Gobble Gobble Gobbling! Hi guys its, Michael here, and today I’m thinking about a very special occasion, turkey day, or how we all know it, Thanksgiving. What’s better than putting our stomachs on high blast, and feasting on an all you can eat buffet without the crowd of unknown people?
I get it, the food is great, and the company is even better. Thanksgiving is a time to see our closest ones, share a good laugh or two, and give a hip hip hooray for the enticing food layed out inches away. As we head into the holidays, I want to give you guys a blessing, but I also want to speak the importance of good health.
In this article I’m going to discuss some of the ways you and other people will put there backs at risk come crunch time. I will be talking about:
- What to do days prior
- What to look out for
- How to stay safe
So lets jump right to it!
Prepare Ahead Of Time
What do I always say? OK, that’s not an easy given answer, but for those that know me will always hear me saying to stay prepared. What the heck does Michael mean?
What I mean by being safe is understanding how you can be putting your back at risk to the build up of thanksgiving. If you’re in charge of grabbing groceries and running in and out of every grocery and clothing store, then the chances of hurting and worsening your lower back are increased.
Tip #1: I know my mother loves having me over for thanksgiving dinner, and I always try to give her a hand with the groceries no matter what. I offer my services to head to the store with her, and even take them out of the car and into the house. What does this do you ask? Well I become her favorite son, why else? No!
The real reason is that she’s not constantly shifting in different directions, and pulling and picking up things that are:
- low to the ground
A heavy item alone is enough to put your back out of service, imagine having to pick up a whole bag filled with your turkey, ham, and added accessories, BOOM!
Lowering your center of mass to the bottom to pick up a bag can easily cause you to hunch over and shift a muscle or even worse a disc infraction. You don’t want to do this after a whole days work of being at the store.
What I would do is plan out a day with family or friends to help you run to the store and grab what is necessary, and designate the heavier workload for them if your back is bad.
Tip #2: Know your meals
What’s worse than twisting, pulling and moving the wrong way? Eating the wrong foods. For those of use who have constant back pain, we know far too well the hazards of consuming delicious, yet harmful for our bodies type of foods. If you or your family member is heading to the grocery store, share this with them in their list:
- Roasted turkey
- Spinach salad
- Red beat
- almonds and walnuts
- red cherries
Ofcourse, with the good comes the bad. It’s hard to stay away from getting these types of foods because they are so delicious, but be aware.
- Pumpkin pie
- white bread
- fried foods
Tip #3 Prepare your environment
Jordan, Jose, Alex, quit running around! More often than not, there will be kids at the get together. If there’s no place to walk through, you will get banged up rather easily. What I would do is organize your living room/ kitchen room area to accommodate for your guest, yourself, and the kids area.
Living Room: If you need to move the couches around, do it. Just last thanksgiving, I helped move some couches around so there would be more room in the middle to walk around, and for less clutter when people would crash here after their “last supper”
tip #4 Know your activities
This is a large component of Thanksgiving because on the day of, it wouldn’t feel like turkey day without a round of football catch, or your favorite recreational activity. If you’re going to be outdoors, it’s important that you understand you conditions such as:
- do you have acute pain?
- Is your pain chronic?
If you know what your symptoms are, that will be the difference between playing catch and sticking to lower impact activities(which we will get to in the next section.
On Thanksgiving day
Now that we covered what thanksgiving is about, and how you can avoid back pain before the big day, it’s time to get into the meat of this article…literally!
The day is here, and it’s your big moment, you’re either eating, preparing food, playing some activities, or you’;re doing all of them! Whichever the case might be, you will know how to rest easy this thanksgiving day.
Tip #1 Are you preparing the food?
I know that many of our families like to prepare the meals days before the 22nd, but what about for those that prepare the meal the day of? If you’re the chief this thanksgiving dinner, there are many ways you can go about it without hurting your back. But let’s see the common errors people make:
Ex: Lifting a 25lb turkey from the refrigerator and to the stove. this is a prime way to hurt your back, and really bad might i Add. You should follow proper lifting and bending techniques if you haven’t done so yet.
Another problem with fixing the meals are that you’ll be on your feet and in the kitchen all day. Bending over the kitchen top can feel awkward, and bending over can cause your spine to adjust its spine in a bad position. To correct it, make sure you have the proper footwear, and a temporary back brace can help.
