If you have chronic pain, you may be wondering how you will be able to manage the holidays. Getting together with family and friends is great, but all the events and obligations can make the season exhausting – and painful. Twin Cities Pain Clinic offers our top strategies for a less stressful, more comfortable Thanksgiving!
1. Make a list of your priorities
Before the holidays approach, think about what you really enjoy about this time of year. Make a list of your favorite activities. If a longtime tradition has become more of a chore than a celebration, take it off your list.
If you are suffering from chronic pain, you may need to make a few changes to your holiday plans that require a lot of standing, bending or lifting. If you love to cook a big family meal, for instance, see if a friend or family member would be able to stop by and help so you aren’t bending over a hot oven by yourself.
2. Let others help
“If there’s anything I can do, let me know!” We have all heard this before. This is the time of year to have your answer ready! Whether it is shoveling the sidewalk, picking up the ingredients for a pumpkin pie, or bringing in the Christmas tree. Make a detailed list of your holiday duties that could add to your pain – and leave yourself off the list. See if there is a family member or friend that could help you out with the more difficult tasks.
Setting priorities and doing less can be difficult, especially if you’re someone who usually takes care of everyone else. By planning ahead and delegating duties you are making a very important commitment to your health and well-being.
3. Keep moving
Climbing a ladder to put the star on the top of the tree should be avoided, but don’t abandon your exercise routine. Stretches and gentle aerobic exercises, such as walking, can help improve your outlook by producing endorphins, the body’s natural pain reliever.
Exercise can help counteract depression, which has the potential to develop alongside chronic pain. Swimming or doing water exercises in a warm pool can be a soothing health break from the holiday rush.
4. Get it delivered
Many of your local restaurants and retailers offer delivery services. Call your favorite restaurant or grocery store or check on its website to learn about delivery options. Some places offer economical dinner packages for a group. Avoiding the bending, lifting and twisting involved in shopping and cooking for a large group is probably worth the cost of the meal.
5. Travel Pain Free
Traveling during the holidays can aggravate your pain. Make sure to consider your pain while scheduling flights or long car rides. Try to book a direct flight when possible, the less time spent cramped in the air the better. Bring a back support cushion, back roll, or even a couple of pillows to support your back, keeping pain at bay.
Pack light- a heavy bag can be more than just an inconvenience, it can cause or aggravate back pain by straining muscles and joints. To avoid unnecessary strain, it’s best to use a light suitcase with wheels and a handle for rolling it. Instead of stuffing one large suitcase full, it’s often better to use a few smaller bags.
Ask the Professionals
Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact your provider at Twin Cities Pain Clinic for tips, tricks, or resources that align with your particular diagnosis or pain situation. Be thorough in your travel plans to ensure we can best meet your needs.
From the Twin Cities Pain Clinic family to yours, we wish you safe travels and a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday with your loved ones.