‘Tis the season for eating great food, spending quality time with loved your ones and sharing cherished traditions. Unfortunately, all of the hustle and bustle can also bring you an unwelcome gift—back pain. Holiday activities such as shopping, wrapping gifts and skating can cause your muscles to work in ways they’re not usually used and can result in neck, shoulder or back pain.
Try these five tips to reduce your chances of pain and strain:
1. Ergonomic Gift Wrapping
After searching high and low for the perfect gifts, it’s time to wrap them up! Rather than spreading out on the floor, use a dinner table or desk. This will make it easier for you to use good posture. Just remember that sitting in one position for too long can put additional strain on your body. Take frequent breaks and stretch your hands, wrists and forearms by clenching your hands and relaxing.
2. Strain-Free Snowman
Building your very own Frosty the Snowman is top of mind for many children once snow falls. Roll your snowballs into place and work together as a team to lift them when you’re ready. And remember, rule number one is to lift with your legs, not your back!
3. Lift Light to Shovel Right
When shoveling your driveway, let your legs and arms do the heavy lifting instead of relying on your back, and push the snow to one side to avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — face your snowbank and throw the snow straight into it.
4. Stretch, Skate and Snowboard
It’s time to sharpen your skates and grab your snowboards! Prevent injuries by stretching before and after you hit the slopes or ice. A basic go-to is the hamstring stretch. Stand tall next to something you can hold on to for support. Prop the back of one heel up on a surface like a stair, curb or bench and pull your toes back towards you. For a deeper stretch, bend forward slightly at the hips. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds on each side.
5. Boxing Day Shopping
Attention, discount shoppers! Carrying all those bags of sale items may be great for your wardrobe but not for your back. A trip to your car to drop off your bags can lighten the load. If that’s not reasonable, take breaks and set your bags down or use a backpack to help distribute the weight.
Want more advice on how to beat your back, neck and shoulder pain so you can do the things you love to do? Visit your chiropractor!
To find a chiropractor near you, use the chiropractor locator on our website. In Ontario, you can visit a chiropractor without a referral from a doctor, nurse practitioner or other health care professional. If you already have a chiropractor and/or another health care professional, join our Partnership4BetterHealth online patient advisory community. Then, you can share your ideas on how to enhance chiropractic services and make a positive impact on our health care system. It’s confidential, free, and always your choice to participate.