Christmas is like Marmite!

 

Christmas is like Marmite!
Over the years of working and meeting many wonderful patients it is clear that there are so many differing views and feelings about Christmas. From the very strong ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ views, to the tolerance and mildly enjoy feelings, all so dependent on each person’s circumstances.
Wherever you lay on the spectrum, it is rarely without its stresses and strains even for the most Christmas-tastic of us!
So I would like to offer some ideas to help you cope in mind and body with whatever this holiday season brings.
Coping with pain
Acute pain, or pain that has just happened; perhaps a sharp twinge in the back when lifting the turkey out of the oven or pulling a cork from a bottle, or a swollen joint after a slip on the ice. 
This type of pain can be helped by using the acronym RICE:
R for rest – reduce your activity for 48hrs, but don’t stop completely. Try some gentle movement little and often.
I for ice – use a cool pack wrapped in a cloth and apply to the area for 20 minutes, and use it 4 to 8 times a day. (No hot baths!).
C for compress – if it’s a swollen joint or area, using gentle compression will reduce swelling, eg a ‘tubigrip’ bandage.
E for elevate – if it’s a swollen limb try to raise it above the heart using a pillow or sling to help the circulation.
Taking over-the-counter pain relief, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen may help, but if the pain is serious, sickening or doesn’t subside, do seek further help.
Chronic pain, or pain that is long term and lasts longer than 3 months. Perhaps after an old injury that has never healed, degenerative changes, or pain from cancer or nerve damage.
This type of pain can be extremely wearing and debilitating. Causing sleep and appetite problems, muscular tension and low mood and energy.
For chronic pain, movement and activity is important within comfortable ranges. It stimulates circulation, bringing oxygen into the tissues which can help improve energy and muscle tension.
Use warmth and gentle massage, again to stimulate the circulation and promote healing, and you could try a TENS machine to help ‘scramble’ pain messages.
Try natural anti-inflammatory foods, such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, oily fish high in Omega 3, blueberries, and dark leafy greens, and cut down on food with high sugar and saturated fats.
Try to improve your posture, and avoid the ‘C-slump,’ which effectively closes up the front of the body and compresses organs, reduces blood and nerve flow and shortens all the anterior muscles. Keep your head directly over your spine and sit and stand tall!
For persistent pain, have a look at the ‘pain toolkit’ at www.paintoolkit.org for help understanding pain cycles, a downloadable pain kit app and self-help techniques.
For worries, anxiety and depression. Christmas can be an emotional time that really highlights difficulties, such as bereavement, separations and disagreements within families, loneliness, financial stress, and fatigue.
Balancing the demands of family, friends, obligations and perhaps coping on your own may lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, stress and tension. 
Here are some tips to try:
Do something different! If a traditional Christmas day fills you with dread, try a few days away, eat out, or try volunteering for a charity.
Eat and drink sensibly! Over eating and drinking will lower mood, exacerbate headaches and reduce energy.
Please yourself! Try to plan at least one thing that you will enjoy, and ignore the social pressure of what you should be doing! Plan a relaxing soak in the bath, a gentle walk, watch a favourite film or TV programme!
Use ‘Mindfulness’ techniques to help you feel grounded and in the present, rather than worrying about what has happened or what will be. Try these apps: www.headspace.com for easy 10 minute practises, or www.stopbreathethink.org for help with specific feelings. Learning to be mindful is a fantastic tool for dealing with chronic pain too.
Breathe! It sounds crazy, as we can all breathe, but with persistent pain or anxiety, our body gets stuck in a ‘fight or flight’ pattern of breathing. The body ‘upper rib breathes’ to get oxygen into the body quickly. This is great for an emergency situation, but a problem long term. Tension builds around the neck and shoulders from over use, and the diaphragm and lower ribs become tight from under use! 
To redress this balance, lie on your back with one hand on your upper chest and one hand on your tummy. Try to breathe into your lower hand and keep your upper hand still. So your tummy should rise with an in breath and fall with an out breath. It may take a bit of practise and feel very odd to begin with, but keep it up and you’ll really notice the difference in the release in your shoulders and the feeling of being clearer headed.
Practise this together with mindfulness and you’ll feel calmer and refreshed!
So however you feel about Christmas this year, whether you can’t wait or feeling building trepidation, I hope this will help a little in supporting you in mind and body.
I wish you a very happy and healthy Christmas.
If you need to get in touch over the holidays, although we are closed on Sundays and bank holidays, the phone is on at all other times, and I will regularly be checking emails. So please do get in touch. We can help you acheive all those New Years resolutions too!
Emma Wightman
Registered Osteopath
www.the-SOP.com
emma@the-SOP.com

Over the years of working and meeting many wonderful patients it is clear that there are so many differing views and feelings about Christmas. From the very strong ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ views, to the tolerance and mildly enjoy feelings, all so dependent on each person’s circumstances.


