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Home Improvement

You've finally decided to paint your kids' bedrooms. Not only that, but you're going to do it yourself. Congratulations. Or your rooftop gutters have become so filled with leaves that the only place for overflow rainwater to go is down the sides of your house and seep into the foundation, and you've decided to install a gutter protection system. And you're going to do that yourself.

These may be great choices. DIY projects are self-affirming and self-empowering, and often provide real opportunities for personal growth and development. There may be substantial cost savings, or you just want to reconnect with your high school self who loved shop class. Regardless of the numerous possible motivations, the most important consideration in any home improvement project is safety.

Aside from basic rules such as using protective goggles and always having a buddy supporting and stabilizing the ladder you're up on, safety around the home often depends on your own level of physical fitness. For example, if you're relatively out-of-shape, it's easy to strain a neck, shoulder, or lower back muscle when you're trying to apply paint evenly to a corner of the ceiling. Similarly, if you haven't done any vigorous exercise on a consistent basis in a while, do-it-yourself activities such as changing your car battery or even mowing your lawn can cause a lower back injury or even a twisted ankle or knee.

Doing regular vigorous exercise provides many benefits In addition to preparing you for real physical work. Also, supporting your exercise and physical work is a specialized system of nerve endings known as proprioceptors.1 These nerve cells play a significant role in whether physical activity is done easily and well or, instead, results in an injury. Stated succinctly, proprioceptors tell your brain about your body's position in three-dimensional space. For example, if you're bending over to pick up two one-gallon cans of paint, your brain needs to know that you're ankles are bent at 20 degrees, your knees are bent at 80 degrees, and your hips are bent at 70 degrees. If this information isn't transmitted accurately or isn't received fairly instantaneously, you may suffer a lower back injury even though the paint cans themselves only weigh 8 pounds each.

Proprioception becomes a critical system any time you go up on a ladder.2 Maintaining your balance depends on a moment-by-moment, two-directional stream of information between your brain and your bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments. Your nerve system and your musculoskeletal system do all the calculations required to enable you to work safely from the top step of your ladder. But if your proprioception system hasn't been optimally trained in a while and is, in a sense, out of shape, your balance and overall safety are at risk. Bad things can happen.

From all points of view, including that of safety in the home, it's important to maintain your proprioception system in peak condition. You can easily do this by engaging in regular strength-building activities such as strength training and yoga and regular aerobic activities such as running, walking, swimming, and biking.3 Proprioceptor training is built-in to all forms of vigorous exercise. Safely and successfully completing your home improvement projects is one of the many benefits.

1Judkins TN, Scheidt RA: Visuo-proprioceptive interactions during adaptation of the human reach. J Neurophysiol 2013 Nov 20 [Epub ahead of print]

2Suetterlin KJ, Sayer AA: Proprioception: where are we now? A commentary on clinical assessment, changes across the life course, functional implications and future interventions. Age Aging 2013 Nov 14 [Epub ahead of print]

3Maitre J, et al: Chronic physical activity preserves efficiency of proprioception in postural control in older women. J Rehabil Res Dev 50(6):811-820, 2013

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Testimonials

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I have been going to chiropractors off and on for many years but only when my back was hurting to a point where I had trouble walking due to the back pain. I’ve had a bad back off and on for as long as I can remember so I was anxious to find permanent relief. I started going to Dr. Kip about 2 years ago and after several months I was put on a maintenance program, initially twice a week and months later, once a week. Since I’ve been on the maintenance program, I’ve had no regular issues. These regular visits also have other benefits due to discussions with the Dr. and office staff and info on the “health T.V.”"
    -Ron R.
  • "I have been coming to see Dr. Kip for almost a year. I started coming in because of my back pain but I wasn’t really sure what chiropractic was or how it could help. Today I feel I have a much better understanding and that chiropractic is a very good and necessary asset of healing. My back pain is not so severe now. It feels better, and when it does begin to hurt I know what to do to make it better. The kindness and understanding of the office staff give the whole experience a calming and reassuring vibe."
    -Joycie G.
  • "Our family has been coming to see Dr. Kip for 2 years. We came in initially because Julie was having severe shoulder pain along with numbness in her arms. She thought it was linked to a problem in her neck. Brian suffered from migraines every few months. We didn’t know much about chiropractic care before. We’d had some in the past but never on a regular basis. I believe our family is healthier as a result of chiropractic care. In fact this year has been the healthiest year for our family with no sickness other than colds and Brian experiencing fewer migraines! We love the staff, of course, and the affordable care plan allows our entire family to receive care."
    -Brian K. and Family