The Holidays can be a crazy time of year for all of us. Between family time, travel, decorating, and shopping it can be hard to find time for yourself. In this post we will discuss a couple of quick tips to keep your back and neck healthy this holiday season. The first tip focuses on keeping your head on straight and the second and third tips will describe healthy lifting mechanics so you can truly lift with your legs.

For the Neck

-The dreaded airplane nap-

We’ve all been there. We’re flying on an airplane and just needing a few extra zzz’s so we throw on our trusty neck pillow and manage to doze off. Somehow during our sleep our neck manages to find the ONE unsupported edge of the neck pillow and we wake up with neck stiffness and pain. Sometimes it only lasts a few hours and isn’t too bad, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem to go away and you end up turning your entire body when trying to talk to your family at dinner. This is such a big problem, they’ve actually developed this pillow…Yes, the hole is for your nose.

neck pain pillow

Lucky for you the solution is simple and all you need is a towel or cloth of some sort. If you’re really in a jam and don’t have access to either of those things you can try a pair of jeans or piece of clothing you are not worried about stretching out. The technique is called a SNAG. See below!

For the Back

-Unpacking the holiday closet or attic-

Another thing we always like to do is pack as many things into each box as we can possibly fit in one box (or a carry on bag if we’re still thinking about being on a plane!). This results in one or two boxes always being heavier than we remember them being last year when we put them away, and of course heavy boxes are always the ones on the floor. Staying true to our stubborn selves and the haste of the holidays we inevitably lift this box ourselves while a loved one chants “lift with your legs!” encouraging good lifting mechanics. While we may be able to accomplish this without a problem, sometimes we pay for it later as that gradual ache in the back sets in.

We all know that we’re supposed to lift with our legs but how do we accomplish that? What are good lifting mechanics anyways? To lift with your legs requires two movements put together. A hip hinge, and a squat. Mastering these techniques will help you avoid donating money to the already huge low back pain industry. See the following videos to piece this together. When you’re done you should look like the person on the right!

good lifting mechanics

Hip Hinge/Dead Lift

  •  If you’re having trouble with the stick coming off of your hips or mid back see our youtube channel videos “set your shoulders” and “pelvic tilt.”

The Squat

 Now that you’ve put the movements together you have the building blocks to actually put that “lift with your legs” strategy to good use, you’ve mastered good lifting mechanics! An equally important piece to the puzzle is learning how to activate your core. If you’re practicing these movements and you still have pain or can’t seem to improve, contact us at The Doctors of Physical Therapy in Scottsdale, AZ. There’s a reason that physical therapy has been found to be the best treatment for back pain. We help people like you everyday to live highly functional lives and move well.

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