It’s the holiday season! The holidays are often fun and inviting, but they can also be an extremely busy and stressful time for others. It’s important to remember self-care routines during this time so you can enjoy the holidays stress and pain free. As we ramp up towards Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa, here’s a few unexpected holiday activities that could trigger back pain.

  1. Decking the Halls with Decorations: Americans tend to go all out with their holiday decorations; however, hanging Christmas lights, putting up Christmas trees and wrapping/unwrapping gifts have the potential to cause injuries such as twists/sprains and back pain if done improperly. Protect your back if you’re planning on climbing a ladder, bending, twisting, or swinging a hammer to attach decorations. Try stretching before and after. It’s important to warm up back muscles before jumping in and this can help avoid unnecessary back pain.
  2. Holiday Travel: Over 112M Americans travel to see family and friends during the holiday season. Long flights and car rides can be tough on your spine. On road trips, try to schedule breaks to get up and stretch out while on the plane, try to stand up a few times if it is possible. Your body will thank you upon your arrival to your destination.
  3. Prepare for Waiting in Lines Everywhere: Whether it’s the airport security line, the check-out at the grocery store or your favorite department store, be ready to queue up and wait on your feet. Standing for extended periods of time can put pressure on your back. To combat the pains of long lines, try these simple and subtle moves to add a diversity of movement: tie or retie your shoes, drop something non-fragile (a coin, your hat or scarf, etc.) and bend down to pick it up or take off or put on a coat, stretching in the process. If you don’t mind being obvious, stretch out in your line while you are waiting.
  4. Sleeping in Beds or on Couches: Heading to your parents for the holidays and still sleeping on a twin mattress from the 1970s or maybe you were assigned an air mattress? While the hospitality is appreciated and welcomed, try the following to help prevent back pain while sleeping in an unknown or unfamiliar environment: stretch before bed and right after you wake up, avoid caffeine or hard to digest food close to bedtime or come prepared with any sleep aids (eg essential oils, back supports, pillows, ear plugs, etc.)
  5. Disruption to your Exercise and Diet Routines: The holidays are filled with yummy treats and many reasons to stay inside. While you should enjoy this time of year for everything that it is, it is important to give your body what it needs such as regular exercises and a nutritious diet sprinkled with some holiday indulgences. By maintaining some parts of your routine, you’ll likely feel less stressed and enjoy the holidays even more.

Happy celebrating from the entire Kuether Brain and Spine team!