Published on December 25, 2016
It’s that wonderful time of the year, when snow falls and Christmas carols play in every store in town. Office parties, family dinners, shopping, drinking, eating, snuggling under the blankets to watch your favorite Christmas movies. The holiday season is full of celebration and fun, but the stress that comes with entertaining, attending social engagements, travelling and shopping can create added tension in your muscles causing back and neck pain.
In order to avoid injuries or aggravating your existing conditions, here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy spine while you enjoy this jolly season:
Keep an eye on your posture. If you are going to be spending long periods of time standing, such as when you cook or in line at a store, shift your weight from one side to the other often. When possible, raise one foot on a step stool to relieve pressure on your back. When cooking, make sure not to crouch down on the counter, but rather that the working surface is elevated. Don’t speak on the phone while cooking or wrapping gifts since holding the phone between your ear and your shoulder can cause added muscle stress. Keeping a good posture while sitting is just as important. If you are going to be sitting for long periods of time, travelling by car or plane, consider using some type of lumbar support. It can be something as sophisticated as a portable lumbar roll, or as simple as a rolled up towel or blanket.
Don’t do the heavy lifting. When shopping, don’t try to carry everything at once. Opt for making several trips back and forth to or from the car to load and unload bags. For the heavy purchases, don’t be shy to ask for help from the sales clerk.
Shopping can be a marathon. Shopping during the holidays can feel like running a marathon; wear comfy shoes and take breaks. At the end of the day, take a hot shower to release tension from your muscles.
The tree. The gorgeous tradition of selecting the best looking Christmas tree and gathering with the family to decorate it can put a damper on your holiday season before it even begins. Get some help both loading and unloading the tree to and from the car. When decorating, get someone to spot you while you are standing on the ladder to avoid falling.
Travel on wheels. If you are traveling, opt for suitcases on wheels and when lifting it to load onto the car or onto the weighing stations at the airport counter, lift with your legs, not your back by bending your knees and keeping your back straight. Do not twist your body while lifting, but keep facing the object at all times.
Watch what you eat. The holiday season is a hard time of the year to watch your weight, but eating excessively and gaining weight can exacerbate back pain. Try to eat healthier during “non-holiday meals” as to compensate for the extra calories you’ll be eating during office parties and family gatherings.
Don’t wrap yourself in gift wrapping. When gift wrapping your holiday gifts, choose a flat surface that is at waist level or a bit higher so you don’t find yourself bending uncomfortably to get all your holiday shopping wrapped.