Something interesting has happened in my practice lately. I have had a few clients come to see me, that have the same complaints. Through talking with them and completing an assessment I discovered they have the same hobbies as well.
These clients first visit were a few weeks apart from each other, but they had the same complaint, and I found similar things in their assessments:
- Low back pain, mostly on the left side, with pain in the glutes and down the leg as well sometimes.
- Pain with any movement of the low back, as well as knots (what massage therapist call trigger points) in the glut muscles on the left side. One had initially “put out” their back when they rotated and tried to pick up something fairly light.
- When looking at their backs as they were on the table I noticed that the muscles of the low back (Lumbar erectors and Quadratus lumborum) were stronger and more toned on the right side, very noticeably so.
The fact that they both are curlers came to light because they talked about having to miss a bonspiel (curling tournament) or a practice because of the pain. So what I realized is that they have more strength on there right side of the low back because of the posture and form when you throw the rock in curling. Now I know you’ve all seen that position at least one time and know what I’m talking about. It’s that really low lunge. So the over use of the right side strengthens the muscles on the right and leaves the left side weaker and vulnerable.
It’s interesting to me that we can create muscle imbalances in our bodies without realizing it by the sports we play or the hobbies we do. It’s a slow and gradual process sometimes, but if you are aware of it you can do specific strength training to keep your body balanced, strong and healthy.
For most of us it seems the holidays are a time when all our hard work to eat healthy, exercise, and generally take good care of ourselves goes completely out the window. By January 1st we are making all kinds of resolutions to get back on track. Well, this year doesn’t have to be filled with regret and resolutions. Instead, have a plan ready ahead of time to help you through the season without completely undoing everything you have worked so hard throughout the year to accomplish.
Here are some simple tips for surviving the holidays:
- Plan ahead: Use your day timer to track your social engagements, and eat wisely throughout the day so your can enjoy a night out, guilt free. Start your day with fiber, pack some smart snacks such as nuts, seeds, and fruit, and have a salad with some protein for lunch.
- Keep hydrated: Be sure to drink lots of water. This should be a habit all year round but with the holidays at hand we tend to replace water with other beverages. Remember to drink at least 2 liters each day. The best way to track your intake is to have water with you at all times. When you are at a party alternate your alcoholic drink with a glass of water.
- Stay on schedule: If you miss your usual Wednesday yoga class or your Friday morning workout, you haven’t blown your entire regime for the year and it is no excuse to take the rest of the holidays off with a promise to get back on track come January one. So you missed a work out, go tomorrow. This is another way planning ahead comes in handy. Along with scheduling social engagements, schedule your “holiday exercise routine”. This might be significantly different than your usual one but at least you are still committing to taking care of yourself.
- Move: Always look for opportunities to move your body. Take an evening walk after dinner, use the stairs instead of the elevator, stand up and walk around when on a phone call.
- Get Sleep: Regular sleep-wake patterns are important component of staying healthy. Late nights disrupt the Circadian Rhythm, leading to increased susceptibility to infection. Try to get several hours of sleep before midnight whenever possible. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, an hour of sleep before midnight is the equivalent to two hours after.
- Mind your manners: The holidays bring many tasty temptations. To allow your body time to catch up with the intake remember to chew your food well and eat slowly. It takes your brain 20 minutes after ingestion to feel satiated.
- Enjoy yourself: If you are going to eat something you normally would not allow yourself, ENJOY it. Studies have shown that guilt-associated-eating does not satisfy the craving; however, people who allow themselves to enjoy a tasty treat find greater satisfaction in their indulgence and have less frequent cravings.
- Come in for a Naturopathic Consult: Don’t wait till January. Come in now and get yourself healthy before the holidays. Naturopathic Medicine helps your organs function properly so that the odd indulgence won’t set you back.
You can feel better!