So it looks like the season is finally starting to change (I say this knowing full well that it’s disgusting and cold outside here in NYC), so it’s nearly that time of year where you can start doing your yard work and improvements to your home. We all get outside a little more, work a little harder and take on jobs that require a little more body power. It’s sort of an open invitation to an injury, especially if you aren’t very active in the winter or getting up there in age.
Although it’s true that our bodies are machines, preventative maintenance of that machine is hugely important to avoiding injuries. A couple of simple steps and tips can go a long way towards making sure you don’t get knocked out by an injury.
1. Stretch, stretch, stretch! It’s so important and yet how often we forget! As we get older, our bodies need more time to warm up; a couple of solid minutes of stretching gets blood moving and can drastically reduce the likelihood of an injury. Make the time - it’s totally worth it.
2. Lift with your legs, not your back. It sound simple but often times we use our waist as the main weight-bearing point when we lift heavy objects. That places the strain directly on the lower back. If you have to lift heavy thing, try to focus more on getting down as low as you can and pushing off of your heels. That puts the weight more on the quads and gets it off of your back!
3. If you’re tired, take a break. Taking regular breaks helps your body stay fresh and reduces the strain that repetitive activities place the body under. Listen to the signals your body is sending you. If you’re muscles are tired, take a rest. If you have an ache, stop working for a while. But don’t just plow ahead needlessly. That’s a short route to a back, neck or leg injury (along with any other kind of pain!).
4. If the pain persists, see a doctor. “Sucking it up” doesn’t really apply when the pain is severe. If an injury hasn’t healed after a long time, go see a pain doctor like the ones we have here at Living Well Medical in SoHo. Time alone isn’t always enough to get things right - the right doctors can help.
It’s true that there’s a lot more to maintaining your body than just good biomechanics and good sense. Diet and lots of other factors like stress can play a part too. Just take it easy, and if you need to, give us a call at (212) 645-8151