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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

Let It Snow: Preventing Back Pain While You Shovel

shoveling snow properly

Shoveling snow with good form can prevent back pain.

Hey, it’s Dr. Shoshany again. There’s a snowstorm brewing! After this past weekend’s failed snow, it seemed a good idea to re-release this blog entry. We are apparently in for as much as two feet!

Any time it snows hard, I end up seeing patients who hurt their backs as they clear their walk, stairs and the like here at Living Well Medical in NYC.

Not everyone has to worry about the snow in NYC, of course. Some of us have property managers and supers who take care of it, but just as many still shovel their own snow. Biomechanically correct form can do a lot to prevent hurting your back during cleanup, so it seemed like a good idea to leave a couple of pointers on the off chance the news meteorologists are on the money.

First off, have the right equipment on hand. If you have an older shovel, chances are it’s made of metal and heavy. Newer shovels often are plastic with metal blades at the end, so they can still do the job without so much weight. Also, a shovel with an adjustable length handle can make for more leverage and less reliance on back muscles. Some shovels even have a bend that allows you to do more with less back bending. Check out your local hardware store and see what they have.

Next, use proper form when shoveling. Stand in a natural positions. Hold the shovel close to the body. Bend at the knee and lift using your legs. Tighten your abs while lifting whenever possible; the core muscles being activated can reduce the burden of the lower back muscles. Also, throw the snow in front of you, not twisting to the sides.

Most importantly, listen to what your body tells you. Take a break when you need to. Drink fluids regularly to stay hydrated but not drink sugary drinks or caffeinated drinks. They make you lose water faster.

You can also ease into the work by keeping pace with the snow instead of waiting until it has stopped falling.

In the event you do hurt your back, give us a call at Living Well Medical in NYC212-645-8151. We can help you stop the pain. And hopefully you won’t need to shovel anymore this season!

Categories: Pain Prevention Tags: ,

Cold Weather Blues: Winter Joint Pain

Recently, I’ve noticed that with the constant shifting of the weather, there has been an increased number of patients coming in to see me at Living Well Medical in NYC with joint pain problems. It’s not uncommon for me to hear the question, “Why do my joints hurt more in the cold, humid and wet weather?” For that reason, I thought it would make sense to address the issue in a blog post.

cold weather joint pain

Winter weather can cause some serious joint pain

Let’s start with a little basic anatomy. We all know that the body sends and receives the signals that make much of life possible via the nervous system. In general, there are two major types of nerves: sensory nerves and motor nerves. Those of the sensory variety carry data collected by sensory organs and bring it back to the brain for processing. Motor nerves carry signals from the brain to the many muscles of the body to create motion. Throughout the path of nerves, there are terminating points that we often refer to as nerve endings. They are very sensitive and are responsible for the conduction of pain signals, among other things.

When you have a joint injury or degenerative condition like arthritis, as it’s healing, the number of nerve endings in the area of the joint will often increase, resulting in higher sensitivity. Okay, so it’s more sensitive, but so what? The fact is, those same nerve endings are also responsible for perceiving changes in temperature and pressure. So when there’s a big change in pressure like an oncoming storm or a sudden shift in temperature, you are much more acutely aware of it. It’s believed that joints swell with changes in pressure too, causing pain. That’s why your Grandma’s trick knee always seemed to know when it was going to rain!

So what to do we learn from all this? Keep your joints protected and warm in cold or rainy weather. You’ll likely still feel the sting, but it won’t be so bad. And if you have serious problems with arthritis causing even greater pain in the winter months, come in to see us. An individualized treatment plan focuses on the source of your pain, taking a multidisciplinary approach that helps improve results. Using methods like physical therapy, cold laser therapy, and pain management, we help people in pain feel like themselves again. Call us today for more information at (212) 645-8151.

Dr. Shoshany