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Holiday Entertaining: 4 Tips for Reduced Back Pain and Stress

The holiday season can be a joyous time full of celebration while attending parties and hosting family and friends, but for those who experience chronic back pain, it can also be a time of unwanted stress and discomfort. Entertaining guests oftentimes means you will be tasked with a great deal of work before, during, and after the party, thus increasing the risk of a potential pain flare. Activities that involve standing, sitting, lifting, and carrying can cause strain to the lower back area, ranging in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that can leave you unable to move.

If you wish to feel healthy and back pain-free when socializing or entertaining your guests, here are four tips to help you reduce back pain and stress during the holiday season:

Alternate Your Legs During Prolonged Periods of Standing

Parties and social gatherings often involve standing for long periods of time. While standing, be sure to straighten your left or right knee and put all of your body weight on that leg while the opposite leg rests on the floor. If it sounds odd to you, you’re not alone, as most people think standing with equal weight on both legs is the best way to stand. However, standing with equal weight on both legs eventually causes the lower back to sag and the back muscles to hold most of the body weight. On the contrary, putting all of your weight on one leg activates the larger muscle groups of the buttock and leg – switching from one leg to the other also allows these larger muscle groups to relax in between, making for more fun-filled conversations without back pain.

Plant Your Feet While Sitting

After standing and moving through the party for some time, doesn’t it feel great to sit down for a quick break to rest your legs? While sitting, be sure to place both of your feet firmly on the floor. Sinking into the sofa even with your feet on the floor may feel great for a moment, but trying to get out of that position without experiencing back pain can be challenging. If available, use throw pillows to place behind you to support the small of your back. If throw pillows are not available, sit at the edge of the sofa and rock your pelvis back and forth often to stretch those overworked lower back muscles for some relief.

Alternate Your Legs While Working

As the host, you’ll most likely be spending time in the kitchen cleaning and serving food, however doing these activities does not have to be back-breaking. To reduce back pain doing tasks such as washing dishes or cleaning off tables, bend forward with all your weight on one leg then switch your weight from one leg to another when one leg gets tired – this will allow your buttock and leg muscles to help your smaller back muscles support you against gravity when leaning forward. Remember not to squat with your feet close together, as this will put tremendous strain on your lower back muscles. Keep your feet comfortably apart and bend the knees while lifting and carrying those heavy casserole dishes for your guests to enjoy.

Take a Moment to Relax

Now that your fun holiday party has come to an end, it’s time to take a moment for relaxation. Try lying on your back with knees bent and feet on the surface – the firmer the surface, the better the result. Rock your pelvis to stretch your lower back muscles, bring your knees to your chest, either one knee at a time or by bringing both knees together. Lastly, with knees bent and feet on the surface, roll both knees from one side to another. Repeat 2-3 times and enjoy the benefits of the much-needed post-party relief. You can never overdo stretching as long as it feels great when you are stretching.

Have a happy, healthy, and pain-free holiday season!

If you would like to know how your body works and how gravity impacts your posture, the staff at A.U.M Physical Therapy are here to help and provide you with an exercise regimen developed just for you.

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