Avoid a silly season for your spine
NSW Chiropractors are preparing for an influx of patients with many Australians subjecting themselves to unusual stresses and strains over Christmas, giving new meaning to the term “silly season”.
This year, Chiropractors expect to see a spike in numbers of patients with upper back and neck pain as people spend prolonged periods hunched over their newly unwrapped iPods, iPads and eBook readers.
Also topping the most wanted gift list for 2011 is the Xbox Kinect interactive gaming console, so Chiropractors predict a rise in cases of relatively unfit people overexerting themselves, especially after indulging in too much Christmas cheer.
President of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (NSW), Dr Kerein Earney (Chiropractor), said Chiropractors often treat patients with back and neck pain from lugging heavy presents around the shops, sleeping on a lumpy spare bed at grandma’s house and overindulgence leading to injuries on the dance floor at parties.
“It is surprising how many people report muscle strain after awkwardly lifting heavy turkeys and hams out of the oven, and we also see quite a few grandpas with bad backs resulting from a lively game of backyard cricket,” Dr Earney said.
“At this time of year we also see people with muscle strain from being cramped up in the car for hours on end stuck in holiday traffic and others who have been injured while putting up Christmas lights or heavy decorations on the roof.”
Dr Earney said there were steps we can all take to avoid the most common aches and pains this festive season -
Avoiding the 12 Aches of Christmas
1. Take advantage of internet shopping or break up your shopping trips to avoid carrying large loads. Also take care lifting parcels from your boot and be sure to bend your knees and keep a straight back.
2. Festive feasts are one of the highlights of Christmas but try not to overindulge. Eat slowly so your brain can catch up with your stomach and tell you when you’re full.
3. Drink an extra glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume, on top of the eight glasses of water you should already be drinking.
4. Minimise the amount of alcohol you drink at the work Christmas party as too much “liquid courage” can lead to embarrassment and injury on the dance floor.
5. Get moving! Don’t just sit around watching Christmas TV specials – take advantage of the Australian summer and go for a swim or a walk with your family.
6. Go “old school” with your gift giving. Instead of giving your kids a new DS or Xbox, why not give them a bike, skipping rope or a ball to kick around?
7. Don’t wrap presents sitting on the floor as bending forward and looking down can cause upper back pain. Instead, sit upright at a table with everything laid out before you.
8. While everyone loves receiving Christmas cards, handwriting them for your 100 nearest and dearest can literally be a pain in the neck. Break the task up over a few days and get up to stretch regularly.
9. Party dresses and high heels are the wardrobe staple over the festive season, but if you lower your heel height you’ll also lower your risk of back ache and muscle tightness.
10. Stress can be an underlying cause of many injuries and can lead to muscle tightness, neck pain and headaches. Avoid the last minute Christmas rush by being well prepared and if you’re attending a stressful family function, go for a short walk and take a breather.
11. Reaching up high while putting up decorations can lead to upper back and neck pain. Use a step ladder and enlist someone to help - even Santa has his helpers!
12. Make a New Year’s resolution to visit your Chiropractor and get 2012 off to a healthy start.
Media Contact: Natalie Devlin (02) 9968 3600; 0411 672 836 OR Renee Anderson 0434 405 002
Note; Photographs available upon request