Sun | Sep 26, 2021

Have an injury-free holiday

Published:Wednesday | December 19, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The holidays are finally here, which means it's time to create lasting memories with friends and family and partaking in festive activities - whether feasting or partying. It's also the time to strut the streets, seeking to purchase Christmas gifts. Dr Noel Brown of Pro Physio is encouraging you to take extra precaution to stay safe, happy, and injury-free for the season.

Dr Brown explained that generally speaking, physiotherapists witness the occurrence of many common musculoskeletal conditions over the Christmas break as people tend to push their bodies beyond their limit. "Whether it's spraining your ankle in high heels at a Christmas party, an injury from an intense run along the beach after months of inactivity, or lower back pain from driving for long distances, lying poorly on the couch binge-watching a Netflix series or neck and knee issues from prolonged standing from your shop-til-you-drop excursion: there are a myriad of injuries to be mindful of this holiday."

He recommends that you focus on your mental and physical health with these tips in mind:

 

Travelling for long distances to the countryside

 

Catching up and rekindling connections with families and friends who live across the island usually takes place in the form of long road trips. "It has been said that physical inactivity or low level of physical activity is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. So, avoid taking trips that include long distances back and forth within the same day. Take rests by making a pit stop, getting out of the vehicle, stretching and walking around." This, the good doctor says, may help to reduce lower back pain caused from long sitting. Every one to two hours, take a break to stretch your legs. He suggests getting a lumbar roll or neck pillow to support the spine. Additionally, be careful when pulling a suitcase packed with clothing for these trips, watch out for objects on the ground that may interfere with your line of pull, as many persons receive shoulder injuries as a result.

 

Staying Active

 

Not because the season is here means that you should stop exercising. Maintain your routine, Dr Brown declares, "Don't stop your injury-prevention routines just because you are pain-free. Keep at it to prevent a flare up. Still take the time to go to the gym or take a brisk walk around the complex or house. If you are unsure what physical activity is right for you, your physiotherapist can assess physical development and suggest appropriate options. Start slowly and build up. This is very important to avoid any injuries from getting out and being active."

 

Shopping

 

Let's not take the phrase 'shop til you drop' too literally. This practice can cause added stress and unwanted injuries to your body. Dr Brown advises you to wear comfortable sneakers when engaging in shopping activities to help reduce lower back, hip, knee, and especially ankle and foot pain. There will be longer lines and waiting periods, so expect that and plan accordingly. Walk with a water bottle to stay hydrated, "The extra time standing can have a significant effect of these weight-bearing structures. Be sure to take a seat whenever possible and get help carrying heavy load. Break up your shopping into parts, and remember you don't have to buy everything in one instance or one go."

 

Family Feasting

 

Mothers, aunties, and grandmothers, in particular, tend to experience longer hours in the kitchen putting their best recipes to the test to satisfy the influx of families and friends at the Christmas gathering. "When carrying out certain tasks, prolonged standing can aggravate neck and lower back pain. So, during kitchen duties, get a stool to sit on whenever possible. Know when to take a rest. It is easy to overwork your muscles during this time, when you're trying to make your favourite Christmas dishes and racing the clock. Also, you will need to use your hips and knees to bend, so it is important that you get close to the item you need to pick up," Brown shared.

 

Asking for assistance

 

Brown makes further claims by stating If you already have some pre-existing issues with your lower back or any upper or lower body issues, make sure you ask for help for the heavier work. Take breaks if you are standing for a long time, and change positions often to keep your body balanced.

Have a wonderful and injury- free holiday!

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com