Bored With Shoulder Articles? How about Christmas Pains?

November 24, 2009

Filed under: AB'S PERSONAL VIEWS,LOW BACK & SCIATICA — Andy Bellamy @ 1:02 pm

Just lately I have put up several shoulder related articles – I’m sure that this is getting boring, so what else has been coming into the Adur Clinic lately?
Seasonality is something of a fact in Osteopathy and Physiotherapy clinics and some of the trends are probably no surprise; Spring tends to bring in the gardeners and sports people. Summer time sees more sports problems, especially football, water sports and cycling, while in Autumn there are more falls as the ground gets wetter, softer or more icy.
The pre-Christmas season also brings us some specific strains and injuries. The present-shopping melee’s that have to be endured lead to an increase in back and shoulder strains from carrying awkward shapes and loads. The horror of the food shop, with massively overloaded trolleys, sometimes two, with sticky wheels just adds to the musculo-skeletal misery.
The only advice I can really give is SLOW DOWN. I can almost hear the moans – ‘what is he talking about, I haven’t got the time to slow down…far to much to do and if I don’t, no one else will’. Sadly, I do hear this all the time and, while I am sympathetic to the problems, taking things less frenetically is the only realistic answer.

So, once you get the presents home, they have to be wrapped. This job mostly falls to the women of the house. (Men tend to grudgily buy one present and get the kids to wrap it for them – “but sweetie, you do it so much better than I do“). My experience tells me that most wrapping is done on the floor which gives maximum space, but furthest distance to reach and greatest potential for twisting, the basis of many of the injuries that we see at any time of the year – “now where did that sellotape go?”
Imagine the scene – on your knees, twisting to reach the furthest away item, turning the other way to get the paper off the roll, sellotape pieces stuck to your hand, youngest child begging to be let in the room, or wanting a wee and the dog walking through the whole lot!
It does take longer, but wrap at a table or better a kitchen worktop which is at a better height. Less twisting = fewer back problems. Simple, really.
Now, wrapping over, the big day comes and the bend to put the bird in the oven, (often after a few the night before), and the back ‘goes’. The number of times I have heard this and another Christmas is ruined is not quite countless, but it is very familiar. Do the sensible thing and get someone else to do it for you. Failing that, bend at the knee with a straight or slightly extended lower back and DO NOT TWIST!

Assuming you survive Christmas the next thing is to survive the urge to go to the gym to burn it all off. Just a word to the wise – the gyms will be packed at first, but this settles back to normal in about six weeks when all the good intentions have faded away and other people have forgotten the rash resolutions you publicly announced.
Make your resolution to start at a time that is ‘offbeat’. You don’t have to follow the crowd and if it is your decision made on your terms, you are more likely to stick to it, in my view.
Also take your time to decide which exercise suits you; swimming is a great all round exercise, but if you find it dull and a chore, you won’t keep it up which is a waste of membership fees and achieves very little. Experiment and try and find the exercise that you enjoy – it doesn’t have to be a sport in the conventional sense. What about dancing, walking and cycling?
The thing that matters is to avoid injury in the first place and to keep fit in a way that gives you pleasure. You just have to get out and try a few different things to find which suits best.
Merry Christmas

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