Spring Into Your Better Weather Activities Pain-Free
As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, a lot of people are eager to resume their favourite outdoor activities, especially when you’re not sure the nice weather will last. If you haven’t been moving as much all winter, a quick jump into active outdoor activities can lead to musculoskeletal pain. Whether you want to start spending all day in the garden, go on a family bike ride or dust off your tennis racket and head to the court, it’s important to make sure that you can enjoy your favourite spring activities without experiencing pain or injury. Massage therapy can help you enjoy your outdoor spring activities without putting yourself out of commission.
Many people take the first hint of spring weather as the opportunity to work on their garden. Gardening is a great way to increase your physical activity and gain social, psychological and personal enrichment. Leisure-related physical activity like gardening can have a positive impact on quality of life. However, being frequently engaged in vigorous gardening activities can increase your risk of low back pain. Regular gardeners are often in the same potentially uncomfortable position for long periods of time, which also puts them at risk of general joint pain and muscle stiffness.
Physicians more than ever are recommending conservative treatments like massage therapy for the treatment of low back pain, and massage therapy, especially when combined with exercises that your RMT can recommend, can help people with back pain decrease their pain and improve their physical function. Massage therapy can also help relieve knee pain and wrist pain, both of which are often experienced by gardeners.
To ensure that gardening doesn’t lead to pain for you, it’s important to warm up, be mindful of your movement especially when you’re bending and lifting and go at your own pace ensuring you take adequate breaks.
Many people enjoy cycling, especially as the weather gets warmer, but there is some risk of cycling-related injuries. The knee is the number one area for overuse injuries in cycling, with patellofemoral pain syndrome being the most prevalent overuse diagnosis. Another common condition for cyclists is rotator cuff tendonitis.
Massage therapy can help people with patellofemoral pain syndrome reduce their pain, and RMTs can also recommend stretching and strengthening exercises that can help patients with this condition. Massage therapy can also help people relieve all sorts of shoulder pain, including rotator cuff tendonitis.
Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow
Lateral epicondylitis, commonly known as ‘tennis elbow’ is a common orthopedic condition caused by sudden and often repeated use of the forearm extensor muscles, especially when those muscles weren’t frequently used. This pain often isn’t directly related to tennis and can be caused by a variety of activities. Tennis elbow causes pain in and around the elbow and can negatively impact your ability to participate in your regular daily activities. Massage Therapy can help people with lateral epicondylitis reduce their pain and improve their grip strength.
Lateral elbow tendinopathy is often referred to as “tennis elbow”, while the medial elbow tendinopathy is commonly known as “golfer's elbow”. Like “tennis elbow”, golfer’s elbow isn’t necessarily associated with golf and can occur with any overload to the area which can happen in other sports or other activities. In golf, it is thought to occur from the top of the backswing to just before ball impact. Manual therapy, like massage therapy, especially when combined with strengthening exercises can help people with golfer’s elbow move towards full, pain-free movement of the wrist and elbow.
As the weather gets nicer, many people also start to enjoy hikes through nature, through all different sorts of terrain. Hiking is a great way to keep active and have a positive experience in the great outdoors. Musculoskeletal injuries are fairly common among long-distance hikers. One study found that paresthesias, which are characterized as a painful burning, tingling, or numb sensation caused by compression and/or repetitive trauma of a peripheral nerve, were the most common musculoskeletal injury suffered by hikers. One type of parasthesia common among long-distance hikers is tarsal tunnel syndrome, which is a nerve compression that can cause pain, tingling and numbness in the foot. Some massage therapy techniques, especially combined with stretches recommended by an RMT can help people with tarsal tunnel syndrome reduce their pain.
There are also physical benefits to regular hikes. Daily physical activity, such as daily walking, can be beneficial to those with or at risk of osteoarthritis of the knee. People who walk regularly are less likely be develop arthritis-related functional limitations. This is yet another reason not to give up the hikes you love! Just be sure to know your own limitations, take things at your own pace, and participate to the level you feel most comfortable with.
Enjoy your spring!
As the weather gets warmer, many people get more active, especially after feeling like they’ve been cooped up all spring. Many of our favourite activities can only be done after the snow melts and the weather becomes more tolerable. It’s important to ensure that your favourite warm-weather activities don’t lead to pain or injury, so you can continue to enjoy them for as long as possible. If you do experience musculoskeletal pain or injury, you can ask your RMT what they can do to help get you back to doing what you love.
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