This Holiday Season, Combat Stress with Physical Activity

Holiday stress ramsey

Cheer or fear: the holiday season can induce both feelings...

The extent to which one or the other predominates is probably going to have a profound effect on your stress levels during the holiday season. Yes, there is plenty of good cheer to go around, but there is also the dark side of consumerism to contend with, the financial strain on the wallet, and the myriad christmas engagements that put a strain on your schedule. It's no wonder that we sleep and exercise less, and eat poorly during the holidays; all of this put together is the perfect recipe for the S-word: stress.

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Taking Care of your Back this Holiday Season

Holiday spinal health passaic

Balancing chronic back pain with the cheer of the holiday season...

...can be a difficult task. December is a month of additional stress for the spine. At Family Chiropractic and Spinal Health Care Center, we have identified a number of risk factors which are unique to the holiday season: 

  • Normal routine is thrown out the window: juggling christmas engagements can cause stress which then causes muscle tension. 
  • Booze and inflammatory ingredients abound: our normal dieting patterns also suffer during the holidays, when we drink more alcohol and eat more inflammatory ingredients such as sugar and saturated fat. 
  • More lifting: we tend to perform more lifting activities during the holidays. From lifting younger relatives, to cutting and hauling the Christmas tree, your spinal balance is threatened by an increase in bending and lifting activities.
  • Exercise levels go down: there can be simply no time to fit in your regular exercise activities. 

These are just a few to get you started- we are sure you can identify more ways that the holidays put your spine under threat. A heightened sense of awareness will help you navigate the perils of the holiday season so that you can enjoy the holiday cheer without hurting your back too much. 

Read more: Taking Care of your Back this Holiday Season

Stretching in the Living Room

get up

When it comes to adding more movement into your life, there is no easier or more purposeful way to do it than practicing simple yoga poses. The child’s pose is a movement that can be done in your living room during a commercial break and it provides you with innumerable health benefits, especially for sufferers of low back pain. When watching TV, have a yoga mat or towel nearby that you can throw down on the floor for a quick stretch when the time is right.

The child’s pose, benefits:

Stretches hips, thighs and ankles
Lengthens and stretches spine, thereby relieving neck and back pain.
Calms mind and body
Eases anxiety and stress
Increases circulation
Release tension from the shoulders, back and chest.

Think of your body accumulating tension and tightening as you binge watch Breaking Bad. Three minutes at the end of each hour breaks the build up of tension and restores your body to a semblance of health. Here is how you do child’s pose:

With knees touching, kneel on the floor, with your buttocks touching your feet.
exhale and rest your torso over your thighs, touching your forehead to the ground.
lift the buttocks slightly and stretch your arms over the head, touching your palms to the floor, until you feel shoulder blades stretching.

You can rest in this position for up to 3 minutes or as long as you can handle it. At Family Chiropractic & Spinal Health Care Center, we seek to help people find simple ways to add movement back into their life. Without too much exertion, you can let your body and mind relax with simple stretches that defeat the accumulating damage of a sedentary lifestyle. Call our office in New Jersey at (201) 995-9900.

Dr. Moe Abtahi, D.C. 

Stretching on the Job


How to be a professional…sitter?

Think of all the time you spend commuting, working, sitting in front of the TV. Look around on the bus, the airplane, the train; how are people sitting? To be sure, a good percentage are looking down at phones. Whatever the setting, sitting for a long period of time, even in good posture is going to leave you stiff. So if work or relaxation calls upon you to sit for large swaths of time, use computer and desk stretches to relieve muscle tension and ease the burden on the lower back.

The most important piece of stretching in front of the computer is repetition. Do whatever it takes to make periodic stretching breaks the norm. Set a timer for an hour, or write yourself a sticky note; anything it takes to get you moving.

Here are some stretches that take just a few seconds but can make all the difference:

  • Clasp your hands together in front of you, with palms facing outward and arms fully extended, and stretch by pushing your fingers against the backs of your hands.
  • Do this same motion above your head and lightly lean over to each side for a few seconds.
  • Shrug your shoulders and shake your hands for a few seconds.
  • Put one leg over the other and then gently twist your body the opposite direction.

These stretches combined take under 5 minutes out of your busy day. Performing them once an hour can provide you with an immeasurable upside: even your brain will work harder. At Family Chiropractic & Spinal Health Care Center, we know that posture and motion are secrets to spinal health. We want people to be aware, at all times, of the things they are doing to harm their backs. Call our office at (201) 995-9900 to schedule an appointment today.

Dr. Moe Abtahi, D.C. 

Office Ergonomics


At Family Chiropractor & Spinal Health Care Center, we believe that the power is within you to decrease tightness of the muscles supporting your spine, improve your range of motion and boost your potential productivity from the very seat you are sitting in. Let us take care of spinal misalignment and teach you how to focus on the daily factors that determine your overall spinal health: posture, exercise, nutrition and sleep. When things reach a breaking point, we also offer massage that releases endorphins to reduce stress and pain while improving blood flow and circulation to injured regions.

In the office:

Make sure your equipment is not working against you: We are looking at you, office chairs. Counseling you on how to make sure your ergonomic support network is doing its job fully is one of our duties. For example, the weight burden on the lower spine is increased by 3 times in a seated position. Sitting with poor posture only increases this burden more and destabilizes the muscles which are trying to support the spine.

Not everyone is in the position to buy a new office chair, but using a rolled up jacket or a lumbar support pillow to encourage the lordotic curve is something that everyone can do. Adjust the height of the monitor, which helps you face forward instead of down or up. This is easily the best way to encourage your body to stay neutral: facing forward generally encourages the head to stay balanced atop the spine. Armrests that keep the arms at 90 degrees and the shoulders relaxed are crucial.

The office can be a brutal place for backs. Many people come home with muscles tender and necks tight, to exacerbate the problem by falling into a sunken couch. It is a dangerous trend to set for yourself, and one that we specialize in preventing: we can help you to appreciate and prioritize a healthy back care lifestyle. Call us at (201) 995-9900 to schedule an appointment today.

Dr. Moe Abtahi, D.C. 

Corrective Exercise

corrective exercise

At Family Chiropractic & Spinal Health Care Center, we treat more than just the individual’s condition: we seek to impart upon you a thirst for a more healthy back care lifestyle. This goes beyond the adjustments and massage that we offer at the office and include advice on nutrition, exercise and ergonomics that can make huge differences in your life.

Corrective exercises improve the effectiveness of a spinal adjustment, strengthening muscles and connective tissue to keep the back balanced and healthy. Whether you are rehabilitating an injury without surgery or recovering post-surgery, the body can always benefit from simple exercise to speed the process. With severe injuries, NO exercise should be performed unless specific stretching movements can be performed pain free. From this vantage point, we then introduce gentle stretches and exercises that seek to restore balance and strength. 

Corrective exercises are specific to the individual and their condition. They can be performed from home at little to no expense, but their upside is limitless. Many injuries result from jobs that put muscle groups in a state of imbalance. Prolonged static posture, whether sitting or standing, creates strain on muscles that are yearning to move. Gently rotating your upper body, neck or going for a quick walk around the office relieve the burden of inactivity from aching muscles.

Often times people will come in and a quick examination will tell me that both the back and core muscles are already strained or overworked, without them knowing it. In this case, I prescribe light aerobic activity such as incorporating a regular walk or jog into their daily routine to get the muscle groups moving. For tips on working simple corrective exercise and stretching into your health care routine, call our offices in New Jersey and schedule an appointment today.

We can be reached in Ramsey at (201) 995-9900.

Dr. Moe Abtahi, D.C.