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Gardening Tips

Back health tips for gardening

Give your muscles a chance to warm up before working in the yard or garden. Practice stretching with the various movements you will be working in the yard, or take a short ten to fifteen-minute walk around the block.
Avoid prolonged bending, pushing and pulling while raking and hoeing, which can strain shoulders or the lower back.Use long-handled tools, or the resulting forward and sideways bending can aggravate the neck or lower back.
To avoid strain and muscle spasm on one side of the body, switch hands frequently while raking or hoeing.
When using a hedge trimmer, keep your back straight and use short strokes to avoid upper arm and neck strain. Pause after three to five minutes.
Carry medium-to-small sized loads of debris close to your body, or use a wheelbarrow to avoid strain on your back. Save heavier work for mid-way through your chores. This helps avoid sudden strenuous exertion on unused muscles and joints.
Keep overhead work to five-minute episodes. Avoid extreme reaching with one arm.
Kneel to perform tasks, rather than bend.
Stretch! Back exercises should deal with flexibility first, strength second.
Finally, if a task seems like too much work, it probably is. Hire a professional for tasks like landscaping, tree-topping or trimming large hedges.
For more information, consult with your family chiropractor.

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Golfing Tips

Stretch before and after you do any strengthening exercises. Here are some recommended stretches:
Side bending works the muscles on the sides of your back and hips
Hip rotation stretches several muscles in your hip, pelvis and thigh region
The hamstring stretch works the large muscles at the back of your thighs
Back extension helps the muscles that bend your spine backward, while back rotation stretches the muscles that rotate your spine and shoulder muscles
The shoulder stretch works shoulders and upper arms
Muscle-strengthening exercises can make your body stronger and more flexible.
Wrist strength is very important during the impact phase of a golf game
Strength in rotating the upper arms in either direction is important throughout the golf swing
To improve form and strength in your golf swing, practice good posture by concentrating on using your abdominal and back muscles.
Rowing strengthens the muscles of your upper back and shoulders.
Pull-downs also work the shoulder and upper-back muscles.
When taking clubs out of your vehicle, bend your knees, slightly curve your spine, and gently lift the golf bag out of the vehicle.
‘The clubs before the cart’ – Research shows that after one season of weekly golf games that involved walking the golf course, males over fifty significantly decreased their cholesterol count. [Source: October 1990 issue of The Physician and Sportsmedicine]
Warm up for your first swing. Make sure you stretch.
Bend your knees and use a golf club for support before stooping for the ball, or when preparing to tee off.
Ensure that you use correct posture and spinal angles when driving and putting.
Stretch to cool down after your game.
For more information, consult with your family chiropractor.
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Sciatica

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Sciatica symptoms can increase in severity until the sciatic nerve becomes very, very angry.

Most commonly, sciatica results when a spinal disc ruptures in the lower lumbosacral region of the spine. Instead of acting as a gelatinous cushion between the bony vertebrae of the spine, the disc squeezes out from between the vertebrae and presses on one or more of the spinal nerves that form the sciatic nerve, causing inflammation. “Sciatica symptoms may come on slowly,” explains Dr. Nixdorf. When back stiffness and lack of flexibility, such as when you get into or out of a chair or car, are left untreated for as little as two or three weeks, says Nixdorf, symptoms can increase in severity until the sciatic nerve becomes very, very angry.

Who’s at risk?

Interestingly, people who sit for a living are at slightly higher risk of back related problems than people who are physical workers in forestry, mining, farming or construction, according to Dr. Don Nixdorf. “You would think that people in heavy industry might be predisposed to having more frequent back and sciatica-related symptoms,” says Nixdorf. “Not necessarily so.” Slumping at a desk or a computer for eight hours a day, five days a week, can aggravate compression of the spine, which, in turn, can lead to lower back stiffness, back pain and inflammation of the sciatic nerve.

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