The holiday season is a great time of the year, and some might even say it is the best time of year, but with all the holiday fun and festivities can come a dark side to the holidays. I’m talking about the annual holiday back pain incident so many people suffer from. Maybe it happens when you’re outside throwing the football with your kids, or maybe you’re trying to stash presents away in the attic and you’re lifting boxes in an awkward position. Regardless of the mechanism which causes the pain, back pain can simply ruin just about anyone’s holiday festivities. Here’s five tips to avoid getting that nasty holiday back pain.
- Sleeping Better – While you’re buying friends and family gifts this holiday season, why not buy your back a gift too? We spend a third of our lives sleeping. If our mattresses are not up to par the chances of having back pain are greatly increased. Go for a mattress on the firmer side. Use lots of pillows for extra support and avoid sleeping on your stomach.
- Ergonomics – The holiday season may go from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, but that doesn’t mean you have that time off from work. Actually, most people work extra hard during this season to meet their year-end goals and get their jobs done before the break. Pay attention to your ergonomics. How you sit and work on the phone or computer all day will determine whether or not you develop back pain. Your screen should be at eye level and your back should be supported with a lumbar support.
- Mind How You Lift – Lifting is one of those things we all know we should be careful when doing. The problem comes when we actually lift something, hardly anyone takes the time to do it properly. Your back should not be the main muscle group used when lifting anything. Make sure the objects you are going to lift are as close to your body as possible. You can then do a squat lift if possible. Squat down, wrap your arms around the object, and stand up using your legs.
- Exercise – Exercise has been proven time and time again to clear up that nagging back pain. Choose exercises which put your back through a full range of motion. If exercising hurts then consider swimming. Taking gravity and your bodyweight out of picture reduces the stresses on your back. Brisk walking for 30 to 45 minutes everyday gets the blood pumping and reduces back pain. Get out there and move your body.
- Try Yoga – If you don’t want to do yoga then at least stretch, but yoga is great because it focuses us newbies on exactly how to stretch our backs. The muscles surrounding our spine can shorten and become prone to injury and irritation. By stretching these muscles we can lessen the risk of injury and yoga is a great, regimented, way to do that. Whether you’re stretching or using yoga to do the same thing, don’t give up. It takes time to see results from stretching the muscles in the back. But now is a great time to set a New Year’s resolution to stretch and strengthen your back.