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5 Tips To Avoid Flaring Up Low Back Pain Over The Holidays

How To Avoid Flaring Up Your Low Back Pain Over The Holidays

You’ve got enough going on these holidays to be worrying about low back pain. The last thing you need is to flare up your low back pain with the in-laws coming over. So, before you grab that shovel and head for the driveway snow or hang those Christmas lights, let’s explore some tips from our expert physical therapists to avoid flaring up low back pain over the holidays.

Despite the fact that the holidays are supposed to be a time for reflection and gratitude, many of our patients regularly express how stressed they are during this time of year! This typically means that people are in a rush to get as many things done as possible before the company arrives for the holidays.

Tip #1 To Avoid Flaring Up Low Back Pain: Slow Down! (Just a little bit!)

A long list of chores typically means you might feel pressured to “check the next thing” off your list as fast as possible. That’s completely understandable. However, it means you also may be less mindful of how you’re using your body. You might twist your back or bend in a way that you know isn’t right.

Rushing through chores at home (particularly snow shoveling, or lifting heavy boxes) may cause you to over-reach or strain a muscle in your back or hips. We’re not suggesting that you complete your chores at a snail’s pace, just take a quick second to think about what you’re about to do- whether it be lifting a heavy Amazon box off the porch, or scooping that last shovel-full of snow from the driveway. Your back will thank you. (So will your family since you won’t be so grumpy about your low back pain!)

Tip #2 To Avoid Flaring Up Low Back Pain: Use Both Sides Of Your Body!

There are two things that come to mind here: Lifting or holding small children, and shoveling snow. Repeated strain on the same side will create muscle imbalances and cause you to be more prone to flaring low back pain. We know it takes more thought, but pausing for a moment and switching away from your dominant side may help prevent flare ups of low back pain. 

Tip #3 To Avoid Flaring Up Low Back Pain: Use your center of mass appropriately when bending or lifting!

You’ve probably been told to bend from the hips a million times before, but it’s always good to have a reminder. Always keep a straight back when lifting, and move with your spine like a straight board. Hinge at your hips. Also, avoid twisting when picking things up. Align yourself with a box or object, squat or bend down, then scoop the object up close to you. The further the object is away from you, the more likely you are to hurt yourself! When in doubt, get a friend or family member to help you!

Tip #4 To Avoid Flaring Up Low Back Pain: Breathe appropriately to re-center yourself!

When you’re stressed, holding tension in your muscles is more likely, which causes you to compensate and potentially strain your back or other body parts. This can lead you to “throw your back out.” Make sure when you are going about your busy holidays to purposely pause and take 5 deep breaths. It can be enough to bring your mind back to your body and prevent needing physical therapy for low back pain!

Tip #5 To Avoid Flaring Up Low Back Pain: Take Breaks!

Fatigue and exhaustion are some of the most common reasons people injure themselves or fall. A quick 15-minute nap may be enough to recharge your batteries to make it through a stressful period of the holidays and avoid flaring up low back pain.

If you’ve always been the type of person to put everyone else first, remember that you’ll be able to do this much better if you’re not constantly distracted by low back pain! Take a few moments for yourself so you are able to better provide for your family when needed!

My Low Back Pain Is Flaring Up Again. What Should I Do Now?

The first and best thing to do is not panic. Moist heat application or gentle stretching may ease low back pain. Try to continue going about your day as much as possible, while still being gentle with yourself. Current evidence suggests against bed rest. This usually causes more harm than good with low back pain. 

I Tried All These Things, But My Low Back Pain Is Still Bothering Me. What Should I Do?

If you are unable to avoid flaring up low back pain or still have low back pain into the New Year, it’s time to consider getting some help. If back pain remains for more than 2 weeks, it’s unlikely to go away on its own.

Our low back pain experts at Healthy Consumer Physical Therapy can help you get healthy, age stronger, and get back to the things you love doing without painkillers, injections, or surgeries, even if past treatments have failed.

We’ve helped 100’s of people get expert treatment for low back pain in Lansing, MI. See why we are the top-rated Physical Therapy Clinic in Lansing, MI by checking out our reviews here.

If you’re struggling to remain active into the New Year and need help with unresolved low back pain, choose one of the options below that best fits your needs.   

Chris S
AUTHOR

Dr. Chris Sovey

Healthy Consumer PT

"We Help Adults 40+ Living With Pain, Stiffness, Or Loose Joints Get Healthy, Age Stronger, And Get Back To The Activities They Love, Even If Past Treatments Have Failed"

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