As a Wisconsin resident, I have seen some serious snow this past week. As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I have also seen quite a few injuries related to some serious snow fall. The most common injuries I see are back pain and shoulder pain from shoveling.
People will arrive in my office 1-2 months following a heavy snowstorm and say, "Do you remember that real big snowfall 1-2 months ago? Yeah, that's when I started hurting."
I created a video on Facebook on how to shovel snow without back and shoulder pain for this reason.
I encourage you to watch the video and learn how your legs should do most of the work so that your back and shoulder don't have to.
Other tips for snow removal:
Cleaning can take a lot out of you.
Wiping off countertops, sweeping the floor, vacuuming, and scrubbing floors - these can be intense activities!
Many of my patients often abandon the thought of a clean house because it’s too painful for them to achieve that sparkle and shine without having pain for days.
When patients share that they are unable to do many day-to-day tasks like cleaning because of their pain, I make sure to include these movements in their physical therapy plan.
I’m a problem solver so we get to the root cause of the problem and fix it in therapy so they have less pain, better mobility, increased strength, can get back to what they need to do (like cleaning), AND get back to what they want to do so they can have more fun!
One of the tips I teach my patients with back pain is a pain-free position that is safe for their back AND allows them to get chores done without aggravating their symptoms.
Watch this ...
Did you know that 80% of Americans will suffer with back pain at some time in their life?
While there are numerous reasons a person can have back pain, an often overlooked cause is poor hip mobility.
That’s right, if you have tight hips that lack rotation, your back can start hurting because it is trying to compensate for lack of mobility in your hips.
For 2 quick exercises to help increase hip mobility, I invite you to check out a recent Facebook video I did: https://www.facebook.com/jeanette.brandtdewitt/videos/2110294555774770
The 2 exercises I share in the video help with hip internal and external rotation. When the hips internally rotate, it’s like when you cross your legs. When your hips externally rotate, it’s like resting your ankle on your opposite knee to tie your shoe. If your hips can’t rotate well in either direction, then you can strain your back.
Take home message: Happy hips = a happy back!
To Your Best Health,
If you have ever experienced knife-like pain that stabs you in your back and butt then sends a lightning bolt down your leg, then you know that this pain can cause facial distortions with every step you take!
And you don’t care how people are looking at you because the pain is just that bad!
When you have pain like that, your main goal is just to be able to make it to the bathroom on time without creating further embarrassment.
I’ve experienced pain like that. I’ve experienced pain where the very touch of my clothes felt like a hot iron burning my skin or like a nasty sunburn that no amount of aloe will cool.
When I suffered whiplash, a mild concussion, and sacroiliac dysfunction after riding a roller coaster in 2004, I quickly realized what my patients must be experiencing when they come to see me for physical therapy.
Sure, I had ankle sprains and back pain before but NOTHING compared to this. Initially, I didn’t even realize my back pain and...
How many times have you attended a holiday party and left with your feet and back aching?
Have you ever said, “Why does it hurt when I stand to talk to people?”
Well, look no further than down to your feet.
That’s right… look down at your shoes.
Guess what? Those high heels that looked so bedazzling are killing your feet and back.
If the toe of your high heels is pointy, then your feet are getting squeezed together and pinching the nerves in your feet… OUCH!
Those high heels are most likely causing your pelvis to rotate forward and increasing the stress on your low back.
All of this sounds like no fun and can be a recipe for a very long night.
Is it any wonder so many ladies end up kicking off their high heels the first chance they get?
Yes, those are pretty uncomfortable too – especially if they offer no arch support. Your feet are basically...
Most people have heard about what causes back pain: poor lifting technique, poor posture, sports or work injury… but did you know that you could be doing 3 things every day that encourage back pain?
Seriously, you might be surprised by what I am about to say but the reality is that these 3 things could play a huge role in reducing the likelihood of ever getting back pain.
When you choose donuts, chips, and soda over fruits, vegetables, and water, you are making the choice to add hundreds – even thousands – of calories per day to your diet which can lead to obesity.
And, in case you didn’t know this, for every 1 pound you gain, you actually gain 3 pounds of force on your joints and spine. I learned this from an orthopedist 17 years ago who encouraged all his patients to lose weight first BEFORE he did surgery. Why did he do this?
Because he knew that surgery would be more effective if the patient wasn’t carrying excess weight to...
A few years ago, a middle-aged gentleman came to his physical therapy session because he was having back pain. After evaluating him, I learned that his back pain also created frequent “zinger-like” sharp shooting pain down his left leg. After about 3 sessions, his pain in his back and left leg were getting better and he was progressing exactly as I had predicted. This is great, right?
WRONG! He had no idea what had caused his back problem in the first place – which meant it was difficult for me to figure out the root cause of the problem so that I could really help his problem go away and not come back again.
During his 4th session, I was providing a special hands-on nerve treatment technique to his left leg while he was laying on his stomach. This technique, called the Myokinesthetic System™ was working very well in reducing the number of episodes of sharp shooting left leg pain. He was just chatting about how 2 years prior his right shoulder...
This is a common question I hear from patients who arrive in my office having just visited the physician and learned that they have a herniated disc. They see the x-ray of the spine. They see the MRI or may be the CT-scan. Then get inundated with a lot of information where they don’t understand all the big words AND all of that combined can seem pretty scary and confusing. They often leave not the physician office not really knowing what to do next.
Rather than get all fancy with big medical words, the best way to describe a herniated disc is to think of a jelly donut. The outer donut part is the outer portion of your disc and the jelly part of the donut is the gel-like substance in the inner part of the disc.
A herniated disc has different levels of complexity. Less complex means that the jelly is starting to bulge into the donut part but you can’t see the jelly yet. Moderately complex means that the jelly is bulging more and...
I had a guy stroll into my office and exclaim, “Dr. De Witt, you got to fix my golf game!” This man took me a bit by surprise because he was boisterous and very confident that I was the one who could help him. The truth of the matter was that I had never met the guy.
I replied by saying, “Sir, how can I fix your golf game? Are you having pain or feeling weak?”
He said, “Well, you see, this buddy of mine came to see you to fix his shoulder and you shared with him 4 exercises. He said after he started doing your 4 exercises that not only did his golf score improve but his shoulder and his back pain went away. I’ve had back pain for quite a while and I want to learn those 4 exercises you gave him.”
I asked him how long he had back pain and he informed me “all my life.” I shared with him that I specialized in treating patients with back pain for “all their life” then I asked him what his golf score was.
He laughed and...
80% of Americans will experience back pain at least once in their lifetime. If you are living with back pain, then you might also feel pain in your butt and down your leg – also known as sciatica. Back pain can limit your ability to sit, stand, walk, and sleep. It can be so painful that you stop doing the things you love to do.
But what if you didn’t have to live with back pain?
Can you picture it?
Could you be:
Without the achy soreness of back pain, you could be sitting at a picnic table laughing with your family or friends, riding your bike, playing with your dog at the Dog Park, hiking or walking the trails, running the bases on the softball field, or chasing your kids on the playground at this 360-acre park.
If your back pain or sciatica wasn’t limiting how far you could walk or how long you could sit in one spot, you...
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