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Holiday Physical Therapy Guide


Following spine surgery, your doctor may have recommended physical therapy to aid in your recovery. Finding time for physical therapy can be challenging any time of the year, so it is understandable to be concerned about keeping it up over the holidays, especially if you are planning to host family or do any traveling.

One of the main reasons you’re undergoing physical therapy is to get back to your life, with all its challenges and joy. So if you’re worrying about how your regular physical therapy session will work during the holiday season — stop right there. Because worry and stress are the last things you need during a spine surgery recovery.

It is no secret that the holiday season may contribute added stress to your days. Family pressures, money issues, time constraints, too many (or not enough) invitations to follow up on… the list is endless. Remember to take care of yourself and everything else will work itself out. The key is to stay focused and follow the tips below for successfully completing holiday physical therapy.

Tips For Holiday Physical Therapy

Plan Ahead

Scheduling in advance is very important, so use your calendar and mark the appointments in bold. Of course there may be times when a conflict arises, but planning ahead helps to avoid situations where you may have to cancel or reschedule. Stick to a routine that involves regular PT appointments made well in advance.

  • Whenever possible, schedule your holiday physical therapy appointment on days you have planned for wrapping presents or baking, days you’ll keep your workload light and at home.
  • Let friends and family know that physical therapy is an integral part of your life at the moment, but that you can schedule parties and plans around your appointments.
  • Create menus when you are hosting events that include the kinds of foods on your diet. Bring dishes to potlucks that will help you maintain your health and speed your recovery.
  • Ask guests in advance to help you set up and clean up so that you don’t have to tax your body any more than necessary while you’re still recovering from spine surgery and going through physical therapy.
  • Carry your calendar with you at all times so that you can say “no” when you already have time set aside for a holiday physical therapy session or for much-needed rest.

Line Up the Coping Techniques

Many people undergoing physical therapy to regain their strength after spine surgery dread the holidays and all the pressures it brings. While you may try to plan for every contingency, remember that you will likely have to deal with potentially negative feelings that creep up and put a damper on your holiday spirit.

  • Talk to your physical therapy specialist or your spine surgeon about your concerns. They may have just the right tips for you to get you through the tough times.
  • Share your feelings at a support group or with a trusted friend who won’t judge you or try to change how you feel. You’ll find that often just saying it out loud releases an emotional pressure valve.
  • Ask your spine surgeon for a referral to a counselor if your feelings are interfering with your ability to function or if continuing depression lingers. Acknowledging your feelings to a professional can help you lessen the stress you’re feeling.
  • Put some mental health plans in your holiday schedule. Turn off the phone, lie down, take a walk or do some gentle yoga exercises approved by your therapist.
  • Watch your alcohol intake. While drinking may seem to lighten your mood, it is a depressant that can end up adding to your distress. Furthermore, it can put you in dangerous physical situations you can’t handle while undergoing physical therapy. Check with your spine surgeon to make sure alcohol will not have an adverse effect with medications you may be taking.

Physical therapy is designed to enhance your life, not cramp your style. So keep your appointments, talk to your physical therapist about your concerns and above all, enjoy the holidays, knowing that you are on the road to recovery.

Suffering From Spine Pain?

If you are suffering from spine pain, Dr. Keenen at Pacific Spine Specialists can help. Dr. Keenen is knowledgeable, qualified, and comes highly recommended. Read our Commonly Asked Questions to learn more about Pacific Spine Specialists or schedule a complimentary MRI review by calling 503-885-9391.