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Managing Your Back Through Christmas

The holidays can be a time of both excitement and stress, particularly this year. If you are a sufferer of back pain, the last thing that you need is for a flair up over the festive period. With long To-Do lists, the strain of accomplishing it all can overshadow the enjoyment of the season. This year, think about planning ahead so you can get your list done with the minimum of pain. Here are 5 tips that will help you cope with the next few days and make you more comfortable.

Tip 1: Organise Your Shopping

Back and leg pain, including sciatica, may make managing the supermarket difficult if not impossible during the busy shopping season. Consider online shopping if you can get a delivery slot (most of the supermarkets offer it now) to avoid the lifting and twisting involved. If you haven’t done it, it’s a revelation. Or if this isn’t your thing, then take someone with you to spread the load.

Of course if you are at your computer surfing the sale sites then, regularly take a break, as sitting is pretty damaging too.

Tip 2: Plan Ahead before Cooking

If you are catering for a full house, prepare as much food as you can ahead of time. Give yourself a break whilst chopping/standing still by setting up your work station with a stool to perch on. This will really help. The key thing is not to be in one position for too long. At meal time, get everyone to help serve, carry and clean up. After all Christmas is a family occasion.

Tip 3: Make decorating a Group Activity

Don’t do it all by yourself. This is especially important when moving or lifting heavy or awkward objects, like putting up the Christmas tree or lights. Make it a team effort, this way, you will avoid repetitive reaching and twisting in a way that will add stress to your back.

Tip 4: Take Care of Yourself

The holiday season can be so busy that you lose your eating, activity or exercise routine. DON’T DO IT. Just because it’s Christmas, it doesn’t mean your exercises, mobilisers have a break too. Maybe the high intensity exercise can be reduced, but don’t stop everything. Stretching and mobilising will significantly reduce the risk of back or neck strain.

Continue to eat 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 coping strategies place before you start the rounds of parties. Have you ever considered the implications of “inflammatory foods” on the incidence of back pain. Don’t eat things that will inflame or bloat you, as this will compromise the gut and inhibit muscular control in the abdominal region and back muscles…. Leading to increased stress to the back

Here is my bar humbug example list of how to cope at eating times:

  • On the days that you're celebrating, eat breakfast to prevent overeating later in the day. Perhaps even carry a healthy snack with you

  • During the day, fill up your plate with low-calorie foods such as vegetables, leafy green salads and lean proteins.

  • Don’t stand within arm’s reach of the sweet bowl

  • If you want a high-calorie food, take only a little—enough to taste but not overdo it.

Tip 5: Look Ahead

As you look ahead to 2020, consider simple ways to improve your back or neck pain. It can be as easy as setting a goal to add regular movement breaks to your day. You can sign up for that yoga/pilates reformer class you have been talking about for a while. Alternatively, maybe 2021 is the time for that new mattress or pillow.

Lots of food for thought there. If you are struggling with your back and need to have a helping hand into the New Year, then we at Drummond have a team of specialists that can work with you to alleviate those aches.

Wishing you a pain free Christmas and a Happy New Year

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