Media Release: Avoid World Cup ‘arm chair’ injuries with physiotherapy tips

SCOTS cheering on anyone but England at the World Cup could pick up a series of nigglesome injuries – despite barely moving a muscle.

Kirsten Lord, a leading physiotherapist who specialises in treating sport and stage performance injuries, says armchair supporters should use simple warm up and exercise movements to avoid the treatment table.

During a 20-year career, Kirsten has treated Olympic athletes and world-class golfers, as well as the cast of energetic West End shows, including Riverdance and Les Miserable.

However, increasingly the clients seeking treatment at her three Scottish physio centres are suffering problems brought on by long periods of inactivity – like sitting at desks or in cars.

She added: “People don’t just injure themselves through sport and exercise. Lack of exertion and spending long periods in the same position can be just as problematic.

“Supporters might think it sounds daft, but a few basic warm up and exercise routines can stop you from ending up with a cricked neck or a bad back that could cause pain and misery for weeks to come.”

Kirsten, founder of The Physio Centre ( which has two clinics in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow, says fans glued to the sofa or those with awkward viewing spots in crowded pubs are most at risk.

Just like Rio Ferdinand – who announced this week he was unable to play in the England squad due to injury – many could find themselves out of action.

She added: “Sitting for long periods of time in the same position can put huge strain on your back and neck.

“Goal celebrations can also cause problems because suddenly  jumping up and throwing your arms in the air can be a real jolt on the muscles and joints.

“The most important thing to remember is to move frequently – even if that means getting up to fetch another beer from the fridge or getting up to change channels rather than using a remote control.”

Just like the superstars of the football world, Kirsten would advise avid fans of the World Cup to warm up before each game.

She added: “Most people don’t pay attention to the players warming up on the pitch before kick off but taking their lead and doing a few stretches in the living room could really help prevent any long term problems.

“If aches or pains as a result of watching the World Cup don’t clear up within a day or two, you should see your physiotherapist.”

The team of physios and massage therapists at The Physiotherapy Centres treat spinal pain, chronic pain and sporting injuries – though according to a survey by The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) 40 per cent of Scottish workers say their physical pains are due to working in the same position for a long time.

Last month (May), Kirsten was a key speaker when the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) hosted its annual meeting in Edinburgh for the first time.

She has also been a speaker at seminars such as the National Physiotherapy Conference and the Annual British Institute of Musculoskeletal Medicine Conference.

Now she has provided a list of tips and hints to help armchair football fans avoid strains and injuries.

Pain Relief

1)     Armchair Exercise – stay limber during matches by occasionally rotating your arms, shoulder and ankles as well as making trips to the kitchen for refreshments and snacks.

2)     Stretched Neck – if sitting in the pub means stretching your neck to get a good view of the game, relaxing your shoulders and sitting up straight can help prevent aches after the match.

3)     Strained Voice – after shouting at the TV screen massage the muscles on the side of your mouth and temples to help keep your jaw loose to ensure your voice is ready for the next game.

4)     Limber Legs – at half time stand up to stretch your legs by performing simple exercises such as gently pulling your foot and toes up with legs straight and hold for 10 seconds.

Light Relief

1)     Thumb Control – avoid any cramps on your channel flicking finger by flexing and extending the thumb several times to warm it up before any serious TV surfing

2)     Goal Celebration Regime – relax jaw and open mouth wide, and then slowly sink to knees while raising arms above head. Hold for a few seconds before waving arms around then stand back up straight and loosen off by jogging around the living room a few times.

3)     Mexican Wave – Every time a free kick is given for the supporting team, start a Mexican Wave with the people in the pub/living room to keep blood pumping through the body.

4)    Lip Puckering Exercise – Pucker up your lips for a Laurent Blanc/Fabien Barthez good luck kiss by perfecting your pertest pout! Push out lips and pucker up, advance towards a window and slowly press lips against it before sucking hard – raise legs up behind you and hold for a count of ten before lowering legs and remember to wipe the window afterwards

Press release issued on behalf of the Physiotherapy Centre by public relations agency, the Holyrood Partnership.

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