The holidays are fast approaching. That means food, decorating, family, traveling, and shopping. As exciting as this time of year is, all of the increased activity and added stress can take a toll on your body.
Many physicians and specialists report a large increase in patients suffering from back pain and injuries around the holiday season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that over 50,000 people every year sustain some sort of winter-related back injury. While 5,800 of those are holiday decorating-related, potential back problems can come from a variety of sources this time of year— including carrying heavy purchases and lugging around suitcases, decorations, and gifts.
Back pain often gets worse this time of year, and experts say holiday stress is a major culprit. People are running around shopping, trying to meet deadlines, stuck in traffic, traveling long hours in the car or on a plane, and walking in the mall for hours with heavy packages. With so much to do, people also get run down this time of year. Lack of sleep and failure to eat right and exercise can compound the problem.
Tips for Staying Pain Free
1. Shop Smart.
Smaller bags are better. Don’t load everything up in one bag and lug it around. You want to distribute the weight on your body. Put heavier items on the bottom and lighter items on top. If you can, make frequent trips to the car to drop off purchases. If a package is too heavy, ask for help.
2. Travel Safely.
Don’t pack everything in one bag. Even though it may cost more, packing two smaller bags is safer than packing one heavy one. Choose a light-weight bag, so that the only weight you’re carrying is the contents inside the suitcase. When unloading bags from an airport carousel, stand close to the carousel and bend your knees to lift the bag.
3. Stay Focused on Your Health.
Maintain your diet and exercise regimen regularly, at least on non-party days. Don’t stress about weight gain at the big family gathering or work holiday party. Live a little! On other days, make sure that you eat in moderation and get at least a half hour of cardiovascular exercise, even if that means nothing more than taking a walk.
4. Keep Things in Perspective.
Set realistic goals and don’t be the ultimate people-pleaser. Decide what’s important and don’t overextend yourself. Slow down and take breaks. Make sure you’re getting enough rest.
5. Most importantly, don’t ignore the pain!
With so much to do this time of year, it’s tempting to ignore the signs of back strain and hope it goes away. But that could only exasperate the problem. Studies have shown that 1 year after experiencing a new episode of low back pain, 75% of people had ongoing pain and disability a year later. If not properly diagnosed and treated, back pain (most commonly occurring in the lower back) has an 80 percent chance of recurrence.
Airrosti Treats Nagging Pain
Take time to see a provider who specializes in musculoskeletal care. At Airrosti, our doctors spend ample time with each patient to properly assess and diagnose the injury. Once identified, they develop an individualized treatment plan to restore function and mobility quickly. They also educate each patient and equip them with tools and exercises to speed recovery and prevent future injury.
Don’t let pain put a damper on your holiday season. Contact Airrosti to see a provider near you and start your road to recovery.