Dr Narson's "Back Pain Survival Guide For Hurricane Prep & Cleanup"
In both preparing for and cleaning up after tropical storms and hurricanes, many people injure themselves. I would like to offer you a few back safety tips during your preparation/cleanup for hurricane Ike and any other storms throughout the rest of the 2017 season.
Cleaning up around your house or condo requires a lot of bending, lifting, twisting and reaching.
1) Bend & Lift Properly
When bending, even for the smallest and lightest of objects, bend with your knees. Do not bend from your waist as this is the easiest and most popular way to herniated a disc in your back. It doesn’t matter how heavy the object is, bend properly and you reduce the chance of injury. Remember, not all objects are evenly balanced. That’s why your trainer has you do those unbalanced squats!! Be careful.
2) Pack & Move Smaller Objects
Don’t be tempted to lift larger objects, even if they are light in weight. In order to move a larger awkward object yourself, you have to compromise proper lifting technique and make your back vulnerable to injury. Pack small boxes that are easy to lift. When packing a box, keep in mind the weight of it as you add items. If you have a heavy or large object, put it on a dolly, hand-truck or get another person to help.
3) Twisting & Reaching
In order to store your stuff, you may have to lift it above your head, twist and reach as you put it away. Use a step stool and put objects away that are above the level of your shoulders. Try to keep the object at the level of your shoulder when you are on the stool or ladder and hold objects close to your torso. The further you hold an object away from you, the more pressure you place on your back. When twisting to the left, be sure that your left foot, left hip and left shoulder is pointing in the same direction as you turn. Obviously the same goes for turning to the right. This method keeps your spine in line when turning. Turning this way is okay, twisting your spine is not.
4) Apply Ice, Ask Questions Later
If you do feel that you have hurt yourself and are not sure what to do, I always tell people to apply ice compresses 1st and ask questions later. Obviously, you must stop any lifting and take care of yourself. When applying ice, never put it directly on your skin; always lay a handkerchief or other cloth on the skin and then apply the ice pack on top of that. 15-20 on, the rest of the hour off, repeat as needed. (and yes, I know of some of those new ice recommendations, but after 27 years of practice, I've seen the results and I'm sticking with ice per the original recommendations) for acute injuries. Not everyone has full time professional trainers to help them with joint and soft tissue mobilization, eccentric lengthening, manual lymphatic drainage or other active techniques and until you get to a competent, physician with knowledge of muculoskeletal medicine (DO, DC or MD) , certified athletic trainer or PT, Ice First-Ask Questions Later.
5) Moist Heat To Relax
There is no question you will be somewhat sore after preparing for the hurricane. If you feel a little stiff, sore or achy, apply a moist hot compress for 15-20 minutes to the affected areas to help relive soreness. Repeat as needed 15-20 minutes per hour. Do not apply heat for longer than 20 minutes per application. And DO NOT Sleep on a heating pad! Unless you want to slow cook your muscles!!! A hot bath is a nice way to sooth sore, stiff achy muscles- just as long as you don’t need your bathtub to store extra water.
6) Don't Sit Too Long!
Please remember that sitting in one place while you are evacuated for a prolonged period of time can flair up back pain just like an acute injury (even if you have no back problems at all). So make sure you get up and move around every 25 minutes throughout the day & stretch too!
7) We Are Here For You
If you do suffer some sort of back or neck pain or other strain of your body and it doesn't do away by itself in 48-72 hours, come see us for help.
Good luck weathering the storm should it hit. I hope these tips are helpful for you and your family
Drs. Todd & Corey Narson
“El Movemiento Es Vida!” - Movement Is Life! So Keep It Moving!
Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He is sports chiropractor to the University of Miami Hurricanes. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.
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