Tis’ the season of family, celebration, lights, and festivities… and back pain, unfortunately. With hours of holiday travel crammed in tiny plane seats or piled in cars, time spent lifting heavy packages and decorations, and days sitting around in uncomfortable seats while visiting loved ones, it’s no surprise that reports of back pain increase dramatically this time of year. Stress only aggravates our spine more, making lower back pain flare up worse than ever.
Unfortunately, few of us have the time to deal with lower back pain during the holidays. Even on days off, we are too busy to lie down and rest. Instead, most of us simply suffer in silence. Luckily, there are some things you can do to prevent lower back pain from disrupting your holidays.
Five Things You Can Do to Prevent Lower Back Pain This Holiday Season
There are five simple things you can do today to prevent lower back pain this holiday season.
1. Get creative with ergonomic seating (and minimize the time you spend in even the best-designed chairs).
It’s always best to sit in supportive, ergonomically designed seats. Unfortunately, when you are visiting family or waiting in an airport, seating options may be limited. That’s why you’ve got to be creative about making them better for your posture. Bring a lumbar support and a neck pillow with you when you travel. Sit with a cushion in the small of your back. Readjust your posture regularly. Essentially, do whatever you can to improve the quality of the chair you are using at any time.
Of course, even the best chair can hurt your back after an extended period of time. That’s why it’s important to minimize your time seated by getting up and moving regularly. Stand up, stretch, and then walk around a bit to get the blood flowing. Sitting is the new smoking, so don’t make the habit worse during the holidays.
2. Keep up with your core strengthening exercises.
The best way to prevent back pain is to do core strengthening exercises on a daily basis. Too many people neglect this good habit while on holiday vacation–when you need the added support even more than ever. It’s always worth it to invest the extra fifteen minutes in the morning to do a full round of core strengthening exercises. Your back will stay strong and hurt you much less, no matter what the day holds.
3. Take extra care when performing activities that can strain your back.
Many holiday activities are hard on the back. Lifting heavy shopping bags, hanging lights while looking up for hours, standing in front of the stove in the same position while cooking a large family meal, and tensing up due to added stress are just some of the risky behaviors people do over the holidays, endangering their lower backs. Take extra care during all of these to reduce the impact of such work. Lift using your legs, not by bending over while practicing proper lifting technique. Sit and stand with proper posture. Get enough rest, and take regular breaks from strenuous activity. A little bit of prevention can go a long way in keeping you healthy.
4. Set aside time for yourself.
The holidays may be about family for many people, but that doesn’t mean that you suddenly don’t need time for yourself. You can’t afford not to give yourself a break to meditate and recenter yourself on a regular basis. Lower back pain can be caused by emotional fatigue and stress just as much as it can be tied to physical strain. You need to put yourself first and relax for at least a few minutes every single day.
5. Book an extra chiropractic visit.chiropractic care, adjustment
Of course, some holiday strain is impossible to avoid entirely. That’s where a chiropractic adjustment can help. An additional chiropractic visit can help prevent big problems before they occur by helping your body eliminate some of the damage to your back done by the holiday season. At Rosenberg Wellness Center, we make extra visits available to accommodate those people in pain throughout the month, so if you need care, we are here for you.
Ultimately, I enjoy the holidays here in New York City as much as anyone else, but I worry so much more about my patients this time of year. If you do these five simple things to prevent lower back pain, however, you’ll feel better–and avoid becoming another back pain statistic.