Christmas Back Injuries – Tips From a Chiropractor
Did you get through hanging Christmas lights, hauling storage boxes of decorations and your tree without any back aches or pains this year? Like 31 million people in the USA every day, did your hard work come with a side of back pain? Holiday and winter-time injuries are common, so here are some tips for prevention or relief from your Chiropractor.
It’s Cold and Dark – Lets Stay In
In the winter, the majority of us tend to become more sedentary. Its dark in the mornings and evenings and its cold, so the temptation of staying at home, in front of the fire watching a movie – or football for me – is too strong for many people to resist.
But this decrease in activity levels can result in back pain for two reasons:
- Lounging around on sofas and other soft furnishings provides very little support for your back.
- Sitting, laying and generally moving less tends to result in tightening of certain muscle groups – especially the hip flexors and hamstrings. Shortening of either of these groups has been directly linked to back pain.
If you really can’t summon the energy to get outside or to the gym and do some exercise, try some home exercises. Stretching for the hip and lower back muscles are especially important, as are core strengthening exercises to help support the lower back as you lounge!
Although not the case in Omaha yet this season, winter means snow and snow equals shoveling! Shoveling snow is often something that can’t be avoided as the driveway needs to be cleared to get to work. So here is our guide to safe snow shoveling:
- Use your legs! This advice is repeated over and over again when it comes to avoiding back injuries, but that’s because it’s vital. Our legs are much stronger than our backs. Using the legs to lower and lift your body also means you can keep your back straight and avoid bending the spine which is when it is most at risk.
- Put less snow on each shovel load! This reduces the weight you are lifting each time.
- Don’t repeatedly twist and throw the snow out of the way! Instead, walk and carry the shoveled snow to where you want it.
- Take regular breaks.
- Swap the side you are using to shovel regularly to keep things even and give each side a rest.
So, what have we learned about avoiding winter back pain? Keep active even if it is at home in front of the TV; pay attention to posture, technique and using your legs when it comes to lifting and carrying your shopping bags and shoveling your snow covered driveway!
If you do happen to injure your back, apply ice pack for pain initially. Twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off as much as you can will help reduce swelling. Then turn to heat therapy for back pain that lingers. And as always….go see your Chiropractor! Natural Life Chiropractic will be open a few days the week of Christmas, so don’t wait until the New Year to find relief.