How to use your backpack and reduce injuries.

Adeline Tien is a yoga teacher who came to OPRC looking for advice on how to avoid possible neck strain if she continues to carry her 1.5 litre of water.

A freelance yoga teacher, Adeline travels to different yoga studios carrying her water at all times. She is quite right to be concerned for her posture and the possibility of spinal compression leading to a hunched back, neck strain, trapped nerves and pain. Practising and teaching yoga everyday makes her very aware of her posture. She applies her knowledge of using certain muscle groups for every given situation, however like everyone else, she is prone to occupational hazards.

Seek professional advice from an osteopath who specializes in helping you overcome potential injuries.

At OPRC we often encounter scenarios similar to Adeline’s case, like many other professions e.g. accountants, auditors, insurance agents and consultants they too share the same difficulty of carrying heavy bags to different offices for meetings or presentations as well as travelling to different cities for regional meetings and pitching for new jobs.

Follow the advice given to Adeline and apply them to your specific situation to reduce potential problems.

Adeline correctly carrying a backpack using the chest and waist strap

 

 

As you can see from this photo Adeline was advised to use a backpack that has a waist belt and a chest belt. The waist belt fits around her pelvis and chest belt across the ribs, both are easily removed with a simple lock system and adjusted with the straps.

 

 

 

One important factor to keep in mind is to limit the maximum weight of your backpack to no more than 10% of your body weight. If your weight is 70Kg the maximum weight you should carry is 7kg, having a waist and chest strap may give you an impression that you can carry more, this maybe be true-  but the risk of compression to your spine is greater, so keep to the 10% limit.

In general you can place the heaviest items like your laptop or battery charger at the bottom of the backpack as this lowers the centre of gravity of your pack as well as transferring the weight to your pelvis rather than compressing your spine.

 

Adeline- side profile of her carrying a backpack correctly using chest belt an waist belt.

 

 

From this view you can see that the back pack fits snugly around her spine, the key aspect is to place the heaviest items at the bottom of the bag, for Adeline’s case she placed her water bottle horizontally lowering the centre of gravity of the backpack.  Having the chest and waist belt transfers the weight of her bag to her pelvis and down her legs.

 

Posture- chart

 

 

This picture shows you various types of postures. For those who carry heavy bags incorrectly Posture B – “Kyphosis-Lordotic Posture can potentially happen to you.

With Posture B  you will loose height and your curvatures will increase and therefore more prone to disc compression leading to trapped nerves.

Consult with the osteopath if you have the following:

  • Neck and shoulder ache during or after carrying your bag.
  • Experiencing some numbness or tingling in your arms or fingers.
  • Mid back or low back ache after carrying your bag the whole day.
  • Tiredness in keeping your posture upright when carrying a bag.

What can OPRC offer you?

  • Osteopathic examination of your posture to find out which muscle, joint, ligaments or tissues are causing your pain.
  • Osteopathic analysis of where there is fault in your biomechanics- finding out which parts of your body  not  synchronized with the rest. Osteopathic treatment makes your body parts more efficient and less like to cause pain.
  • Clinical massage by qualified physical therapists to release deep tissue tension as well as stretching tight shortened muscles for more long lasting relief.

Take Adeline’s example and consult with the Osteopath for minor problems and prevent them from causing future injuries. Call 6327854

Brazilian jiu-jitsu injuries Part 1 – muscle length

I was observing a jiu-jitsu class last night and was considering the types of injuries that might be common to each student. The class was split into three parts: warm up, learning of new techniques and sparring.

The warm up class involved light cardio exercises followed by floor exercises mimicking movements they do during sparring.

During the learning of new techniques – students were taught new moves and ample time was given to practise through repetition.

Sparring section consisted of pairing up to practise all of what they have learnt and get a chance to incorporate the new techniques.

Here are some possible areas of injuries and advice on managing them.

FLEXIBILITY of your muscles and joints are very important.

MUSCLE STAMINA is more important than brute strength. Holding down your oponent gives you more an advantage.

JOINT FLEXIBILITY is absolutely essential in getting your self out of locks as well as out manouvering your oponent into submission.

From what I have seen, i believe that students need to do therapeutic stretching to major muscle groups such as the calf, hamstrings, latissimus dorsi, trapezius, biceps, triceps. These stretches are special because you would need to sustain a stretch for at least 30 secs and repeatedly until you have achieved greater muscle length. This cannot be done during the warm up session, you just don’t have the time. In any case, these therapeutic stretches weaken your muscles because they need time to heal, that is why they are done in the days you are not training with your teacher.

You won’t be able to stretch all your muscles, so you will need deep sports massage to help you reach deeper muscles and as long as you stay relaxed during the stretches done by the therapist, your nervous system can switch off and allow a deeper stretch to occur.

In addition at OPRC, the osteopaths can use trigger point therapy to relax stubborn muscles giving you a faster way to get flexible. FASCIAL stretches are also important to get global change in your tissues.

Men have typically more shortened muscles than women, though there are exceptions. Clinical experience tells us that a combination of sports massage, osteopathic treatment together with your own stretching routines will give you a more satisfying feeling of greater muscle flexbility during your training.

Learning new techniques are hard enough- don’t let your muscle inflexibility be your weakness- let oprc help you enjoy your sport. Call 6327 8545 for your assesment.

 

 

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