Monthly Archives: December 2016

Remain Pain-Free Over The Holidays

No one wants to experience pain over the holidays. In our last blog, we covered how to manage your holiday stress to help reduce back pain. Unfortunately, not all back pain is caused by stress.

The truth is that the holidays are the perfect storm for developing back pain. Take the long hours wrapping presents, traveling, or slaving over the stove and compound it by not having enough time to worry about your nutrition, exercise program, or sleep.

The result? Untimely back pain.

Luckily, we’ve compiled some tips to help prevent this from happening to you. Find out how to avoid back and neck pain in the kitchen and while traveling below.

In the kitchen:

  • Make sure to wear comfortable shoes with good arch support when you expect to be cooking for an extended period of time.
  • Consider purchasing a rubber mat to stand on while cooking or doing the dishes. These mats help reduce the stress placed on your joints.
  • Be conscientious of your posture – don’t hunch while chopping away at the cutting board or scrubbing the dishes. Instead, move the activity to a surface properly suited for your height.
  • Utilize proper lifting techniques when removing heavy dishes from the oven.
  • When you can perform an activity while seated, take advantage of it. Also, consider purchasing a footstool to prop one leg on while performing seated activities.
  • Take a break every 30 minutes to loosen up your neck and back muscles. We understand the pressure of cooking for a crowd, but are certain your family and friends would want you to take it easy.
  • Ask for help. It’s unnecessary to cook the entire meal yourself. In fact, we bet everyone would have more fun cooking the meal together.

While traveling:

  • When lifting luggage, make sure to use proper lifting techniques – lift with your legs! If you’re lifting luggage above your head, consider doing so in stages. For example, lift your bag off the floor and onto the seat. Then, lift it from the seat into the overhead compartment.
  • While we’re talking about luggage, pack light. How many pairs of socks could you possibly need?
  • Bring your own back support for the car or plane. We guarantee your spine will thank you after an hour or two.
  • Move around as much as you can. An inactive spine is never a healthy one, so try to walk around at every rest stop along the way.
  • Stretch your legs and hips prior to your trip and throughout it. These areas often become tight after prolonged sitting.

Now that you’re armed with all the tips you need to breeze through the holidays pain-free, who’s ready to celebrate? As always, give us a call if you have a question regarding your back pain or if it persists for more than a month or two. Happy holidays!

Relieving Holiday Stress-Induced Neck Pain

The holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Not only are you juggling your normal responsibilities (work, housework, chauffeuring the kids around), but also all of the responsibilities that come with the holidays (extra baking, more cleaning, gift shopping).

And those added responsibilities are often accompanied by more stress. Do I have enough time to bake three kinds of cookies and clean the house before people begin arriving at noon? I don’t know if my mother will like this gift, and I really want to get her something special after all she’s done for me.

Then, you realize midway through December that your neck has been aching. At first you thought you may have slept on it wrong, but after a week of constant pain, you know that can’t be the cause.

Did you know that holiday stress, or just stress in general, can cause neck pain? All of that built up tension can really take a toll on your body, and your neck is one of the most common areas stress-induced pain flares up.

Stress-induced neck pain is defined as pain either triggered or worsened by psychological or emotional factors.

Don’t worry though, there are plenty of ways you can relieve stress-induced neck pain and feel like your old self in no time!

 

  • Stretch your neck. Regularly stretching your neck can loosen muscle tightness and maintain or expand your range of motion.
  • Practice meditation. Meditation is a great way to calm your thoughts and anxieties. If you’ve never meditated before, consider taking a class or watching a guided YouTube video to get the hang of it.
  • Ask friends and family for help. Stress is often caused by having too much on your plate. Ask a friend to run that last-minute errand for you or instead of cooking the whole holiday dinner yourself, have each family member bring a different dish.
  • Treat yourself to a massage. Massages are a great way to ease tightness in the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Don’t normally splurge on a professional massage? Think of it as a gift to yourself this holiday season.
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. Exercise is extremely important in maintaining a healthy mind and body. It will help to relieve your neck pain by releasing feel-good endorphins to help dull the pain.
  • Prioritize what’s important. We know everything on your list is important, but sometimes you have to realize that you can’t get everything done, and that’s okay. Get the most important tasks done first, and don’t stress about the less important items.
  • Get a full night’s rest. Even though you’re extremely busy during the holiday season, you have to remember to take care of yourself which includes logging a full eight hours of sleep, or more.

 

If none of these tips work in helping to relieve your stress-induced neck pain, or your pain has persisted for more than a few weeks, we recommend that you see a doctor. Have a happy holiday season and remember not to stress about the little things!

Is Christmas Shopping Causing Your Neck Or Back Pain?

We’ve all heard that heavy backpacks can cause serious health problems, but did you know heavy purses can, too? Sure, you may have noticed that after a couple hours of shopping, your purse seems to weigh three times what it did at the beginning of the trip.

You probably shrugged it off, thinking it was no big deal. Well, it is a big deal – especially around the holiday season when you’re going to be lugging a purse around more than you do the rest of the year.

Heavy purses can cause neck, shoulder, and upper back pain. Most of the pain is a result of the constant pressure of the strap on your muscles, soft tissues, and nerves. And have you ever noticed that only one side of your neck or back is in pain? The pain is often lopsided because people tend to carry their purse on just one side, instead of switching between the two. In fact, studies have been done that show that the side people habitually carry their purse on is much more muscularly developed. So, does carrying a purse can count as a workout?

All jokes aside, heavy purses can even alter your gait while walking, which can lead to a host of health issues, and even cause headaches.

Are you convinced of the serious problems purses can cause, yet? We hope so, because we have a few tips on how to prevent any purse-related health problems from arising.

  • It’s a good rule of thumb to never let your purse weigh more than 10% of your body weight. Are you 150-pound person? Limit your purse to 15 pounds or less.
  • Choose purses worn across the shoulder messenger-style. These bags help to distribute the weight more evenly.
  • Purge your purse monthly. Can you think of 15 pounds of essentials you need to have with you at all times? We thought not. Most of the weight in your purse is likely junk.
  • Have multiple purses and let each one serve a different function. Try having a smaller purse for running errands and a larger one for all-day excursions.
  • To avoid lopsidedness, switch which side your carry your purse on often. It may feel weird at first, but something tells us you’ll get used to the feeling.
  • Choose a purse with wider straps to help distribute the weight more evenly.

If you’re a shop-till-you-drop kind of holiday shopper, we recommend you try implementing some, if not all, of the tips above. Even though we specialize in spine pain, we want to help to prevent it from happening before you have to pay us a visit. Happy shopping!