It’s the season for gratitude, and even though the global pandemic has forced this year’s Thanksgiving celebration to look far different from what we’re all used to, most people are trying to safely observe as many traditions as possible. While travel and big family gatherings are not recommended this year, most people will still have small celebrations and spend time with those they love, and that means lots of cooking and too little physical activity. Both of these can lead to unnecessary back pain. Here are our tips for enjoying the holiday without inviting discomfort.
- Cooking for Thanksgiving – The bird may be smaller and there may be fewer seats at the table, but the truth is that doesn’t mean much to the person responsible for preparing the meal. Cooking the meal and the traditional dishes that are part and parcel of the holiday is a big job, and it is easy to end up with pain in your neck and back if you don’t take precautions. Start with your footwear. Many people make the mistake of heading into the kitchen barefoot or wearing slippers, but you need good support and cushioning underfoot. Even if the turkey is smaller, you still need to lift it properly, bending your knees and using your legs. You can ease back pain by doing a lot of your kitchen prep while sitting at a table rather than standing at a kitchen counter, or if you have to stand, open a cabinet and rest your foot on the lower cabinet to minimize spine stress. It may sound funny, but you can also cut down on strain by investing in pots and pans that weigh less.
- Don’t forget to move – For many, the typical Thanksgiving celebration involves lots of eating preceded and followed by lots of laying around in front of the television. Unfortunately, it is exactly this type of inactivity that can contribute to back pain. You can counter these effects (and probably feel better after the big meal) if instead of sitting on the couch staring at football, you take a walk around the block. By staying active you keep your muscles strong and alleviate stress. There’s no need to introduce exercise that you’re unfamiliar with — don’t stress yourself or injure yourself by indulging in a game of backyard football that leaves you vulnerable to strains and sprains — but by keeping active and getting out into the fresh air you can keep yourself from gaining weight that contributes to pressure on your spine and keep your muscles loose and limber.
Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and to recognize the things that we are grateful for, and that includes good health and time spent with those we love. The team members at our spine specialty practice wish you and yours all the best, and hope you stay safe and have a very happy Thanksgiving.