Enjoy a Pain-Free Holiday Season

November 15, 2022

The holiday season is upon us so how can we survive the season without enduring back-aches, leg cramps or other painful maladies? We’re on our feet constantly going to parties, shopping, cooking and visiting friends and relatives.

First, look at your posture when shopping to determine if that is playing a starring role with your pain. “Back pain is usually not due to one specific condition, but a series of causes,” says says Dr. Hallie Zwibel, Director of Sports Medicine at the New York Institute of Technology. “One cause which has been gaining increased attention is poor posture.”

Mind Your Posture – The good news is that there are proven ways to improve posture.  “The first step is to give attention to how one is sitting or standing,” says Dr. Zwibel.  “One way to develop this skill is the practice of mindfulness.  Mindfulness is less a technique and more a state of being which focuses on awareness of the present moment.  There are numerous exercises that can help develop this ability such as practicing a 5-minute breathing awareness drill.”

Strengthen Your Core – “Strengthening the core is also important for your posture the core, your center, where your energy begins, your confidence,” says Carmen Curtis, acclaimed yogi and founder of  AlReal Yoga.  “Once the spine is aligned it’s important to strengthen the muscles around the spine to keep it in the correct posture.”

Stretch before Shopping – “Poor posture or misaligned spine can make us less efficient and can cause pain,” says Curtis.  “Stretching is important to improve the posture using techniques to decompress the spine like using an aerial yoga hammock to help realign the spine, decompress relieve pain.  also doing shoulder stretches to open the heart and chest this is good to help with the posture and strengthening the shoulder blades to help keep the shoulders back.

Don’t Sit Too Long – When traveling by plane, train or car during the holidays, managing pain can be difficult.  “When you are standing or walking, your leg muscles are constantly working, which helps to clear blood glucose and blood fats from the blood stream,” Dr. Hidde van der Ploeg, a researcher at the University of Sydney told The Huffington Post. “If you are sitting, this is not happening because the muscles are not active.”

During car trips, think about pulling into a rest stop every hour or so to stretch your legs.  If you are traveling by air, wear comfortable shoes and take a walk down the aisle every hour.  Travel light so that you are not trying to wedge your heavy bag into the overhead compartment.  If you have neck or back pain, remember to bring a lumbar support neck pillow.

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