As the weather warms up and we start to increase our outdoor activities such as gardening and spring cleaning we want to be mindful of our body movements so we can reduce the likelihood of injury. We have usually heard plenty about bend and lift from your knees and not your back but less so about the importance of minimizing how we twist our backs. Simply bending forward with only our body weight creates around 700 pounds of compressive force on the low back. If we are bent forward and twist that force will be shifted more to one side of the spine instead of being evenly distributed, this increases the potential for injury. One of the most common joints we see injured in these cases is the facet joints in the low back (lumbosacral region) followed by sacroiliac joints (where the bones of the pelvis meet). Additionally, excessive repetitive twisting like this can start to injure the discs in the area potentially leading to a more severe injury with a longer recovery time.
When we are doing our activities we want to do our best to keep what we call a straight back (spine) and not round out our low backs. If we can't bend from the knees it is important that we try to pivot from our hips and not round out our spine. Additionally, when we have to twist/rotate we don't want to twist from the spine. Instead the rotation should come by moving our feet to move our bodies while trying to keep our hips and low back parallel to each other.
Lastly, if it has been awhile since we have put our bodies through the kind of work we are doing it is important to take regular breaks so as not to fatigue our muscles to the point where we use bad form. When we restart activities it may take an extra couple of days to accomplish all our tasks but better to slowly recondition the body then wind up with an injury that stops us all together.
We love seeing our chiropractic patients but we know the goal is to avoid injuries whenever possible. Obviously we want you to reach out anytime an injury does occur. Until then - stay strong Vallejo, AmCan & Benicia patients!