Few conditions are more painful than persistent back pain. And with all the extra activity that goes along with celebrating the holidays — from shopping for gifts and baking cookies, to stringing up lights and trimming the tree — your poor achin’ back can really take a beating. So before a back attack makes you miss out on the celebration, try one of these simple strategies to halt the hurt in a hurry:
Don’t be a bed bug. Get up and at ‘em as soon as you can to increase circulation and bring healing nutrients to damaged muscles.
Cool it. When your back starts hurting, apply a cold pack or ice cubes wrapped in a towel to your sore muscles. Cool the area for about 20 minutes every few hours.
Get comfortable. Experiment a bit to find the position that causes you the least pain. The less strain you put on your back, the more quickly the injury will heal.
Wear shoes with plenty of cushioning. Cross-trainers or walking shoes are just what the doctor ordered.
Make like a stork. Once or twice a day, stand on one leg next to a sturdy table and extend your other leg in front of you, with the heel resting on a chair. Lean forward at your hips and reach for the toes of your outstretched foot. Don’t go too far, just to the point at which the pain starts. Hold the stretch for a moment, relax, then repeat the move with your other leg.
Pop a pill. Studies have shown that aspirin, ibuprofen, and similar drugs often work as well for back pain as more powerful prescription drugs.