By Gita Mikal
The sweet smell of freshly baked gingerbread fills the air, a stack of greeting cards are ready to be mailed and a pile of wrapped gifts are all reminders of the hustle and bustle of the season and the joyful time to be shared with family and friends. Let’s make it pain free and enjoy the festivities...
Easy on those hands
If you still thrill your friends and family by sending a hand-written card, make it easy on yourself. Extend the joy, start early and sign a few each day, use a thicker pen to prevent aches and pains related to arthritis and don’t forget to stretch your fingers and wrist muscles.
Prevent injuring your back
Whether it is bringing holiday decorations from the basement, climbing the ladder to string the lights up on the roof or putting the tree up, chances are you can aggravate that old back pain.
- Be mindful of proper body mechanics when lifting and carrying the ladder and heavy packages.
- Practice care when carrying oversized packages and watch your steps.
- Limit the amount of heavy lifting and use your legs not your back when lifting.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Avoid repetitive movements in one direction or staying in one static position for an extended period of time.
- Remember, seemingly harmless gift-wrapping can cause pain if you are seated in hunched position for a long time.
- Mix tasks, stop and stretch those tired muscles every now and then.
In the kitchen
Planning a dinner party? Here’s how to minimize aches and aggravation in the kitchen:
- Plan ahead and involve family and friends, have a potluck or pick up a few prepared dishes or pre-cut vegetables.
- Always make sure your forearms are level with your counter or table top when chopping or cutting.
- When standing in the kitchen, be sure to distribute your weight evenly.
- Use a padded kitchen mat to prevent fatigue while standing too long.
- Always lift from your knees by bending them.
- Take breaks and don’t forget to stretch, prop up your legs, use a heating pack and enjoy.
Enjoy the holidays despite dealing with chronic pain
This is the time of the year to be close to your family and loved ones. The fear of a painful flare-up makes it easy to say no to social engagements and to skip parties and family visits. But you can still share the cheer and festivities by planning ahead and choosing a few functions that are important to you.
Have a safe and happy holiday season with family and friends.
Note: This information should not be used as a substitute for necessary consultations with a qualified health care professional. Always consult a medically trained professional with questions and concerns you have regarding your medical condition.
Gita Mikal is the founder of Pain Management & Fibromyalgia Centre and Physiotherapy at Don Mills. Gita is a practicing physiotherapist with post-graduate training in pain management. She incorporates a variety of therapeutic techniques such as manual therapy, acupuncture and pain education in her treatments. Visit www.physioatdonmills.com, or call 416-444-4800.