How to take care of Back Pain during the Thanksgiving Holidays

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 you would like to avoid is the upper back and lower back pain that goes along with preparing a Thanksgiving dinner.

For most people, Thanksgiving is not a single day event, it takes multiple days to prepare. Time is spent in the supermarket finding the best ingredients and the biggest turkey possible, several days cleaning your house and preparing for family to come over, and most of all multiple days slaving in the kitchen to cook the perfect meal. It is 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. 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.

2. 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 pats and pans (which are already heavy) are filled with heavier, larger quantities of food. It is vital that you 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 and 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.

3. 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 and your body starts compensating with other muscles to take over. This is normally when the aches and pains start to occur. Therefore, set your limits. Perform activities in 5–8 min intervals.

4. 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.

5. Make a Physical Therapy Appointment: Be proactive and make a physical therapy appointment before and after the Holiday. During Physical Therapy, you will receive specific exercises tailored to your body to makes sure those aches and pains don’t turn into chronic injuries. Use the betterPT app now to find a quality clinic near you and book available appointments that work with your schedule. You do not need a doctor prescription. It’s just a click of your phone.

We at betterPT wish you the best, pain free Holiday Season yet! Go make those memories!

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