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December arrives tomorrow and with it, the season for eating great food, spending quality time with loved ones and sharing cherished traditions. Unfortunately, all of the hustle and bustle can also bring you an unwelcome gift — back pain.
Holiday activities such as shopping, wrapping gifts and skating can cause your muscles to work in ways they’re not usually used and can result in neck, shoulder or back pain.
Try these five tips to reduce your chances of pain and strain:
1. Ergonomic Gift Wrapping
After searching high and low for the perfect gifts, it’s time to wrap them up! Rather than spreading out on the floor, use a dinner table or desk. This will make it easier for you to use good posture. Just remember that sitting in one position for too long can put additional strain on your body. Take frequent breaks and stretch your hands, wrists and forearms by clenching your hands and relaxing.
2. Strain-Free Snowman
Building your very own Frosty the Snowman is top of mind for many children once the snow falls. Roll your snowballs into place and work together as a team to lift them when you’re ready. And remember, rule number one is to lift with your legs, not your back!
3. Lift Light to Shovel Right
When shovelling your driveway, let your legs and arms do the heavy lifting instead of relying on your back, and push the snow to one side to avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — face your snowbank and throw the snow straight into it.
For more helpful shovelling tips, see this post: Follow These Tips for Avoiding Injury While Shovelling This Winter
4. Stretch, Skate and Snowboard
It’s time to sharpen your skates and grab your snowboards! To prevent injuries that can plague you for months, remember to stretch before and after you hit the slopes or ice.
A basic go-to is the hamstring stretch:
- Stand tall next to something you can hold on to for support.
- Prop the back of one heel up on a surface like a stair, curb or bench and pull your toes back towards you.
- For a deeper stretch, bend forward slightly at the hips.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds on each side.
5. Holiday Shopping
Carrying all those bags may be a productive way to move through your Christmas list, but it’s not great for your back. Consider taking a trip to your car to drop off your bags and lighten the load. If that’s not reasonable, take breaks and set your bags down or use a backpack to help distribute the weight.
Take care of yourself during the cold-weather months.
There are lots of ways to make the short winter days a little brighter. The wellness team at Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage encourages you to make your physical and mental health a priority.
We provide our patients with more than just chiropractic and massage therapy services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so you can be at your best for work or play, every day.
With content from the Ontario Chiropractic Association.Leave a Comment
A helmet can reduce your risk of sports injury by 30 percent. Whether you enjoy biking, boarding, or blading in the summer, or skiing, skating and sledding in the winter, pick the right helmet for the job and always wear it.
There are two basic types of helmets: single-impact and multiple-impact. It’s important to select a helmet that fits you properly and that is appropriate to the activity you’re doing.
These tips will help you choose:
The Right Helmet for the Job
Skiing and snowboarding helmets are designed to protect your head against a single hard impact. They should be replaced after they’ve been in one crash, even if there does not appear to be any damage. Hockey helmets are designed to withstand several impacts. Unlike a bike helmet, ski, snowboarding and hockey helmets protect the back of the head — which is especially important for winter sports.
Don’t Settle for Secondhand
While it may be tempting to buy a secondhand helmet or to use a hand-me-down, plastic becomes brittle and weakens with age. Make sure you know the answer to two questions:
- Has this helmet been in a crash?
- Is it more than five years old?
Look for Safety Certification
Also, older helmets may not meet current safety standards. Look for safety certification by CSA (Canadian Standards Association), or CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission).
The Right Fit
Proper fit is just as important as choosing the right helmet. It should comfortably touch your head all the way around, and be snug enough to stay firmly in place.
- Your helmet should sit level on your head and ride as low as possible to protect the sides of your head.
- Don’t assume that the first helmet you try on will be right for you.
- People’s heads come in different shapes and sizes and you may have to try on a few different brands and models to find the right one.
Remember, helmets aren’t just for children. Worn properly, they can prevent concussions or serious head injuries. Just because you didn’t wear one as a kid, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear one now.