Christmas Lift Off!

08 Dec 2011

The final days of preparation are here: from frenzied shopping trips to prolonged periods of slouching in front of the TV – keep back pain at bay with this advice from the British Chiropractic Association.

Stocking up?

  • When we’re fighting our way around the supermarket, pushing a heavy trolley and trying to work our way through a mammoth list, it is easy to forget about our backs! Use a trolley rather than a basket (even if you are only getting a few things) as you will be able to stand and walk in a straighter position and avoid straining the neck and shoulder muscles.
  • Make sure that you bend at the knees and keep your back straight when you are lifting heavier items, particularly from the lower shelves. When packing your bags try to distribute the items evenly so that you don’t have any excessively heavy bags and a few light ones, and put the packed bags into the trolley so you don’t have to stagger with them.

Driving home for christmas?

  • It’s a busy time of year on the roads with people travelling to see friends and family. When we sit we put nearly twice as much pressure on our backs than when we’re standing. Make sure that you adjust the car seat, head rest and steering wheel to allow you to sit in a comfortable, relaxed position. In addition, plan your journey and allow extra time – not only for the likely congestion, but also for regular breaks, preferably at least every hour.
  • Make the journey part of the festive fun – have a pub lunch on the way, or a walk in the country – rather than just a long slog on the motorway. When you arrive, go for a short walk and do a few stretches to ease the stiff joints and muscles and boost your circulation.

Slouch potatoes

  • We all enjoy ‘slobbing out’ in front of the latest Christmas movie, but prolonged sitting and inactivity can lead to aches and pains. Try to sit in a comfortable, supported position, rather than slouching.
  • Get up and move around regularly; don’t stay in the same position for more than 30-40 minutes. Stand up and wriggle around every advert break, and leave the remote control the other side of the room as this will force you to move about!

Careful cooking

  • As you slave over a hot stove, remember your back! Leaning over a table or worktop for long periods of time can cause stiffness in the upper back and shoulders, and can put strain on the lower back. Rather than standing, try sitting for a short period of time and vary your activities. Better still, enlist help and get someone else to peel the potatoes and put ‘kisses’ on the brussel sprouts!
  • Take care when taking the turkey out of the oven – not only is it hot and awkward, but also heavy – remember to keep your back straight and bend at the knees and hips, rather than arching your back. Don’t overload the roasting pan or serving dishes – it is better for your back to carry several smaller dishes than one enormous one!

Exe Chiropractic Clinic is located in central Exeter. Chiropractic is a safe, non-invasive treatment approach to musculoskeletal problems (lower back pain, neck pain, headaches). To book a consultation with a chiropractor call us on 01392 690200 or email us on We look forward to seeing you soon!

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45-47 Fore Street, Heavitree, Exeter, EX1 2QN