Ah, Winter - the time when you are inundated with tips on 'how to prevent back pain over the holidays!'. Sure, you need to remember to bend with your knees and to stretch before and after you shovel, but how boring.
Here's how to really save your back this season.
1. Get good boots. And by good, I mean serious sh*t kickers... er... snow kickers. You want good traction, warm and waterproof boots that will keep you upright and out walking in the most inclement weather. Wearing shoes that aren't weather appropriate makes you do that puddle-jumping dance... you know, when you have to leap over snowbanks and puddles so you don't get wet? Just put on your Sorels and plow through that crap. You're Canadian. Deal with it.
2. Delegate. Shoveling hurts. Finally, I have the solution. Get someone else to do it! For those of you who don't have a minion hanging around to do your bidding, you're best to do the shoveling ASAP. Snow is easiest to move when it is light and fluffy, freshly laid. Wait for it to freeze or accumulate, and you're in trouble. Remember to shovel small amounts at a time, and to lift the load using your knees, not your back. Try not to twist when tossing the snow - better to throw it straight ahead. But if it's gonna hurt, beg or hire someone else to do it.
3. Holiday travel can leave you achy... instead, fly first class! It is so much more comfortable and glamorous! All that leg room, and if you're lucky you'll get a pod - why sit down when you can lay down? If you must fly economy (what, you don't want to pay quadruple the price?), remember to walk around from time to time, and ask the flight attendant for a pillow to put behind your low back. Actually, bring your own, since I've recently learned that some airlines have stopped providing those little pillows for free - and I want to know, what is this world coming to, when I have to pay $3 for a disposable pillow? I bet they get them for free in first class. I'm just saying...
4. Stay home. Embrace your inner scrooge. No standing in long lines at the mall for you! I rarely treat hermits, though whether this is due to their lack of pain or lack of leaving the house, I do not know.
5. Request gifts from your chiropractor's office. Seriously! Do you really need more stuff? No, you don't. You need massages. Most massage therapists offer gift certificates. Ours do. Less stuff, more massages. Baby Jesus would approve.
6. Minimalize. The trouble with putting up things, like trees and lights, is putting them up. All that reaching, it can hurt one's back. Don't get me wrong, I love my neighbour's inflatable illuminated Santa - classy!
But maybe, in the interest of spinal health, we should scale back?
Sure, I could remind you to stretch your hamstrings when sitting for long periods, take breaks during long car rides and if all else fails apply ice to any new injury, but I think the above 6 points are much more useful. But the best way to prevent back pain over your holiday this year?
Take me with you!!