Mardi Gras Tips and Tricks!

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Mardi Gras Tips and Tricks!

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Mardi Gras is a great time to do whatcha wanna, but there’s a chance you might catch some real injuries. Here are some examples of possible musculoskeletal disorders you may see along the route that could make you feel slower than a stalled parade.

Wearing Too Many Beads:

Forward Head Posture (FHP)

Tempting as it may be, wearing all your caught beads at one time will put massive strain on your neck and upper shoulder muscles. The collective weight of the beads throughout the day will begin to shift your cervical (neck) alignment into Forward Head Posture (FHP). When this happens, the lower portion of the neck as well as the shoulders bend forward in a more rounded position while the upper cervical spine must extend backwards in order for you to maintain a useful field of vision.

In order to remedy the strain from FHP, your therapist may perform manual treatments such as release techniques for your neck and shoulder muscles in conjunction with specific stretches and strengthening exercises to help maintain better posture. For ideas, check out some previous blog posts about neck and shoulder exercises here and here.

Shoulder Injuries from Throwing:

If throwing to the masses of parade-goers, your shoulders may be at risk for injury if not properly conditioned. The Rotator Cuff (RTC) in particular is a common target for overuse injuries from repetitive throwing. Comprised of four different muscles, the RTC works as a unit to maintain stability at the shoulder joint. If injured or inflamed, these muscles can produce pain at the shoulders or down the arms.

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BRPT-Lake has treated many throwing-related injuries and has proudly developed The Scapular Six Series to help alleviate shoulder pain and prevent future shoulder issues. For a refresher in these exercises, consult one of our therapists and check out our post and video on The Scapular Six Series!

Back Injuries from Lifting Heavy Bags of Throws:

More often than not, we reach the end of parades with more beads than we anticipate. When lifting bags weighed down with our hard-earned treasures, proper lifting techniques are crucial for preventing low back injuries. By recruiting larger muscle groups in your legs, you can generate more power while protecting the more delicate stabilizing muscles of your spine. To see examples of good and bad lifting techniques, see our previous video here.

In the meantime, here are some general tips to protect your back when lifting:

  • Keep a wide base of support by spacing feet approximately shoulder-width apart
  • Stand close to the object you are lifting to reduce the effort on your arms
  • Bend the knees and hinge forward at your hips while keeping the back neutral
  • Lift object by straightening your knees and hips simultaneously
  • Avoid twisting motions through your back while carrying the object


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Finally, a less common but possible injury includes concussions sustained from Mardi Gras throws flying through the air. Delayed reaction times and distractions may increase the chances for these mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which can lead to other serious medical issues over time. A physical or occupational therapist with experience in vestibular rehabilitation may even help with residual symptoms, such as dizziness or decreased balance.

Consult a medical professional if you experience signs and symptoms of a concussion. Some examples include:

  • Dizziness, loss of consciousness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Confusion, loss of memory
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness, slurred speech

If you’ve partied too hard this Mardi Gras season, make an appointment at one of our 7 locations to see one of our therapists to be evaluated and receive an individualized treatment plan to keep the good times rolling!

Rachel DiMario, PT, DPT