Hello everyone, the festive season is fast upon us and for many of us we are looking forward to spending time with our family and friends.
The lead up to Christmas can involve us doing more – preparing our houses and gardens for visitors at Christmas, erecting and decorating the Christmas tree, Christmas shopping and preparing the Christmas dinner just to name a few.
However, most of us have also been more sedentary than we would normally be, and this leaves us more vulnerable to injury.
There are several festive activities that can present issues:
The Christmas Tree
Putting up the Christmas tree is such a fun thing to do at this time of year, however, Christmas trees and the boxes of decorations in the garage can be heavy to lug around and can result in lower back pain. Additionally, repeated bending into the boxes which are often placed on the floor to decorate the tree can be a problem – a few bends are ok – but if you are doing this 100 times in a short space of time – that can be a problem.
Shopping for gifts and the food for Christmas celebrations is a task many of us either love or endure – depending on your point of view. The scenario usually runs like this: you have left things a bit late, you are in a rush and you have a lot to buy. You get a clear run – manage to buy everything you need in one hit. However, you didn’t bring quite enough carry bags and the parcels you are carrying are heavy as you crammed too much into them. These parcels eventually make their way into your house after a lot of repeated movement – into the shopping trolley, into the car, out of the car and on to the kitchen bench. The next day your shoulder is in agony, and you have a rotator cuff tear! Not a great start to the festive season.
Six tips to reduce your risk of a Christmas injury
- Be aware that you may be more vulnerable this year as many of us have been less active
- Try to plan ahead so you don’t need to rush and can pace yourself
- Share the load with others
- When picking up the tree and boxes of decorations
- Plan the move – clear your pathwy
- Get someone to help carry heavy objects
- When decorating the tree – avoid repeated bending
- Lift the boxes to a higher point so you aren’t bending over repeatedly
- Get others to help
Keep strong with a few good exercises to help protect your lower back and shoulders
Four exercises that will help protect your lower back and shoulders
- Wall push-ups – facing a wall with arms outstretched at shoulder-width apart and hands on the wall, bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the wall with your body straight.
- Abdominal sit-ups – lying on your back and knees bent, reach your arms forward lifting your head and shoulders off the floor to sit up.
- Bridges – lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your buttock muscles and lift your hips high off the floor.
- Back extension – lie on your front with your hands by your shoulders, lifting your chest and hands off the floor, squeezing your shoulder blades together.