If you live with back pain, the holidays may not be the most wonderful time of the year for you. From lifting and carrying heavy shopping bags, boxes of decorations, and packages, to holiday stress that may exacerbate your back pain, this time of year can become (physically) painful. We want you to enjoy this holiday season with as little back pain as possible, so we’ve made a list of ways to avoid holiday back pain!
As the holidays and the first day of winter draw nearer, your chances of experiencing or worsening your back pain are increased due to various factors. You’re likely trying to figure out how you can avoid holiday back pain, and staying active is one of these ways. While cold weather doesn’t directly cause back pain, you may become less active during this time of year. Whether this is due to the lack of sunlight or because it’s simply too cold to go out, lack of exercise can cause your muscles to become tighter and lose flexibility.
This puts you at higher risk for hurting your back, but it is avoidable. If your only option for exercise is outdoors, try layering your clothing so you can stay warm. Another option is to modify your workout routine so you can do it from the comfort of your home. If you have the space for it, you may even want to create a small workout area.
The holidays may also encourage you to give up on your normal exercise routine for a bit, but your body needs to stay active. Exercise is one of the best ways to keep your back healthy and strong so you can avoid holiday back pain. Further, in order to avoid workout-related back pain, don’t forget to stretch before each workout and focus your routine on strengthening your core.
Use Proper Lifting, Bending, and Twisting Techniques
There are a lot of activities that can lead to back pain or injury during the holidays, like putting up lights, lifting heavy boxes of decorations, carrying heavy packages, wrapping presents, and more. Using proper lifting techniques, you can avoid holiday back pain that could be caused by these activities.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
- When lifting a heavy object, lift with your legs rather than your back, and keep the object as close to your body as possible.
- When using a stepladder, wear appropriate shoes and have someone else there to steady you.
- If you feel you need help lifting something particularly heavy, ask for help.
- Wrap presents on a countertop or table instead of the floor, which may force you into awkward positions that can hurt your back.
Hopefully, these tips will help you avoid it, but if you strain or injure your back during the holidays, get help as soon as possible or it may turn into a more serious injury.
Mind Your Eating Habits
Just like it’s common to give up on your exercise routine during the holidays, it’s also common to overeat and gain weight. If your goal is to avoid holiday back pain, you’ll want to avoid these habits.
Extra weight increases the strain on your spine, increasing your risk of back pain. Sugary foods, dairy products, refined grains, red meat, and processed foods can all cause inflammation, leading to back pain. It’s best to focus on foods that promote spine health. You should also avoid excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol, which causes back pain as well. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is important too. Remember that drinking water keeps your spinal discs hydrated and healthy, keeping your spine strong.
When you cook, it’s also important to be mindful of how you’re working. Cooking, especially for a large group, often forces you into awkward postures while preparing your ingredients, leading to back pain. Even just standing on the hard floor of your kitchen for long periods can cause pain.
Getting a padded mat for your kitchen that you can stand on while cooking will help minimize the strain on your spine and reduce your chance of back pain. Changing up where your posture while working by alternating between sitting and standing will also help you avoid holiday back pain.
Change Up Your Shopping Habits
While many of us are likely choosing online shopping for holiday gifts, those who choose to visit stores in person may find it difficult to avoid holiday back pain. However, even if you prefer to do your shopping in person rather than online, you have options.
Carrying around heavy bags from store to store can cause back pain, but picking up gift cards from your loved ones’ favorite stores avoids this. You may even be able to find all the gift cards you need in place, like your local grocery or drug store.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this section, online shopping is also an option that will allow you to avoid lifting and carrying heavy shopping bags. You can even have gifts shipped directly to loved ones that are far away, avoiding the need to carry heavy boxes to the post office and wait in long lines. You may even be able to have online purchases gift-wrapped before they’re delivered to you, so they’ll be ready to go and you can avoid gift wrapping back pain.
Manage Your Stress
While there are a number of physical ways to hurt your back during the holidays, holiday stress can also play a role. Because of this, if you want to avoid holiday back pain, you’ll want to avoid getting too stressed out.
Although the holidays can get busy, try to make time to rest, relax, and go for a walk, bike ride or whatever low impact exercise helps you relax. Try to maintain your normal sleep schedule as well in order to avoid fatigue that can lead to back pain as well. We also have some tips for getting a good night’s rest with back pain, if this is something that stops you from getting a full night’s rest.
The Discseel® Procedure Can Help You Avoid Holiday Back Pain!
If your back or neck has lasted longer than 6 months or seems to suggest a serious issue, it may be time for you to look for a new option. You may be a candidate for the Discseel® Procedure. The Discseel® Procedure is non-surgical, minimally invasive, and known to treat annular tears, the cause of most spine issues.
If you’re ready to get relief from your back or neck pain with a treatment that won’t limit your mobility, apply for the Discseel® Procedure today and find out if you’re a candidate for this procedure that has helped so many people get back to living a life without pain.