Tag: back health

Healthy Swellness: Don’t let pursuing your fitness goals give you back pain

davWith the warmer spring weather on its way, a lot of us are scrambling to get started on getting our beach bods back in time for summer. And while we may be considering how toned we want our arms to get, or of that six-pack of abs, the health of our back is not something we typically consider, but really should not be overlooked.

Ironically, as I write this, it was almost a year to the date that I discovered how important back health is in the most painful way. It’s hard to say for certain what caused me to throw out my back, but long flights and running both possibly contributed to the issue. What I can say for sure is that it is the most physical pain I have experienced ever. I couldn’t sit down, lie down, pull open a door, or move in any way without incredible pain. My pride kept me from crying actual tears, but there was much whimpering and crying on the inside. And the only way I found relief and got my back to health? Regular appointments with a chiropractor.

If you’ve never seen a chiro, I think they’re a health pro we could all use in our lives. For example, if you’ve thrown yourself into a new workout regimen this spring, remember how important proper form is. Improper form can cause injury to your spine, knees, and shoulders, says the Ontario Chiropractic Association. Three popular exercises, when done with bad form, that can and often do lead to back injuries are squats, deadlifts and kettlebell swings.

First off, for these exercises, remember to maintain a neutral spine (to discover your neutral spine, stand backed up to a wall, with your head, upper back and tailbone touching the wall, with enough space for your fingers between the wall and your lower back). Next, keep these pointers in mind for each exercise:


Keep your chest up, and as you bend your knees, engage those glutes by lowering your body as though you were taking a seat. This form will help you maintain a neutral spine.


As you hinge at the hip to perform your deadlift, envision a wall two feet behind you and imagine you are touching your glutes to this wall. This little tactic helps ensure you hinge at the hips instead of overusing your knees,

Kettlebell swings

Maintain that neutral spine as you swing so that you hinge at the hip and avoid straining the back. Swing the kettlebell only up to shoulder level (if you swing higher, you may compromise your neutral spine form.

Whether you’re just getting back into fitness or are a regular at working out, make sure you can continue your exercise routine by caring for your back, bones, muscles, joints and central  nervous system. You can find more essential info on keeping your back health in check at www.chiropractic.on.ca. And while you’re at it, on the site, you can find a local chiropractor who can help you learn about and maintain your back health.




Leave a Comment May 1, 2017

Healthy Giveaway Swellness: Win a Plant and Rake Without the Ache gardening toolkit

magnolia tree in Toronto spring 2014

Spring is finally here! And green thumbs can get out into the garden and get your hand into the dirt!

But you might be a little rusty in the physical activity department. After all, winter was particularly brutal. I think we all felt like a member of the night’s watch on the Game of Thrones—it was that cold. So you may have hidden indoors rather than keeping active, which means that diving into days of digging, shoveling, bending and lifting could cause you some major pain if you’re not careful.

To help you get on the right track this season with your gardening, Ontario Chiropractic Association has given Health & Swellness a Plant and Rake Without the Ache Toolkit to give away! Valued at $100, it includes an asparagus (yum!) knife, a trowl, a three-prong cultivator, gardening sheers, gardening gloves, a watering can, gardening knee pads and seeds to plant, all prettily packaged up in a seagrass basket.

Sweet, right? Get your green thumb on this prize by entering this giveaway. You can enter once each of the four ways up until 11:50 EST on Thursday, May 22, 2014. Oh, and you must be a Canadian resident. Ready? Here’s how to enter:

  1. Email. Email me at healthandswellness@gmail.com. Please include your mailing address and phone number, and put “gardening toolkit” in the subject line.
  2. Instagram. Follow me on Instagram (I’m @healthandswellness) and then regram the Instagram photo I’ve posted for this giveaway with caption: A gardening toolkit from @healthandswellness and the Ontario Chiropractic Association will (fill in the blank). Fill in your reply with what you love to garden!
  3. Facebook. Like the HealthandSwellness page on Facebook, and then reply to my post about this giveaway about why you love to garden.
  4. Twitter: Follow me on Twitter (I’m @healthswellness) and then tweet: I love #gardening and want to win this #giveaway from @healthswellness. bit.ly/1sxammq

nd as long as you have the eye on the prize, there’s another prize you could win—wouldn’t a trip for two for a weekend spa getaway be nice? You can win that by liking the Ontario Chiropractic Assocation on Facebook (info on how to enter their contest is on their page).

If you can’t wait to get into your garden, be sure to follow these tips from the Ontario Chiropractic Association to help avoid back injuries:

  • Switch up your tasks from heavy to light ones and change your hands and positions frequently.
  • Lift with care. Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Carry the load close to your body.
  • Get low by kneeling on pads or a mat to help ease the strain on your back when you plant or weed.
  • When you rake, put one leg in front of the other and switch it every so often.

Got it? Here’s to a back pain-free season! Now go ahead and enter this giveaway!

1 Comment May 15, 2014

Giveaway Swellness: Win a gardening tool kit from the Ontario Chiropractic Association


I don’t have a green thumb. The only plant I’ve managed to not massacre is a cactus (but I only received that a few weeks ago, so it’s still early days…). The gardening gene seems to have gone to my sister (this is her work in the photos here).

But I know many of you do garden — I’ve seen plenty of pretty gardening photos on Instagram and Twitter. For you gardening fans, the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) has a few tips to help you enjoy your favourite hobby without the backache:

Warm up. Stretch your thighs, shoulders, arms, back and hamstrings before you start gardnening.

Alternate your tasks. Switch from heavy tasks to light ones, and change your hands and positions frequently.

Kneel to plant. Use knee pads or a kneeling mat and kneel down to plant to ease straing on your back as you plant and weed your garden. Keep your back straight and take breaks every so often.

Get more tips over at www.yourback-health.com — your non-achey back will appreciate it. (Oh, and you can also follow the OCA on Facebook here!)

But that’s not all! To help you with your lush garden this summer, the OCA and Health & Swellness has a helpful Plant and Rake Without the Ache Tool Kit to give away! The kit includes a gardening tool bag filled with garden tools, a knee pad, a water bottle and a variety of seeds (retail value of $100). The contest is open to Canadian residents, and you can enter in three different ways (enter all three ways to increase your chances!):

  1. Email healthandswellness@gmail.com with your name, mailing address, phone number and email. Please put “I love gardening” in the subject line.
  2. Comment on this blog post about what you love about gardening.
  3. “Like” the Health and Swellness page on Facebook, and comment on the wall post about this giveaway on about your favourite flower or plant.

The contest is open to Canadian residents only and closes at 11:59PM on Thursday, August 8, 2013. The winner will be selected at random and announced on Health & Swellness. If the winner cannot be reached within a week of the contest closing, then another winner will be selected.

Enter and get gardening!


(Photos courtesy of Garden Exuberance)

10 Comments August 1, 2013

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