The Holidays Are Here – And So is Back Pain

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…unless you struggle with back pain. Between uncomfortable travel, hanging lights on the house, bending over to wrap presents, and spending hours on your feet in the kitchen, the holiday season can be a real Grinch on your back. Read on to find out which holiday activities are toughest on your back, how you can modify them, and what to do when your back pain becomes too much to handle.

Holiday Activities that can cause Back Pain

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Heavy luggage, uncomfortable, cramped seats, walking through airports the size of a small city – the hazards of holiday travel are many. That heavy luggage you’re lifting into the trunk, dragging through the airport, and shoving in an overhead bin can put a serious strain on your back.

The tiny, uncomfortable seats lead many people to sit with poor posture – hunched over their phones, laptops, and tablets, or tying themselves into knots to find a comfortable position to sleep. Not to mention the extended amount of time you’ll spend seated on a car or plane ride. All of this can put pressure on your spine, neck, and joints, and cause or worsen pain.

To minimize your potential travel woes, consider shipping presents ahead of time, checking your luggage instead of carrying it on, and bring a neck or lumbar pillow for the car or plane ride.

Holiday Decorating

As Clark Griswold knows, decorating your home for the holidays can be the best part of the season. However, lugging those heavy boxes of decorations down from the attic, reaching up to put lights on your roof or trees, and bending down to fluff branches or a tree skirt can all cause back pain. People are also more prone to accidents while decorating; climbing ladders poses a definite fall risk. Always make sure you are using a sturdy ladder, and never decorate alone. Ask a friend or family member to help with heavy lifting, spot you, and steady the ladder.

Shopping til you Drop

Just ask Santa – finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones can be exhilarating! But, all those heavy bags can weigh you down – and most people will tend to favor one shoulder when carrying their holiday packages. Increased pressure on your shoulders for an extended period (especially centered on one side) can cause muscle stiffness and joint pain. Moving, wrapping, and assembling those extra heavy items can even lead to a back injury – so use caution and ask for help!
Back Pain During the Holidays | Back Pain San Antonio | The PainSmith

Cookies for Santa

Those hours in the kitchen decorating cookies and making the perfect holiday meal can really take a toll on your back. Extended periods of standing, especially on unforgiving tile or cement floors, can lead to excess pressure on your back and joints.
It’s a good idea to wear shoes that are comfortable and supportive (hello memory foam slippers), stand on an ergonomic mat to help ease the pressure on your spine, and take breaks often to stretch your back, shoulders, and neck, ideally every 30 minutes.

Make this holiday season a joyful one by taking a few extra precautions to avoid back pain and injury. Take time for exercise and stretching, try to eat healthy (a few Christmas cookies is fine for you and for Santa), stay hydrated and get lots of rest. Taking good care of yourself during the holidays (and all year long) is the best gift you can give yourself.

If your back pain, joint pain, or neck pain is impacting your ability to enjoy the holiday season, give us a call or you can request a consultation and we’ll discuss your options.

*The PainSmith team has reviewed this information. It is intended for informational purposes only, not to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. Please discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.

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