By Dr. William K. Bergman
Soft Tissue Center at D.I.S.C. Sports and Spine Center
As the Kings get back in action this fall, make sure your back and neck are ready for all the excitement on the ice whether you are at the game or watching on the big screen. Below are some simple tips from Dr. Bill Bergman, specialists in rehabilitation and core strengthening from the Soft Tissue Center at D.I.S.C. Sports and Spine Center, the Official Medical Partner of the L.A. Kings.
AT THE GAME:
The best battle plan is start from the ground up. You are going to be doing a lot of walking and stair climbing. The surfaces you are walking on are very unforgiving (concrete and steel).Wear well supported shoes. The pounding your feet takes vibrates all the way up the spine. Dress comfortably, no tight belts, shoes with too high a heel, etc. If possible, bring a sweater or jacket that can be rolled up and placed at the small of your back. A simple little trick that can provide great support and save you from soreness later. This also works well on airplanes, in the car or anywhere you could use some extra support.
While you are sitting you can practice some simple isometric movements (pushing against a non moving object to create muscle tension). The first would be squeezing your knees together and holding for about 30 seconds or so....relax and repeat ...this will stimulate the adductor muscles of the thighs (they attach at the groin down to the knee). Now go the opposite direction and hold the knees together and try to push apart, hold for 30 or more and repeat. This is for the abductors, the muscles located near the glutes...these are stabilizer muscles that help keep the back in place. It is important to balance these two (along with all joints in the body). Who knew you could get a work out just watching the game?
Now, stretch out the calves. Simply get up on your toes and pump up and down. This gets the blood pumping and helps bring the blood that is pooling in your lower body and bring it back up to the heart, which is a very good thing. Try this when waiting in line for a snack during intermission.
During all breaks in the game, move, get up, go for a walk....MOVE. The blood is pooling and needs to be moved. Drink as much water as you can, this is so important for clarity, focus and keeping the joints lubricated. The bottom line is move, jump up and down, cheer, yell, get crazy...support the team, that is what you are there for.
WATCHING THE GAME AT THE SPORTS BAR CAN BE A PAIN IN THE NECK:
Many times people complain about soreness in their neck after watching the monitors that are place up high for all to see. There is a simple reason for this and a simple solution.
At all times you want your ergonomics and body posture good. You always want your upper back straight, not rounded out and your neck neutral. If you roll your upper back, by leaning forward and lift your chin up, which is extending your neck, it closes the small holes where
the nerves come out called the neuroforamen. If someone already has small bone spurs there, it will pinch the nerve causing numbness, weakness or pain, so use good posture. With high-placed TV screens, if you learn forward to watch, it puts you in a bad neck posture that
sets you up for a nerve pinch. Therefore, sit back, roll your shoulders back and put your neck neutral. Or, stand up and watch TV.
The same thing is very common with bike riders that lean forward and lift their head to see where they are going. Bike riders are trained to look out of the top of their eyes, so they aren't tilting their head back. Working at your desk or computer with the bad posture is bad.
It's a postural problem with rolling the upper back and extending or lifting the chin.
When you are at the bar watching a game and feel discomfort in your neck, try this stretch called a chin tuck. Stand up tall and straight, looking straight ahead. Slowly tuck your chin in towards your, making a double chin. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Relax your chin and repeat 3 times.
William K. Bergman, PhD is highly-regarded for his expertise in rehabilitation and core strengthening. Earning his doctorate in kinesiology from Ryokan University, Dr. Bergman brings a unique skill set to the multidisciplinary team at D.I.S.C. using applied scientific-based medical principles towards the analysis, preservation and enhancement of human movement, he focuses on targeted exercise for improvement of health, physical fitness and chronic back pain.
Specializing in a form of neck and low back rehabilitation known as MedX, Dr. Bergman was one of the first people trained and certified by the legendary Nautilus developer Arthur Jones in 1989 on this high-tech equipment. He has recently been certified by the National Association of Speed and Explosion.