The holiday season is filled with joy, happiness and fun. But, it can also be filled with a lot of stress. There are a lot of different types of stress and a lot of different ways that it can manifest. Stress can manifest as pain in the body, or increase pain that you are already experiencing. Chiropractors can help patients find patterns in their lifestyles that may be contributing to their stress and pain. They can also help identify ways to adapt your current habits or routines to place less stress on your joints and your life.
One possible way we are putting unneeded stress on our bodies is through the way we exercise. Your chiropractor can tell you what type of exercise best suits you before you embark on a new regimen. They can also help work with you to identify areas of weakness to work on and activities you should avoid. Changing from a high impact exercise routine to a lower impact one can go a long way in helping your body feel energized and pain free. A workout is low impact if at least one of your feet remains in contact with the ground at all times for example walking, and skating. Water aerobics, swimming, cycling and using an elliptical machine, put even less stress on your joints than the previous mentioned low impact exercises because both feet stay on the ground at all times and your body is supported during movement. A workout is considered high impact if both feet leave the ground at the same time for example running, skipping, and plyometric workouts.
Another source of stress this time of year can be the weather and decreased amount of sunlight. You go outside, only to find your hands freezing and nose running. You drive to work in the pitch-black of darkness and step outside after a long day on the job, only for it to be dark again. It can be hard to stay motivated and committed to fitness and activity during the winter months.
While it can be easy to lose sight of your activity levels until you’ve thawed out a little, research has shown it’s important to exert yourself in the winter months. As the darkness and cold creeps in, your serotonin (or feel-good chemical) levels drop. Consistent exercise and activity is a great way to combat this. Getting up and moving in the winter also boosts immunity by keeping the lymphatic system active. Keeping in mind high and low impact exercises above here are a couple ideas to help you stay active during the winter months.
Get outside and move. This option embraces the cold. Ontario is full of opportunities to use the frigid weather to your advantage. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing or skating are all great options to keep you moving outside. You can also check what’s going on locally, as most communities regularly host fun events during the winter months.
Activity in your day-to-day life. Being active doesn’t always have to mean sweating it out. Making little, conscious decisions to get up and move can do wonders for your overall health. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get out and shovel the snow by hand (using the correct technique, of course. If you forget what the correct technique is, just look back at last month’s newsletter where we discussed snow shovelling tips). Get up from your desk and take a short walk every hour. Its little activities like these that can help break up the monotony your body can feel during the winter months.
Join a gym. This year, this may not be an option for you. They may be closed, or you don’t feel safe going to a gym. However, there are lots of great workout videos online, and you don’t need a lot of equipment to get you going. A simple body weight exercise routine can create a challenging workout.
Often during the holiday season we find ourselves driving to visit family and friends. Driving in poor weather conditions can cause stress, but also just being in the car can increase back pain for some. For those who are career drivers, like bus, taxi or delivery drivers, or even those who just live a go-go lifestyle, back pain can be an unfortunate side effect of living on the open road. Below are a few ways to help ease your pain while driving:
Using a lumbar support – A lumbar support, which is essentially a cushion for your lower back, can go a long way in preventing pain. You can purchase one specifically made for driving or it can be as easy as using an old couch pillow or a rolled up towel.
Moving your seat forward – Getting as close as you can to the steering wheel, without it being uncomfortable, is the optimal driving distance to prevent back pain. This way you aren’t slouching and also not straining yourself to reach the pedals.
Adjust your hands on the steering wheel – We were all told by our driving instructor, “keep those hands at 10 and 2,” over and over. This was definitely true when we were 16-years-old and trying to get our licence, but isn’t true when we are looking to alleviate back pain. With the invention of airbags, research has found that your hands should be at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. This allows you to rest your elbows on the armrests, which can help ease pain, especially in the upper back.
Stretching – Stretching it out before hopping in the car is a great way to prevent driving related pains from creeping up. Getting out and stretching every hour or two will alleviate some of your pain if you know you’re going to be in your car for a long time throughout the day.
You can always see your chiropractor if you are still unsure about how to prevent and alleviate back pain.
As most of you know, I have a young family and life is pretty busy for us. There are many times when I start getting stressed, or can see it start to manifest in the kids. Some of the things we try to do to combat the stress that creeps up (especially with the kids) are: Fresh air! It is amazing how some fresh air with snow angels, building a snowman, or having a snowball fight can really lighten the mood. If someone is grumpy, we start making silly faces at each other, and that usually gets everyone laughing as it often turns into a game of who can make the silliest face. Laughter has been shown to increase serotonin (the feel good chemical in the body), so a good bout of laughter can help to relieve stress as well. When all else fails, we put some music on and have a dance party. What kid doesn’t like seeing their parents being silly dancing around and singing?
Lori’s Quick Tips
Stress reducing ideas for difficult time:
Acceptance– let some calm in by accepting everything about yourself, you situation and your life without question or blame. Once we accept thigs they start to get easier.
Shut out constant bad news– take a time out from the constant stream of negativity and have social media days off, limit time spent reading or watching news.
Take it moment by moment– thinking long term is likely to make you feel more depressed and powerless. Only way to avoid this is literally taking it a week, a day or even just an hour at a time. Try not to think of the “if’s”, “when’s” and “maybe’s” how long things may last.
Focus on the things you can control-when things are overwhelming, find something on your day that you can control, and have some sense of routine.
Top Choice Award
As most of you have seen the email that went out in November that our office has been nominated for the Top Choice Award. Thank you to all of you who have gone on to the Top Choice website and voted for us. The link is still open till December 20th, 2020 at 8pm. Those of you who wish to still submit your vote, follow the link. Top Choice Award
Don’t forget about our virtual Holiday Contest that is still taking place. Visit Dr. Frederick’s Website:
www.drfrederickchiropractic.com under the latest news to view the photographs and then email your answer to: firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact us by visiting our web site at:
Contact us: Phone #: (519) 472-8700 or
You can also follow Dr. Frederick on Facebook at: Dr. Frederick Chiropractic or Instagram: @Dr_Frederick_Chirorpactic
 The Alberta Chiropractic Association
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