Don’t stress this Christmas!
So with Christmas shopping in full flow and Christmas preparations well on their way it can be a stressful time of year. We want you to enjoy time with your family and friend without getting injured or developing pain in the process.
We have seen and normally see a sudden rise in flare ups of lower back and neck pain during and after the Christmas period so I would like to share with you some top physiotherapy tips to reduce the risk of you aggravating your neck or back pain today. Also, in our blog next week we will share with you some exercises you can do to reduce the risk of aggravating your back or neck pain too.
Our top tips for a stress and pain free Christmas season
- Shopping – so we all have good intentions to start our Christmas shopping early but things crop up which means a lot of us end up binge shopping – we “shop til we drop”! It is much better to spread out your shopping over a few weeks/days, but if you have left it to the last minute then do make sure you take regular breaks. It is really important to wear good supportive footwear too. It you make some heavy purchases then take the bags back to the car instead of carrying them around all day. It is a stressful time and the extra load of carrying heavy bags can lead to aches and pains.
- Cooking – leaning over to prepare vegetables or washing up can put more strain on your lower back. If you can place the washing up bowl higher up, then do. Maybe place it on an upside down bowl to reduce the amount you are stooping over the sink, prepare vegetables when standing at a work surface too. When lifting the heavy turkey out of the oven use your strong leg muscles by squatting down to lift, get as close to the turkey as you can rather than over-stretching. If you already have some pre-existing issues with your lower back or any upper or lower body issues, make sure you ask for help for the heavier work. Take breaks if you are standing for a long period of time, and change positions often.
- Wrapping / Card Writing – a lot of people tend to wrap presents/write cards sitting on the floor! This isn’t great as you tend to bend more putting extra strain on your neck and lower back. The advice here is to sit at a table to reduce the pressure going through your lower back. Also, try and spread out your gift wrapping /card writing so you are not stuck in one position for a long period of time.
- Travelling – we can experience more travelling and can be in the car for long periods of time visiting family over the Christmas period. Sitting for long periods can aggravate / cause neck, lower back and knee pain. Try to break up the journey by taking regular breaks to get out the car and have a stretch.
- Christmas afternoon nap – with a full tummy it is easy just to sit down and have an afternoon nap! Prolonged sitting can increase the pressure and strain through your spine and will increase the risk of back pain .If you can, try and get out for a walk to get some fresh air, keep you moving and reduce the risk of your back getting stiff.
Hopefully this list of our top tips will help stop those aches and pains before they start! Remember, pacing yourself, moving and regular exercises can really make a difference, especially if you already have some discomfort.
Stay tuned for our next blog for some ideas of a few simple stretches and exercises to keep you moving over the Christmas period.
If you are feeling the stress of Christmas is getting too much then a massage can help to ease the tension and pain.