For many, the holidays can present a bit of a paradox. On the one hand, the holiday season is typically associated with joy and generosity and is considered by many a time that brings out the best in everyone. On the other hand, many confide that the colder weather, numerous parties to commemorate the season, and pressure to come up with an appropriate amount of gifts can contribute to elevated stress levels unique to this time of year. Under these circumstances, it is not uncommon for people to experience increased levels of back pain during the holidays. While holiday stressors will be different for everyone, here are a few tips to try and keep back pain out of this time of year.
While this sounds like very common advice during the colder times of the year, how well you regulate your body temperature during the winter can have a significant bearing on possible back pain. If your body thinks it is not receiving enough warmth, it will naturally draw more blood to the center of the body in an attempt to support the vital organs that rest there. If this occurs over a prolonged period of time, this reduced circulation in other parts of your body may lead to stiffness and soreness. Make sure you are wearing enough layers and that your bed has enough blankets for the night.
Equip for the Season
Winter brings unique environmental hazards that can open opportunities for injury. With the cold can come ice and snow. Slips and falls will undoubtedly contribute to a back pain problem. Because sure footing is so essential in these situations, you may want to consider having winter boots with thick treads specifically for this season. Doing winter chores like shoveling the walk will naturally become safer, but even casual activities like walking to the mailbox or across a wet parking lot can use an extra layer of precaution. Another modification some people consider is equipping their vehicle with tires especially suited for snow. Highly specialized, but if the driving is particularly treacherous in your area the benefits might be worth research into the matter.
For many, the holidays can contain many social obligations. Perhaps you have holiday parties or get-togethers to attend. Alternatively, maybe you have gift shopping that needs to get done. You may even have a holiday dinner you have to put together before guests arrive. As these activities pile up, it can become challenging to map everything out, but planning ahead can keep you safer in the long run. If you find yourself running behind this can open yourself up to back pain from mistakes and stress. If you are traveling or walking hurriedly under icy conditions, even with proper clothing and equipment, you increase your risk of accident and injury. If you find yourself with a formidable stack of presents that need wrapping, being hunched over the task for a couple of hours can produce considerable soreness in your neck and back. Similarly cooking a large meal over a long period may force you into inadvertently poor posture as the session goes on. If you plan out enough time for yourself, you minimize risk and keep yourself calmer and more relaxed.
Give and Receive Help
At this time of year, some advise that it is better to give than to receive. There are some who place a definite corollary between helping others and improved mental health and satisfaction. While it may sound corny to some, genuinely getting into the holiday spirit through charitable activities and time with friends and family can reduce stress and promote healthy positive feelings, which in turn can ease back pain and other physical ailments. More practically, if you are engaging in physical activities like shoveling the walk, decorating your home, or even lifting heavy gifts, getting some assistance can reduce the possibility of injury or similar mishap. If your decorating requires a ladder then having someone help spot is a highly prudent choice.
Stay Active, Stay Healthy
As the weather gets colder and holiday sweets become highly accessible, there may be a tendency to scale back physical activity and exercise. After all, ‘tis the season, right? However, it is important to remember that the reason many of us exercise in the first place throughout the year is to feel good and keep our bodies healthy. Suddenly ceasing this upkeep is going to have a predictable result. If you can keep moving around or workout in your home, you might consider keeping it in your schedule. If you exercise outdoors, icy roads can certainly introduce some peril to your jogging route. You may want to look into indoor track options or an athletic club/gym that can keep you moving throughout the holiday season. Also, while it can be hard to resist, putting limits on yourself ahead of time when it comes to holiday sweets can make sure you do not inadvertently overindulge as the parties, and other festivities start to pick up.
The holidays mean something different to everyone. Hopefully, you are able to find some peace and a cause to celebrate at this time of year. One thing we can all agree on is that back pain is best left out of the festivities. Consider these tips, and consult your doctor or chiropractor if needed.