Can Euro 2012 Damage Your Health?

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June back pain forecast: Rise in strain injuries expected following prolonged sofa slouching and aggressive cheering during Euro 2012

With 31 Euro 2012 games equating to a whopping TWO DAYS of watching football on TV (not including pre and post match commentary and extra time of course), there has never been a better excuse to be a couch potato.

But beware – too much sitting, and in particular too much sitting in the wrong position, can lead to a whole host of back and neck problems.  In fact, the British Osteopathic Association (BOA) is anticipating a significant rise in back strain injuries because slouching on the sofa for lengthy periods of time can increase pressure on a persons back and spine by 120 per cent.

Michael Walker, a member of the BOA, says:  “Britain will soon have every excuse to loll around on the sofa for hours on end as the drama of Europe 2012 unfolds in Poland and Ukraine.  However, sitting for lengthy periods of time puts too much strain on the spine and vertebrae and causes a lot of muscle fatigue and joint strain.”

“If you’ve been sitting still for any length of time and then you suddenly become active, for example leaping out of your chair to celebrate a goal, you are literally using muscles which have ‘gone to sleep’. This can leave you susceptible to joint stiffness and muscle tightness later on if you continue to repeat this activity.”

To take pressure off your back, Michael advises getting up and walking about the room every 20 minutes or so. Using a straight-backed dining chair instead of the sofa can be beneficial too but if you prefer the couch, support your back properly with a cushion or two.  Michael continues:  “If you sit on a cushion so it raises you up slightly this will place less strain on your back.”

Tips for avoiding back pain during Euro 2012:

  • Don’t put your drink on the table behind you – you’re at risk of straining yourself when you turn to get it
  • Do sit straight in front of the TV – if you are off to one side you’ll be twisted and this might cause you pain
  • Get up regularly, walk around and get a breath of fresh air when the advert breaks come on – use sky plus if you have it, press pause and have a rest
  • Make sure your spine is supported properly – if your sofa is too soft change it now if you plan to spend a lot of time on it
  • Flat screen TV’s are usually mounted in a high position these days – it should be in the right eye line to reduce risks to neck strain, headaches, eye strain and back strain

Symptoms that can arise from too much lounging on the sofa:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Eye Strain
  • Muscle fatigue, cramps and stiffness
  • Muscle strain
  • Sluggish Bowels
  • Poor circulation
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