As an all encompassing pain treatment center in the heart of New York City we see a lot of patients who are hurting from injuries they sustained from performing every day tasks.
This week alone we have seen three patients that have hurt their backs while opening windows. Most people would laugh if one of their friends walked up and told them that they got hurt and are in a lot of pain after trying to open a window. When you think about it, its not that surprising that someone can hurt their back opening a window. A window can become stuck, be sitting off track, or just be plain old, which would of course make opening a window like trying to lift a car. In our area, right around SOHO, and Tribeca, there are a lot of old lofts, with huge, heavy, old windows, some of them with cast iron parts, and old mechanisms that can become jammed and obstructed. Forget lifting a car, opening an old heavy window in a loft can require a team of professional Strongmen.
Since most of us in NYC do not have the benefit of central air, we have to shove a big heavy air conditioner in a window to stay cool during the summer months. Some people don't even make it to that step before they are in too much pain to continue. Forget staying cool, now you have to grit your teeth just to stay upright and on your feet.
Back injuries are the most common cause of missed work days in the U.S. Most people will suffer from at least one form of back pain through the course of their lives. The older you are, the more deconditioned you are, the more sedentary your lifestyle, the more at risk you become from back pain.
We see people with muscular injuries, hamstring weakness, and other physiological deviations that can pull the pelvis out of proper alignment which makes it easier for injuries to occur with every day tasks. We also see a lot of people suffering from herniated or bulging discs , who are also suffering from sciatica, which can be very painful.
Anatomy Lets talk about the back and what exactly is at risk, in terms of physiology. The human body, its system of muscles and bones are comprised in to one working unit, there aren't very many movements that are truly isolating a muscle or part of the body. The human movement system is interlinked in to a kinetic chain, and every link of that chain is connected to your spine, the "core" of all movement if you will. If your back is weak you have no "core", no base from which to administer your strength, you are bound to get hurt. Yes, even if you are doing something as simple and routine as opening a window.
Muscles involvedSpinal Erectors This one is simple; these muscles run the length of the spine and help flex the spine, and are heavily involved in posture and lifting and bending. There isn't a movement that these muscles aren't involved in. Multifidus These small muscles between each joint of the spine help stabilize the back. Tranversus Abdominis Responsible to the "transversal" or twisting motions involving the abdominals and back. Obliques If you have ever taken a deep breath and lifted something heavy off the ground and felt the muscles on either sides of your abs tighten, those are the obliques and they help stabilize and assist your spine derange squatting movements Hamstrings Most people have tight or under developed hamstrings that often lead to back injuries. The hamstrings are heavily involved in squatting and lifting movements, and are a major factor in running.
TipsDon't just walk up and attempt to power through a stuck or jammed window. Instead try and jiggle the window a bit, and start pulling slowly, don't pull with everything you have form the start, especially if you have had back injuries in the past. Keep your body in a slight squat and keep your back straight. Bend down slightly grip the base of the window firmly, now begin the pull with your legs, and keep your glutes and abdominals tight. Pull the window up slowly and keep your back straight, use your biceps, shoulders and legs. At no point should you be rounding or moving your back. After the widow is past half way up. Squat down a bit more, bring your chest to the window, place your hands at the base, keeping your palms facing out, away from you. Make sure your elbows are under your hands and not back, push up with your legs and press the window up like a shoulder press if there is any more room left to open it. Sounds like a tough workout? It could be. Also, if you are of a smaller stature, or have had previous back injuries, or simply unsure about yourself and what you are doing, please enlist the help of someone who is strong enough to help you get the job done, or even do it for you. Pride heals faster than a ruptured disc.
Treatment We have a vast array of proven, safe, and non invasive treatment methods. We have a team of experts that work together, under the same roof to develop individualized treatment plans to help heal you and get you out of pain as fast as possible, and then work to make sure that you don't re-injure yourself.
We combine these treatments to develop a treatment plan specifically for you, without the use of drugs or surgery. However we do have an MD on site to help you with drug therapy if you really need it. We have been treating patients suffering from pain for years, and have been producing unparalleled results.