Sit, Stand, Bend, Lift, or Twist

I’ve come across a concerning trend in my practice lately…. that is, patients assuming that all low-back pain is the same, and therefore all low-back pain solutions are the same.

Low back pain (LBP) is most definitely the number one condition that walks into my office, even though we offer a full-body approach; from necks to toes and everything in between.  But here’s my concern: please don’t assume that your low back pain is the same as your friend’s low back pain.  Just as you wouldn’t take a friend’s prescribed medication, be wary of taking a friend’s prescribed rehabilitation exercises.  I hear this all the time:  “My friend told me to do ____ for their back pain.”  “I saw this stretch on Google.”  “My sister had back pain and she still did 100 sit-ups a day.”

Please, no.  (And also, please, please, please, NO sit-ups.  Ever.  We can talk about this later.  Email me.)

Don’t assume that your back pain is the “same” as your friend’s/neighbour’s/Uncle’s/dog’s.  There are many causes of low back pain, and it’s my job to figure out what is causing yours specifically, and give you the appropriate rehab to support that.  In certain cases, forward fold stretches can be helpful.  In certain cases, they can be harmful.  The same can be said for extension exercises, and mobility drills, and activity limitations.  Each has their time and their place, and one size does not fit all.

Low back pain is a widespread condition; in fact, up to 85% of working Canadians can expect to experience LBP in their lifetime.  And if we all work together, from practitioners to researchers to personal trainers to patients, I think we can dramatically lower that statistic.

There is one hard and fast rule that everyone can safely adhere to: a neutral spine is always the most preferred, protective posture for your spine.  Keep that in mind the next time you sit, stand, bend, lift, or twist.


Happy Tuesday.

A Healthy Back

“A Healthy Back: for Crossfit and for LIFE”….. this is the presentation I’m doing at Crossfit Altitude on Thursday evening, (February 6th at 7:00pm).  It’s going to be a hands-on, active-participation, lots-of-questions-and-answers event and I’ve capped the registration at 20 people so that we can have some great learning opportunities and hopefully some ‘a-ha’ moments.

The reason that I wanted to host this talk is that I’ve seen an increase in the number of lower back injuries in my practice as of late.  “But you’re a chiropractor” you say, “don’t you always see lower back injuries?”  The answer is yes, but my practice is centred around athletes and active people, so I see a whole host of other injuries as well; from ankle sprains and elbow pain to migraine headaches and knee problems.  Unfortunately, back injuries seem to have claimed the top spot for the past few months.  So the point of this event is education……. leading to prevention.

What’s the plan, you say?Anatomy-of-the-back

  • We’re going to talk about anatomy.  If you don’t understand the components of your lower back, how can you understand how to keep it healthy?
  • We’re going to talk about the three most common back injuries that I see in my practice, and how they relate to Crossfit specifically.
  • We’re going to move; we’re going to stretch, and strengthen, and talk about tips and suggestions that you can implement into your everyday life.
  • We’re going to have lots of time to chat; I want participants to go home with all of their back pain/injury/health questions answered.

One of my very first blog posts, that you can view here, was surrounding the misconception that Crossfit causes injuries.  I argue that injuries are simply a part of sport, and that the benefits of an active lifestyle far outweigh the risks.  I feel very passionate and definitive about this statement.

This event is currently full, but if the interest is there,  I would be happy to host another one.  Or to come and talk to your group about injury prevalence and prevention, specific to your situation.

As long as we are using our bodies, we need to take care of them!

See you on Thursday.


Here’s the associated blurb:

Crossfit does not cause lower back injuries, but poor form and weak mechanics do! Do you want to learn how to PREVENT and FIX common lower back injuries? Do you want to avoid that nagging post-deadlift ache? That chronic prolonged-sitting pain? That constant I’m-sore-until-I-warmup discomfort? Then come and join Dr. Ashley Worobec as she talks about common lower back injuries, how to prevent them, and how to fix them! This will be a hands-on active-participation seminar, so come dressed for movement! You will go home with a new appreciation of your lower back and some tips and tricks to keep it healthy and strong so that you can continue to Crossfit (and live) pain-free.

“I Don’t Have Time to Exercise”

“I don’t have time to exercise.”  It’s a phrase I hear regularly, both in my professional and in my day-to-day life.  I am a chiropractor in a sports injury clinic, and I advocate regular exercise to all of my patients, athletes and non-athletes alike.  The benefits of exercise are many, and the drawbacks are non-existent as far as I can tell.  The opposite can be said for lack of exercise: no benefits and lots of drawbacks.

The number one reason that people tell me they don’t exercise is that they don’t have time.  But the thing is, they have the same 24 hours every day that the rest of us have.  They just prioritize it differently.exercise importance

Let me be clear: if you choose not to exercise, and you’re fine with that, then who am I to judge?  (Although, admittedly, I will still try to sway you over to my side…)  But if you would like to exercise regularly, yet claim you don’t have the time, then this post is directed at you.  It seems appropriate to talk about this, as the New Year begins, and exercise resolutions are flowing.

We are all busy.  We all live in a busy culture and live busy lives with busy jobs, busy kids, and busy to-do lists.  And therein lies the opportunity to prioritize.  My husband and I are a both-parents-working-with-two-small-children family, and here’s how we fit it in:

  • We alternate 6am classes at Crossfit on weekdays.  On my days, this means I can be back home by 7:15am, just as my kids are waking up and my husband is heading to work.  On his days, he showers at the gym and goes straight to work.
  • I don’t work on Tuesdays, so I go to the gym on Tuesdays at 5pm, once my husband finishes work and takes over kid-duty.
  • I run with my neighbor at 8pm on Monday nights, after the kids are tucked into bed.  Sometimes I get to a yoga class on Thursday nights at 8:30pm.
  • On the weekends, one of us often does a workout during the kid’s afternoon naptime.  Or I bring my son with me to the gym in the morning- he plays while I do my workout, and then I do the kid-switch with my husband so he gets gym-time too.

With this juggling, we each manage to exercise 4-6 times per week.  Things do come up from time to time that derail this schedule- sick children, traffic, late meetings- but that tends to be the exception rather than the rule.  And while I don’t enjoy crawling out of my warm bed at 5:25am on dark mornings, I do enjoy the post-workout adrenaline rush.  While I don’t enjoy leaving the comfort of my couch on cold evenings, I do enjoy the runner’s high.  And while I don’t enjoy missing out on weekend naps, I do enjoy feeling healthy and fit and strong.

take care of your bodyTo say that you don’t have time to exercise assumes that the rest of us do.  When in reality, we simply make the time.  We sacrifice sleep, or TV, or laundry, or Facebook.  We prioritize exercise.  We prioritize fitness.  And if this post sounds preachy, well good, because that was my intent.  This is a topic I’m passionate about.  And preachy about.

So go run with your kids in a jogging stroller.  Go for a swim on your lunch break.  Go do Pilates in your basement.  Go to the gym in the wee hours of the morning or the late hours of the night.  Because exercise equals movement, and movement equals health.  Get moving.  Get healthy.

telling you its going to be easy