The 12 Tips of Christmas! (For Neck Pain, Back Pain, Shoulder Pain and stress!)

1.Christmas Tip #1: Know your strengths and your weaknesses. Grandma is definitely the better decorator!

2. Substitute different options for gluten free. Having adverse reactions to gluten is difficult especially during the holidays. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of ways to still enjoy the Christmas favorites while avoiding gluten. Try these different flours as a substitute for Christmas cookies!

3. Friday here in Harrisburg got a little snowy! When you’re shoveling snow, you’ve probably heard to ben your knees and not lift with your back. That’s great info! But also try to switch hand positions every so often so you don’t stress one shoulder more than the other!

4. Still getting some last minute presents (or didn’t start shopping yet) and you have to stand in long lines with everyone else? It’s easy to lean on one leg or the other, but try doing a squat (if you have the room and don’t care what people think of you!) or at least just bend your knees and squeeze your thighs. This will get some of the static blood moving again and help your legs feel fresher.
squat back pain

5. Make sure you stay hydrated! It’s easy to forget to drink water throughout the day. It’s easy to forget amidst all the other plans and stress of the holidays. Staying hydrated keeps you healthy helping to prevent some of those awful stress-induced headaches. Try to aim for half your body weight in ounces of water. It doesn’t need to be exact, but that’s a good goal.

6. Cold weather doesn’t make you sick, but lack of vitamin D can!

7. Heading to a Christmas concert or play this weekend? There’s a good chance you’ll be sitting for 2 or more hours. While there is no perfect posture, try to find a comfortable position where your head is in neutral (not flexed forward or extended backward) and don’t let your low back arch. Let’s avoid neck and back pain for the holidays! Try to sit on your butt bone, or ischial tuberosity (see the pic!). During intermission, make sure you get up and stretch!

8.   Get out for a walk! You don’t need to run a sled-dog team like this guy, but getting out into the fresh air and doing some light exercise can really help relieve some of that holiday stress!

9.  Breathe! We do a lot of breath work in the office and breathing through your belly and diaphragm really does help lower stress. Take 5 minutes at the end of the day (or whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed) and do this simple exercise. Lay on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Push your belly up and out as you breath IN, then pull your belly back inwards as you breath out!

10. Sitting for a long time wrapping presents? Now your mid-back is sore and stiff? Low back and/or neck are painful? Try this stretch to alleviate the tension!

11.Don’t throw your shoulder out like Kermit did trying to win that snowball fight. But if you did and now your shoulder hurts or you have back pain/neck pain, scroll through these tips.

12. The holidays are really tough times to keep your “diet”. You feel left out at family or work events if you don’t partake, then you might feel guilty if you do enjoy some of the food you “aren’t supposed to eat”. My suggestion is to go ahead, enjoy the food and company with family and friends. A couple “bad” meals won’t destroy everything for you.