As a physiotherapist, spring is the time of year when I see the greatest incidence of sprains and strains. After a long Nova Scotian winter, we are so excited to get active and be outside, we often hit the ground running, sometimes literally. This is fine if you have kept up with some sort of cross-training activity in the winter so that your body is equally prepared to take on the tasks. But for many, winter activity levels (other than shovelling after a few snow storms) are little to nil!
Before taking on that springtime activity it is important to condition/prepare your body for what lays ahead. For golfers this may mean hitting the golfing range a few times a week before heading out to complete 18 holes. For a runner it might mean joining a running group that can help you pace your run. For an avid gardener getting your tools prepared is key; a stool to sit on to avoid bending forward at the hips for prolonged period of times, a knee mat to knee on, long handled gardening tools against he key is to avoid holding awkward postures for any length of time.
As with any activity, a warm-up is essential. This usually consists of a light activity to get the blood flowing through your muscles. A warmed muscle can handle increased stress much easier thus limiting the degree of injury that could result. A warm up can be as simple as a walk around the block or stepping in place for 3-5 minutes.
If you do suffer an injury, what to do? The initial answer is rest and generally ice. If the pain/ discomfort or limitation lasts for more than 3-5 days, it should be examined by a healthcare professional. An assessment can not only help you identify exactly what went wrong but can help you figure out how to avoid it from happening again so that you can continue with your springtime activity without missing a beat. A few initial treatments will also help speed your healing process thereby decreasing the amount of time away form your activity.
If you have any questions regarding your specific situation please do not hesitate to give Choice Health Centre a call at 1-902-404-3668. We’d be happy to help!
By Saba Chishti, PT