For many, Christmas is a joyous time with traditions eagerly anticipated. However, for those suffering from pain associated with arthritis and other muscle and joint ailments, the festive period can be daunting. From Christmas shopping to wrapping presents, many seasonal activities can have a surprising strain on our joints and muscles. Here, we’ve come up with some tips for a more comfortable Christmas.
Tips for managing pain whilst Christmas shopping
These days, we expect most of your shopping will be done online, delivered to your door. This convenience on its own can be a huge help for those with arthritis, muscle and joint pain and mobility issues. However, there is a certain magic involved with going out to the high street and buying gifts for loved ones.
In order to not miss out on the lights, gluhwein and festive street food, those who suffer with pain should consider some of the following tips:
- Pace yourself. Don’t let the hustle of a busy shop speed you up unnecessarily.
- Always take the escalator or lift when available.
- Sit down when you feel the need to.
- Park close to where you’re shopping with a blue badge if you can.
- Ask a friend or partner to carry your bags for you or plan in some trips back to the car to unload bags.
- For optimum protection and stability whilst out and about, wear a support. Our Neo G Variable Compression System supports are made from heat therapeutic neoprene to help warm muscles and joints and are fully adjustable, providing you with a custom fit and support level.
- Consider using orthotic insoles that not only provide cushioning and comfort, but also help absorb shock to joints and can actually give you energy back on every step such as our NeoThotics orthotic insoles.
- Energising compression hosiery can help aid circulation in your legs for a boost during long days shopping. Our Compression Hosiery is great for this.
Tips to avoid pain at the Christmas party
Christmas parties can involve a lot of standing around. Whilst navigating social events, joint and muscle pain that is associated with arthritis or otherwise, is a distraction you can do without. Here are some tips to keep you on your feet:
- Eat beforehand. If the buffet seems too congested for you to handle, having eaten earlier could save you time and effort in a queue.
- Wear comfortable shoes with orthotic insoles. Neo G NeoThotics provide cushioning relief, perfect for standing for long periods at the Christmas party.
- Brace yourself… Neo G variable compression supports offer directed support to weak and instable joints that may be strained during the Christmas party.
- Energizing Compression Hosiery for men and women can aid in your circulation whilst standing or sitting.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for somewhere to sit.
- Stay hydrated, whether you’re drinking alcohol or not.
- If you’re on medication for your condition, check with your GP if you’re allowed to drink on them.
- If your medication supresses your immune system, avoid close contact and handshakes where possible. In a Covid-19 world, this has become the new norm anyway.
Tips for pain free Christmas tree decorating
Unfortunately, we’re not brave enough to weigh in on when should put the Christmas tree up. We can offer some tips though on how to decorate for Christmas when you’re suffering from muscle or joint pain, arthritic or otherwise, because even for those who are thankfully pain free, the task of decorating the tree and house can be arduous. Here’s a few things we suggest:
- Plan your timings, start early and do a little at a time.
- What goes up, must come down…consider this when putting up decorations, sometimes getting them down can be more difficult.
- Use a pre-lit artificial tree and avoid twisting with lights.
- Buy ornaments with large pre-fitted hooks so you don’t have to fiddle with small bits of hooped string.
- Break the project up. A room at a time and part of a room at a time.
- The physical demands of decorating on weak joints can be alliviated with with the breathable support of Neo G Airflow products.
Tips for wrapping presents when you have arthritis or other pain
Wrapping presents is a time-consuming Christmas task at the best of times and usually results in piles upon piles of shredded paper that heads straight for the bin. For those with arthritis or joint pain in their hands, it can be a torrid experience. Even for those with arthritic pain and joint pain in the hips, knee, or even ankles, the act of wrapping presents can be daunting due to the sitting for long periods – often on the floor – that is involved with wrapping presents.
Some ergonomic present wrapping tips include:
- If wrapping isn’t your thing at all, consider store gift wrapping services.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start early (in the month!) and do small batches at a time if you have a lot to do.
- Sit at a larger table with space to lay out your gift to be wrapped.
- Order cards online and avoid the aches that can come from writing piles of cards.
