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15 January 2019 Abigail Park and Annie Johansen

Have you ever noticed that January brings not just the blues and empty wallets, but more often than not a nagging ache in your back? While the customary cold is common place once you stop and rest, a lot of people are starting to notice that so is back ache.

Our fast paced lives mean that often it’s only when we take time off that we start to listen to our bodies, and they normally respond by falling apart. Lack of routine, including the way in which we move our body changes drastically over Christmas; from a month of rushing around, shopping, parties and celebrations to a week of eating, sitting and washing dishes. It’s no wonder the muscles in our backs can’t cope. 

With many people skipping their regular exercise classes and forgetting to take the time to stretch, our bodies tighten up. Added to this; family dramas, travelling and beds that aren’t our own, muscles can tighten considerably. 

But all is not lost. Instead of punishing your body more with diets and harsh New Year’s resolutions, how about taking care of your back. Here are some ideas which should help get your back, back on track:

  • Move little and often if your back has seized up, bed rest is outdated advice and means the muscles will lock into spasm.
  • Stretch daily.
  • Enjoy a bath with magnesium salts.
  • Start Yoga or Pilates if you don’t already do so.
  • Book back into your regular exercise classes and make sure you prioritise these.
  • Using a massage ball or a massage roller, self massage on the legs and glutes can help ease lower back ache, which is often cause by tight hip flexors, quads, hamstrings and glutes.
  • Try yoga stretches that focus on glutes, quads and piriformis as these can help with back ache. 
  • If you can afford it, book a massage or an appointment with a chiropractor or acupuncturist. 
  • Walk instead of drive for short distances.

Good luck, and remember to keep mobile! 

Annie, Abi and the team at Chew Valley Wellbeing.

Abigail Park and Annie Johansen are co-founders of Chew Valley Wellbeing Centre.