As the holiday season fast approaches, the air becomes filled with joy, festivities, and the unmistakable sound of the cellotape as everyone busily wraps presents on the floor for hours on end.

Until, OUCH! You try standing up and your back has a grumble or a moan. It might be the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ but it isn’t so jolly when it also brings along a less desirable gift – a bad back.

This time of year is rife for an increase in back pain. From decking the halls with boughs of holly and over stretching to get the twinkly lights up, to bustling through crowded stores shopping with heavy bags, to more travel and different sleeping arrangements, to just more tired and frazzled bodies and minds from over working.

Let’s explore the various reasons why people often find themselves nursing a bad back during the Christmas season.

  1. Decorating Dilemmas:

One of the culprits contributing to holiday back pain is the tradition of decorating our homes. From lifting heavy boxes of decorations out of tight spaces in the loft, to over stretching whilst hanging lights and ornaments on the tree, the physical demands of transforming our living spaces into winter wonderlands can take a toll on our backs. Improper lifting techniques and prolonged periods of bending and reaching can strain muscles and lead to discomfort.

  1. Shopping Stress:

The quest for the perfect gifts often involves navigating through crowded malls, standing in long lines, and carrying heavy shopping bags that may weigh us down more one sided than the other. The combination of these factors puts undue stress on the spine, contributing to back pain.

  1. Travel Troubles:

For those who travel during the holidays, long hours spent in cars, trains, or airplanes can exacerbate back problems. Prolonged periods of sitting in confined spaces can lead to stiffness and discomfort. Moreover, lugging suitcases and dealing with the general chaos of holiday travel can further strain the back muscles. We all love our own beds, but at Christmas time we may find ourselves in less appealing, less comfortable sleeping arrangements to fit the family.

  1. Culinary Challenges:

The holiday season is synonymous with delicious feasts, but the hours spent in the kitchen preparing meals can also contribute to back pain. Standing for extended periods, bending over to check on dishes in the oven, and lifting heavy pots and pans can strain the back and lead to discomfort.

  1. Stress and Tension:

While the holiday season is meant to be a time of joy, it often comes with its fair share of stress. From organizing events to meeting social expectations, the pressure can manifest physically, causing muscle tension and exacerbating existing back issues. Stress-induced muscle tension is a common trigger for back pain.

6. Coach potato

Everyone needs a little rest at Christmas, and who doesn’t like a tin of chocolates open whilst you watch a Christmas movie, but doing nothing for too long, whilst eating more, can start to make your body sluggish and achy.

7. Cold Weather Conundrum

In some regions, the holiday season coincides with winter weather, bringing with it colder temperatures. Cold weather can contribute to stiffness in the muscles and joints, making individuals more susceptible to back pain. Anyone with arthritis will tell you that they can feel it in their bones. So wrap up and keep that spine warm with a scarf or snood.

8. Wrapping presents on the floor

If you’ve ever wondered what your ironing board is for? It’s for wrapping Christmas presents! 🙂
Wrapping presents on the floor for hours will most certainly put pressure on the joints and overstretch the ligaments. It’s a definite no no from us. Instead, get out the ironing board to lower height, grab all your cellotape, bows, wrapping paper and presents to hand, and take a seat on the sofa watching a movie. It’s back care heaven!

9. Self Neglect:

In the pressure to complete holiday shopping within a limited time, rushing to fit in all the household jobs, or desperately burning the midnight oil to complete work tasks before taking a few days off, it can all lead to individuals neglecting their own well-being. It’s easier to think “I don’t have time to take a break or to go to exercise because I have too much to do”, but whilst pushing yourself this way will only end up one way for Christmas…..

with a bad back!

While the holiday season is undoubtedly a time for celebration, it is essential to be mindful of the physical toll it can take on our bodies. Help yourself by taking breaks during decorating and shopping sprees, incorporating stress-reducing activities, and keeping the body moving with some movement to keep the joints and back mobile. Minimize the risk of developing a bad back during this joyous time of the year.

After all, a pain-free holiday season is truly a gift worth cherishing!

Check out Michelle’s seasonal breathing technique timeout

Check out Michelle’s healthy hips mobility exercise to help your back pain

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