A Fort Lauderdale chiropractor gives advice on dealing with back pain during Irma cleanup

Woman Feeling Back Pain Caused by Yard Work

By this time, you’re well into the cleanup in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which pummeled South Florida with high winds and flooding. While Southeast Florida did not suffer the brunt of the storm – weather casters determine that Irma crossed us as a high-end tropical storm with some Category 1 wind gusts – there are still things that need to be done. Yard cleanup, specifically, in clearing up fallen tree limbs, takes a toll on the body especially with back pain. Whether you’re still cleaning up or are nursing the hurt following some grueling clean-up chores, you’ll need to know what to do to ease your back pain and neck pain.

Your first line of defense should be a visit to a Fort Lauderdale chiropractor. Regular chiropractic adjustments can help prepare the back and neck for strenuous activity and can keep you in shape for events such as Hurricane Irma. From the homeowners who needed to get debris and tree limbs out of their yards to the public workers who strain and push to get services moving again, the one thing in common is the pain, especially back pain,  they incur from reaching and over-extending themselves to get the job done.

Why is this a serious problem? Quite simply, when you increase your yard work activity you amplify the poor posture and spinal problems that may already be present, which can ramp up the low back pain, and make strains or injuries more severe. Homeowners and business owners who are battling the recovery from Hurricane Irma are raking fallen leaves, bending over to grab fallen debris and lifting heavy tree limbs, furniture or parts of houses to get these things cleared away from their property or from roads. Such movements, especially for those not used to it, cause injury and pain.

You can treat this pain and any other future pain through a comprehensive chiropractic program that takes into consideration your current health conditions and strives to get you to a point of personal recovery. And when it comes to such pain, you certainly are not alone. Did you know, in fact, that more than 28,000 people are medically treated every year for back, neck and shoulder injuries associated with getting leaves, branches and other yard debris cleared?

Here are some other interesting facts from the American Chiropractic Association about back pain:

Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.

Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work.  In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.

One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.

Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.

Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic – meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.

Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain – and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.

Your back, the ACA stresses, is a “a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture disks, and irritate joints, all of which can lead to back pain. While sports injuries or accidents can cause back pain, sometimes the simplest of movements – for example, picking up a pencil from the floor – can have painful results. In addition, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can cause or complicate back pain.” Needless to say, the psychological stress caused by Irma and the aftermath has no doubt led to tension, which has brought about back pain for many.

Serious and chronic back problems that require medical treatment include:

sciatica, slipped/prolapsed disc – lower back pain characterized by numbness and tingling along one leg;

arthritis – stiffness and pain in the joints;

whiplash – neck pain and headaches following an impact;

pain caused by a spinal fracture.

But how do you prevent injury or long-lasting pain from the hard work of cleanup? For one, when raking, choose a tool that is the right size. Do some warm-up stretches before starting the work, including bending and lifting the legs and arm stretches to make sure you are limber. Make certain you lift from the legs and buttocks – not the back. Bending, lifting and small tasks should alternate to reduce repetitive movements. Wear the right shoes and the right clothing when stepping on debris that you could easily trip over or fall on, or moving through brush that could get caught on a button or a zipper.

Remember: A skilled and trained chiropractor in Fort Lauderdale can help you to identify the cause of your pain problem based on your own personal needs and activity levels and any current health conditions. Studies have shown that the best treatment for back and neck pain are the proven, manual therapies employed by chiropractors and that these, over a period of time, will help to protect the back and neck when the need arises for extra stressful work and activity.

Be careful out there when continuing your cleanup following this difficult storm situation and remember, when it’s all over, visit your chiropractor in Fort Lauderdale to help ease the pain and get you back into shape.

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