Christmas is a fun and happy time. It can also be a hazardous one if this research is anything to go by. I see several patients every year with festive low back injuries that have been caused or made worse by certain Christmas activities. So in a bid to stop fun Christmas activities from causing back pain I am listing my top 5 with ways to avoid them.
1. Carrying heavy shopping bags
If you are out Christmas shopping whether it be for food or presents it is easy to be weighed down. If you are carrying too many items then it can cause injuries to the muscles and joints of your lower back.
Solution – Try not to carry too much at once and distribute the loads evenly between bags and so that you are carrying the same amount on each side. If you can get any extra pair of hands to help you carry heavy bags.
2. Christmas trees
Christmas trees, especially real ones with roots and soil can be very heavy and also very bulky and difficult to carry. I have had more than one patient come into the clinic with back pain from lifting a Christmas tree.
Solution – Make sure your Christmas tree is well netted if you are buying a real one and that you have cleared all obstacles out of the way before you bring it into the house. Make sure you have enough people to help you carry it and take breaks if you need to.
Having guests to stay over Christmas? This can lead to a major ‘spring’ clean. Not only does the whole house get a top to bottom clean but all the bedding is changed as well! This is hard work for the low back. Especially if it is done in a rush.
Solution – Take regular breaks so that you can pace yourself. Try and do different tasks on different days and try and delegate some tasks to others.
4) Christmas decorations
Overstretching to place the star on the Christmas tree or to get the outside lights completely symmetrical has been the cause of more than one Christmas injury over the years.
Solution – Make sure that you are not over stretching. Use a ladder so that you do not overreach and make sure that you move the ladder to where you need it to be so that you do not risk over balancing and falling off.
5) Christmas Turkey
This is not often thought about but the weight of a christmas turkey and roasting pan can be quite a lot. Especially when bending or reaching it into an oven.
Solution – Get someone to help you lift the turkey into the oven. It can also be helpful to get someone to help you lift the turkey through all stages of preparation.
You may have picked up a common theme relating to the solution to avoid these Christmas injuries. That is take regular breaks, pace yourself and get some extra help so that you are not doing everything yourself.