Unless you are a bear and are currently hibernating for for the winter, in which case you probably wouldn’t be reading this, you couldn’t have helped but notice that the great British winter has finally arrived.
So as well as your helpful chiropractic adjustment there are a few other things that you can do to help keep the aches and pains at bay this winter.
Firstly, if you find that you need to dig the car out of the snow, or clear your pathway then do take care when it comes to using a shovel. The intervertebral discs, which are the little shock absorbers that are found in between each of the bones in your back, do not enjoy repeated actions that involve lifting and twisting. One way to help this is to bend at the knees when picking up the snow and then use your legs to turn your body rather than twist at the waist. This advice alone can help prevent a twinge in the back or for those who are already suffering it can certainly help reduce the risk of re-injury.
Where you may find that most of the roads have now been gritted, which will help make driving a car a lot safer, the pavements have yet again been left to their own devices. So if you do find yourself taking a walk to the local corner shop for fresh supplies, the ice/snow on the pavements will certainly slow you down.
Your gait, which is a fancy word for your normal walking stride pattern, will be affected, therefore you will be using your joints and muscles in a way that you are unaccustomed to. This can lead to aches and pains in your legs that have a similar feeling to that of doing some vigorous exercise. Try stretching your gluteal muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles before AND after your journey (call me at the clinic on 01268 786290 if you are unsure of how to do this and I will gladly talk you through it). Think of it as a warm up and a warm down, if it’s good enough for our Olympic athletes then it’s good enough for us!
Finally, keep warm! This may sound like an obvious piece of advice but cold muscles literally ache or hurt more than warm ones. Keeping warm is easy. Lots of thin layers of clothing rather than one thick layer is best. This is because the more layers that you have on the more the air can get trapped in between these layers, and it’s the air that acts like an insulator that makes it harder for your body heat to radiate out through the clothes. This is the same principle as double glazing or a thermos flask.
The foods that we eat can also help us keep warm. Slow burning foods such as porridge which is full of oats, or foods that contain slow releasing carbohydrates such as non-starchy vegetables (e.g. spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli etc.), fresh fruit, nuts, and sweet potato (unlike their white potato cousins these are a good slow release carb substitute) are excellent food sources guaranteed to help keep you warm in this cold snap.
So there you have it, a self help guide to keeping your joints and muscles happy this winter. And if you still fall foul of the cold weather and you do unfortunately find yourself in pain then be sure to give me a call to help you back on the straight and narrow!
Roll on spring time!