During the holidays, the health of your neck and back can seem to take a backseat to everything else that needs to happen, like: Christmas shopping, travel, unusual sleeping arrangements and of course holiday parties. Let’s take a look at some of the typical injuries and how you can prevent them from ruining your trip to a winter wonderland.
According to a United Chiropractic Association (UCA) report during the Christmas season there is an increase in reported incidents of back pain, neck pain and Shoulder injuries when compared to any other time of the year.
According to UCLA, the most common causes of holiday injuries are:
- “Fall-related injuries during holiday decorating,” that one is pretty much a given. Take some people who generally don’t work with heights and electricity and put them up on ladders hanging lights.
- “Toy-related injuries.” Yes, this is definitely a thing. Late-night creeping plus Hotwheels or Legos. As the kids say these days ‘If You Know, You Know.’
- “Fires associated with holiday decorations.” ‘You’re going to burn the house down,’ is kind of the adults’ version of ‘You’ll shoot your eye out,’ from A Christmas Story.
- “Strained back and neck,” which is kind of self-explanatory.
- “Automobile accidents.”
- “Cutting yourself,” Giftwrap doesn’t always start out red.
- “Food and alcohol-related issues.” There are as many public service announcements about this as there are stars in the sky
Here are a few pieces of advice:
- In the world of Amazon this may be less of a problem than it used to be, but still: If you’re going to be doing any in person shopping break it up a bit! Likewise, don’t try to be Hercules carrying in those delivered boxes either.
- If you have to carry multiple packages: load your arms evenly or even better use a shopping cart, or if you’re bringing in several packages use a dolly!
- Try to avoid overs pending if at all possible, stress and anxiety definitely don’t help.
- Even when you’re attending a party, if you’re going to be on your feet for a lot of the time, consider your comfort. Those heels or boots might look awesome but are they worth it?
- Our diets during the holiday season usually take a hiatus and/or verge into a mixture of baffling deprivation as we’re too busy to eat and drink to a gorging deluge of food and drink, try to keep your eating and drinking consistent with what are (hopefully) your year-round good habits
- You’re going to hear this a lot: Don’t over-do it. A lot of holiday injuries start with “I only had a few…”
Gee, the Traffic is Terrific
- If you have a long drive ahead of you, take frequent breaks, on the order of about 10-15 minutes per hour if you can manage it. This won’t just keep you awake but it’ll help you decompress your spine and avoid repetitive use injury.
- According to Spine-Health.com, “Sitting in one position in a car will stiffen up your back muscles and can lead to achiness and possibly muscle spasm. Everyone should ideally take at least a 15-minute break for every 2 hours of driving. If you’re prone to back pain, you may want to take breaks more frequently, such as every 30 to 60 minutes.”
The sleeping arrangements are less than ideal.
Grandma’s ol’ mattress might’ve been good in the 70’s and the sofa might seem inviting but the importance of supporting your back and neck for a long winter’s nap can’t be overstated.
Don’t just make do, see what you can do. If a bed is too soft, try moving it to the floor. If you’re at a hotel, see if they have multiple selections of pillows or bring your own this can make a huge difference.
Probably one of the most important things you can do this holiday season is make the pro-active decision to take care of yourself. Not only can you prevent most injuries with a little bit of preparation, but if you’re already living with pervasive pain:all you have to do is Find your nearest Summa Pain Care location in Peoria, Phoenix or North Scottsdale today and don’t put this off any longer.
Unaddressed chronic or severely acute back, neck and joint pain generally don’t improve. Contact our Phoenix location at 623.580.4357 , or Peoria at 623.776.8686 or contact us in North Scottsdale at 480.786.1771. At any one of our locations our specialists can help you reduce or even possibly eliminate your pain, and that’s truly the greatest gift that someone can receive.
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