Protect Your Back this December

December 1st!! How did that happen? It feels like Thanksgiving was only a few days ago! I woke this morning exhausted with a lingering hangover from the holiday weekend a sore lower back. Yes, I was a key player in this year’s family football game (not), but I don’t remember hurting my back. I can only credit the soreness to anticipated Christmas stress. Did you get that? I’m not feeling stressed, yet my back is already channeling the strong possibility of stress. December is a bad time for your back. Here’s why:

– stress levels rise exponentially

– heavy lifting of shopping bags, packages and boxes

– reaching and twisting to hang lights/decorations

– sitting in uncomfortable positions for hours on end wrapping endless gifts

– dancing on bars or desks or tables after too many candy cane martinis

This season, be kind to your back. You’re going to need to be 100% healthy to get through the next few weeks.

– Stretch. Take 15 minutes each day to do some simple stretching. Yoga works great. Try the app Yoga Studio or Happy Baby Pose.

– Save the stilettos for special events and choose comfortable shoes with good support — especially when you are hitting the mall.

– Avoid carrying heavy bags on one side. Rather, try to balance the weight and carry equal amounts in each hand.

– Sleeping on your back puts a lot of pressure on your lower back. Try sleeping on your side, and if you must sleep on your back, put a pillow under your knees and another under your lower back. This will take a lot of pressure off.

– Be mindful. Lift with your knees, use a step stool or ladder to reach high places and change your position frequently both when sitting or standing. Don’t start any new intense exercise programs in an attempt to get a jump start on your new year resolutions.

– Finally, acknowledge the stressors in your life, like Santa, the elf on the shelf and in-laws. Very often, by simply admitting you are feeling stress, you can ward off its physical manifestations.

O.K. I am following my own advice. I admit it. I am already stressed and it is only December 1st. I feel better already — sort of.

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