How to Prevent the Two Most Common Holiday Back Injuries
It will not be long until the draw of the holiday season has us thinking about the first dustings of snow, twinkling lights adorning the house and gatherings with family and friends. However, without proper precautions, your dreams of a jolly holiday can quickly become a nightmare. According to the U.S. Product Safety Commission’s 2019 figures, 60,000 people sought treatment related to holiday back injuries while they were decorating, many caused by falling. Another 28,000 people are treated for shovelling-related injuries. The best way to avoid holiday back injuries is to warm up, understand the risks involved and work safely.
Holiday Back Injuries Have 4 Preventions In Common
There are 4 things in common to preventing the two most frequent holiday back injuries. The statistics indicate that the hustle and bustle of the season shows these steps are frequently skipped over. Remember these things before diving into your holiday work:
1. Break Up the Tasks
No matter our age, we often assume we can get more done in a single day than we truly can, and fatigue sets in faster than we realize. Between the cold affecting your dexterity and the fatigue setting in, the risk of injuries increases. If you have a large holiday display, breaking it up into smaller chunks also reduces rushing.
Rushing is known to cause mistakes, and mistakes often result in injuries. It is better to break the work up than to not be able to complete the job at all while you recover from your holiday back injuries. If you are shovelling, take rest breaks and do not overload your shovel. The excess weight increases the risk of injuries.
2. Wear the Right Footwear
Big boots with sturdy grips will help you maintain traction while shovelling and help prevent awkward rotating motions that can result in holiday back injuries. However, these boots may not be suitable for climbing ladders. You must always be able to tell where your feet are on the rungs. At the same time, sneakers are not designed for cold, slippery conditions. Selecting a smaller boot or winter shoe with good grip is a better choice.
3. Warm Up
Carefully warm up your muscles before getting to work. A five-to-ten-minute walk or marching in place followed by gently stretching the muscles you are most likely to use can help prevent holiday back injuries. Make sure to pay special attention to the muscles you will be using the most.
4. Work Safely
Always inspect your ladder before use and make sure it functions properly. Ensure the ladder is tall enough to prevent overreaching, and never stand on the top rung. Place the ladder on firm, level ground close to where you need to work, and do not lean away from the ladder. If you are too far away, move the ladder instead. Always maintain three points of contact while climbing and descending.
When shovelling, do not overload your shovel. Choose a strong but lightweight shovel that you can comfortably lift on its own without having to stoop over too far. Lift the shovel with the large muscles of your legs and turn your feet in the direction you want to move the snow, instead of rotating your torso. Rotating while holding a heavy snow load is a very common way to cause holiday back injuries.
DOCS Health Can Help with Back Pain
Preventing new holiday back injuries is important, but if you do suffer an injury or already have chronic back pain, the team at DOCS health specializes in treating orthopedic, spine and sports injuries. We also provide physical medicine specialties and rehabilitation. Do not wait to treat your injuries and do not put off treating your chronic pain any longer. Contact DOCS Health today to book a consultation.
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