Naples Premier PT


December is a busy month for most people. Going to holiday parties and getting homes decorated for the holidays can be quite taxing on us physically. Pain issues always worsen around the holidays taking away some of the fun from this time of year. If your low back is hurting from going to parties or putting up decorations in the house I can help you. There are demands to the body this time of the year that normally we do not have, and thus it should not alarm us when our backs hurt more. The main issues with back pain worsening during this time of year is due to standing demands and lifting demands going up, and our exercise/ activity routines going down. This Inverse relationship with activities and exercise always lead to chronic issues rearing their ugly head in our lives again. Because of this I wanted to go over how we protect ourselves from this imbalance with our bodies, and understand where your main issues are at to allow you solutions on how to limit low back pain this holiday season.

Holiday parties are a lot of fun and great to look forward to in December, but the increased static standing time and poor choices in footwear can be very challenging on the low back. Normally we chose shoes that are functional to the task we are doing. For example if you go for a walk you wear walking shoes, if you decide to go golf you wear golfing shoes which both give you good support to your feet for the task at hand. When it comes to evening party’s footwear selections are not decided due to support, conversely, they are chosen based on how they look with your outfit. This simple fact sets your feet and low back up for a challenging night. Dress shoes typically for women are much worse than for men, however many of them do not allow for proper mobility of your feet, and are made from more stiff materials that do not bend well and thus do not allow your feet normal movement when wearing them. This change in movement to our feet alter how our legs move and subsequently change force demands on the low back muscles. These changes in movement patterns and muscle demands leads to problems around the low back. Another issues that is present at many holiday cocktail parties that isn’t as obvious as our footwear selection and amount of time we are standing for, it is the things we consume during the party. Most will eat some form of fried finger foods, and or alcoholic beverages, which are both very pro-inflammatory. If we consume excessive inflammatory substances our weakest areas in our body are affected first and the most severely. For many people they do not connect the dots to food and drink consumption affecting a joint in the body, but it does. 

Solutions to the holiday party problems are simple and easy. You do not have to become a hermit crab in the holiday season to avoid irritation to your low back, instead you need to look into better footwear that will still go with your clothing, and work on better standing posture with occasional sitting breaks if possible. For women look into Vionic, Allbirds, Everlane, and Clarks for quality shoe brand options to consider, for men Cole Hans, Peter Millar, and Wolf & Shepherd are all good quality shoe brands. When standing for prolonged periods of time equal weight distribution is important as is keeping your feet about shoulder width apart when standing. Many times when you’re standing for more than ten minutes there is a tendency to shift weight more to one foot. This over time overloads the hip and knee on the one side and cause us to shift weight through our lumbar spine to one side more than the other. This asymmetry with weighty distribution causes irritation to the low back muscles. A better option would be to weight shift from left to right while keeping the feet shoulder width apart or just walking around instead of standing statically for too long. When we walk we are able to engage our back muscles and then relax them after taking a step. Walking also allows movement in our lumbar spine, which helps fluid move around our joint surfaces and help prevent joint irritation. If we stand statically without movement we are keeping our back muscles engaged much longer. If chairs are available at a holiday party try to sit once an hour for five to ten minutes to allow for your legs and back to get a break from holding the standing upright position. Rest breaks are a reset for our postural back muscles. They allow for relaxation to occur as well as muscle waste byproducts from standing engagement to flush out and have proper nutrients needed for better muscle engagement without feeling soreness. rest breaks will allow for longer enjoyment at a party without as much soreness the next day.

Holiday parties are not the only irritation to our low backs over this time of year, holiday decorations can cause chaos on our bodies too. Having to reach overhead for prolong periods of time as well as going up and down a ladder and bending and lifting heavy boxes substantially more than our typical lives require can be a perfect recipe for disaster on our low backs. Repetitive tasks are always issues on our bodies, so when it comes to decorating a Christmas tree or putting up outside decorations on your home they are no different. If these tasks are done without proper lifting and bending form or adequate rest you will hurt yourself. As we get focused on completing these household holiday tasks, we typically at some point lose focus on proper lifting and standing posture. That is when pain worsens and limit’s your ability to complete the task at hand. Subsequently with more of our time allocated to putting up decorations we usually cut back on our workout time since there is only so much time in a day, but this decision to take away workout time for decoration set up is a mistake. 

The best option for holiday decoration set up without injuring or irritation to your low back is moderation. Because this task is a large physical undertaking it needs to be done in phases with rest breaks. Judge the time to perform this task based on your own standing time comfort level. If you have time ahead to perform exercise-based activities that mimic what you do with the ladder, the overhead reaching and the core engagement for longer periods of time than you are used to. I would recommend doing step ups for ladder climbing reproduction, overhead press with light weights and hold them for longer times than normal overhead to replicate that task’s that involve hanging things overhead, and finally I would recommend doing planks for back strength and looking at some balance exercises to limit fall risk on a ladder. By practicing the tasks, you need to do with holiday decorations in a more controlled way you are substantially reducing your injury rate during the holiday season. 

Don’t Let your holiday season be negatively affected by your low back pain. There are many options to help reduce the overall pain rating with increased standing times at holiday parties as well as exercises that can help core strength, shoulder strength, leg strength and balance to limit your likelihood or irritating your back while setting up holiday decorations. If you feel the tasks for healing and getting active are too overwhelming and you don’t know where to start reach out to us we are able to help you get out of back pain, resume a normal active life. There are many treatment options we offer for low back pain such as cold laser therapy, traction therapy, manual therapy, and dry needling treatments that will heal your body faster than it can do on its own, as well as receive your very own personalized beginning exercise program to get you stronger and make your back pain a thing of the past. getting the foundation right to strength training really makes the difference and prevents the pain from returning with exercise progress. Have a happy Holiday.

Phone: (239)919-3510

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