How to Avoid Back Pain Over the Holidays

With exactly a month until Christmas Day, the countdown is on!

‘Tis the season for spending quality time with friends and family, sharing cherished traditions … and running around from store to store looking for the perfect gift. With all of the hustle and bustle, it’s also a popular time of year to experience back pain. Holiday activities such as shopping, wrapping gifts and skating can cause your muscles to work in ways they’re not accustomed to, resulting in neck, shoulder or back pain.

Try these tips to reduce your chances of pain and strain:

1. Ergonomic Gift Wrapping

After searching high and low for the perfect gifts, it’s time to wrap them up! Rather than spreading out your gifts and wrapping on the floor, use a dinner table or desk to ensure good posture. Just like sitting at a desk for a prolonged period of time can cause stiffness, sitting in one position for too long can put additional strain on your body. Take frequent breaks and stretch your hands, wrists and forearms by clenching your hands and relaxing.

2. Strain-Free Snowman

Building your very own Frosty the Snowman is top of mind for many children once the snow falls. While snow is can be easy to lift in small portions, giant balls of rolled snow are often heavier than you’d expect. Roll your snowballs into place and work together as a team to lift them when you’re ready. Don’t forget to lift with your legs, not your back!

3. Lift Light to Shovel Right

When shovelling your driveway, let your legs and arms do the heavy lifting instead of relying on your back, and push the snow to one side to avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — face your snowbank and throw the snow straight into it.

4. Stretch Before You Skate, Ski and Snowboard

With skiing, snowboarding and skating season upon us, it’s easy to let our excitement for these seasonal activities replace common sense. To prevent injuries, stretch before and after you hit the slopes or ice.

A basic go-to is the hamstring stretch. Stand tall next to something you can hold on to for support. Prop the back of one heel up on a surface like a stair, curb or bench and pull your toes back towards you. For a deeper stretch, bend forward slightly at the hips. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds on each side.

5. Black Friday and Boxing Day Shopping

Attention, discount shoppers! Carrying all those bags of sale items may be great for your wardrobe but not for your back. A trip to your car to drop off your bags can lighten the load. If that’s not reasonable, take breaks and set your bags down or use a backpack to help distribute the weight.

Take care of yourself this winter.

There are lots of ways to make the short winter days a little brighter. The wellness team at Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage encourages you to make your physical and mental health a priority over the long winter months.

We provide our patients with more than just chiropractic and massage therapy services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so you can be at your best for work or play, every day.

To book an appointment or learn more about the chiropractic and therapeutic massage therapy services available at our clinic, call 905-427-3202.


With content from the Canadian Chiropractic Association.