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New Year resolutions and spinal problems

The wet weather has persisted for far too long now and the days are short! Those of us who enjoy outdoor activity whether it be rugby, football, hockey, golf, running, gardening and DIY to name a few, are suffering 'cabin fever'.
We are becoming generally 'deconditioned' with muscles being weaker and joints stiffer. This combined with a few extra Christmas pounds makes us vulnerable to joint problems when returning to customary activity or embarking on the 'New Year resolution'. 
Spines and joints generally cause problems when patterns of activity change, and Andrew Gilmour generally experiences a spate of problems in the New Year, when we all try to get out and about.
So what about some advice to help avoid these problems?
  1. Ease into sport or activity as you would at the beginning of the season, rather than launching into full-on activity.
  2. Build up your activity or training slowly and split up tasks doing some today and some tomorrow, rather than all today.
  3. After activity, avoid slumping into a soft chair. Backs hate this!
  4. For gardeners, try and keep a number of different tasks on the go rather than, say, just repeatedly bending to clear leaves.
  5. For sports lovers, start some form of activity before returning to the first match. Gym or swimming whilst the ground is frozen and running or biking when it thaws.
  6. For anyone having particularly vulnerable or worn joints, try pilates, walking or swimming before more vigorous activity.
If you do suffer pain or soreness:-
  1. Don't press on regardless, back off if you start to suffer.
  2. Backs react badly to heavy and repetitive activity, but equally badly to sedentary sitting. Try and keep generally mobile by 'pottering about' and walking.
  3. If necessary use simple anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and analgesia like paracetomol. If you need something more visit your General Practitioner.
  4. Like many problems. joint strains can settle without further intervention. However if the problem is severe or persistant, osteopathic treatment or physiotherapy as well as appropriate advice can speed up the rate of recovery.

All this said, enjoy a happy active and fitter New Year, and keep those activity resolutions going.

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