The festive season can be a pain on your spine. While Christmas is meant to make
us feel good, it often does the opposite.
One in five people get stressed over the Christmas period says a study, suffering
ill-health and relationship strain as a result.
It is no coincidence that there is a significant rise in demand for a range of therapeutic
services, including chiropractic care, early in the New Year.
Back and neck problems occur over the festive season because people push all of their
boundaries with a range of intensive behaviours from compulsive playing of new computer
games to sitting for many hours at a time.
The Scottish Chiropractic Association has some tips for having a happy Christmas:
Keep it Simple
To avoid stress, headaches and neck or back pain, ensure that your expectations of
Christmas are realistic. Resist the notion of perfection: there is no such thing
as a perfect Christmas, despite what the “family around the fireside” adverts imply.
Opt instead for a relaxed atmosphere in which everyone shares tasks and agrees that
“good enough” is the yardstick.
Revisit Christmas Past
As more and more people suffer from back problems, we need to proactively move away
from our sedentary habits. Encourage the whole family to take Christmas walks (they
might even enjoy it!). Give children and young people Christmas presents which will
prompt everyone to be more active: skipping ropes, space hoppers, hula hoops, Frisbees,
To avoid undue strain on your spine you should
• Warm up before you start with stretches
• Balance the weight of shopping bags evenly in each hand or use a shopping trolley
– these are fashionable for all ages now!
• Have a break regularly and keep hydrated
• Use mail-order or home delivery services where possible
• Where sensible, flat, supportive shoes
• Do several small trips rather than one large over-loaded trip
Everything in Moderation
Eating and drinking:
Drink plenty of water, avoid excessive eating or drinking as both of these impact
negatively on your health and well-being. Nearly a third of Britons have injured
themselves so badly while drunk that they have had to seek medical help**.
Sitting glued to the television for prolonged periods may cause your spine to go
into spasm. Move around and stretch regularly. Ensure your chair has good spinal
support and that you are not slouching.
Gaming and Electronic Gadgets:
Officially Britain’s most popular pastime now, a range of persistent back and neck
problems has emerged from these screen-based activities. If sedentary, you should
take regular breaks and move around. If using a Wii, warm-up exercises will help
to avoid injury. Repetitive strain injury from text messaging, using Blackberries
and iPod use are increasingly common. Ensure that teenagers do not spend prolonged
periods at any of these activities – they need to exercise and move around too!