The holidays can be a time of excitement mixed with stress. For people with chronic back or neck pain, the strain of accomplishing your to-do list can overshadow the pleasure of the season. This year, plan ahead so you can get your holiday chores done with a minimum of pain.
Here are some tips for making these next few weeks more enjoyable and comfortable.
Tip 1: Simplify Shopping
Back and leg pain, including sciatica, may make managing the mall difficult if not downright impossible during this busy shopping season. Options: pick up gift cards from your local drugstore or grocery store. You’ll be letting your family, and friends pick out items they truly want, while avoiding lifting and carry heavy shopping bags. Or, if you do want to buy personalized gifts, shop online. You can have the gifts shipped straight to your loved ones and friends, and avoid long lines at the post office.
Tip 2: Plan Ahead Before Cooking
Having a big crowd over? Prepare as much as you can ahead of time. Pies can be done the day before and you can chop onions and celery for stuffing days in advance. Before you start cooking, take a look at your kitchen. Is there a place you can sit while chopping? If not, use the living room for some tasks. If you are using a high counter top, lean on it often for 10 to 15 seconds at a time to take some pressure off your back.
Don’t get stuck in any one position for too long. If you forget, set your timer to remind you to sit down, rest, or stand up.
Tip 3: Making Decorating a Group Activity
Don’t try decorating by yourself. This is especially important when you’re moving heavy or cumbersome objects or putting up the Christmas tree. Get someone to help you, so one person can hand lights and ornaments to the other person to hang. This way, you’ll avoid repetitive reaching or twisting in a way that adds stress to your back.
Tip 4: Take Care of Yourself
The holidays can be so busy that you may be tempted to give up on your regular eating and exercise routine. Don’t do it—you need to strengthen and stretch your body with exercise no matter how hectic things get. Stretching can help you stay limber and reduce your risk of back or neck strain. If you don’t have time for your regular exercise routine, don’t give it up altogether. Try breaking exercise up into smaller chunks of time throughout the day.
Continue to eat regular, healthy meals. Gaining weight can make back pain worse. Keeping on track with healthy eating isn’t always easy during the holidays, so have some strategies in place before you start the round of holiday parties.
Tip 5: Look Ahead
As you look ahead to the coming year, consider simple ways to improve your back or neck pain. It can be as easy as setting a goal to add a 5- to 15-minute walking break to your day. For more information, or to make 2019 pain free, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in South Kingstown, RI.