When it comes to dishes, you could consider opting or less heavy pots, pans, cookers. this will help you pick them and shift them over easily.
Tip #2 Traveling
This might not be the day of, but regardless, if you;re planning to travel to see your family and friends ythis year, back pain can be just around the corner. You may be at risk from:
- lifting heavy baggage
- sitting on the flight chair
Avoiding these are essential and can make the difference in worsening your pain. Here are some helpful strategies you can take.
TIP #3 Avoid Alcohol
It’s not a round with the boys or time for the bar, it’s a time to thank those who have been able to give us our meal(s) for the day. And this might help subconsciously help you get over the fact to put the drink down, and go for a more healthier option. For one, alcohol can reak havoc on your back. Within a matter of seconds it will cause a huge amount of inflammation.
Tip #4 Activities
Let’s say you just finished eating your meal, and you’ve turned down the couch to go for a walk. What should you do? Well for one, congrats on not crashing on the couch, and two you can walk around the house and outside if that’s an option. This will keep your muscles and joints in condition and loose. Moving around will lubricate your joints. Offer a family member to go out for a walk with you.
Tip #5 Don’t forget to stretch
Stretching can go unnoticed because you are so busy with cooking, seeing family, and attending to other social needs. That’s why on the day of if you’re cooking, stop to stretch your lower back, and if you’re in the moment of the fun, you can do a couple stretches like the ones here.
The Days After Thanksgiving
Now that we’ve talked about what to do before and during this thanksgiving holiday, let’s freshen up the days after. Where else will you seem someone sharing with you what to do days after the feast?
We will all be facing different scenarios, some of us will have had more food than the other, participated in more activities, and those of us who spent the last 4-5 hours of the night sitting on the couch. Whichever one it may be, I’ll be sure to point you in the right direction.
For Heavy Eaters:
Were you relentless and you ate what you couldn’t handle? You’re the one who had plate after plate without any plans to derail. You shouldn’t blame yourself though, food is a must. If your getting inflammation and pain that you can not control, I suggest its time to do a couple simple things:
- Stretch. You might be working today or sitting around the home on your day off, whichever one it is, you need to make sure you’re staying active. Move around, clean around the home, or stand up and stretch in the office with these best stretches here.
- Take anti-inflammatory. Go for NSAID’s if need be, but also take advantage of some of the more natural remedies seen here.
- If it’s your muscles bothering you, a natural muscle relaxant like the one seen here will help you very well.
I get that sometimes we just want to find that sweet part of our favorite lounging couch or seat and sit for hours. First off, that will only cause your muscles and joints to weaken, and your spine will not be thanking you for it. Here are couple options if you find that you are sitting around:
- Use proper ergonomics. I’m sitting on my couch writing to you in comfort. How? I use a seat cushion for my bottom. A seat cushion will take the pressure off your spine and lower trunk joints and muscles. This will help you sit for hours without inflammation and pain. Check out my seat cushion article here.
- Have an ice and heat pack handy. If you have acute lower back pain it would be a smart idea to have an ice pack and heat pack together. You’ll use the ice to reduce your swelling and heat to promote better blood circulation to your area of pain so you can heal. Take a look at how to ice and heat right here. With chronic lower back pain, heating consistency is vital.
- A pain relief cream. If you are like me, you no the wonders the right pain relief cream can do for your back. Check out this article on how to find the right pain relief cream by clicking here.
This is your day to get up and down, and there’s no time to be sitting around. You might or might not have had a lot of food the night before, but you still need to watch over your back. Here are a couple things you can do:
- Stretch. Moving around stiff will only add extra pressure on your spine, and cause your back to give out much more easily. Check out these after thanksgiving stretches right here.
- Have a back brace handy. I’m not big on using back braces, but they will help evenly distribute your load throughout the course of your activity. Check out my article on back braces right here.
You Can Do It This Year
I came to the realization that pain comes and it goes, and it can come back even quicker than it goes away. In circumstances like the holidays such as thanksgiving in particular, back pain can be a persistent problem, and even worse is that we don’t know we’re doing it.
Today you learned how to avoid back pain the days before turkey day, and we went over how you can avoid and keep back pain off the day of. Now I turn the torch over to you. It’s time to lock it in, and and enjoy your thanksgiving this year.
From my family to you, Happy Thanksgiving!