We could ask what it is about the holiday season that adds unwanted stress to our lives, but the answers often seem obvious. Though roughly one month separates Thanksgiving from Christmas Day, we still feel compelled to rush through our holiday to-do lists. We decorate, shop, and overeat, and consequently risk further pain to our joints and back.
Earlier we touched on safety tips for holiday decorating for people who deal with chronic pain. While injuries related to tree trimming and outdoor decorating account for a good percentage of holiday pains, the eating side of the season may play a role as well. Foods can trigger arthritis and similar conditions, so it’s important to watch what you eat during this time.
We’re not suggesting one should refrain entirely from indulging in a holiday treat or two this year. Diet concerns related to joint health and other conditions are conversations to have with your physician. We will note, however, that straying from a healthy pattern of eating can impact inflammation. Cookies and treats made with sugar and white flour may cause issues if you have more than your share. You may want to consult with your physician about alternatives to the sweets you enjoy, made with healthier ingredients.
Dehydration can become a problem over the holidays. We get so busy with shopping and wrapping gifts and other holiday tasks, that we’ll forget to stop for a breath and a glass of water. When you neglect your body this way, you risk stiffness and tight muscles. Wherever your holiday chores take you, carry a water bottle for your refreshment. Also, be judicious with holiday cheer, as excessive alcohol can also worsen pain.
Take a Break
Eating isn’t the only food-related pain risk of the season. If you’re the main cook in the family, you’ll likely spend more time in the kitchen bent over the stove or butcher’s block preparing meals and treats. This means more potential for backaches and stiffness, unless you recognize when you need to step back and rest. Recruit kitchen helpers whenever possible and pace yourself when cooking – don’t ruin your health at the expense of a Christmas cookie swap.
During the holiday seasons and throughout the year, the physicians and experts at Bon Secours Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists offer care to patients dealing with all manners of joint pain. If you need assistance with pain management and want to enjoy a better quality of life, contact us today with your questions.