your back will be supported even if the seats are not comfortable. You can do the same on the beach if you use one of their lawn chairs, since this type of chair doesn’t provide much support for the lower back.

If you have enough space in your luggages, it could be a good idea to bring your own pillow. Since you can’t control the quality of the mattress you will have at the hotel, at least you will make sure to have a proper support for your neck.

For those of you traveling south, you will probably be tempted to wear scandals more than regular shoes. Be careful because some types of scandals are not providing much support for your feet and ankles. It could be a good idea to wear  a good pair of running shoes  once in a while to give your feet some rest.

Finally, there is no problem to enjoy a drink while relaxing on the beach. Just make sure to drink enough water to avoid any heat stroke or dehydration.

Happy March break to all travelers!

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Chiropractic and posture at work

Chiropractic and posture at work

Lots of people spend most of their day sitting at a desk or in front of a computer. It is important to know that the sitting position causes lots of stress on the spine, even more if you are not sitting properly. Without being an ergonomist, it would be beneficial for many of us to take a few minutes in order to make sure our workstation is properly fitted. Here are a few points to consider:

1. Make sure your knees are flexed at 90 degrees.

2. Avoid sitting on the tip of your chair. Your back should be in contact with the back support. Also, it is always better to have a chair with a lumbar support (a small bump in the lower part of the back support that fits the lower back). If your chair doesn’t have a lumbar support, you can always use a cushion or a rolled towel to put on your lower back.

3. Your shoulders should be relaxed, your elbows bend at 90 degrees and your wrist in line with your forearm.

4. Make sure your computer screen is at the height of your eyes. This way, you won’t have to bend forward in order to see properly.

5. It is recommended to have a work desk with a keyboard tray large enough to put the keyboard and the mouse on it. When the keyboard or the mouse are on the top of the desk, your shoulder muscles (ex. The Trapezius muscles) are always under stress. This could lead to different problems like tendonitis, discomforts or headaches and migraines.

In addition to the evaluation of your workstation, it is also recommended to consult a chiropractor for a checkup of your spine. Even if you don’t have any pain or symptom, the prolonged sitting position may have created restrictions of movement of some vertebrae of your spine. The chiropractor will be able to evaluate your spine and correct those problems before they become more important.

The CSST (Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail) published an excellent document on the ergonomy of the workstation. Here’s  the link to have access to the document (this document was only available in French):

http://www.csst.qc.ca/publications/200/Pages/dc_200_614.aspx

School bags

school bag

School bags

It is already the beginning of September indicating the back to school season. On the shopping list for your kid’s school supplies, you probably have to purchase a school bag. The following text will guide you to buy the proper school bag.

A backpack or a bag with a shoulder strap?

While shopping for school supplies, you will see different kind of school bags. It is important to know that your best choice is always a backpack compare to a bag with a shoulder strap. The reason is simple, there are two straps on the backpack in order to distribute the weight evenly on both shoulders. Compare to the backpack, the bag with only one strap will put all the weight of the bag on only one shoulder, thus increasing the risk of causing posture problems or problems with some vertebrae of the spine.

The characteristics of a good backpack are:

– Padded straps in order to absorb the weight of the bag and for more comfort

– It is always better to have a small school bag ( this way you will keep the bag lighter)

– The bag should have a waist strap to transfer some of the weight on the pelvis

It is also very important to fit the bag properly. To do so, make sure that the top of the bag isn’t higher that the shoulders and that the bottom of the bag is at the pelvis height (the bag should not rub on the buttocks or the back of the thigh.

Don’t forget to keep the weight of the bag as light as possible. In fact, the weight of the bag shouldn’t be more than 10% to 15% of your child’s weight. Therefore, if your child’s weight is 100 pounds, the bag including all the school supplies shouldn’t be more than 10 to 15 pounds.

You may have thought about buying a bag with wheels. This may look like a good idea at first because you pull the weight instead of lifting it. However, sooner or later, you will have to lift the bag to go up the stairs or to put the bag in the car or the school bus.

It is also recommended to consult a chiropractor at the beginning of the school year for your kids. This way, the chiropractor will be able to verify the health of your kid’s spine and will be able to confirm the proper fit of their school bag.

Chiropractic and kids

Chiropractic and kidsWhen I look at my 11 month old daughter crawling on her stomach, walking on all fours and trying to walk, I can’t help but notice how many times kids are falling every day. Of course, this is part of their normal development. However, the accumulation of all those falls may have consequences in short or long term.

This brings me to talk about chiropractic care for kids. Even if it is rare that a kid will mention pain, it is possible that the accumulation of all their falls creates restrictions of movement affecting the vertebrae of their spine. Those restrictions could be responsible for other problems in the future like headaches, postural problems, muscle asymmetry, etc.  Like any condition, it is always better to prevent the problem than having to treat it. Therefore, even if your kids didn’t mention having pain (or if your kids are too young to be able to talk), it is recommended for them to have a chiropractic evaluation of their spine. This way, the chiropractor will detect biomechanical problems before they start creating bigger problems. It is important to know that chiropractic care for kids is extremely gentle, safe and pain free. Moreover, the chiropractor will be able to make recommendations for your kids in order to improve their health. For example, if you have teenagers, the chiropractor will provide them with exercises to improve their general posture.

If you have kids, make an appointment now with a chiropractor for a preventative chiropractic evaluation of your kid’s spine. This way, you will contribute to the normal development of their full potential.