Tips for preventing back pain and stress during the holidays

Tips for preventing back pain and stress during the holidays

Preparing and shopping for the holidays can not only be stressful, but it can also be a big a strain on your back and neck. While shopping for gifts, you can end up carrying 15 pounds or more through the mall. Add a handbag to those shopping bags and they can place some significant strain on your back and neck. It’s no wonder your back aches after a long day of shopping. Preparing for the holidays can be like an athletic event and you should treat it that way.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water a day. If you are using more energy, like on a day when you are shopping, you should drink more water. Do not substitute coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol for water, they are dehydrators.
  • Be sure to stretch before, during and after a long day of shopping. When you are stressed-out, your muscles can become tense.
  • Take breaks. During a busy day of shopping and preparing for the holidays, most people should take a break every 45 minutes. Use this time to stretch, drink some water, have a light snack and plan your next part of the day. Those with less stamina will have to take breaks more often.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Ensure that they have plenty of cushioning in the soles to absorb the impact of walking on those hard shopping mall floors and that the soles have good traction to prevent slipping on wet floors.
  • Make sure your clothing is as comfortable as possible. It’s a good idea to wear layers so you can adjust your clothing to the temperature inside and outside of the stores.
  • Leave your large purse at home. Wear a small light cross-body purse, or a light fanny pack, or if necessary, a light backpack instead. Pack only those items that are absolutely essential (driver’s license, credit card, etc.).
  • If you start to feel some pain, nip it in the bud. Apply ice to the affected area for 10 minutes, then take it off for 10 minutes and reapply for 10 more minutes. Repeat a couple of times as needed each day over the next day or two. Do not apply ice directly to your skin; wrap it in a towel or cloth.
  • If possible, don’t bring children along on a holiday shopping trip. Most children simply do not have the stamina for such an event, and you and your child will only become frustrated with one another. Don’t add this type of stress to an already stressful situation. Try to split “child duty” up with a spouse or another parent. They’ll watch your kids while you shop, and vice-versa.

After you have your gifts, you have to wrap them. Here are some tips to keep this part of holiday preparing pain-free.

  • Vary your positions while wrapping gifts. Since there is no ideal position for wrapping gifts, this is the most important thing to remember. For example, try standing at a table or countertop for one package, then try sitting in a comfortable chair for another, etc.
  • Don’t wrap packages while sitting on the floor. Wrapping packages while sitting on a hard floor can promote poor posture and cause more aches and pains, and should be avoided.
  • Always stretch before and after you wrap gifts. Ensure you stretch the opposites, if you were leaning forward when wrapping your gifts then you should stretch backwards during breaks between packages and when you are done.

If you experience pain or discomfort as a result of preparing for the holidays, consider a visit to your doctor of chiropractic. Your doctor of chiropractic can help alleviate your pain naturally, so you can enjoy the holiday season.