Gardening and Your Back

It’s that time of year again! The snow has melted, the frost is gone. Time to get outside and start cleaning up, but be careful. Raking, lifting, digging, kneeling, planting – this is enough activity to challenge any athlete. Gardening and yard work may not be Olympic sports, but they are strenuous physical activities. In a recent poll, 88 per cent of Ontario chiropractors indicated that working in the garden and yard were the most common sources of neck and back pain they treat during the warm weather season.

To help you enjoy the fruits of your labour during this yard and gardening season, we recommend you keep these tips in mind:

Stretch out before you head out. Light to moderate gardening can burn between 300 to 400 calories an hour, compared to the 40 calories an hour while sitting quietly. So take the time to prepare your body for activity, always warm-up and cool down your muscles. Add a short walk and you’ll have topped off your routine with overall conditioning. Now you’re ready for your open-air workout!

Use good technique while lifting. Keep the load close to your body, your back straight and bend your knees while picking up and putting down the load. Avoid twisting, and get a buddy to give a hand with heavy, awkward loads.

Use the right tools and moves. The right moves can reduce the strain on your body; alternate your tasks, kneel to plant and weed, change positions frequently and most importantly pace yourself. Moving correctly and using the right tools go hand-in-hand. Work with ease in your garden and yard, always make sure that tools are a comfortable weight and size for you. There are many ergonomically designed tools which are light-weight with long padded handles and spring action mechanisms which can reduce strain and effort.

You’ve completed a gold medal performance, take a break! Get-up, move around, alternate tasks, repeat your stretch routine or sit back, relax and have a cool drink. Try not to overexert yourself, and take three brief breaks at least once every hour. Give yourself a breather… Your back will thank you!

If you have back or muscle pain that lasts more than 48-hours without improvement, call to speak to Dr. Ted and he will be able to help you out.

Proper Snow Shovelling is Crucial to Prevent Back Pain

 As the winter months begin so does the increase in back and muscle pain often due to improper shovelling techniques.  Ontario’s chiropractors report that snow-shovelling injuries are the leading cause of back and neck pain during the winter months, which is often the result of poor shovelling techniques. Chiropractors are experts in the area of back, muscle and joint pain and disorders. As education and preparedness are the keys to correcting and avoiding many health problems, below are some preventative tips.

How to Lift Light, and Shovel Right:

Warm-up.  Before beginning any snow removal, warm-up for five to ten minutes to get the joints moving and increase blood circulation.  To do this, march on the spot, climb the stairs, or go for a quick walk around the block.  Follow this with some gentle stretches for the back (knee to chest), arms and shoulders (body hug), and legs (forward bends from seated position).  This will ensure that your body is ready for action.

Don’t let the snow pile up.  Removing small amounts of snow on a frequent basis is less strenuous in the long run.

Pick the right shovel.  Use a lightweight, non-stick, push-style shovel.

Push, don’t throw.  Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it.  If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning – position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.

Bend your knees.  Use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.

Watch the ice.  Coarse sand, ice salt, ice melter, or even kitty litter can help give sidewalks and driveways more traction,  reducing the chance of a slip or fall.

Wear proper footwear.  Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.

Take a break.  If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest.  Make it a habit to rest for a moment or two for every 10 or 15 minutes of shovelling.  This is especially  important if the snow is wet and heavy.  Stop shovelling immediately if you feel chest or back pain.  Seek medical advice or see a chiropractor if you experience back pain.

Staying warm. Layered clothing works better to keep your muscles warm and your skin dry so you don’t get chilled. You may want to invest in clothing designed specifically for winter outdoor activity or layer garments made of natural fibres.

Stay Hydrated. Don’t be fooled by the temperature! Your active body needs plenty of fluids even though it’s cold outside. Be sure to drink lots of water or juice before,      during and after winter sports.

World Spine Day


20 Minute At Home Circuit Workout

 No gym membership? No worries. All you need is a floor and you, whether it be inside or out. The following workout will take just 20 minutes and should be done 3 times per week.


Dr. Ted’s Circuit Workout A


Jumping Jacks                                    50       Or 2 flights of stairs 4x

Lunges                                                 20

Mountain Climbers                            25

Squat Jumps                                       10

Push Ups                                             15

Side Squats                                         20

Bent Over Row w/ 5lb weight          20


Do all 7 exercises with no rest in between each exercise.

At the end of the last exercise, 1 minute rest and repeat.

Then repeat 1 more time for a total of 3 sets.


Please consult with your chiropractor or doctor before beginning this or any exercise program.

If you require an explanation for any of the above exercises please e-mail me at

Golf Stretches

If you are golfing on Father’s Day this weekend here is a good warm-up to do before you get out there.