7 Things That Cause Back Pain or Neck Pain During the Holidays

back pain hanging lightsAs we all know, the holidays can be full of joy, but they can also be dotted with pain and discomfort. If you suffer from back pain and neck pain already, you’ll want to be careful of how you strain yourself as you prepare and celebrate for the season. Even people who have never suffered from back pain find that this time of year is often the culprit behind a new discomfort.

1. Family

Have you ever called a family member a pain in the neck? For some people, this definition is literal and figurative. If an in-law, sibling, or otherwise can be relied on to start a fight, be picky about food, complain about gifts, or just be a scrooge, the tension you create in your body from holding your tongue can affect your neck and back.

2. Stress

If you’re already taking deep breaths about what’s to come this holiday season, admitting that you’re stressed is the first step to wellness. Maybe it’s the first holiday after a divorce, you’ll be seeing people you don’t want to see, you’re uptight about hosting events, or you have too many occasions to attend. Perhaps you’re missing a loved one who is far away or has died. Whatever the source of your stress, the result can be physical pain.

3. Decorating

You only decorate for the holidays once a year, and you’re probably hanging things in places you wouldn’t normally do so. That means you’ll be stretching your body in ways it isn’t used to stretching. Whether you’re hanging lights on the eaves of your house, reaching to put ornaments on the tree, or pulling heavy boxes of decorations out of the attic, be conscious of how you’re twisting your body. One faulty move can stretch a muscle or put a kink in an already bad back.

4. Accommodations

If you’re traveling for the holiday, you’ll be sleeping in a bed that your body isn’t used to. You may not even be sleeping in a bed but rather a couch or cot or even on the floor. Sleeping in the wrong position can cause you serious pain for much longer than one night. Bringing along your own pillows or air mattress can help. If you know there is no escaping an uncomfortable sleeping area, consider a hotel.

5. Wrapping Gifts

Do you usually wrap gifts on a table or on the floor? Are you leaning over the whole time or sitting in one position for too long? If you want to irritate existing chronic pain, a poor choice of seating or repetitive movement can make it happen. Be conscious of how you’re sitting, bending, and twisting, and be sure to take frequent breaks to give your body some relief.

6. Cooking

When you’re the person who will be cooking a feast this holiday, you’ll be on your feet for much of the prep. Standing in one place for a lengthy period of time may seem harmless, however, you may not even realize that you’re leaning to one side or putting too much pressure on one leg or twisting from the waist or reaching more than you usually would. Any of these activities can put a strain on your muscles and joints.

7. Lack of Exercise

Lots of travel, eating more food than usual, sitting more – these activities are all part of the holidays. However, neglecting your usual exercise routine can result in major discomfort. If you don’t have access to your regular exercise equipment or a nearby gym, at least get moving with walks or stretches recommended by your doctor or therapist. You can still relax and enjoy a leisurely vacation which you have undoubtedly earned – the most important thing is to keep your body in healthy motion.

Enjoy a Holiday Without Pain

Don’t allow back pain, neck pain, or any bodily pain ruin your holidays. Be conscious of your movements so you can avoid exacerbating any existing discomfort. Now is the time to schedule an appointment with the functional medicine practitioners at the Restorative Wellness Center in Ann Arbor. You can get the tools and help to make it safely and happily through the season.

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