Can watching football cause back pain? Absolutely!! Here’s a guide to how to avoid getting (especially lower) back pain when watching “the beautiful game”.
Sitting for long periods (90 minutes is too long) is associated with lower back pain. Alcohol will only numb the pain temporarily, but you’ll wake up the next day thinking “why is my back (and head) so sore?”. Sitting is a postural stress and there’s a good chance that sitting still (especially if you’re tense) will set off an old pain – or start a new one! Walking up and down in front of the TV/big screen would help.
Don’t stay up late
Lack of sleep makes it more difficult for your body to self-regulate, and acts as a stressor on your nervous system, making it more likely you’ll push yourself into the pain zone.
Don’t eat rubbish
Eating nutrient-deficient foods (e.g. crisps) means your body has to work harder at a time when you need it to be at its best (to support your team well). Use the World Cup period to join the players in optimum nutrition.
Don’t jump around when excited
Going from slumped on a sofa to leaping in the air is a great way to injure yourself – so if your team scores, turn to your fellow supporter, shake his or her hand and say in enthusiastic tones “Gee, isn’t that fantastic… that man just scored a goal – aren’t we the greatest team in the world cup!”
Don’t be tense
If your team is playing poorly, or the game is running close to the wire, try not to get anxious. Anxiety is a great trigger for muscle tension and old pain patterns. Perhaps prepare a mantra for these sorts of situations “It’s only a game; whatever happens, it’s all about taking part”.
Alcohol dehydrates you, so your tissues tend to be less-well oxygenated, meaning they are less able to cope if you assault them (by jumping around for instance). Or – at the very least – drink loads of water too!
We tend to copy others, so if they’re staying up late, drinking alcohol, slumping on sofas, being tense (e.g. shouting at the ref), and occasionally jumping around, it’s more likely that you will too.
Don’t be depressed if your team loses
Depression is linked to an increased incidence of pain. So, if your team loses, try to put on a happy face; don’t turn to drugs (including alcohol) which often exacerbate depression – unless they’re on prescription from your GP (best not to ask for prescription anti-depressants from your GP if your depression is purely a result of your team’s failure to progress).
So, in summary, if you want to minimise the risk of causing or aggravating back pain when watching football:
- Watch alone
- Don’t drink alcohol
- Eat salad and other highly nutritious foods
- Walk up and down while watching
- Sit up straight when sitting – don’t lean forwards
- Go to bed on time or early
- Relax – perhaps meditate at half-time?
- Celebrate in a reserved manner
- Cultivate a positive attitude
- Share this with your mates
Alternatively, you could ignore all this advice, have a great time with your mates, and just run the risk anyway ;-)
If you do hurt yourself, we are waiting on the sidelines to pick up the pieces. Give us a ring on 0131 221 1415 or drop me an email, and pleeeeease, if you do hurt yourself watching, do share it on our Facebook page – we all love a good laugh!!