Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it is also a time of stress and injury as well.
Last year’s NZ Herald’s news article reported that there were more than 4,000 New Zealanders injured at Christmas alone. All in all, it accounted for $3,628,574 worth of ACC claims. Shocking right?
This is why, with the holidays just around the corner, we are actively urging everyone to stay safe and injury-free this Christmas. Most especially, take good care of your spine. The best way to do this is by avoiding what we call holiday ‘disc risks’ or things that might cause accidents that can possibly harm your spine.
Read below some of the most common examples:
This is probably the most common holiday injury. This usually occurs when people decorate their homes. When putting lights on tree or outside, many people use a ladder or chair to reach higher areas. If you happen to use one, make sure to use safety precautions in order to prevent any falls. Place the ladder on stable ground, and do not climb higher or reach something beyond your capacity.
#2 Carrying many things
Holiday preparations involves a lot of carrying and lifting things. There’s supplies, groceries and presents. That big Christmas tree that you need to to carry from your basement to your living room. Those boxes of clutter that you need to put away before your relatives’ visit.
If the load is too much, don’t be tempted to carry your haul all in one go or by yourself. More importantly, carrying heavy loads while walking on the stairs or ladders is a recipe for a back injury. Since your hands are already preoccupied while carrying things, you cannot use the handrails. This makes you prone to losing your balance while climbing your way up or down. So instead of risking an accident, ask someone to help you or make several trips with a lighter load.
#3 Clutter and related hazards
The holidays may leave your house in a big mess. Clutters here and there, newly opened gifts and toys lying around and there’s also that puddle of pie batter you spilled earlier while cooking dinner. While it’s easy to overlook these things, you should still keep the hallways clean and free of these hazards. Not only this looks presentable to your guests, but this also ensures your family’s safety from any preventable accidents.
#4 No time for exercise
Because of the busy holiday schedule, most people tend to forget to exercise. Exercise is a great way to keep the body moving well. It will actually help you stay on track with food intake, maintenance of sleep schedules, and promote spine health so you can meet the stressful demands of the holiday season.
If you have a regular routine of exercises and stretches to manage a particular condition (eg. back or neck issues), make sure you continue with this over the holiday period. Doing so can prevent new year “flare-ups” due to taking a holiday from their injury management routine. You wouldn’t want to lose the progress you’ve worked so hard to gain.
#5 Bonding gone wrong
The Christmas period can be a wonderful time of fun bonding time with the family. Some families even veer away from the traditional way of celebrating Christmas at home, spending it on the beach or mountains. While water sports play or mountain climbing seems like a good choice, you might want to rethink if an activity is something that every member of the family is capable to do. There were some cases where we hear injury stories of adults trying to do things that they were not trained for, or unfit to do (age-wise, weight-wise or health-wise).
So, if you are going to ride a roller coaster with your kid, perhaps think first about whether if you have a bad neck or not… before hopping in to one. While we’re not discouraging you to try new things, just be more mindful about the possible impact of this on your spine. Always consider if you are physically fit to do this.
Hopefully this article has given you some tips on staying healthy and injury free over the holidays. Remember to keep an eye on your family and friends, be gentle on yourself and others, and most of all enjoy the season. On behalf of the team at Norwest Chiropractic we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!