Aches and pain from shopping and traveling. How Osteopathy can help you manage December and be ready for a fresh start in the New Year.
During the holidays the body is being severely tested by poor movement and prolonged or repetitive actions. Often it will take in more than we can handle. What to do? Have an action plan to prepare yourself and your body for all the treats of Christmas.
Daily shopping, long flights and excessive eating are going to be routine during the upcoming month. Your mind and body will be placed under stress, the best way to avoid spending the Christmas holidays in pain is to prevent it.
Christmas shopping can be draining at times. The long walks carrying many loads and prolonged standing periods can put your musculoskeletal structures under pressure. For example moving weighty bags, can lead to a hyper kyphosis of the thoracic spine, with a hypertrophy of the pectoral muscles. This adaptive posture will disadvantage the trapezius (muscle of the neck area) and the whole musculature of the back.
Back pain and cervical pain are only a mechanical consequence. Furthermore, prolonged standing and sitting periods, can damage the musculoskeletal system. This is because during your day you maintain stationary postures for extensive periods of time, leading to constant overloading of muscles and no appropriate time for them to properly recover.
This will lead to circulatory and metabolic alterations in musculoskeletal structure that could cause pain and discomfort or could also contribute to an increase risk of injury. Osteopaths can help treat and reduce these symptoms. By relieving tissue pressure, promote the diffusion and active transport of nutrients and metabolites, and by assisting with the clearance of inflammatory by-products.
December is also that period of the year where we tend to catch long flights to spend the holidays with our loved ones.
There are those of us who love to fly, others instead hate having to take the plane, perhaps out of fear, or simply because they find it stressful and particularly uncomfortable to stay for hours in a confined space at over 15,000 feet of altitude. Whether you belong to one or the other category, it does not matter: a long journey can put a strain on anyone’s mind and body. We need to take in consideration that fear of flying, the apprehension and also keeping the stationary positions for too many hours could create contractures and cramps in our muscles.
Here some Rules of engagement to manage your long trips:
Before flying: Preparing for your flight is easier than you think. Cardio exercise before taking a long flights is the best workout you could do. It will help with: increasing oxygen levels in your blood so to enhance circulation and prevent swelling in your ankles and feet, help with the release of endorphins ( a hormone that will naturally lower cortisol levels ( the stress hormone), helping you to relax before your flight, and it will help you feel more tired so to increase the possibility of you sleeping during the flight.
During the flight: Occasional movements, help to relax us and our musculoskeletal structures. Slow but continuous movements such as: stand up from time to time, raise one knee at a time, move your arms and twisting of the neck, are all small measures that could help you to feel better.
After the flight: Keep as active as you can. Although you will feel tired after the flight, walk walk walk. This will help your musculoskeletal structures to have a proper warm up and prevent the aches and pains. Furthermore if you can take 10/15 min to do some yoga stretching (cat and dog, lotus and half warrior) will help with the mobility of your spine and lower limbs.
How can osteopathy support you before, during and after the holidays?
Although most patients consult osteopaths following an episode of pain or discomfort, osteopaths can play a preventive and curative role that we should not underestimate. Over periods of time we accumulate muscular tensions, emotional and physical traumas, and stress, these will be stored in our bodies until a breaking point. On a day to day basis we do not notice these accumulations but osteopaths can. Their job is to identify them and exercise a curing and preventive role to rest them before reaching a breaking point, or what is perceived by patients as pain or discomfort.