How to take care of Back Pain during the Thanksgiving Holidays
Thanksgiving Back Pain is No Joke
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for connecting with family and friends, eating delicious food, and enjoying memories that will last a lifetime. However, one memory that most want to avoid is the upper back and lower back pain that goes along with preparing a Thanksgiving dinner.
Time is spent in the supermarket finding the best ingredients and the biggest turkey possible. Be careful though – groceries are heavy! You likely spend several days cleaning your house and preparing for family to come over. The most time-consuming thing of all is multiple days slaving in the kitchen to cook the perfect meal. It’s the combination of this increased workload in addition to the stress that goes along with it that tends to lead to upper and lower back pain during the Holiday Season.
Below are a few suggestions to help you take care of that back pain and get through the Thanksgiving Holiday:
1. Be careful when you’re out and about. This means during travel, while shopping, while you’re exercising and even while you’re with friends and family. People tend to be busier at this time of year, but that’s no reason to let yourself go. Take extra precautions. Give yourself more time on the road. Don’t wait until last minute to complete errands. Account for other people’s schedules, too. It’s a lot, but it’s worth it.
2. Don’t Bend Over the Sink: One of the most common mistakes during the holiday season is your posture at the sink while washing dishes. This bent forward position puts a lot of unnecessary stress on your upper back, making the muscles work extra hard and increasing back spasms. Our advice is to wear a padded apron and make sure your hips are touching the sink at all times. This will put your body as close as possible to the sink, giving you extra support and avoiding prolonged bending and reaching.
3. Watch your Posture when Lifting Pots and Pans: During Thanksgiving, you are normally cooking for a larger number of guests than normal. This means those pots and pans (which are already heavy) are filled with heavier, larger quantities of food. It is vital that you follow a few simple steps when cooking to avoid back and shoulder pain.
- Bend your knees instead of your back when you are pulling these pans out of the oven
- Slide the pan on the oven door as far as you can until it is as close to your body as possible
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together when lifting the pan.
If you already have a bad back, then please ask your partner/child/family member for help. There’s no shame in needing assistance in order to keep yourself injury-free.
4. Take Multiple Rest Breaks: Whether you are cleaning your house, cooking at the stove, or washing the dishes, remember to take multiple rest breaks. Everyone has their own limit of muscle endurance before their muscles fatigue. Once you reach this level, the body starts compensating with other muscles to take over. This is normally when aches and pains start to occur.
Therefore, set your limits. Perform activities in 5–8 minute intervals. It might take you longer, but knee pain, neck pain or back pain aren’t worth it. This is similar to the way you should practice other winter activities, too. Snow shoveling injuries happen because people don’t take rest breaks. Skiing injuries and other knee injuries happen when people overexert themselves. You have the time – take it!
5. Stretch Your Muscles: Whether you are someone who regularly stretches or not, now is the time to start. Despite the days being busy, take about 5–10 minutes in the morning and at night to stretch your legs, your shoulders and your upper back to alleviate tension from your hard days’ work. These short breaks for stretching keep the muscles from growing stiff over time. Though it’s not technically in winter, activity injury prevention for the holiday season starts as soon as the weather begins to change.
The Best Way to Alleviate Back Pain This Thanksgiving is With Physical Therapy
Don’t wait until you’re already injured to start physical therapy. Yes, it’s great for recovering from slip and fall accidents or winter activity injuries. But it’s also great for the prevention of these injuries. Physical therapy professionals are more than capable of teaching proper form, new exercises, and safety tips. Everyone prepares for winter sports injuries – but not everyone thinks about what can happen in day to day life.
Be proactive and make a physical therapy appointment before the holiday season begins. During physical therapy, you receive specific exercises tailored to your body. These exercises make sure those aches and pains don’t turn into chronic injuries. Use the BetterPT app or the BetterPT clinic location tool now to find a quality clinic near you and book available appointments that work with your schedule. You do not need a doctor’s prescription. It’s just a few clicks. Another option for physical therapy appointments is the use of the BetterTelehealth platform. This gives patients and therapists a chance to connect virtually – no need to leave the house!
Use physical therapy services and have the best holiday season yet! Go make those memories!