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Tom Selleck health: ‘My back’s kind of messed up’ – how his career damaged his body

Tom Selleck discusses starring in Blue Bloods

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“You know, my back’s kind of messed up,” Tom Selleck shared to CBS. “When you do stunts in movies – I do a lot of them – you’re taking a risk, but you’re also sitting around a lot.” The actor elaborated: “So you might do a fight scene, and then you sit in your chair. And it’s not like you have a personal trainer saying, ‘Okay, we’re ready to go, but Tom needs 10 minutes of stretching and warm-up’.

“You just see the price of stunts. They weren’t that hard, but I think it’s the stop-and-go of all that stuff.”

Without taking the time to warm-up and cool-down following any type of physically demanding role, you are at risk of injury.

Experts at The Physio Company, London, explained: “Generally, a warm-up should always include some low-intensity aerobic exercise, stretching and activity specific drills.”

A warm-up helps increase oxygenated blood flow to the muscles, improving the muscle’s readiness to start working and contracting.

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Moreover, a warm-up increases body temperature thereby improving muscle and tendon flexibility and joint lubrication.

Generally, people are advised to warm up for about 10 to 20 minutes to adequately prepare the body.

Warm-up examples:

  • Easy jogging
  • Dynamic stretching, e.g. leg swings.

Equally as important as the warm-up is the cool-down process which will require “very light aerobic activity and static stretching”.

Examples include walking, which can help the body return to its baseline temperature in addition to aiding oxygen delivery to the muscles for faster recovery.

“This will help to rid the muscles of lactic acid and other chemicals built up throughout the exercise,” the experts noted.

A cool-down should also last anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes, which can include holding calf and hamstring stretches.

If, like Selleck, you don’t take time to prepare your body for exercise and to stretch out afterwards, your back could end up messed up too.

The International Spine Institute confirmed that not warming up or cooling down is a “mistake that [can] cause back pain”.

How to ease back pain

The NHS recommends remaining active, which is something Selleck is keen on doing.

“I love what I do, and I want to keep doing it,” he told CBS about his demanding role on Blue Bloods.

Another way to address back pain is to take anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen.

Take note that paracetamol, on its own, is not recommended for the easing of back pain.

Then there’s the option of cold and heat therapy; the former involves placing an ice pack, wrapped in a tea towel, on the painful area.

Heat therapy, on the other hand, could mean taking a hot, steamy bath to help relieve pain.

“Try doing some exercises and stretches for back pain,” the NHS added, which is best recommended by a physiotherapist.

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