Neck Pain Over The Holidays

avoid holiday neck pain Eastside Medical Cleveland

Neck Pain Over The Holidays

 

Protecting your neck over the holidays

 

The holidays can be hard on your neck. Traveling, hosting guests, setting up decorations, and attending family events may require your body to move in ways it’s not used to doing. These activities can result in stiffness, soreness, or sharp pain in the neck. 

Try these 4 tips to help keep your neck healthy and happy this holiday season.

 

1. Pack and travel smart

smart travel advice for neck pain holidays Eastside Medical Group ClevelandIf you travel this holiday season, you may have to carry luggage or sit in a cramped space for a long time, causing neck pain. Here are some ways to protect your neck while you travel:

Use a neck pillow. A travel-sized neck pillow helps keep your neck straight and upright so it doesn’t accidentally bend in an uncomfortable position.

Pack in multiple bags. Lifting luggage that’s too heavy can easily stress or injure your neck. Pack your travel items in multiple small bags instead of 1 large, heavy bag. Ask someone to help you take luggage in and out of your trunk or the overhead compartment on an airplane.

Bring heat/ice therapy. Heat therapy encourages blood flow and can reduce neck stiffness, and ice therapy helps reduce swelling and inflammation. So pack a heating pad, disposable heat wraps, and an ice wrap (or empty plastic bags you can later fill with ice) to use in case neck pain flares up.

 

2. Stick to a nutritious diet and exercise

eat healthy holidays Eastside Medical Group ClevelandThe holiday season can throw off your daily routine, and exercise is often the first item to get cut from a shifting schedule. Eating habits often change this time of the year, too, as many people enjoy home-cooked meals and delicious desserts with family and friends.

But if you commit to exercising and eating nutritiously over the holidays, your neck will thank you. A balanced diet, which includes adequate protein and plenty of fresh vegetables, supplies vitamins and healing properties that your soft tissues need. And an exercise program can help improve your cervical spine’s strength and flexibility, which may reduce the risk for neck pain.

 

3. Save your energy and know your limits

holiday relaxing Eastside Medical Cleveland healthy holidaysBefore the holidays arrive, consider which traditions and festivities are worth doing and which are too demanding. Some holiday activities, such as stringing up lights, baking cookies, and washing dishes are all physically strenuous and can cause or worsen neck pain.

Listen to what your body is telling you and decide ahead of time which activities to skip. Ask your family, friends, or neighbors to help carry out difficult chores. Take some time for yourself this holiday season, relaxing in bed with a good book or soaking in a warm bath.

 

4. Ask for gifts that help relieve neck pain

holliday gifts for neck pain Eastside Medical ClevelandIf you exchange gifts with loved ones to celebrate the holidays, here are a few items you can put on your wishlist:

Massage therapy gift certificate. Massage therapy, such as a Swedish massage or deep tissue massage, can help you relax, encourage blood flow to your soft tissues, and reduce your perception of pain.

Pillow. The right pillow is the one that has just the right height and firmness for you and will help keep your neck in a supported position with neutral alignment.

Neck massage device. If you want to treat neck pain at home, you can bring the massage to you. Research the best neck massagers and muscle rollers on the market.

Neck pain can be especially difficult to handle during the holiday season. Using this list, you can try a few tips to see what helps you find relief.

 

Originally published on Spine-Health

 


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autumn squash soup

Autumn Squash Soup Recipe

Colder weather is here, and that means comfort food.

Nothing is better in the colder weather than a piping hot bowl of soup!

Have you ever tried the sweet and savory Autumn Squash soup from Panera? It is amazing! After scouring the internet, we found an excellent and healthy copycat recipe for this delicious favorite on The Cafe Sucre Farine.

One minor modification to this recipe I would recommend is adding a bit of vanilla almond milk to the mix.

Let us know how you like this recipe!

 

Author: Chris Scheuer
Recipe type: Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large butternut squash, 2½-3 pounds
  • 1 medium sugar pumpkin, 2½-3 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, peeled, halved and roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces carrots
  • ½ cup roughly chopped shallots
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon mild curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup apple juice or cider
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ freshly ground black pepper
  • salt, to taste

For the pumpkin seeds:

  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • ½ cup pepitas or pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoons mild curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a sheet pan will foil. Set aside.
  2. Cut squash and pumpkin in half. Scoop out seeds and stringy flesh. Drizzle a little olive oil on the prepared sheet pan. Place, cut side down, on sheet pan and roast for 30-40 minutes until very tender. Remove from oven and set aside till cool enough to handle.
  3. While squash and pumpkin are roasting, heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and shallots and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until slightly translucent and soft. Add minced garlic, curry, and cinnamon and cook for another minute or until nice and fragrant.
  4. Add broth, apple juice/cider, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside till squash and pumpkin are finished baking.
  5. When squash and pumpkin* are tender. (Pierce them with a small thin-bladed knife to tell – it should insert really easily.) Set aside till cool enough to handle, then scoop out flesh and add to Dutch oven.
  6. Return mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender or transfer mixture, in several batches to a regular blender**. Puree until very smooth and silky. Add Greek yogurt and pepper and stir to combine.Taste and add more salt if needed (There are a lot of veggies to season in this soup so don’t hesitate to add more salt if the taste is bland.) You also may want to add a tablespoon or two of honey. My squash was very sweet and it didn’t need any extra sweetness. The description of the Panera soup does include honey.
  7. Serve hot with a generous scoop of the pumpkin seeds.

For the pumpkin seeds, melt butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add pumpkin seeds and stir to coat. Sprinkle with paprika, curry powder, and salt. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously, or until pepitas/seeds begin to turn golden. Taste and add a bit more salt, if needed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.


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