We all look forward to the holidays… spending time with our families, shopping great sales, cooking and eating some of our favorite dishes, binge television watching, and, of course, presents! But often, a by-product of all this merry-making are sore necks, backs and legs, and sometimes even actual injuries. Here are a few practical tips to make sure your holidays stay “merry” this year!
Back and neck soreness are often the result of traveling long distances by car, bus, train, or plane. Sitting for long periods or sleeping in awkward positions take a toll on our bodies.
Tip: Bring along a neck pillow for support when you sleep or nap. It can make a big difference in how well you sleep and how good your neck and back feel when you wake up!
Tip: Make sure to stretch and walk often to help lubricate the joints and stretch the muscles.
Tip: When lifting heavy baggage remember to bend the knees and keep your back straight. And never try to lift something that is too heavy! Ask for help.
If you are among those whose annual holiday rituals include marathon shopping trips, you probably already know that back, leg and neck soreness are common after a day spent at the mall.
Tip: Wear comfortable shoes that provide proper heel and ankle support. They will make a surprising difference in the way your legs and back feel at the end of a shopping spree.
Tip: Don’t carry too many bags. If the store provides a check-in center or concierge service, leave your bags and pick them up on your way out of the store. Otherwise, take a few minutes and walk out to your car and lock your bags safely in the trunk while you continue shopping. The extra weight and awkwardness of carrying bags in front of your body puts a heavy strain on your lower back and will result in painful muscles later.
Whether you are adding holiday cheer by decorating the inside or outside of your house, many seasonal injuries are caused by misusing a ladder or while cleaning-up the yard.
Tip: Always follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for safe use when you are using a ladder. Have someone “spot” you while you hang decorations or ornaments.
Tip: Guard against bending and twisting when doing clean-up or yard-work. Keep the rake or shovel you are using close to the body and do not lean too far forward.
Tip: Keep your floors clear of debris from decorations, wrapping paper or toys and make sure all rugs are secured to the floor to guard your family and guests against slips and falls.
The holiday season is almost upon us, so remember to ease into your holiday plans slowly and use some of the tips from our Bellevue physical therapy office to protect yourself from injury. If you do experience muscle soreness for an extended period of time or sustain an injury, be sure to call us right away so we can start treatment immediately.
All of us at Bellevue Bone and Joint Physicians hope you and your family have a very happy and safe holiday!