Active Seniors

Sore back? Here’s how to carry your gifts this Christmas!

If you have ever experienced back pain you know that your instincts tell you to avoid lifting and carrying. Unfortunately there are certain things that we can not avoid …. like present shopping at Christmas. However there are a few simple things you can do to though that will help.

Across the belt line

Back pain comes in many shapes and sizes, so let’s explore a few of the more common complaints. Lets start with general “across the belt line” back pain. This is a rather dull ache that spreads from the middle across both sides of the back about where your belt would sit. This type of pain is often related to the sacroiliac joints and/or the lower back joints. In any case, when we arch our back or increase our back curve this type of pain often intensifies. If this is the case, carrying something in front of you will often increase your pain. When you hold something in front of you, your body will naturally lean back to counter balance the weight. This puts extra stress on the sacroiliac and lower back joints and increases their pain.

Either side of the spine

Next on the list is the pain the runs up and down the back “either side of the spine”. This type of pain is usually due to grumpy back muscles. Anything that makes them work harder will cause their irritation to increase. Any added weight at the front of our body will cause these muscles extra work as they are the ones that put the brakes on our body to stop it from falling forward. Just like the “across the belt line” pain, this type of pain does best without carrying in front of the body. Instead, (if possible) try holding even loads either side of your body.

One side only

Finally, there is the “one side only” back pain. This type of pain is often linked to muscle pain again, however it is slightly different. While we often think that carrying something on the opposite side of our body will help, it can often make things worse. When we carry something on the opposite side, the muscles on the same side work twice as hard to stop us from leaning over. In this type of pain it is actually best to carry the load on the same side as the pain to give those muscles a much needed break!

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