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Look after your back this Christmas

Christmas isn’t far away!! With Christmas trees to buy and decorate, shopping to do and no doubt a bit of travelling as you visit friends and family here are some top tips on looking after your back this festive season:

The Christmas Tree

Going to get a Christmas tree is wonderfully exciting but make sure you’re mindful of your back when doing so. You don’t want to spend the rest of Christmas in pain!

  • Lifting your tree
    Firstly, face the direction in which you want to carry the tree. Always lift using a relaxed, straight back. Make sure your legs are at least your hips’ width apart with the knees bent. Keep your head and shoulders directly above your waist and keep the tree as close to you as possible – avoid twisting.
  • Loading and unloading
    Loading a weight into a car or van is difficult at the best of times, so it is even more important to use the best technique possible. If you have been sitting in the car/van for a while, go for a short walk to loosen your muscles and joints before lifting. Having lifted the weight, rest it on the bumper where possible and then push it into the vehicle, keeping your back straight and your knees bent. Always put lighter objects in first, pushing towards the back, so that it is not too strenuous to push them in or to pull them out when you reach your destination.
  • Get help decorating
    Christmas trees and decorations can be heavy! Use a stepladder and get someone to help you with the decorating rather than getting in awkward stretching positions. In general bend your knees and stick your bottom out when lifting heavy objects like turkeys and Christmas trees to protect your back.

Presents

  • Don’t carry too many shopping bags.
    Try to do the Christmas shopping in stages rather than all at once; lots of heavy bags can put extra strain on your back. Also try not to walk lopsided! Distributing the shopping load equally at both sides of the body or putting your presents in a rucksack can help reduce pressure on the spine.
  • Create a gift wrapping station.
    Gather all your supplies so everything is in arm’s reach. Avoid sitting on the floor and hunching over; sit at the kitchen table in a comfortable supportive chair or stand at the worktops to wrap instead.

Travelling

  • Whether travelling by train, plane or car when visiting family members, remember to have a break from sitting at least every 2 hours and have a walk around. Simple exercises like shoulder shrugs, buttock clenches and foot circles can all help keep your body active when travelling too.  When driving make sure you have your bottom against the seat back with your shoulder blades touching the back rest of the chair. The seat should be set slightly backwards so it feels natural and your elbows should be at a comfortable and relaxed angle for driving.

If you are already experiencing an episode of back pain or want to prevent one from starting, consider booking in an appointment with a professional like your Chiropractor. To help you feel tip top for Christmas book an appointment with us today!

Resources: British Chiropractic Association