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Pain Reducing Tips for Thanksgiving

First off, my staff and I at New Jersey Pain Care Specialists wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

We all know how hurting can ruin a good time – even more so on special days when family and friends are gathering to be thankful for what we have. And pain is definitely not on that list.

Here are a few actions you can take to minimize the chances of a holiday pain flare-up, so you can fully enjoy the feast and festivities. Of course these same tips apply every day of the year.

Travel comfortably

Regardless of whether you’ll be sitting in a car, train or airplane, use lumbar support to ensure a proper sitting position to help prevent lower back pain. Place something as simple as a pillow between your back and the seat.

Make sure you’re sitting on your “sitting bones” and not your tailbone. A small cushion or folded-over towel can help. Traveling by car? Plan regular stops to get out, stretch and walk around. If you’re on a train or airplane, walk around when it’s safe to leave your seat.

Avoid alcoholic beverages

It’s not worth it for a number of reasons: 

  • Alcohol can cause restless sleep and result in pain that could last all the next day, or longer.
  • Alcohol interferes with many medications. For example, the combination of alcohol and painkillers can slow down your nervous system and respiration, and possibly hasten an overdose.
  • The liver’s process of breaking down alcohol creates dangerous by-products, which can damage liver cells and increase painful inflammation throughout the body.

Get out and walk!

While sitting for a long meal, your joints can stiffen and cause joint pain. And even though all that turkey will make you feel tired, don’t retreat to the sofa for football and a nap. Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood to keep your joints lubricated to keep pain at bay.

Stop & stretch!

Throughout the day, take breaks from cooking, sitting and chatting, or watching TV. Your muscles get stiff just like your joints, so loosen up with the stretching tips below. Warning: If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop immediately! Same goes for all other stretches or movements.

  • Neck stretch – Sit on your right hand and slowly lower your left ear down toward your left shoulder until you feel a stretch in your right shoulder. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times on each side.
  • Mid-back stretch – Slowly pinch your shoulder blades together for 3-5 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times. You can do this stretch every 10-15 minutes.
  • Lower back stretch – Sit in a straight-back chair with your feet on the floor. Grasp your left knee with both hands and bring that leg up toward your chest. Hold, return to the starting position, and repeat with your right leg. Repeat 3-5 times.
  • Hamstring stretch – While sitting, extend one leg out straight, bend forward and reach toward your toes until you feel a stretch behind your knee. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch sides.

As always, if you ever experience severe pain and swelling, or worsening or extended discomfort, call us at New Jersey Pain Care Specialists and we’ll explain what we can do to help. 

Thanks for giving us your time! 

About The Author

Dr. Harris Bram, MD, DABPM

Dr. Harris Bram, MD, DABPM

Dr. Harris Bram is an Interventional Pain Management Specialist in New Jersey. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. His postgraduate training in anesthesia was performed at Hahnemann University Hospital, where he sub-specialized in cardiac anesthesia. He completed his pain management fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.

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