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The Scottish Chiropractic Association offers its top tips for having a happy Christmas:

Keep it Simple:
To avoid stress, headaches and neck or back pain, ensure that your expectations of Christmas are realistic. Resist the notion of perfection: there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas, despite what the “family around the fireside” adverts imply. Opt instead for a relaxed atmosphere in which everyone shares tasks and agrees that “good enough” is the yardstick.

Revisit Christmas Past:
As more and more people suffer from back problems, we need to proactively move away from our sedentary habits. Encourage the whole family to take Christmas walks (they might even enjoy it!). Give children and young people Christmas presents which will prompt everyone to be more active: skipping ropes, space hoppers, hula hoops, Frisbees, balls etc.

To avoid undue strain on your spine you should
•Warm up before you start with stretches
•Balance the weight of shopping bags evenly in each hand or use a shopping trolley – these are fashionable for all ages now!
•Have a break regularly and keep hydrated
•Use mail-order or home delivery services where possible
•Where sensible, flat, supportive shoes
•Do several small trips rather than one large over-loaded trip

Everything in Moderation:
Eating and drinking:
Drink plenty of water, avoid excessive eating or drinking as both of these impact negatively on your health and well-being. Nearly a third of Britons have injured themselves so badly while drunk that they have had to seek medical help**.

Sitting glued to the television for prolonged periods may cause your spine to go into spasm. Move around and stretch regularly. Ensure your chair has good spinal support and that you are not slouching.

Gaming and Electronic Gadgets:
Officially Britain’s most popular pastime now, a range of persistent back and neck problems has emerged from these screen-based activities. If sedentary, you should take regular breaks and move around. If using a Wii, warm-up exercises will help to avoid injury. Repetitive strain injury from text messaging, using Blackberries and iPod use are increasingly common. Ensure that teenagers do not spend prolonged periods at any of these activities – they need to exercise and move around too!


Chiropractic is a primary health-care profession that specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and overall management of conditions that are due to problems with the joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves of the body, particularly those of the spine. Chiropractors focus on the relationship between the structure and function of the human body, primarily coordinated by the nervous system. Treatment consists of a wide range of techniques designed to improve the function of the nervous system, relieving pain and muscle spasm and improving overall health.

*Survey by mental health charity Mind.
**British Chiropractic Association survey.

Lara Cawthra is a Chiropractor in Camberley, Surrey and member of the Scottish Chiropractic Association.. She has been a chiropractor since 1996 and is one of the few chiropractors in the UK with formal training in Paediatrics