In Louisiana, we all know what season it is… no, not winter or spring… but MARDI GRAS. According to www.mardigrasneworleans.com , the origin of Mardi Gras “can be traced to medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries to the French House of the Bourbons. On March 2, 1699, French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans, and named it “Pointe du Mardi Gras” when his men realized it was the eve of the festive holiday. Bienville also established “Fort Louis de la Louisiane” (which is now Mobile) in 1702. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated America’s very first Mardi Gras.”
Today, many of us celebrate with our families and friends by attending parades, Mardi Gras balls, and making traditional king cakes. While it is certainly a time of celebration deeply rooted in Louisiana traditions, Therapy Center would like to share a few tips on how to be safe while partaking in Mardi Gras parades and traditions.
Proper throwing techniques – Many individuals ride on floats during Mardi Gras throwing beads, candy, cups, and other items. “It is important to note proper throwing techniques to avoid injury and muscle soreness,” states Jake Duhon, Director of Sports Medicine and Jennings Outpatient Clinic Manager. The image below can be used as a guide when throwing items to the crowds along the parade route.
Proper catching techniques – For those of us along the parade route being showered with goodies, we have shared techniques for picking up items to avoid back injury. According to spine-health.com, “A back muscle strain or ligament strain is one of the most common causes of acute lower back pain. Lifting a heavy object, twisting, or a sudden movement can cause muscles or ligaments stretch or develop microscopic tears”. Below is a good guide when bending to lift objects to prevent injury.
Care for your voice– While participating in Mardi Gras, many individuals scream and yell to catch the attention of those throwing beads. Common phrases include, “Over here” and “Throw me something mister”. Therapy Center speech therapist, Lauren Carter, suggests to preserve vocal cords you should do the following:
- Only yell as the float approaches
- Take frequent sips of water to refresh your vocal cords
- Never shrill or use tones that are out of your normal octave
Proper running technique– For those participating in Courir de Mardi Gras (commonly known as “the run”), Therapy Center physical therapists recommend watching your stride, keeping elbows close, and of course – stretching prior to physical activity. Click here for additional helpful resources on running techniques.