Let It Snow – Tips for Shoveling Safely

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 27, 2015

Snow shoveling requires good technique and proper body mechanics to be performed safely.

Today’s medical information comes from Nicole Durand PT, DPT, a physical therapist working for the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Rehabilitation Department at Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Health Care Center in Foxborough, MA.

Many people have been prepping for the winter weeks ahead by making sure they have all the necessary supplies for snow and ice removal. However, whether it’s 2-3 inches or 6-10 inches of snow, we shouldn’t only be concerned about what to purchase, but also how we can protect ourselves. Snow shoveling requires good technique and proper body mechanics to be performed safely and not cause lasting harm. Improper technique can lead to low back or shoulder injuries.

There are several muscle groups at work within the back, legs, and shoulder when shoveling, and therefore, lots of room for error. Here are some helpful hints to avoid injury and to prevent any unwanted pain in the days following a storm:

1.   Hinge your hips

When bending to pick up the snow, think of your hips as a hinge. Bend and move through this joint, keeping your back flat, rather than curving your mid or lower back. You also should use your abdominals as a brace or corset to stabilize yourself every time you bend over.

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Improving Joint Replacement – From Consultation to Recovery

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 4, 2014

BWH's evidence-based knee replacement process is based on research by the Care Improvement Team, led by orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Wright (center).

As a concerned friend or relative of a patient who recently had a joint replaced, you might be tempted to ask: “How was your surgery?” But research findings from our Department of Orthopedic Surgery suggest that you should be just as concerned about how they were treated before and after surgery.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) now uses a standardized approach to total knee replacement that guides how patients should be treated from the time they arrive at the hospital for a consultation to the care they receive after being discharged. This new evidence-based approach is based on the work of the Care Improvement Team, led by orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Wright. After researching prospective changes to conventional knee replacement practices, the team tested selected changes and evaluated their effects. Changes found to have had a significant impact were incorporated into a new knee replacement process, which is now the standard protocol for all knee replacement surgeries at BWH.

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Comprehensive Spine Care: Surgical and Non-Surgical Treatment

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 6, 2014

Treating back pain can be very challenging, requiring the expertise and coordination of more than one medical specialty.

Certain spinal conditions, such as back pain, are very common. However, treating these conditions can be very challenging, requiring the expertise and coordination of more than one medical specialty, including physical medicine, pain management, and surgery.

“Back pain is a very common complaint, but a very non-specific complaint. Back pain and leg pain can be caused by many different things, including spinal stenosis, disk herniations, and instability. The procedures that we offer are really tailored to the specific patient with a specific disorder, based on imaging and exam,” says orthopedic surgeon Dr. Chrisotopher Bono, Co-Director, Brigham and Women’s Comprehensive Spine Center.

To ensure the correct diagnosis and treatment for spinal disorders, patients who are referred to the Brigham and Women’s Comprehensive Spine Center are evaluated with state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures and imaging. Often, the first step is conservative, non-operative treatment by physiatrists, pain management physicians, and other specialists.

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Are you Knock-kneed or Bowlegged?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 27, 2014

Women have a greater chance of becoming knock-kneed, due to their typically wider hips.

Author: Nicole Durand PT, DPT, a physical therapist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Department of Rehabilitation, 850 Boylston St, Chestnut Hill, MA.

Knock-kneed  and bowlegged are terms used to describe an individual’s gait or stance. A person who is knock-kneed has a medical condition known as a valgus deformity, an outward rotation of the tibia on the femur. Bowlegged describes a medical condition known as a varus deformity, an inward rotation of the tibia, resulting in a leg that appears bowed out. Both conditions can lead to misalignments of the hip or knee, potentially causing injury and knee pain. Taking the proper precautions and preparing yourself and your joints for your sport or desired workout can help prevent injury.
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Myths and Facts About Low Back Pain

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 27, 2013

Eighty percent of us will experience a significant episode of back pain during our lifetime.

Today’s blog post is written by Dr. Donald B. Levy, Medical Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Matthew H. Kowalski, DC, chiropractor at the Osher Center.

There is a good chance that you will experience low back pain at some point during your lifetime. In fact, 80 percent of us will experience a significant episode of back pain. It may be a mild strain, such as after a day of yard work, or it may come on for no apparent reason and be quite severe.

If you suffer from back pain, your first temptation may be to search the Internet. In fact, most patients come to their doctor only after they have consulted online information. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation available online. This post will help you distinguish between the myths and facts about low back pain.

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Weighing Treatment Options for Knee Pain: Surgery vs. Physical Therapy

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 24, 2013

What's the best treatment for a torn meniscus?

Many middle age and older adults have serious knee pain due to a tear in the meniscus, an important supporting structure that is often damaged in people who have osteoarthritis. In the United States, more than 450,000 arthroscopic surgeries are performed each year to treat these injuries. Now, new research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), suggests that treatment with physical therapy, with an option for arthroscopic surgery if patients do not respond, may prove as effective as initial treatment with surgery.

“These results are extremely valuable and will enable us to work with patients and their families to identify the treatment that is best aligned with patients’ preferences,” said Dr. John Wright, an orthopedic surgeon at BWH and lead orthopedist on the study.

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Moving Day: Tips for Keeping Tears to a Minimum

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 30, 2012

Don't overdo it on moving day!

A friend recently told me that he cried for nearly half the car ride home after helping his daughter move in to her college dorm room for the first time. Unfortunately, it’s hard to avoid the emotional pain of such a momentous occasion, but it doesn’t have to be physically painful as well. Jeffrey Neal, a physical therapist in Rehabilitation Services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), has some sound advice for preventing the injuries that can occur when friends and family chip in to help lug heavy items on moving day:

Start with proper preparation.

  • Pack boxes over time to avoid sore muscles.
  • Disperse heavy items in the bottom of a box, with lighter items on top, to maintain even weight distribution. The heavier the items, the smaller the box should be.
  • Place boxes on an elevated surface while packing to avoid repeatedly bending over.
  • Secure boxes with tape to prevent spilling.
  • Wear lightweight, comfortable clothes and supportive and sturdy shoes (e.g., not sandals).
  • Stretch your muscles and warm up with a light activity as you would before any exercise.

Improper lifting techniques can cause a variety of injuries, including neck and back muscle strain, ligament sprains, herniated discs, and even compression fractures of the spine. To prevent potentially serious and lasting injuries, follow these techniques:

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