“One of the most common causes of back and neck pain during the holidays is improper body mechanics – like carrying heavy presents, twisting while lifting shopping bags or decorating, or moving heavy furniture across the floor to make room for the tree,” explains Dr. Won.
To improve body mechanics, Dr. Won suggests maintaining good posture, pushing heavy objects across the floor instead of pulling or lifting them, placing bulky or heavy presents in a shopping cart instead of carrying them, and stretching before shopping, cooking or any other activity that requires a lot of standing.
“During the holidays, people lift many things like presents, decorations and furniture; and they spend a lot of time standing when they’re shopping, cooking, and waiting in line for holiday entertainment. Our muscles aren’t used to all that lifting and standing, which can lead to back and neck pain. If you stretch first, it can make a tremendous difference, whether you’re hanging Christmas lights on your house or shopping at the mall.”
Basic techniques are a good place to start. These may include shoulder rolls, neck rolls, ankle rolls, leg lifts and similar stretches.
“You can also stretch while you’re standing in line at the store or at the kitchen counter,” adds Dr. Nere Onosode, a foot and ankle surgeon with OrthoCARE (http://www.orthocaredfw.com/
When shopping or participating in other holiday activities that require a lot of standing, Dr. Onosode also recommends that people wear comfortable shoes with proper arch support. He says to look for a semi-rigid shoe with a wide toe box and to avoid high heeled shoes and flats. High heeled shoes crowd the toes and put most of the body weight on the forefoot, which can lead to chronic pain and discomfort. Flats do not provide adequate arch support and can lead to pain spanning the entire foot and ankle, says Dr. Onosode.
“A recent study by the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (http://www.aofas.org/
A division of Lumin Health in Irving, Texas, Minimally Invasive SpineCARE® is a nationally acclaimed, comprehensive spine center dedicated to providing the most effective answers to back and neck problems. Minimally Invasive SpineCARE has 10 locations throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The practice is affiliated with Star Medical Center, a new surgical hospital in Plano, Texas, and OrthoCARE, which focuses on orthopedics, foot and ankle care, and sports medicine. For more information, call 1-888-600-6474 or visit www.spinecaredfw.com, www.starmedcenter.com or www.orthocaredfw.com.
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