Chronic Pain During the Holidays
Chronic pain, whether it’s widespread due to a condition like fibromyalgia or related to your spine or an underlying health issue, doesn’t take a holiday. In fact, some of your holiday happenings and activities could put you at risk for developing more issues with chronic pain as you prepare to wind down the year and enjoy time with friends and family. So, how does the holiday season affect chronic pain? And, more importantly, what can you do about it? Here’s what you need to know.
What Causes Chronic Pain During the Holidays?
Shopping, cooking, decorating, traveling, and attending parties are just some of the many holiday-related activities that can contribute to chronic pain during the holidays. If you don’t wear comfy, supportive footwear while running around to find the perfect gifts, for instance, you could end up over-stressing muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones in your feet and ankles – and even ones that support your lower back. Holiday-related chronic may also stem from:
- Added stress and anxiety
- Repetitious bending and reaching while baking
- Sitting in awkward positions while in a car or on an airplane
- Lack of sufficient sleep due to an increasingly lengthy to-do list
What Can You Do If You Experience Chronic Pain?
It’s not unusual for chronic pain to spike when you are over-stressed or overusing certain muscle groups as you walk around town to check out holiday lights or rushing to prepare your home for guests. If this happens, you may be able to find instant relief if take a break to give your body a chance to recharge. Applying heat or cold to the affected area can also provide relief by increasing circulation and reducing inflammation.
How Can You Prevent/Manage Holiday-Related Chronic Pain?
Asking for and accepting help from loved ones and friends during the holiday season is one way to minimize issues with chronic pain as you have more on your plate. You may also have fewer issues with chronic discomfort as you get more festive by:
- Getting regular exercise
- Sticking to your recommended treatment/pain management plan
- Keeping up with your doctor’s appointments
- Being mindful of what you eat and keeping holiday treats to a minimum
- Prioritizing your holiday-related tasks
If your chronic pain is getting worse during the holidays, don’t put off getting medical attention until after the new year starts. It’s best to deal with chronic pain that’s no longer manageable as soon as symptoms start to demand more of your attention. It can also be helpful to ask your doctor or a chronic pain specialist for some advice more specific to your source of chronic pain before you get wrapped up in your holiday routine.