Wherever you lay on the spectrum, it is rarely without its stresses and strains even for the most Christmas-tastic of us!


So I would like to offer some ideas to help you cope in mind and body with whatever this holiday season brings.

Coping with pain


Acute pain, or pain that has just happened; perhaps a sharp twinge in the back when lifting the turkey out of the oven or pulling a cork from a bottle, or a swollen joint after a slip on the ice. 


This type of pain can be helped by using the acronym RICE:


R for rest – reduce your activity for 48hrs, but don’t stop completely. Try some gentle movement little and often.


I for ice – use a cool pack wrapped in a cloth and apply to the area for 20 minutes, and use it 4 to 8 times a day. (No hot baths!).


C for compress – if it’s a swollen joint or area, using gentle compression will reduce swelling, eg a ‘tubigrip’ bandage.


E for elevate – if it’s a swollen limb try to raise it above the heart using a pillow or sling to help the circulation.
Taking over-the-counter pain relief, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen may help, but if the pain is serious, sickening or doesn’t subside, do seek further help.


Chronic pain, or pain that is long term and lasts longer than 3 months. Perhaps after an old injury that has never healed, degenerative changes, or pain from cancer or nerve damage.


This type of pain can be extremely wearing and debilitating. Causing sleep and appetite problems, muscular tension and low mood and energy.


For chronic pain, movement and activity is important within comfortable ranges. It stimulates circulation, bringing oxygen into the tissues which can help improve energy and muscle tension.


Use warmth and gentle massage, again to stimulate the circulation and promote healing, and you could try a TENS machine to help ‘scramble’ pain messages.


Try natural anti-inflammatory foods, such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, oily fish high in Omega 3, blueberries, and dark leafy greens, and cut down on food with high sugar and saturated fats.


Try to improve your posture, and avoid the ‘C-slump,’ which effectively closes up the front of the body and compresses organs, reduces blood and nerve flow and shortens all the anterior muscles. Keep your head directly over your spine and sit and stand tall!


For persistent pain, have a look at the ‘pain toolkit’ at www.paintoolkit.org for help understanding pain cycles, a downloadable pain kit app and self-help techniques.


For worries, anxiety and depression. Christmas can be an emotional time that really highlights difficulties, such as bereavement, separations and disagreements within families, loneliness, financial stress, and fatigue.
Balancing the demands of family, friends, obligations and perhaps coping on your own may lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, stress and tension. 


Here are some tips to try:


Do something different! If a traditional Christmas day fills you with dread, try a few days away, eat out, or try volunteering for a charity.


Eat and drink sensibly! Over eating and drinking will lower mood, exacerbate headaches and reduce energy.
Please yourself! Try to plan at least one thing that you will enjoy, and ignore the social pressure of what you should be doing! Plan a relaxing soak in the bath, a gentle walk, watch a favourite film or TV programme!


Use ‘Mindfulness’ techniques to help you feel grounded and in the present, rather than worrying about what has happened or what will be. Try these apps: www.headspace.com for easy 10 minute practises, or www.stopbreathethink.org for help with specific feelings. Learning to be mindful is a fantastic tool for dealing with chronic pain too.


Breathe! It sounds crazy, as we can all breathe, but with persistent pain or anxiety, our body gets stuck in a ‘fight or flight’ pattern of breathing. The body ‘upper rib breathes’ to get oxygen into the body quickly. This is great for an emergency situation, but a problem long term. Tension builds around the neck and shoulders from over use, and the diaphragm and lower ribs become tight from under use! 


To redress this balance, lie on your back with one hand on your upper chest and one hand on your tummy. Try to breathe into your lower hand and keep your upper hand still. So your tummy should rise with an in breath and fall with an out breath. It may take a bit of practise and feel very odd to begin with, but keep it up and you’ll really notice the difference in the release in your shoulders and the feeling of being clearer headed.
Practise this together with mindfulness and you’ll feel calmer and refreshed!


So however you feel about Christmas this year, whether you can’t wait or feeling building trepidation, I hope this will help a little in supporting you in mind and body.


I wish you a very happy and healthy Christmas.


If you need to get in touch over the holidays, although we are closed on Sundays and bank holidays, the phone is on at all other times, and I will regularly be checking emails. So please do get in touch. We can help you acheive all those New Years resolutions too!

Comments (0)

Post a Comment (showhide)
* Your Name:
* Your Email:
(not publicly displayed)
* Security Image:
Security Image
Generate new
Copy the numbers and letters from the security image:
* Message:

Share this post:

Our Therapies & Services

The practice offers a range of healthcare options for patients seeking an alternative or complementary therapy to conventional methods.

Opening Hours

  • Monday - Friday
  • 9am - 6pm
  • Saturday
  • 9am - 1pm

Subscribe to our mailing list

Don't forget to visit our blogs page to read up on the latest news today!