Are you fit to ski?
Written by Matthew Bennett Friday, 28 December 2012 03:24
Ski fitness exercises make a big difference to the way you ski. It is obviously also important about skiing or snow boarding to come back injury free. Yet one in every two hundred skiers returns carrying an injury – some serious. Many skiers do no exercise before the first run on the first day and are much more likely to be injured than a fit skier.
If you are going skiing this season here are some tips from Brighton chiropractor, Matthew Bennett, who was chiropractor to the British Alpine Ski Team. These should keep you skiing at your best and keep you safe.
Top tip: Ski Fitness Exercises
It doesn’t matter how late you have left it to get ski fit – start some exercise. Any exercise, even walking briskly is better than nothing. If you already exercise regularly start doing some specific ski exercises like squats, jumping side to side, trampolining or cycling.
Obviously it is best to start training a couple of months before your trip but even a few days of working out will pay dividends. After all the biggest change in fitness occurs in the first two weeks of starting a new program.
Other sports which can help with skiing fitness are less obvious. Roller-blading is great as it uses the muscles at the side of the hip which are often overlooked in most fitness regimes. Even though it is the wrong time of the year tennis can be good too. It involves agility and lots of side to side movement too which mimics skiing in some respects. It is also anaerobic which is very much like skiing.
The sort of aerobic exercises that will help with skiing are cycling and running obviously but less obviously -swimming. Skiing involves a fair bit of upper body strength too. The upper body must balance over the vigorously moving legs so good core strength and shoulder strength to wave the poles about is crucial. Poling over flat terrain also puts a demand on us. Swimming can help with this very nicely whilst improving heart and lung function at the same time.
Top tip: stop skiing at lunchtime on the third day
Of courses aerobic fitness is very important too. Often we underestimate the effects of altitude on our muscles and lungs. A tired skier is much more likely to be injured. The peak incidence of ski related injuries is the afternoon of the third day. The tiredness is taking hold and skiers are becoming more adventurous and more likely to stay out until the last lift down.
Top tip: build balance into your skiing fitness routine
Another way to improve balance is to stand on one leg with your eyes closed for 1 minute, then do the same on the other side. It is amazing how difficult that is and how well it prepare you for the slopes. If you want to take it a step further then ask to borrow one of our wobble boards but watch out – they are hard core!
An important addition to exercise with an element of balance is working out on a gym ball. The unstable nature of these exercises make the muscles work really hard and improve the speed at which they contract when faced with over balancing. Press-ups, sit-ups, wall squats and back extension exercises are great on the ball.
Top tip: Get a Sundial Skiers MOT
Our chiropractors and physio’s can help if you want to make sure you are in tip top shape before setting foot on the snow. A full biomechanical assessment can pin-point the areas you need to work on and improve the flexibility to help prevent injury. If you want a ski check up then call us for an appointment.
Matthew Bennett was chiropractor to British Alpine Ski Team and has worked with top ski shops, boot fitters and ski schools in Europe and the USA.Learn More
Back pain – what car is best?
Written by Sundial Clinics Tuesday, 14 August 2012 12:56
Previously, Brighton chiropractor Matthew Bennett, looked at what causes back pain in cars. As we saw, correct adjustment of your car seat will help. Seats are partly to blame but that is not the whole story. Poorly positioned pedals and steering wheels can make a bad problem worse.
So what is the ideal car for back sufferers?
Rule out small hatchbacks and super-minis. Their short wheelbase and often poor ride may well aggravate a bad back. Also rule out low slung sports cars with firm suspension even though sports seats can be very good. The ideal car must have all the usual car attributes of being reliable, economical and reasonably priced of course and for our purposes a high driving position is preferable.
So what car does all this? The Skoda Yeti. The Yeti wins our Sundial award for the best car to prevent back pain. The Yeti is slightly higher off the ground than a normal hatchback. It has a reasonable wheelbase and is available with 16 inch and 17 inch wheels. Avoid the 18 inch wheels though as there is not enough rubber to cushion the ride. It has large doors and is spacious inside. In fact it feels larger on the inside than it looks on the outside.
If it had been called the Skoda Tardis few would have complained. Following on with the Dr Who theme there was a monster called the Yeti in the 1968 version of the show. That Yeti lived in the London Underground. Now we have Boris.
The Yeti It also won the Auto Express Driver Power 2012 award for the best car as voted by 29,000 owners.
Taking the time and trouble to buy the right car in the first place may well prevent miles of driving misery. If in spite of setting the car seat up well you are still getting back pain then give us call so we can book you in for free check-up. We will see if you have an underlying issue with your back joints or muscles which can easily be sorted out.
Top tips to avoid back pain in the car
- Buy a bigger, high riding car.
- Adjust seat and steering wheel position to your frame.
- Avoid large wheels over 17 inches.
