Coping with Pain During the Holidays

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Christmas decorating

Don’t Overdo it

Many activities can cause pain during the holidays. Decorating your home will likely top the list. Between digging through stacked boxes in the garage, dragging the tree from the top of your car and into the house and climbing the ladder to hang the lights, you may end up aching come Christmas morning.

While these things could be looked at as “exercise,” don’t kid yourself. In that sense, it’s this “exercise” you are warned not to overdo, although you likely just did. Enlist someone to help you dig out the old boxes of decorations and bring them inside for you. Even if you usually hang the lights yourself the way you like them, have a family member or hired help hang them for you this year, while you direct them safely from a comfortable lawn chair.

Even Santa enlists the help of elves. Be like Santa, and don’t overdo it. Let the elves do the heavy lifting for you, and relax a little more this Christmas.

Holiday Pain Triggers

Sometimes something as simple as hunching over while wrapping gifts can leave your back in knots. If you typically experience back pain from repetitive movements, have someone else wrap gifts for you this year. Most stores or malls offer gift-wrapping services during the holidays. If you plan to do your shopping online this year, Amazon offers gift wrapping for a fee. Just select your gift wrap of choice upon checkout.

Standing for long periods of time, especially when cooking in the kitchen all day, can take its toll on your legs and spine, as well. Get a padded kitchen mat, designed to ergonomically support your back while standing for long periods of time. It might also be a good idea to bring a small step stool in the kitchen so you can put one foot up on it, alternating feet every so often. Continue to distribute your weight evenly throughout the day to avoid fatigue in your joints and muscles. Take time to stretch often, and take a load off frequently by relaxing on the couch with a glass of eggnog. Your bones (and your tummy) will thank you for it.

To address your most severe pains in time to make the holidays more enjoyable, treat yourself to a massage, visit an acupuncturist or look into Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT). While these methods won’t “cure” you, they are designed to help alleviate inflammation, loosen tension and make life a little more bearable. If you can’t afford to pamper yourself, maybe you can add a massage to your Christmas wish list, along with other home treatment items like supportive pillows, heating/cooling pads, ergonomic chairs, exercise equipment, or specially designed bags and backpacks. Many people bringing gifts will appreciate you letting them know what you need, instead of trying to figure out what you might like.

Tis The Season of Giving

In the season of giving, doing something for your community can help raise your spirits. Volunteering or doing charitable acts has been shown to reduce feelings of chronic pain.

Rather than focusing on your pain, weight loss, or stress this holiday season, look forward to the positives instead. Be grateful for your friends and family, the magical look on a child’s face when he just opened the gift he’s been dying to have, or the many ways you might help a family that is less fortunate.

Donate gifts or money to a local charity like Toys For Tots, or offer your time at a nearby soup kitchen. It’s amazing how great you can feel after helping those who are less fortunate, and rediscovering the true meaning of the holidays. Oftentimes, charity has just as powerful an impact on the one giving as it does the recipient. You can search for local volunteer opportunities or charities at DoSomething.org. Who knows? You may even find help for your own aches and pains, as well.

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