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Issue 5: Coping with Injury at Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year” isn’t it? Well it might not be if you’re injured.

Whether you’re spending the day relaxing with loved ones or playing the annual game of Twister with your favourite cousin, pain isn’t fun and it’s really not when you’re unable to join in on the festive cheer. So, we’re here to give you a few tips to help you manage during this season.

For those currently on a rehabilitation plan:

Tip number one tip is to remember that Christmas is a tiny slither of the year and compared to your programme, it really won’t occupy much time.

However – depending on the type of the plan that you might have, your practitioner might have set you one to complete daily in which case try and get it done first thing in the morning, so it’s just done. Plus, the sooner you’ve finished it the sooner you can enjoy your day.

If your programme is a bit more relaxed, then try and complete it once or twice within the week. Again – if you’re able to then try and complete it first thing.

Remember that everybody’s circumstance is different. Just find what works best for you and if you’re stuck then ask your practitioner.

Unless your injury is very acute or you’re battling lots of swelling then one or two days won’t set you is never linear!

For those struggling with stiffness:

Tip Two: Apply heat. Grab a hot bottle, wheat wrap or have a bath with your favourite potions. Mild heat application provides an analgesic effect (pain relief), and stronger heat application can help stimulate the sensory nerve endings (if you’re into further reading look up the ‘Descending Pain Suppression System’). So it’s a win win really.

Heat also causes vasodilation. Meaning that the ‘lumen’ in the centre of our blood vessels expands allowing heat to leave the body. In other words, heat can help improve the joints blood supply and allow a gateway for extra nutrition to take place.

Tip Three: Move your body every day. Walking in particular is one of those activities over Christmas that can be really challenging for those in pain. So, even if it is just for 15 or 20 minutes, try and get outside.

Tip Four: Ask for help! It can be hard to ask for help at Christmas and especially when times are busy, it’s natural to feel guilty. But if you can then ask your family and friends to lend a hand, you’d be surprised how many would say yes.

For those trying to prevent injury & flare-ups:

Tip Five: Whether you’re putting up Christmas lights or lifting a heavy box, remember to lift with proper posture. It’s sort of an obvious one and the best of us forget to in the moment but bending your spine at the hips and curving your back can lead to injury and discomfort. If it’s something light, then go ahead but be mindful of your body’s positioning.

You may not feel it in the moment, but it may affect you later in the day so try and lift the proper way by keeping your spine neutral with your feet in a wide stance and flexing your hips.

Use the proper ladders! Ladders are very useful for maintaining a healthy position whilst dealing with height.

Think about it – overstretching is a common cause of muscular strains, neck and back injuries. Especially if you’re outdoors, prioritise using an adjustable ladder you can reach those heights sensibly.

Besides that, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas!


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