- Avoid firm suspension.
- Choose a car with seats with good side support and lumbar support.
- If you don’t have a lumbar support stick a rolled up towel or jumper in the small of your back.
- Avoid potholes (hard on British roads)
- On a long journey, take a break every hour, walk about and stretch.
Back pain – the hidden dangers in your car
Written by Sundial Clinics Friday, 10 August 2012 07:40
If you get back pain in your car you’ll know how unpleasant it can make a long journey. Back pain can make driving a misery. Brighton chiropractor, Matthew Bennett, gives a few simple tips that can help relieve back pain in your car.
Top tips to prevent back pain in your car
Buy a bigger car. It is an unfortunate truth that many small cars are only designed with short journeys in mind. Poor support from inadequate seats that are made for smaller than average people make them suitable for driving around town at low speeds and not much else. Most drivers in Brighton and Hove use their cars for journeys of less than 20 minutes. A longer journey in many small hatchbacks, even if you don’t have a bad back, will be enough to have you reaching for the pain-killers.
There are a few other problems with smaller cars too. Never mind suspension that has springs better suited to a child’s toy than a modern vehicle, the ergonomics in the cabin can be terrible. The intrusion of the front right wheel arch into the footwell means that the pedals on even some medium sized cars are pushed towards the middle and you have sit in a twisted position. This of course is not ideal if you have back ache.
Not content with contorting our lower body un-naturally car manufacturers have devised the off-set steering wheel to complete the torment. Because space is tight in a small car the steering wheel can be set at angle too. These changes are subtle but when you’re stuck in that odd position for more than a few minutes, back muscles and joints start to complain.
Poor seats in cheaper cars don’t have enough support either in the low back (lumbar) area or in the often over-looked side bolsters. If such cars do have a lumbar support it can be in the wrong position for you. Variable pump-up back supports in the seat can be helpful but if you pump them up enough to be useful they can push you so far forwards that the side bolsters, if they exist, become useless.
Getting in and out of smaller, low riding cars can be troublesome too. If your back has already stiffened up after a long drive, getting out of the car, levering yourself upright under a low roof line can strain your back. How much easier to lower yourself from a high riding car. Suv and cross-over type vehicles do really well here. They are not only higher off the ground but can sometimes have a more compliant ride, especially if you avoid larger wheel sizes. Putting things in the boot is easier too as you don’t have to bend over so far especially if the boot has no lip. If you have babies or toddlers getting them in and out of a car seat is a hazard in small, low cars. The Suv is great here.
Car seat adjustment to prevent back pain
The base of the seat should be long enough to support the backs of your thighs but not touch your knees. It should be slightly higher at the front than the back too.
The seat back should ideally be at about a 110-120 degree angle with the lumbar support pumped up to a comfortable position. The more options you can adjust the better. Height and tilt changes mean that you are most likely to find a comfortable driving position.
Steering wheel adjustments will help too. Adjusting for rake and in and out mean that you can get perfectly comfortable. The trouble starts when someone else uses the car and changes your carefully honed set up. Back to square one – unless you have electric memory seats of course. This option is only available at the executive end of the market but might be worth looking out for if you share a car.
If you have adjusted your seat as best you can but are still getting back pain then give us call so we can book you in for free check-up. We will see if you have an underlying issue with your back joints or muscles which can easily be sorted out.Learn More
Is the pop necessary for our chiropractic adjustment to be effective?
Written by Sundial Clinics Thursday, 6 October 2011 07:35
Some people love it, some people hate it but the pop or click associated with chiropractic spinal adjustments or manipulation is thought to be the beneficial bit of chiropractic care by many people. But is this right? If a joint doesn’t pop does this mean the treatment hasn’t worked and you won’t get better.
This very question was studied recently using 40 people as guinea pigs. There pain sensitivity was measured by using a hot probe on their leg or foot. Ouch! The individuals then received a spinal manipulation and then retested to see if they could bear a hotter probe. Interestingly, the people who popped and the people who didn’t pop both had the same improvement in pain sensitivity. In other words they could bear hotter probe after treatment whether or not they’re back popped with the manipulation.
So what does this mean for you if you have chiropractic treatment? Well, essentially it means if your back doesn’t pop when we adjust it, you will still get better just as quickly. This is good news for people who don’t like the click because, as much as chiropractors like it, it doesn’t seem to make much difference. For a chiropractic technique without the clicking that we carry out here in Brighton go here.
Of course the other thing to remember from this study is that if a researcher asks you if you want to take part in an experiment to do with pain – run a mile!
The relationship of the audible pop to hypoalgesia associated with high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust manipulation: a secondary analysis of an experimental study in pain-free participants.
Bialosky JE, Bishop MD, Robinson ME, George SZ; University of Florida Department of Physical Therapy.
Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 2010; 33: 117-124.Learn More
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