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In This Issue:

Top Safe Gardening Tips
Shoulder Pain: What’s Your Angle?

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June 2017

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Top Safe Gardening Tips

Dr. Tara Brown, (Hon) BA Kin, DC, ART®, D.Ac
Doctor of Chiropractic

dr tara brownWith the arrival of spring, “gardening” has been the common cause of injuries this month. I have had numerous patients, both longstanding and new, arrive at the clinic complaining of shoulder, neck, upper back, and lower back pain, all due to long hours spent in the garden. With these complaints in mind, I researched some of the best tips on how to lower your risk of injury while gardening. 

Tip #1: Warm up first
An osteopath who works with the British Olympic team said, “Gardening should be approached like an athlete would their training. You wouldn’t play a sport or go to the gym or to an exercise class without doing a warm-up, and the same applies to gardening.” The best way to warm up is by doing a 5-10 minute walk to warm up your whole body. Next, perform movements that replicate activities involved in gardening, like squatting and reaching. Some light stretches may also be done.

Tip #2: Lift Smart
To lift properly, it is best to lift from a squat position, not bent at your waist. Use both hands to lift and keep the item as close to your body as possible. Slowly straighten your legs to lift, keeping your back straight. Using a wheelbarrow when possible also helps to minimize lifting.

Tip #3: Take Breaks
Set a reminder on your phone to take breaks every 30 minutes or so. This will prompt you to get out of certain positions that you may have stayed in for too long. Make sure to stretch and drink some water during these breaks. Avoid doing the same type of activity for long periods of time to prevent repetitive strain type injuries.


Tip #4: Add Cushioning with Kneepads
Using kneepads or cushions are a great option if you are going to be kneeling on the ground for any length of time. It will take the pressure off your knees and allow you to work more comfortably.

Tip #5: Ergonomic Tools
Tools with long handles can help decrease the amount of bending needed for weeding and planting, therefore reducing neck and back strain. There are also specific tools that are curved to help take pressure off hands and wrists.

For stretches, exercises, and treatment tailored to your needs, book an appointment with one of our Chiropractors by calling 905.465.4595.


If you would like to know more about how chiropractic treatment can help you, call us to book a free 10-minute consult, where one of our chiropractors will answer your questions before you commit to an initial visit. Call us at 905.465.4595 to book.

Request a free consultation online: click here     For pricing information: click here


Cleveland Clinic: Health Essentials. (2016). Why Gardening Doesn’t Have to Give You Lower Back Pain: 5 tips to preventing aches and pains.  Retrieved May 29, 2017 from health.clevelandclinic.org
Express. (2016). Fight back against the pains and aches that leave us feeling less than rosy. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from www.express.co.uk
Spine-health. (2016). 11 Ways to Keep Gardening with Back Pain.  Retrieved May 20, 2017 from www.spine-health.com



Shoulder Pain: What’s Your Angle?

Genna Commisso, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist

Genna Commisso RMT Some of the patrons of Wellness for the Body may not be as familiar with the ‘shoulder blade’ or scapula as their treating practitioner is, but hopefully you can all take something away from this article.

The scapula is the attachment point for many, many muscles, and its irregular shape allows quite a bit of surface area and bony protuberances for tendons and ligaments to insert. The glenohumeral joint, which is the articulation of the upper arm bone and shoulder blade, is the most mobile joint in the body…when it’s not in pain.

Let’s talk about pain!
Back pain, neck pain, arm pain, and you got it, shoulder pain, can all be affected by the placement and mobility of the shoulder blades. As many of you may be familiar with, your chiropractor, osteopath or massage therapist wiggle or mobilize the shoulder blade in a wide array of directions. They do this movement because there are muscle attachments at all angles. By moving and mobilizing the scapulae, we are better able to pinpoint the structure that pains you and discover any limitations that you did not even know you had.

I have put together some tips on how to aid your pain at home so next time you get treatment, we can reduce the pain and increase the gain!

Pendulums are an exercise/stretch for the shoulder that allows minimal space to open up between the shoulder blade and upper arm bone. All that’s involved is the patient, you, lying on your side on a table, bench, or bed with your arm of the lying side hanging off, allowing a free range. Once the weight of your arm is no longer painful going through the ranges of motion, we will add a progression, such as weights, to make the stretch more challenging.

shoulderBanana stretch
The banana stretch is by far one of my favourites as it allows the patient to engage multiple muscles in the stretch using only one motion. For this one, all that’s involved is sitting on the floor up against a wall, cross legged if comfortable, placing the elbow of the unaffected side on the floor beside you and raising the affected sides arm along the wall and up above the head and over, creating a large side bend and a stretching sensation over the ribs and hip. This stretch can be modified to a lying down position where the patient is on their back and someone assists the movement of that side bending.

Smell the Armpit
No, I’m not telling you smelling your pits is going to make your pain go away! If only…No the smell the armpit stretch is just the action your neck and head take for this stretch. So with the patient seated and affected side’s arm holding beneath the chair to stabilize the shoulder blade, the patient then tilts their chin and neck toward the opposing side’s armpit and the unaffected side’s arm pulls the head downward and away from the body, getting a nice big stretch in the back of the neck, extending down into the shoulder blade.

So often I hear, “oh, I’ve never had massage there” referring to my treatment of the chest pectoral muscles that are accessed on the front of the chest through the armpit and the rotator cuff, which I access through the armpit and back. All these muscles are attached to…you guessed it, the shoulder blade! My belief is that therapists shy away from these sensitive areas because they do not want their patients in any more pain than the pain they arrived with – but no pain, no gain. These areas need treatment to keep that shoulder joint the most mobile joint in the whole body, so I never skip them when treating the back, neck, arm, or shoulder, of course.


Please call us at 905.465.4595 for more information and to book your appointment.

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