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Top 5 Holiday-related Back Pain causes

The holiday season can be tough on your back. As you prepare to celebrate with family and friends, make sure to take precautions so you don’t spend your holiday vacation suffering with back pain.

Putting up Decorations

What’s Christmas without brightly colored lights on the tree or along your eaves? Decorating your home with festive lights or festooned garlands can foster a great deal of holiday cheer, but can also be very hard on your back.

If you’re planning on climbing a ladder, bending, twisting, or swinging a hammer to attach decorations, make sure to stretch before and after! Your back muscles need warming up just like your legs and arms, and you can avoid a lot of back pain by limbering up before you decorate.

Long Airplane or Car Trips

Sitting in a confined airplane seat for hours at a time can absolutely add to your back pain – especially since travel can be stressful for many. If you’re driving to visit family or friends, your travel hours might end up in the double-digits. Of course, spending time with out-of-town guests is a wonderful part of the holiday season, so you shouldn’t avoid it completely.

During car trips, visit rest stops regularly. Even if you don’t need the bathroom break, stretching your legs on a short walk and allowing your back to change position can prevent a lot of pain in the long run. On an airplane, you have less space to work with, but consider standing up a few times throughout your flight. That way, you can fully enjoy your family’s company when you arrive.


This may come as a surprise, but indulging in serious eating over the holidays can actually put pressure on your vertebrae, resulting in back pain. According to Newport Natural Health, extra weight around our midsections can put “great strain on our spines.” The more you eat, the more your stomach can push away from your back, causing your stance and alignment to shift. We wouldn’t want you to miss the delicious food awaiting you for holiday meals, so here’s our suggestion to avoid back pain after eating:

When you serve up your portion, start small, and go back for multiple helpings. This adds to the time it takes for the food to reach your stomach, and might help you stop eating once you’re comfortably full. This way, you’ll avoid overeating to the point of pain.

If you’re in pain after every meal consistently, it may be the sign of a more serious health issue, so be sure to talk to your doctor.

Waiting in Lines

Whether you’re waiting in the checkout line after your gift shopping, slowly shuffling through security at the airport, or queueing up for your favorite amusement park ride during your holiday vacation, all that standing can really hurt. Don’t let back pain stop you from what you enjoy this season.

While you wait in line, keep moving as much as possible. If you feel silly stretching in line, here are some subtle movements you can do without drawing too much attention in line:

  • Tie or retie your shoes
  • Drop something non-fragile (a coin, your hat or scarf, etc.) and bend down to pick it up
  • Take off or put on a coat, stretching in the process

Of course, nobody will mind if you keep your back limber in a line, as long as you don’t jostle those around you. While standing in line, try to avoid staring at your phone as much as you can. The bent neck position of looking down at your phone could contribute to your back pain later.

Guest Bedrooms or Couchsurfing

As you’re visiting friends or family, it’s likely you’ll be sleeping on a bed or couch that isn’t most familiar to you. Even if the bed is comfortable, it might support (or fail to support) parts of your back that you’ve become used to.

Always stretch first thing in the morning, and try to keep your spine aligned while you rest in the guest room or on the couch. If possible, avoid caffeine or food close to bedtime so you rest comfortably without tossing and turning. Those movements in the middle of the night can tweak back muscles.

Once you’ve finished your holiday revelry, we hope you find that our tips have prevented any stressful back pain. If you’re finding some leftover back pain from the season, let Absolute Life Wellness Center know. We want to get your back in shape for the upcoming New Year!