Tis the season to keep your spine healthy

A happy back means a happy Christmas so use these tips to make sure the festivities run smoothly.

Christmas tree, “O”, Christmas tree

Whether you’re going to go o’naturelle or artificial for your Christmas tree it’s important to consider how you’re going to carry it, position it and decorate it so you don’t take too much strain through your spine.

Make sure if you have to lift the tree which can be heavy and awkwardly shaped that you 1.) Have an assistant (if available) and 2.) Keep your back straight, bend your knees and stick your bottom out.

Decorating your tree in the middle of the room will make it easier on your back so you’re not having to bend awkwardly around the side of the tree to wrap the twinkly lights all the way round. Then comes the tricky part of positioning the tree so you don’t disturb the lights, you may again need an assistant to make sure the tree isn’t wonky. Happy decorating!

Shoppers shoulder

This phenomenon is all too common especially amongst the majority of us that leave our Christmas shopping till the last minute and end up looking like a Christmas present mule. Try to split the load between bags and share this evenly between both arms; you could also use a rucksack or even a healthy back bag (which is also a good Christmas present idea!) that is designed to evenly distribute weight and distribute the load evenly throughout your spine.

Another idea is to go online for your present and Christmas food shopping which may take away part of the fun of shopping but would also take away the strain on your shoulders.

Card writing and present wrapping

Use a table and sit on a chair keeping a good posture. Leaning awkwardly over a coffee table or on the floor can again cause pressure to increase in your lower back.

To find out how to achieve and maintain good posture then check out our previous article found here.

Food prep

Leaning over the sink either peeling the endless amounts of veg or washing up the endless amounts of utensils will cause the muscles in the lower back to overwork, it’s important to change your position regularly or a couple of tips are to 1.) Place an upside-down bowl under your washing up bowl to lift it higher so you don’t have to lean too far forwards and 2.) Peel your veg on the worktop using kitchen roll to catch the skin.

When lifting the turkey or roasties out of the oven keep your back straight, bend your knees and stick your bottom out. You can break this down into stages by putting the turkey/ roasties onto a stool from the oven then when ready lift it up to the worktop.

You can use the same technique for lifting the turkey out the oven to loading your dishwasher after the feast. Keep back straight, bend knees and stick bottom out.

Christmas afternoon nap

With your belly full of delicious turkey and Christmas pudding, your favourite armchair calling and the Queen has just finished her annual words of wisdom then it’s inevitable that your eyelids will start to get heavy. However, prolonged sitting in poor positions can increase the pressure and strain through your spine and will increase the risk of back pain.

A good idea is to go for a walk which will get you moving to reduce the risk of your back getting stiff and will also aid digestion meaning you can eat even more later on….win win!

New Year’s resolution

The most common New Year’s resolution is “to get fit and lose weight” but how will you sustain this throughout the year and not lose track around mid-February like the rest of us?

The most important factor to consider is to choose physical activity that you enjoy, exercise should not be seen as a chore but an uplifting experience. Try something different as well, we are fortunate to live in a city full of exercise opportunities such as British Military Fitness, Regimental Fitness and ParkRun to name a small few.

Why not consider yoga or Pilates? We have fantastic classes running every day at our Summertown studio.

Set yourself realistic exercise goals and keep track with the vast number of mobile apps designed for precisely that or use the old fashioned pen and paper. Rally up some family members or friends to turn it into a social experience or join a local club.

Have a happy healthy Christmas from everyone at TOPS!

If you would like to get into contact to ask a question or arrange an appointment then please don’t hesitate to get in contact by using the form below to telephoning us on 01865 311686.

physio-xmas

TOPS Physiotherapy, Yoga & Pilates