Being physically active and improving your pain can decrease stress levels and make holidays more enjoyable

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Being physically active and improving your pain can decrease stress levels and make holidays more enjoyable.

By Bill Bedford, Ferrell-Whited Physical Therapy Services

We all have aches and pains that we live with every day, but sometimes they worsen beyond a mild aggravation—especially during the holidays when our stress increases.

Being physically active and improving your pain can decrease stress levels and make holidays more enjoyable. Through stretching, strengthening, cardio and manual therapy techniques (including massage), you can decrease stress on your body and improve your mood. At Ferrell-Whited Physical Therapy, we can work with you to help you get through the holidays feeling better.

Here are some activities you can try on your own.

  • Doorway Stretch: Place arms on both sides of door at hip level, step one foot forward and lean forward till stretch is felt. Hold for 20 seconds; repeat five times.
  • Foam Roller Stretch: Lie on your back on a foam roller so that your spine is on the roller from sacrum to head. Lie with arms out at your side (shoulder height). Let your body relax over foam roller for two to five minutes. (If you don’t have a foam roller, roll up a towel.)
  • Heating Pad or Heat Pack: If you are stressed and feel tension in the neck, upper back and shoulders, try adding heat for 15-20 minutes. Heat increases blood flow, which helps carry oxygen and nutrients to tight muscles.
  • Increase Cardio: Do a cardio activity that increases your heart rate into the 70-80 percent range for 30-60 seconds, followed by two minutes of mild/moderate activity. Repeat five times. (Ask your physician before trying if you have medical conditions.)

Even though the holidays are busy, it is a good time of year to take care of your body and see a physical therapist or medical exercise specialist. At this time of year, physical therapy is most affordable, as many have met their insurance deductible.

For more advice or an assessment, call 440-973-4950 or visit, FerrellWhited.com/locations/Berea. Ferrell-Whited Physical Therapy Services is located at 2 Berea Commons, Suite 10, in Berea.