Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I Know What You Did To Your Back Last Summer

I was fortunate as a child to be shipped off to camp each summer.  Camp was a formative experience for me.  I remember my first kiss (omg!), having leeches pulled off my legs (O.M.G.) and my first disc herniation (oh gawd...).  These summer experiences taught me that summer, like love, hurts.  Also, that both can be a bit gross.  

But over the long winter, we forget our summer lessons.  And sure enough, the humidex rises once again, and there are offers of cottage weekends in Muskoka, and you forget that you haven't water-skied since you wore braces... and then I get a call on Monday morning.  Here's a useful summer-tip: program your chiropractor's number into your phone!  (416-482-1332).  Also!  Source out local chiropractors if you'll be away for a while!  And!  Get a pre-summer vacation adjustment!!

Helpful in September, I'm sure.

The point is, you did some foolish things last summer. In the interest learning from your mistakes, let's review the error of your ways - shall we?

1. You are being driven crazy
Driving is hard on the back. Now factor in cottage traffic bumper to bumper from Toronto to Gravenhurst, screaming kids in the back seat, and that jerk who keeps making you brake for no *@^%! reason... your cottage commute is wrecking your back.  Solution: invite your chiropractor up for the weekend!

2. You slept around.
Rosseau, Prince Edward County, Lake Huron - you aren't particular, are you?  If there is a cottage and a free bunk-bed, you are in.  Problem is, the cottage is where old beds go to die.  Nobody buys a NEW bed for the cottage, especially the guest room! Honestly, sometimes the aero-bed is your best bet.  Solution: if your back is in bad shape, consider if a stay on a 20 year old bed is worth it.  If you are on an inflatable mattress, make sure it is leak free. Waking up in a sagging air mattress with no chiropractor in town is a bad idea!

3. You didn't wear sensible shoes
Flip flops are not shoes. They are pathetic slices of rubber, precariously and disgustingly attached to your foot by a pitiful strip of plastic wedged between your toes. It's far too much foot to be shared outside of a beach.  I could actually forgive all this if it weren't for the complete lack of arch support.  Every summer I see nice young ladies (oh gawd, don't even get me started on the man-flip-flop... just... no.) coming to my office complaining of new low back pain, knee problems, ankle pain.  It makes for the easiest diagnosis and treatment when I see a flip-flop dangling at the end of the patient's foot.  Flip-flops are literally a flimsy excuse for footwear, and I officially forbid anyone reading this post to wear them.  What to wear instead, when your toes are aching to see the sun?  There are a lot of foot-friendly options.  Naots and Birkenstocks are always good, but any sandal with a modicum of support and foot-attachment is an improvement.  Down with flip-flops. Solution: time to go shoe shopping, and think: arch support. 

4. You ran into trouble
'We must learn to walk before we can run'.  Running is not simply walking faster.  It is complex, technical, and a unique challenge. Personally I hate running. Professionally I also hate running - it is hard on the joints and causes many problems.  But I understand that runners gotta run, and I aim to do my best to help them in their crazy exercisal pursuit.  If you want to run and never have, sign up for a clinic and learn how (the Running Room offers programs).  If you want to run but have joints that express their displeasure, consider modifications - different shoes, indoor vs. outdoor track, get treatment, wear orthotics.  But if you want to run and are totally unconditioned and unsuited for it - stay off the track!!

I really wanted to come up with a 5th example, lists are so much neater in fives.  But I think I made my point: Summer can hurt come fall. Solution: post-summer chiropractic treatment!