Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and hopefully your holiday weekend is full of family, food and fun. That being said, Thanksgiving can also be a tough time on your spine (and your waistline if you’re not careful). Today, we share some tips for helping your spine make it through the Thanksgiving holiday unscathed.
Protect Your Spine This Thanksgiving
Here are some tips for avoiding back pain over the Thanksgiving weekend:
1. Stay Active – If you just lay around on the couch this extended weekend, you may find that your spine is actually worse for the wear. Staying in one position too long puts undue stress on certain areas of your spine, so make it a point to stay active. Find time to get to the gym or jump on the treadmill, and find other activities to help keep you active and strengthening your spinal muscles this weekend.
2. Holiday Prep Care – Preparing the Thanksgiving meal can result in hours in the kitchen on your feet, so make sure you find some time for a short break so your spine isn’t hunched over a turkey or dirty dishes for extended periods. If you’re not in the kitchen, maybe you’re out hanging Christmas lights or putting up other decorations. Make sure you have someone the hold the ladder so you don’t fall any time you’re working from heights.
3. Travel Safely – If you have a long road trip or plane ride to your destination, plan ahead so you’re not stuck in a seated position for hours on end. Take any anti-inflammatory or pain medications before you get in the car, and take advantage of the time when you can stand up and move around. Movement helps ensure spinal structures aren’t overstressed and that blood continues to flow freely to all areas, so if you stop for gas or the pilot says you can move about the cabin, stand up and stretch out.
4. Food Choices – Try not to overeat on Thanksgiving. We know that’s way easier said than done, but loading up on carbohydrates and sugar can lead to the onset in spinal inflammation and pain. Try to make some good food choices, eat a little slower, drink water while you’re eating and stop at the first signs of feeling full, because it takes about seven minutes for your brain to realize it doesn’t need to eat anymore. Added pounds will only put more stress on your spine throughout the holiday season.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and if your spine starts to hurt at some point throughout the weekend, be sure to reach out to Dr. Chang and his team!