Don’t let DOMS stop you from your new workout!

As some of you may know I made a resolution to myself to swim at least once per week. After receiving my prescription swim goggles, no more excuses. So last Friday I had my first swim and it felt great, I used to swim quite a bit, in university I swam daily, but with worsening eyesight, increased academic, then professional then family demands I got away from it. So being prudent I didn’t want to overdo it that first swim, I was fearing that pain in the muscles you get after strenuous exercise, or DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)

If you’ve ever begun an exercise program or just worked extra hard in the garden, shovelling snow etc. you may  have experienced DOMS and in some cases maybe it turned you off exercise altogether.

So what is DOMS?

DOMS is the pain you feel 1-2 days after a new exercise or increase in the intensity of your current exercise program, with the second day  usually the worst. It is not an injury but rather the normal adaptive process your muscles undergo. It is poorly understood but thought to be the result of microscopic tearing of muscle fibers. It can occur with any exercise movement but more often with loading muscles during an eccentric or braking contraction. Imagine the downward movement doing a squat, your thigh muscles the quadriceps are acting to control your descent and contracting eccentrically.

How do I avoid it?

DOMS is hard to avoid and you will adapt to the exercise until you increase the intensity again. After your exercise you can do some low intensity active exercise, light cycling on an exercise bike for example, you can ice the area and do some gentle stretching. There is little evidence for the effectiveness of pain killers like aspirin, codeine or acetaminophen. A recent study suggests that whole body vibration may attenuate the affects of DOMS.

None the less don’t let DOMS stop you from your new workout!

Push the snow don’t lift it

Its winter time again and you know what that means, snow and snow shovelling. If you think about it a clearing your driveway of a heavy snowfall is a strenuous workout, how many of you would warm up before a strenuous workout? Most I’d bet,  but how many of us would think to warm up before we shovel the snow? Not many. So treat the snow shovelling like your workout, that way you can skip the gym that day. Do a simple warm up, jumping jacks, short walk followed by some stretching before you start.

Pace yourself, don’t wait for the snow to stop before you shovel, get out several times rather than trying to do it all at once.

Push the snow don’t lift it.

Bend  your knees and use the strong arm, leg and butt muscles instead of the lower back muscles, keep the curve in your lower back.

Dress in layers, rest when you need to.

Or hire a teenager to do it for you and watch from the comfort of the indoors.

What does a Chiropractor do?



What does a chiropractor do?

What does a chiropractor do?

This is my second blog post, hopefully after the last one you have a bit better understanding of disc related back pain. So what does a chiropractor do?

The other night my 8 year old son asked for some help with a school project, “ what does your parent do”. So in describing what a chiropractor is and does I thought this would be a good blog topic. Perhaps it should have been the first post but here it is nonetheless.

A chiropractor is a doctor who’s area of specialization is with the joints, muscles and nerves of the body, primarily but not restricted to the spine. A chiropractor is a drugless healthcare provider, using a hands on manual therapy approach to restore function, reduce pain and improve quality of life for people having musculoskeletal problems, back pain, neck pain, headaches, sprains and strains etc.

Chiropractors attend a chiropractic college or university for 4 years after completing an undergraduate university degree. Courses in anatomy, physiology, pathology, biomechanics, microbiology, radiology, x-ray taking among others occur during their first 3 years. Don’t forget most importantly the hands on chiropractic care is intensely focussed on during these first three years. This is followed by a one year internship program treating patients under the supervision of a licensed chiropractor.

Chiropractors will then go on to  practice in a number of settings, solo, group, interdisciplinary(multiple different health care providers) , some will continue in research and the profession has 12 research chair professorships across the country. The federal government established research chairs in general to attract and create world class research centres in Canadian Universities. Others like myself will also teach at chiropractic colleges, something I do on  a part-time basis two days a week. In this role I instruct not only the hands on manual therapy chiropractors are known for but also diagnositic skills, symptom based diagnosis and case based simulation.

Stay tuned for more blogs at


Disc Related Back Pain

What disc related back pain

What is Disc Related Back Pain?

This being my first blog, I wondered what to speak about, however today I saw someone who’s case while not uncommon gave me the motivation to talk today about low back pain related to a herniated intervertebral disc. What is disc related back pain?

What is disc related back pain?

Most back pain, close to 90% is what one would term, “mechanical low back  pain”, mechanical in the sense that it has as its cause a pain generator in  the muscles or joints of the lower back. This type of back pain while extremely painful and debilitating is uncomplicated and will resolve with treatment in less than 6 weeks in most cases.

Disc related back pain is another matter. The intervertebral (spinal bones) discs are located in between the bones of the spine, they allow for movement and if you imagine are like a jelly donut, firm on the outside and well jelly-like on the inside. In some cases with improper stresses, twisting while bending and lifting either in one event or repeated can cause a weakening of the outer wall of the disc and result in either a bulging outward of the disc or a rupture causing the jelly to come out.  Your body’s response to this injury will typically initially back pain, muscle spasm, you may look crooked, tipped off to one side, movement in any direction will be limited and painful. Days to a week or so later you may then start to have screaming leg pain down the back of one leg, this tends to be worse than the back pain.

Disc injuries can resolve on their own with conservative chiropractic treatment, the majority  in 12 weeks to a year. Your family physician may prescribe some anti-inflammatory medication and order a special test called a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) for a look at how the disc is impacting your nervous system. Regular x-rays  are of little use in a case like this.

Chiropractic treatment will help with pain control, muscle spasm and help to keep you moving. I will give you exercises to help with the pain as well. As a chiropractor I will also monitor your nervous system’s response to the injury and make the appropriate referral back to your family physician should the condition worsen.

Surgery is usually a last resort, but will help if the health of the nerve is compromised.

If you know of any one with back pain of any sort have them call for an appointment and get them some help.

Dr. Kevin Finn

For more blog topics go here