The below tips are useful throughout the whole year!
The holidays can be a time of excitement among stress. For people with chronic back or neck pain, the struggles of accomplishing your to-do list can overshadow the pleasure of the season. This year, plan ahead so you can get your holiday chores and festivities done with minimum pain.
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Here are 5 tips from RestoraLife to make this holiday season more enjoyable and comfortable.
Tip 1: Simplify Holiday Shopping
Back and leg pain, including sciatica, may make managing the mall difficult if not downright impossible during this busy shopping season. Why not 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.
If you do want to buy personalized gifts, shop online. You can have the gifts shipped straight to your loved ones, and avoid long lines at the post office. Alternatively, have online purchases gift-wrapped and delivered to you, so you can hand them to friends and family in person.
Tip 2: Plan Ahead Before Cooking Meals
Having a big crowd over? Prepare as much as you can ahead of time. For instance, 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, why not use the living room for some tasks like snapping green beans? 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. At the meal itself, let your guests assist you with serving and clean up so don’t put too much stress on your body.
Tip 3: Make 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 making the rounds at holiday parties.
• On the day you’re going to a party, eat breakfast and have plenty of water to prevent overeating later in the day.
• Once at the party, fill up your plate with low-calorie foods such as vegetables, leafy green salads and lean proteins. Drink more water.
• Don’t stand within arm’s reach of munchies like chips or cookies.
• If you want a high-calorie food, take only a little—enough to taste but not overdo it.
• If you’re going to indulge yourself, choose something you don’t usually eat, like a piece of your aunt’s special pie that you only get to taste once a year.
Tip 5: Look Ahead
As you look ahead to the new 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. You can sign up for that exercise class you’ve been thinking about. Alternatively, maybe this is the year to finally replace that old mattress.