If it weren’t for your lower back pain, you’d be looking forward to the girls’ shopping trip with your extended family. You can’t wait to fly home for the holidays but the thought of sitting upright for that long is daunting.

If this sounds like you, back pain may be interfering with your holiday plans. Here are some tips to avoid back pain during the holiday season:

1. Try not to overpack: You can hurt your back or worsen existing back pain by carrying and lifting heavy bags. If you’re carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder, make sure to switch sides often. Or better yet, wear it across your body if possible.

2. Wear comfortable shoes: Maybe not the most stylish tip, but be practical. No heels while walking through an airport or standing for a long period of time shopping. Wearing high heels for an extended period of time increases the forward curve of the back and causes the pelvis to tip forward, pushing your spine out of alignment.

3. Don’t overdo it: You signed up last-minute for a New Year’s 5K, you’re going hiking, taking a ski day with the family, attending your daughter’s favorite fitness class with her, and so on. These sharp increases in physical activity can lead to injury. Stay active but if you are not accustomed to heavy exercise, take it slow.

4. Support your back: If you’re sitting for an extended period of time, roll up a jacket, blanket or towel behind your lower back for lumbar support. You can also put one behind your neck. On a plane, use the footrest or use your bag as a footrest to raise your knees above your hips. These all keep your body in alignment to prevent soreness or injury, or keep existing pain from worsening.

5. Stretch: Do some light stretches when you reach your destination.

6. Sit up straight: Posture is important! Sit up straight with your shoulders back so there is less pressure on your back. Try not to hunch over if you are driving for a long distance.

7. Move it: Get up and move as much as you can. This is especially important on a long flight for preventing blood clots in your leg, and it’s good for your back too. Moving around prevents your back from stiffening and hurting by stimulating blood flow.

Don’t let back pain ruin your holiday season. Try the above tips, and if pain continues,contact us or call our dedicated Medical Concierge at 1-800-890-1964.