- Print out label stickers.
- Consider a gift box. A pre decorated gift box can sometimes provide more prestige than just wrapping.
- You could use gift bags (and then use them again and again!). Whether shop bought with a design already printed or a plain paper bag that you’ve decorated with Christmas stamps, a gift bag is a classic alternative to wrapping.
- Wrap your gifts in fabric. We love this one as it’s much greener and a lovely present wrapped in a festive fabric tied up with twine has a rustic quality we think is perfect for Christmas. The art of wrapping gifts in cloth is called furoshiki in Japan and has grown in popularity in recent years for being eco-friendly.
- If you want to traditionally wrap your presents, try to use flat sheets of wrapping paper and ergonomically designed scissors, made for those with joint pain.
- During tactile activities like gift wrapping, if you're an arthritis sufferer, you'll benefit from the warmth,compression, aided circulation, comfort and mobility offered by Neo G Arthritis Gloves.
- Finally (this one is just good wrapping etiquette), make several strips of sticky tape at a time and stick them to the table, ready for when you need them.
Tips for reducing stress and pain whilst preparing Christmas dinner
The Christmas dinner is another area of intense debate we do not plan on getting involved with (although, Yorkshire puddings definitely do belong on the menu). It is one of the most anticipated meals of the year and the headline act for many of us on the big day itself. Cooking it can be a mammoth task that requires exact planning and care even before considerations for those with pain are made.
Here are some tips we’ve put together for those suffering from arthritic pain and other associated muscle and joint pain:
- Create prepping and cooking stations with all the bowls, knives, chopping boards and other utensils you’ll be using readily on hand so you’re not moving around very much.
- Have a station where you can sit down so you’re not standing for long periods.
- Don’t be afraid to delegate cooking tasks to family members if you can.
- Use chopping boards with none slip material on one side.
- Cut up food with scissors where possible. They can be easier to handle than a knife.
- A food dicer can eliminate pain whilst cooking, capable of chopping those hard to handle vegetables like potatoes, parsnips, onions, carrots and more.
- Electric tin openers will quickly become a must for you.
- Try to use lightweight pans with double handles for ease of manoeuvring.
- Put a colander in your pan whilst boiling veg so you only have that to lift and not a heavy pan full of water when straining.
- A lighter travel kettle could be easier to lift and move when full than a full sized one.
- Ask for help! Get the family involved and have an (age appropriate) relative do the bending down to the oven for turkey and vegetable insertion and extraction.
Finally, when all the jobs are done and you get to actually relax on the sofa with a Christmas movie, we suggest that rest and recuperation be the order of play. Heat therapy can be a great way to warm specific areas of your body where you might be feeling the trials of Christmas particularly strongly. Hot treatments can be great to loosen stiff joints while cold can reduce swelling. Our Hot and Cold therapy discs and packs are great for this as they can slide into our VCS supports, which are made from heat therapeutic neoprene, perfect for arthritic joints.
If, however, your post Christmas activities pain is more substantial, a more dynamic pain relief treatment may be necessary. Perfect for arthritic and painful joints, the NeoTENS wireless TENS machine administers a mild electrical current to the skin via self-adhesive electrode pads. So, if you've over done it walking around the shops, overextended yourself putting up the decorations or simply aggravated a painful muscle or joint, the Neo TENS can help you find some pain relief.
We hope you find these tips helpful and that they provide you some comfort this Christmas. One more piece of advice we’d like to give, and one we can’t stress enough, is to remember to enjoy yourself! Make time for yourself, relax and manage your pain so that it doesn’t take over your festive period.
TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and is a pain relief treatment that administers a mild electrical current to the skin via self-adhesive electrode pads. Unlike other TENS machines on the market, Neo G’s wireless TENS machine (NeoTENS) is portable, accessible, reusable and drug free. Learn more here.
If its rest and recovery you need, our hot and cold therapy range offers just that. While heat therapy helps to target muscle and joint pain by relaxing muscles and improving blood flow, cold therapy works to tackle muscle swelling, soothing aches and pains.