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De-stress your back!

Yes, your back can suffer from stress too! With Christmas fast approaching, being for some people one of the most stressful times of the year, I thought this is a good time to discuss why our back may be put under stress and what you can do to avoid it. This advice can be equally used in other stressful situations, such as going on holiday.

How stress may impact you

We are inclined to think of stress having an impact on our emotional and mental wellbeing but it can have physical implications too. As a practising Osteopath of many years, I have seen a considerable number of patients whose symptoms are partially or wholly due to stress.

We all know someone who has rushed around to get everything done only to find that they end up being unwell when they stop. During stress our body releases more hormones, which is the ‘fight or flight’ phenomenon and one of the effects of this is that the muscles around our spine tense. There is a theory that when we relax, the hormones reduce, for some resulting in less ability to fight and our wellbeing may then be affected. However, I believe that there are other contributing factors.

Other factors

From my experience and scenarios I see in the Clinic, most patients have put themselves under considerable pressure and neglected to look after themselves. The result can be a panic phone call, even as late as Christmas Eve afternoon, hoping that I can perform some miracle and have them back to normal by the next day!

The lead up to the back/neck pain is normally a combination of setting unrealistic expectations and letting those take over your normal lifestyle, for example, having less sleep, not managing your normal exercise regime, eating less healthy food in a hurry, neglecting your ‘me time’ and maybe not seeing your Osteopath!

Help yourself to avoid back pain this Christmas

My advice to you is to start early and plan well ahead. Use a diary and ensure you first record those scheduled appointments, exercise classes and times you allow for yourself to maintain your general wellbeing – this way you ensure you are not bottom of the pile! Then make a list of what you need to do and allocate time in your diary for those items. Delegate some of the jobs to your family to share the load. Try and choose less busy times for shopping, stick to your plan and remember to put yourself first.

So make sure you seek help early to avoid suffering back pain over the Festive period!

However, we are open up to Christmas Eve and between Christmas and New Year for anyone in need of an Osteopathic treatment.

Christina Hood, Principal Osteopath