Along with the enjoyment of Spring time sunshine and warm weather, comes the onslaught of Spring cleaning chores from raking leaves and weeding gardens, to climbing ladders for washing windows or cleaning out gutters. Some of us may encounter a few sore muscles after a full day of spring cleaning, but if you follow these simple tips you can help avoid spinal injury or a more serious back injury.

A strained muscle in your back might cause an annoying pain for a few days, or it could cause a more serious pain that puts a real damper on your warm weather activities.

Follow these 5 Tips to avoid injury to your back and spine, and don’t miss out on all the fun.

1. Stretch!

Before you start bending or climbing ladders, it’s very important to stretch and warm up stiff joints and muscles to avoid injury and disc problems. Stretch slowly, do not bounce but hold a stretch to the point of gentle tension, for at least 20 to 30 seconds.

2. Gradually Increase your Physical Activity

This is difficult for most of us that have been cooped up during the winter, but working up to previous levels of physical activity gradually will aid in preventing injury. Even a 15-minute daily walk can greatly reduce your risk of incurring an injury by stretching and strengthening your neck, back, and leg muscles.

The “weekend warrior” is much more likely to suffer a serious painful back injury than those who are regularly physically active. Even low-impact aerobic exercise is found to assist with maintaining spinal disc integrity.

3. Maintain Regular Cardiovascular Health

Regular exercise is also good for cardiovascular health, which many people forget contributes to a healthy back and spine. Increased circulation and blood flow bring nutrients to your back muscles and nerves, and aid in eliminating toxins, both contributing to a healthy spine.

4. Maintain Flexibility

Stretching along with physical activity increases flexibility, which aids in reducing a wide range of spinal injuries. By following the first few steps you will accomplish step four – staying flexible can ward off a host of aches and pains as we age.

5. Lift with Proper Techniques

When bending to pick up bags of mulch or garden soil, be sure to bend at the knees not the torso! Use your legs for lifting, while keeping your back straight. Putting pressure on your back while bending can result in a muscle tear, slipped disc or other spinal injury.

Following these 5 Tips can greatly reduce your likelihood of experiencing a back or spinal injury while tackling the many spring cleaning tasks at hand. In the unlikely event that you should experience a muscle strain or sprain, be sure to stop the activity causing pain and treat the injury with ice and anti-inflammatory medications.

Treatments for Back Pain

Most back strains will usually heal within a few days, or three to four weeks at the most. If you experience persistent chronic back pain be sure to speak with your physician on the best course of action to take.

Physical therapy is an effective technique used to strengthen muscle groups that support the lower back, promote proper posture and improve flexibility and mobility.

Spinal manipulations by licensed chiropractors have been shown to provide low to minimal benefits for chronic low back pain, and should never be used when a patient has an underlying medical cause for back pain such as compression of the spinal cord or arthritis.

Traction can provide short term pain relief by relieving compression on the spine, but it is usually temporary.

When other therapies fail to alleviate chronic back pain, nerve blocks can be successful in relieving pain by injecting local anesthesia with steroid into the affected area of tissue and nerves.

Surgery may be a last resort for nerve compression or serious spinal injuries. Patients considering spinal surgery should speak openly with your surgeon and be fully informed on all options and risks.

Call your friends at the Greater Waterbury Imaging Center if you require any MR Imaging services. We understand your concerns and need for prompt, professional and caring assistance during any medical procedure.