Holiday Stresses Can Increase Health Risks

The International Chiropractors Association (ICA) has issued helpful holiday hints and recommendations to fend off health issues during the holidays. Overeating was of particular interest simply because it is linked to physical stress put on the spine. According to the release, "A bulging stomach can put pressure on the body support systems, as well as your spine and spinal nerves. Every extra pound in the abdominal region could put ten pounds more stress on the lower back. This stress may last a little while, such as right after eating a significant meal or lifting a package improperly. It may also become chronic, as heavy eating over the holidays can lead to weight gain, and carrying excess weight can put added strain on the supporting structures of the spine and nervous system."

The release also notes that excess weight can force the pelvis and torso to shift and cause modifications in spinal balance, ultimately causing spinal misalignments (generally known as subluxations) and malfunction in the entire body. The ICA has prepared several helpful suggestions to follow. They are:

* When lifting packages, firewood, or your frozen holiday turkey as well as other heavy items, lift using your legs, not your back. When lifting, hold objects close to your body; as opposed to flexing forward, maintain
a small arch in your lower back and bend with the knees before standing up with the object. This way, the lifting is conducted primarily using the strong muscles of the legs supporting the load.
* When cooking or standing for an extended period, elevate one foot using a foot rest or stacked books, about six inches from the floor. Alternately elevating each foot relieves tired back and leg muscles--similar to the function the foot rest serves for customers standing around a counter--and aids in preventing bad posture habits which could cause abnormal spinal curvatures.
* When traveling by car or plane, place a pillow or folded towel behind the small of the back to help support 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.
* In combination with fastening your seat belt for car trips, adjust the head rest to align with your head, not less than up to ear level. This is relevant to support and protect the head and neck in the unfortunate event of a sudden stop.
* Get enough rest. Many health problems that occur from the holidays are merely caused by fatigue. Simply by getting adequate rest, you'll be able to help prevent structural strain, emotional and cognitive imbalance, and general health problems.

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