Give your back a break

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WITH the festive season fast- approaching and many people heading out on a much-needed holiday, catching up and celebrating with friends and family, it is appropriate to share a few helpful tips and ideas to take care of our spines.

DR BRENDON BEZUIDENHOUT

This will ensure that we don’t have to suffer with spine- related pain over the festive period.

Here are some tips if you are driving these holidays:

●If you have to drive more than two hours to visit friends and relatives, take a break. Get out of your vehicle and stretch.

This temporarily restores normal posture, which will help prevent a recurrence of neck or lower back conditions.

●When loading your vehicle for the trip, organise your luggage and packages into smaller bags, rather then bigger, heavier ones.

●Stay well-hydrated by sipping on water.

●If necessary, use a rolled up towel to support your lower back.

●Wear your seatbelt.

Adjust vehicle headrests so they are no more than 50mm behind the centre of the back of the head.

If you are flying, try these tips:

●Where possible, sit on the aisle to make it easier to regularly stretch and walk during the flight.

●Use a rolled up garment or cushion as a support to maintain the natural shape of the spine.

●Be careful lifting suitcases. Bend with your knees, not your back.

●Regularly roll your ankles in circles and point, then flex your feet.

●Stretch at least every one to two hours, and always stretch after sleeping.

●Sip water often to stay well-hydrated.

●Place a supportive pillow inside your luggage or take an inflatable travel pillow.

●Before take-off, set your watch to the time zone of your destination, then eat, drink and sleep in alignment with this time during the flight to adjust to it.

●Push, don’t pull. Many wheeled cases encourage you to pull the case handle from behind, but this makes the upper body/back twist. If possible, push the case in front of you or use a trolley – making sure you choose one from the stack which does not have “wonky wheels”, as keeping it on track will not do your back any good.

An often overlooked cause of back pain over the holidays is all the work done over the kitchen sink. The awkward posture you assume while slicing and dicing those carrots, peeling potatoes, washing vegetables and carrying out other meal preparations can leave you in a lot of pain – just standing on the hard kitchen floor for long periods can spur back issues.

One suggestion for reducing the incidence of problems is to stand on a padded mat or rug while you work, which will reduce the pressure on your spine and potentially lessen your chance of slips and falls. You might also try carrying out certain jobs (like cutting veggies) while seated.

Coast Wellness wishes all its wonderful patients a blessed festive season.

Contact Dr Brendon Bezuidenhout, chiropractor at Coast Wellness, on (043)783-1221 or visit coastwellness.co.za

Coast Wellness currently has a vacancy for a medical practitioner.

It offers a resident GP, chiropractor and physiotherapist, as well as vein and Botox procedures and ozone therapy – all in the comfort of a world- class wellness centre, with a coffee shop next door.

We are closed over the festive season from December 24 and reopen on January 3 next year.

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