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Posted on 11-21-2013

In a Nov. 17, press release, the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) and the Connecticut Chiropractic Council (CCC), offered several suggestions and tips to help protect your back and general health, particularly over the upcoming holidays.

How and what we eat is always important, says Dr. Luigi DeRubba, President of the ICA.  But, the upcoming holidays and their traditional practices of overeating and eating too much unhealthy food are of special concern to today's chiropractors.  DeRubba suggests that a bulging stomach can put pressure on your body's systems, including your spine and spinal nerves.  Every extra pound in the abdominal region could put ten pounds more stress on the lower back.  Heavy eating during the holidays may lead to weight gain, and carrying extra pounds can put added strain on the supporting structures of the spine and nervous system.

DeRubba suggests a few simple things:  eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less red meat, bread, pasta, chips and fats/oils.  It also goes without saying that eating even healthy food should be done in moderation.

The holiday season, particularly those days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, also find more people visiting their chiropractors because of stresses and strains that come from the season.  The ICA and CCC suggest the following:

Be aware of how you lift things like heavy packages, an armload of firewood, or that frozen turkey.  Lifting with your legs instead of your back, as well as keeping heavy items close to your body as you lift,  will minimize your chances of injury.

If you are doing the cooking and standing for long periods of time, use a foot rest, stack of books or pieces of wood to elevate one foot about six inches above the floor.  This will relieve tired leg and back muscles.  When you use a foot rest and alternate each foot, it also helps improve your posture.

Traveling and being out of your routine adds stress of its own.  Plenty of rest, packing light and allowing extra time will go a long way in minimizing the stress of the body and mind.  If you must carry bags, be aware of carrying too much in bags with shoulder straps that pull your body out of alignment or put a heavy load on your shoulders. 

Sitting for long periods of time, whether in a plane or traveling by car, can put unnecessary pressure on your discs in your back and on your spine.  A small pillow or folded towel placed behind the small of your back will help maintain the arch in your lower back and support the rest of the body.

Sources:

Press release: "Chiropractors Caution Holiday Stress Increases Health Risk:" 

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2007/11/prweb569935.htm

"Holiday Stress Increases Back and Other Heath Risks Say Chiropractors"

Yahoo Voices, voices.yahoo.com, Sussy, Nov 18, 2007

http://voices.yahoo.com/holiday-stress-increases-back-other-health-risk-665240.html

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