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Christmas time usually involves you using your body is a slightly different way to your normal day-to-day life. As a result, there are a few activities you should be aware of that may increase your risk of tweaking your back, and things you can do to pre-empt potential irritation in your back – to treat it before it becomes an issue.

Back Pain While Shopping

First and foremost, if you have any last minute shopping to do for presents, try to do your research first as to what you’re looking for so you’re not out carrying shopping bags for a prolonged period of time. If you do have to go out for a number of hours at a time, try to either make frequent trips back to the car, or have a walk around first to identify what you will be buying, and then go back to buy them in one go. This will prevent you walking around with too many heavy bags. Heavy bags can cause you to alter your centre of gravity and posture, this can apply pressure to your spine and potentially irritate your structures. Make sure to take regular breaks, use this as a reason to grab a coffee or some lunch to break up the shopping and rest.

Repetitive Bending Movements

Another one that tends to catch people out is loading the dishwasher. If you’ve got a number of plates that need to be loaded into the dishwasher, try to approach it more squarely, or rest your hand on the counter surface as you’re loading things. This will help to ease the load on your lumbar spine, rather than bending or twisting without that support. Doing this repeatedly throughout the day is a great way to injure your back as it can be spread throughout the day. It’s the repetitive bending and twisting that can be problematic and put a good bit of stress on your lower back – it’s also an easy one to think that you’re not really doing that much, but has a cumulative effect.

Avoiding Sitting For Too Long

One of the highlights of Christmas is often the number of TV specials or selection of movies scheduled. Excessive seated time if your posture isn’t quite right, can be unhelpful for your spine and give you some uncomfortable side-effects. Being slouched in a comfy armchair or sofa throughout the day can put a lot of pressure on your lower back, compressing your discs in your spine. This can cause a flare-up of sciatic symptoms if this is something you can be prone to, it can also cause aching and tension in your lower back. If you have a tendency to slouch, this can cause you some unpleasant neck pain as well – with the potential to give you tense shoulders and upper back, it may also cause you to experience headaches. To combat this, try to check in with your posture regularly to make sure you’re maintaining a good spinal curve and sitting up straight. Try to keep your neck square to your shoulders, and try to get up and walk around regularly.

A small walk on Christmas Day might be helpful for you if you do suffer from back pain, nothing too strenuous, but just to get some circulation through your body. If it’s icy do make sure to watch your footing, as any sudden jolts can also bring on a spell of back pain in people who are susceptible to it. It can be really helpful to get your lower back moving and to take the pressure off the structures in your lower back.

Preempting Treatment For Back Pain

If you do find that you get a little bit of aching in your lower back, it’s much better to pre-empt this by popping a bit of ice at that level of your spine. Whether that’s in your neck or lower back, grab an ice pack, or some frozen peas, and cover with a towel. Place directly on the spine rather than your muscles, either on the lower back around where a belt would sit, or on the neck if that area is more problematic for you. Holding this on the area for 5 minutes at a time, a few times during the day is really helpful for calming any low-grade inflammation and avoid you waking up the next day with back pain. Most importantly, pay attention to your body and do things to help yourself if you do find that certain activities do flare up or tweak your back. If you find your body gets a bit tight, doing some simple hamstring or glute stretches can take a little bit of pressure off your muscles that can pull on the lower back.

Try to be more conscientious with the way in which you’re using your body around Christmas, as the things you’re doing around this time of year will vary more considerably. From the whole team at The Mayfair Clinic, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and if you regularly do suffer with back pain make sure to take care of yourself during this time! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out either on our social channels, by calling the clinic on 0203 947 3222, or by emailing us at info@themayfairclinic.com. If you enjoyed reading this article, or you know someone who could benefit from our advice, don’t forget to share!

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