Chiropractors Caution Holiday Stress Increases Health Risks

The above is the headline from a November 17, 2007, EMediaWire release from the Connecticut Chiropractic Council and the International Chiropractors Association (ICA). The release gives some simple holiday advice by saying, “With the holiday season upon us and Thanksgiving and other seasonal observances underway, it is important to your good health to take a few simple steps to reduce the stress and strain of this busy time.”

The article continues to note that having a little more patience, along with slowing down, and having more thoughtful holiday planning, will go a long way to reducing the stress of the holidays. The release also cautions about overindulgence at the dinner table over the holidays and the problems that overeating can cause. Dr. Luigi DiRubba, a local chiropractor and President of the Connecticut Chiropractic Council, advises, “A bulging stomach can put pressure on your body’s support systems, including your spine and spinal nerves.”

The article notes that additional weight can force the hip bones and torso to shift thus creating abnormal changes in spinal balance. This can lead to spinal misalignments, known as “subluxations” which affect the nervous system and create malfunctions elsewhere in the body. Dr. DiRubba warns, “Every extra pound in the abdominal region could put 10 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.”

The International Chiropractors Association (ICA) and the Connecticut Chiropractic Council have prepared a list of health tips to help protect your back and general health over the holidays. These include:

  • Lift packages correctly, firewood, your frozen holiday turkey and other heavy items with your legs, not your back. When lifting, hold objects close to your body; rather than flexing forward, maintain a slight arch in your lower back and bend at the knees before standing up with the object.
  • When cooking or standing for an extended period, elevate one foot with a foot rest or stacked books, about six inches from the floor. Alternately elevating each foot relieves tired back and leg muscles.
  • Travel stress can be minimized if you start your journey having gotten plenty of rest ahead of time, allow plenty of extra time to your destination, pack light, use well-balanced wheeled luggage when you can and be careful to avoid heavy loads on your shoulders from bags with shoulder straps.
  • Place a pillow or folded towel behind the small of the back when traveling by car or plane, to help maintain the arch in your lower back and support the rest of the body properly. This relieves the discs and joint structures of the spine from unnecessary pressure.
  • Get enough rest. Many health problems that occur with the holidays are simply due to fatigue.