Seasonal back pain?

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A family walking with rucksacks on their backs

Plate, fork and leaf on picnic blanketSummer. The weather’s relatively warm, the evenings are long and it’s time for holidays, gardening, games on the beach, picnics and having fun with the kids. You were planning on spending less time hunched over a computer, slouched in front of the TV, tensed-up in traffic and stressed-out at the supermarket.

So why have you ended up with back pain?

Suitcases aren’t briefcases

Never mind the airlines, you should be giving yourself weight limits on those suitcases. You drag them downstairs, pick them up, heave them into the boot of the car, heave them out again at the airport, haul them onto, and then off, and then onto a trolley again – and then sit in a cramped airline seat for several hours before repeating the whole operation in reverse. A week or two later, you do it all again.

Everything in the garden isn’t rosy

TV dramas and lifestyle magazines will tell you that gardening is aGarden tomatoes ripening on the vine peaceful, relaxing activity. Tell that to anyone who has spent a weekend pulling up weeds, digging over the veg plot, planting out borders, mowing lawns and generally trying to get a whole summer’s gardening into the limited time available.

Beach volleyball isn’t the Olympics

You can’t beat games on the beach for fresh air, sunshine, fun and laughter. Volleyball, cricket, football, maybe a bit of frisbee – just the thing to work off some of those holiday calories. The trouble is, it’s been a year since you last flung yourself around on a beach – you haven’t really been practising for this.

Sitting on the ground isn’t really that comfortable

For most of us, a picnic is a blanket on the ground, lots of tupperware and bottles, and a great view. We don’t normally remember just how uncomfortable sitting on that blanket can be, especially after an hour or two.

Kids have lots of energy, except when you need them to

Even if you’re only going out for the day, you have to cart around so much stuff for the kids. And then, half-way down to the park, your toddler is going to ask to be carried. No problem, you can carry him on your shoulders. On top of the rucksack.

That’s why you’ve ended up with back pain!

Prevention is better than cure – top tips to keep you pain free

  • Don’t pack too much to carry comfortably
  • Spread the weight evenly between bags
  • A family walking with rucksacks on their backsBend your knees when you lift a heavy weight
  • Don’t lift and twist
  • Vary your gardening activities, changing your position frequently
  • Warm up and do some gentle stretching before starting any kind of strenuous activity, even if it’s frisbee throwing, and do more gentle stretching afterwards
  •  Consider buying folding picnic chairs, or finding a convenient bench for your picnic
  • Avoid carrying children on your shoulders for long periods – take the pushchair instead

Too late?

If all that summer activity has led to back pain, what most people do is:

  • Rest
  • Take ibuprofen
  • Apply an ice pack or a hot water bottle
  • Visit their GP
  • All of the above

If you’ve tried all that, and your back is still aching, the team at Hands-on Health is here to offer you help with the pain and advice on how to avoid it happening again.

Seasonal back pain happens in the winter too – watch this space!

At our Exmouth eco-clinic, we offer a multi-disciplinary team approach involving acupuncture, massage therapies, McTimoney chiropractic, myofascial release, nutrition, reflexology, circuit training, corrective exercise, Pilates, Tai Chi, TRX, yoga and more.

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