Here at Physioplus Albir, a lot of our work is about injury prevention and treatment to help you Move Better, Feel Better and Live Better. However, there are certain times of the year when we expect a run of season-related injuries, and Christmas is a time when our therapists don’t need to be clairvoyant to know that there is likely to be some Christmas-related treatment needed.
What may surprise you is that you are more likely to cause injury doing the simple things we all do at Christmas, but would never associate with injury. Who knew that wrapping presents, choosing a Christmas tree and cooking the turkey could result in a visit to the physiotherapist before Three Kings Day? Here’s how it can happen, and how you can ensure that you enjoy a pain -free festive season.
It’s not the actual wrapping that causes the problems here – it’s how you do it. Many people traditionally sit on the floor with everything around them, so they can wrap, label and stack gifts in convenient piles for delivery. It may feel comfortable at the time – especially if you sit with a straight back as much as possible. However, the problem here is you are putting extra stress on your knees, hips and back.
Because it doesn’t usually hurt until you move to stand up, you don’t get the usual warning signs, and it could take several days to settle down. Physiotherapy may help, but we’d prefer it if you sat in a supportive, straight-backed chair to wrap your presents at the table.
Bringing the Christmas tree home:
Choosing, loading and unloading your perfect Christmas tree is a perfect storm of injury potential for the back and shoulders. Christmas trees are big, awkward and heavy. They need to be manoeuvred into the car, or on to the roof rack, and unloaded at home. If you are susceptible to back and shoulder pain, look for sensible solutions. Take a friend with you, or better still, a Man With a Van, so there’s not too much lifting and shifting.
Don’t even consider choosing the tree if you are in pain – put it on hold until you feel more flexible. Remember the sheer height of the tree will cause stress on shoulders, neck and back, so don’t play the hero and try to go it alone,
Cooking the turkey:
The bigger the family, the heavier the turkey. That’s without the roast potatoes and other traditional accompaniments that nestle around the turkey such as roast parsnips. And if the oven is low level, there’s the added strain of bending down to retrieve the centrepiece of the Christmas meal.
The pressure on the spine can cause disc problems, so remember to bend from the knees and engage the core muscles to help support and strengthen your back. If you are prone to back problems, try to recruit a willing volunteer to do the lifting for you. Again, don’t take all the responsibility of making sure Christmas is perfect – work with your body, not against it, and find a work around that reduces the risk of injury.
The good news is, you can prepare ahead to ease the risk of injury, because a visit to Physioplus for an assessment and treatment can identify where you need extra help to naturally improve your normal movement range. Active Release Techniques (ART) can help to identify and treat problem areas which may be causing you pain because of poor posture, previous injury or the presence of scar tissue which is preventing your muscles from working efficiently.
Take care as you prepare for Christmas , and listen to your body. Don’t push it too far by expecting too much from it. And remember, you can always contact us to arrange an appointment with our expert therapists to ensure your Christmas is safe, happy and injury free.