Winter storms can take a toll on your health

    Back specialists offer tips to help ward off common seasonal injuries

    TORONTO, Nov. 21 /CNW/ - With our cheeks now feeling the sting of icy
winter winds, the season's big snowfalls are just around the corner and, with
them, come the familiar strains and sore muscles that can come with slips,
falls and improper shoveling. That's why Ontario's back specialists are
speaking out to help people avoid unnecessary injury this winter, with the
relaunch of the Ontario Chiropractic Association's Lift Light, Shovel Right
public education campaign.
    "Chiropractors have long been reporting higher incidence of back and
muscle pain or injuries following a heavy snow fall," says Dr. Thomas Gadsby,
president of the Ontario Chiropractic Association. "In a lot of the cases we
see, these injuries could have been easily avoided with a little know-how."
    Improper snow shoveling technique is frequently to blame, adds Dr.
Gadsby, noting that injuries can be caused by bending at the waist instead of
at the knees, or by throwing snow instead of pushing it.
    And, as with any strenuous activity, it's also important to wear
appropriate clothing, and to warm up before you begin, with some overall
conditioning (a 10- to 15-minute walk, even on the spot, should do it),
followed by some simple stretching.
    "The injuries people sustain clearing snow can sometimes be quite
serious," says Dr. Kristina Peterson, a Thunder Bay chiropractor and chair of
the OCA's External Relations Committee. "Back problems can surface in patients
during the winter, especially those who are unaccustomed to participating in
challenging physical activity on a regular basis. It is important to pace
yourself based on your physical fitness level and to use a few simple
    The OCA's Lift Light, Shovel Right campaign was developed in 2003 to help
inform the public about the risks associated with clearing snow, after a
Pollara survey of 500 Ontario chiropractors concluded that snow shoveling was
a leading cause of back injury during the winter months. (1)

    Founded in 1929, the Ontario Chiropractic Association represents the
professional interests of more than 2,700 Ontario chiropractors. Chiropractors
are trained to diagnose, treat, and work to prevent disorders related to the
spine, joints, nervous and muscloskeletal systems. Chiropractic is a regulated
health care profession recognized by statute in all Canadian provinces. Every
year approximately 4.5 million Canadians use chiropractic services.

    The Lift Light Shovel Right program features an educational brochure and
poster. For more information, visit the OCA website, at

    (1)  73 per cent of respondents surveyed listed improper snow shoveling
         technique as the leading cause of winter back pain. The survey is
         accurate to within +/-4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

For further information:

For further information: Jennifer Paige, Manager, Communications and
Marketing, The Ontario Chiropractic Association, Tel (905) 629-8211, ext. 25,
Toll Free 1-877-327-2273,,

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