Sometimes it doesn’t quite feel like that, does it? Holiday shopping, cooking, wrapping, decorating and traveling can wreak havoc on our backs, necks and spines. Pushing outside our comfort zones and normal limits sometimes means our bodies just can’t keep up. Take a few precautions and keep your body working in good condition so you can actually enjoy the most wonderful time of the year!
Decorating - Whether you chop down your own tree, scale ladders for the brightest house on the block or simply bring out a few boxes from storage, you need to take it slowly and lift properly by bending at your hips and knees to squat down to the box, keep it close to your body, and straighten your legs to lift. Never attempt to lift by bending forward. And remember, always recruit help if needed.
Shopping - Some people love pounding the pavement for holiday deals, and if that’s you, make sure you heed your mother’s advice: “Wear sensible shoes!” Shoes with proper support and cushioning to absorb the impact of all the walking will help you actually enjoy your outings. Leave that heavy shoulder bag at home and make sure you stay hydrated (with water) and take a break every 45 minutes.
Wrapping Gifts - Maybe you love it, or maybe you dread it. Wrapping gifts is inevitable this time of year. Be gentle with your back and neck by alternating positions during a wrap-a-thon (wrap one gift at a counter, another while sitting in a chair, etc). Always stretch after you wrap and take frequent breaks.
Cooking - Holiday food traditions are some of the most fun for families and friends. If you find yourself part of the kitchen crew, take a few precautions. Purchase a rubber mat for your sink and prep area. When standing in one place for a long period of time, consider purchasing a footstool that you can raise one foot on. This will help flex your hip and reduce the compression on the nerves resulting in less discomfort. If you find yourself hunched over your cutting board, raise it to a level where you are not straining your back. Most importantly, don’t do it all yourself! Recruit friends and family to join in with the cooking tasks, and you’ll create more memories!
Traveling - Whether you go by car or plane, hours upon hours of sitting is not good for anyone. Pay attention to your posture and take frequent breaks to stretch and walk around.
The doctors at NewSouth Neurospine wish you the best and safest holiday season!