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Festive fun or holiday hazard?

As we approach the big day, its time to unwrap some “elf and safety” tips from your cracking chiropractor (ok, I’ll stop there!)

With all the holiday cheer and goodwill, it’s easy to overlook the boring bits (and yes, we guess that includes the bowl of sprouts…) – so what can we do to help with staying merry and bright?

Tree trouble

Did you know that each year, around 1,000 people get injured by their Christmas tree? Decorating the upper branches can involve risky balancing feats. Climbing onto unstable chairs or tables and leaning over the lower branches to reach, can lead to falls. Likewise, putting up lights on roofs in wet or icy weather can be a recipe for disaster. To help keep you injury-free and out of A&E, make sure that you use the proper equipment. A stepladder or kick-step with a rubber base will provide a stable platform so you can decorate safely! This will be less risky than balancing on the arm of the sofa for example.

Lofty ambitions on attic ladders

Falling out of the loft can result in serious injury and this occurs for roughly 1 in 50 people. Getting decorations out is the main culprit. For this reason, think about how you position yourself on your stepladder. Take care when reaching for boxes stored on high shelves and always ensure you have somebody around to assist. This is especially important if you are rummaging around in a dark attic. Boxes may be filled with tinsel and therefore not very heavy, but trying to get them down in haste can lead to problems. If you have existing back issues, remember the basics of safe lifting and carrying. Make sure you don’t overload yourself especially when walking up or down stairs. It is also an idea to wear sensible shoes (even indoors) – fluffy slippers are not suitable footwear for climbing up ladders. Lower back issues can be aggravated by carrying heavy boxes so it may be an idea to consider dividing the decorations into a couple of smaller boxes. This will also make them easy to put back in the loft once the festive period is over!

Tidy up, don’t trip up!

It may sound dull but tidying up promptly on the big day will help prevent injury. Wrapping paper can be slippery if left underfoot, and relatives tripping over trailing ribbons is a risk that can be avoided! Ensuring that cardboard toy boxes are flattened and promptly put outside for recycling will help keep your floors clear of any trip hazards.

Kitchen considerations.

Fancy roasting some chestnuts over an open fire? Around 600,000 people have suffered burns from doing just that. They don’t take long to cook so watch for exploding chestnuts! Remember to never leave open flames unattended, especially with excitable children who may not be listening to the adults.

When carrying a turkey or flaming Christmas pudding to the table, the weight of the tray held out in front can mean that your back takes the strain. Consider asking for help and having two people carry any heavy serving trays. This will share the load and help you bring the food to the table with both style and comfort! Consider your posture when carving the turkey or nut roast too; potential shoulder strains from sawing back and forth can be avoided by using a sharp or electric knife.

Present problems.

On that point, although 1 in 5 people cut themselves while preparing vegetables, it seems that the most common Christmas injury happens when opening presents. To prevent cuts from ripping off paper while attempting to get into boxes, have scissors, a screwdriver and a pair of pliers to hand. That way you can safely click through the gift wrap, and undo any fixings that may be holding a toy inside the packaging for example. Trying to prise open a cardboard box with your bare hands may sound like fun, but it can cause muscular strain. Injury can occur when the box finally gives way, possibly causing you to twist to one side or wrench your arm or shoulder. Likewise, kneeling or sitting on the floor with younger relatives for example can cause discomfort in the hips or knees, especially if it is not a position that you are used to being in. You may not notice any twinges of discomfort during all the excitement but things can often start to feel worse a few days later.

Christmas Chiropractic care!

A combination of alcohol, too much food and extra stress at this time of year can often make us feel worse, lowering our pain thresholds ad causing us to not look after ourselves. It is important to take some time to look after yourself so that you are better able to spread joy! Consider having a silent night (well, a quiet, early one!) in preparation, stay hydrated and look after your mental wellbeing too. Why not book an appointment with your chiropractor Philippa if you think you need to be treated prior to Christmas Day? Remember our tips for back care over the Christmas break and enjoy the time with your friends and family!

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