“How to beat aches and pains if you train dogs”
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
Dog training is a rewarding and physically demanding activity.
It is definitely a labor of love. The long hours devoted to it can bring immense pride. And the nice thing about dogs is that their love is unconditional.
But training dogs can also bring you PAIN!
Dog training is a set up for neck pain. The long hours spent lifting and carrying equipment... along with the driving you often need to do can lead to neck strain. This causes muscle aches in the neck and shoulders. You can also get headaches. So what do you do? Well, first, recognize that this is going to happen if you don’t take frequent breaks particularly if you hold your head in one position for a long time. It’s a good idea to stretch before and after your chores. Also, if you carry a backpack for your supplies, this can lead to neck pain. Try to use a pack that places most of the load on your hips. Try to avoid heavy loads altogether if you have a neck problem
Your shoulders can also hurt. When you work with your arms held in one position… and especially if you work with your arms above shoulder level, you can run into a problem called impingement syndrome. This is when your rotator cuff tendons get pinched. It’s a common problem. Specific stretching exercises for the shoulder before and after you do any type of activity that requires arm movement should help. Also, make sure you take frequent breaks. Ice packs after you work sometimes help with the pain as do over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines.
Elbow pain is a common problem after any type of repetitive arm motion. Doing any type of repetitive activity to get your dog ready can lead to painful condition called lateral epicondylitis. This is a type of tendonitis that affects the outside part of the elbow. Stretching before you work can help as can stretching and ice after you work. Anti-inflammatory medicines, an elbow band, and physical therapy also can help. You may need an injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP). This is a concentrate of blood that contains a large number of platelets, cells that are packed with growth and healing factors. These help build new tendon tissue. While cortisone can help with the pain it weakens tendon tissue.
Hand and wrist pain is another common problem. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition where the median nerve into the hand gets pinched. This causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand. Treatment consists of physical therapy, a splint, and sometime injecting with steroid. In some instances, surgery is required. Different forms of tendonitis can also develop after dog-training activities. You can get trigger finger where the finger seems to stick. A painful tendonitis of the thumb can also be a result of dog-training.
Low back pain can come on from standing too long in one place or by lifting and carrying heavy articles. Make sure you lift with your legs. You may need to go down on one knee before you lift. Keep your back straight and your head up. Test the item you’re going to lift before you lift it. Don’t twist. Stretch before you work out your dog and also afterward. Use ice packs if you strain your back. Over the counter medication can sometimes help also. See your doctor if the pain is severe or doesn’t go away within a day or two.
Sleeping out on the road is not the greatest for your back. Make sure you have a well-cushioned mattress. Use some support for your head and neck or you’ll wake up miserable. A neck support pillow can help a lot.
If it’s going to be chilly, use hand warmers. You can get these at most camp supply stores.
Knee pain can result if you’re not careful when you squat. Be careful not to go down too long or with too much weight. Walking on uneven ground can also hurt your knees. Sitting around at the competitions can lead to a stiff low back, hips, or knees... or all three!
Make sure you stretch. Moist heat can help loosen things up. Acute injuries though should be treated with ice!
Wear comfortable shoes to protect your ankles and feet.
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