9 Tips to Avoid Back Pain this Christmas

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It’s Christmas!!!

Well not quite, but I’m sure you’ve noticed the Christmas lights and the festive spirit in all the retail stores around. I shared this post last year, but thought it was too good not to share again this year. I normally join the usual rush of stressed out men looking for last minute presents. So how do I keep from getting knots and aches when out? Buy gift cards and be done with it I hear you cry! Certainly an idea, but believe it or not I do carry bags (and one of the few men I know who actually enjoy shopping!) and this is how I avoid the pains and aches over the Christmas period right up to New Year.

Tip 1: Simplify Shopping

Back and leg pain, including sciatica, may make managing Christmas Shopping difficult if not downright impossible. Why not pick up gift cards? See I told you this was a good option. You’ll be letting your family, and friends pick out items they truly want, while avoiding lifting and carrying heavy shopping bags. We too have a great selection of our Physio, Pilates and Wellness services on offer via gift vouchers. We call it a Health Boost Voucher. We can package it for you in a pretty envelope. Personalise it with a message. Wrap it and even send it on your behalf! Contact our main reception to ask about our our Health Boost Vouchers. 0208 7474 029

If you do want to buy a variety of  gifts, shop online. You can have the gifts shipped straight to your loved ones and friends, and avoid long lines at the post office. Alternatively, have online purchases gift-wrapped and delivered to you, so you can hand them to friends and family in person!

Tip 2: Park Where It’s Easy To Get Back To From All The Shops.

You know how it is, you’ve already got a load of bags and the shoulders are feeling sore, but you’ll just pop into M & S for a few more bits, then you come out looking like a Sherpa on the Himalayas!

Well don’t do it, when you’ve got a few things take them back to the car, lock them in the boot and feel the tension go as you stroll back to your next target.

Tip 3 : Rest Every Now And Then And Keep Hydrated.

Why not do this after dropping off the first load in the car. Have a warming drink and a snack to recharge your batteries, if it’s caffeinated make sure you have water though so you don’t dehydrate. Muscles are more likely to strain if dehydrated. If you had a sneaky sherry or mulled wine somewhere this is even more important!

Tip 4: Wrap Up Warm.

Simple this one, if it’s freezing and windy you’ll immediately be more vulnerable to a muscle strain, wear a scarf and layers so if you get hot you can always take one off.

Tip 5: Making Decorating a Group Activity

Don’t try decorating by yourself. This is especially important when you’re moving heavy or cumbersome objects or putting up the Christmas tree. Get someone to help you, so one person can hand lights and ornaments to the other person to hang. This way, you’ll avoid repetitive reaching or twisting in a way that adds stress to your back.

Tip 6: Take Care at Office Parties.

It’s pretty common to see a few self inflicted injuries due to overindulgence and temporary visual and reduced balance injuries! If your colleagues are dancing on the tables and you want to join them please make sure it’s sturdy, Limbo dancing is also best left to the professionals. Choose your dance partner wisely to avoid dislocated shoulders and whiplash!

Tip 7: Plan Ahead Before Cooking

Having a big crowd over? Prepare as much as you can ahead of time. For instance, pies can be done the day before, and you can chop onions and celery for stuffing days in advance.

Before you start cooking, take a look at your kitchen. Is there a place you can sit while chopping? If not, why not use the living room for some tasks like snapping green beans? If you are using a high counter top, lean on it often for 10 to 15 seconds at a time to take some pressure off your back. Don’t get stuck in any one position for too long. If you forget, set your timer to remind you to change positions. At the meal itself, let your guests assist you with serving and clean up so don’t put too much stress on your body.

Tip 8: Take Care of Yourself

The holidays can be so busy that you may be tempted to give up on your regular eating and exercise routine. Don’t do it—you need to strengthen and stretch your body with exercise no matter how hectic things get. Stretching can help you stay limber and reduce your risk of back or neck strain. If you don’t have time for your regular exercise routine, don’t give it up altogether. Try breaking exercise up into smaller chunks of time throughout the day.

Continue to eat regular, healthy meals. Gaining weight can make back pain worse. Keeping on track with healthy eating isn’t always easy during the holidays, so have some strategies in place before you start the round of holiday parties.

Tip 9: Look Ahead

As you look ahead to the coming year, consider simple ways to improve your back or neck pain. It can be as easy as setting a goal to add a 5 to 15-minute walking break to your day. You can sign up for that pilates or yoga class you’ve been thinking about. Alternatively, maybe this is the year to finally replace that old mattress. Last and by no means least, if you’ve had problems before, have a check up so that you know you’re working better and not on the verge of an injury. Christmas time means less availability and it’s a time for enjoying yourself in the company of others. Don’t ruin it with a bad back or neck.

Don’t let back pain creep up on you this Christmas

P.S If back pain is troubling you right now, or if you’ve noticed any aches and pains starting to really bother you. Feel free to connect with us on 020 87474 029 or email info@bodiesunderconstruction.com.

About the Author: Leslie Abrahams and the Team at Bodies Under Construction


Every week, for over 20 years, 100’s of people aged 30-64+ have consulted Leslie Abrahams and his team looking for answers to concerning questions about, and for, a fast end to their health worries and physical pains and stiffness. 

 Leslie is a Master Trainer for the world renowned Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute(APPI). He is regular key note speaker at conferences and travels internationally to present on modified exercise for rehabilitation. Leslie is the founder of Bodies Under Construction Clinics situated in Chiswick and Putney, London. South West London’s Specialist Private Physiotherapy Practice for People of all ages but especially in their 30’s. 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, who want to keep healthy and active.

Leslie Abrahams