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'Straighten Up' Over the Holiday Break

Stress is a large culprit in back pain. Here are some tips to get through to straighten up your spirits and your back during the holidays!

This Christmas or Hanukkah break, while you are spending time with your families and friends, don't let your back pain get you down! 

Some of us may go skiing, sledding with our kids, road trips or decorating the house and Christmas tree. Whatever you may be celebrating, these next couple of weeks require us to be healthy and active so we can spend that precious time making memories with our loved ones.

It's no secret the holidays can also bring stress as well! Stress is a large culprit in back pain. Here are some tips to get through to straighten up your spirits and your back during the holidays!

1. Wrap your presents at the table or in an upright chair. If you have pre-existing back pain, this is the best position for you. Avoid any excessive bending and leaning over. This is especially true if you have large or heavy presents. 

2. Make your abs do the work, not your back. If you are going skiing or in any position bent over, your deep abdominals called "transverse abdominals" and deep low back "multifidi" need to be contracting to protect your back. (Great, how do I do that?) It's simple! Take your finger and place it on your belly button. Tuck your belly button back towards your spine and squeeze. You will feel the muscles contract underneath your fingers. You do not need to tilt your pelvis forward or take a big breath and suck up your ribs. Just that simple movement will do it! (For women, think Kegels during pregnancy) 

3. Choose a snow tube over a hard sled. You will thank me tomorrow! Lying down on a hard sled sets up for back pain, particularly if there is more than one person in the sled. A snow tube will put you in a more comfortable position and will protect your back from all those bumps going down the hill. 

4. Build a snowman by lifting with your legs, not your back. Proper posture when bending is to keep your spine straight and bend your knees. Bring your bottom backwards so your knees don't go over your toes. You should feel as if you are doing a squat. Another position that is safe for you back is to kneel onto one knee or go into a lung position. DO NOT bend straight forward with your legs straight. This puts your back in a vulnerable position and it's very prone to injury. Don't forget to use those abs!

5. Do a family yoga class. Yoga is great for stress and excellent for your posture and mobility. When you are stressed your body naturally tends to tense and cause physiological changes to produce more inflammation and stress hormones. Take a load off. Yoga will help relax you and some positions are really great for relieving back pain! (particularly cobra and child's pose) 

6. Sing carols together. Singing is excellent for breath control and abdominal work. You have to use your deep abdominals and your diaphragm (muscles underneath your lungs) when singing to push the air out. Plus, do you know anyone that sings slumped over? Your body naturally needs to sit up straight in order for your diaphragm to work to it's fullest. 

If you feel you are experiencing back pain more than usual, be sure to get it checked out by a chiropractic physician. Back pain can also present with internal disorders.

Any further questions about health or how chiropractic may be a good choice to get you through the holidays, please visit www.newhorizonchiro.com or call New Horizon Chiropractic & Wellness for an appointment at (401) 683-6430. Feel better, live better!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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