Tips for avoiding injury at Christmas
Christmas is a time of great excitement for children of all ages but it can bring with it some little problems:
• Christmas Trees
Putting up the Christmas tree is a job we all enjoy, the kids join in and everyone has great fun.
But watch out when you are putting it up.
Most of us end up moving furniture to make room for the tree:
o If your furniture is heavy or awkward to move get someone to help.
o Push rather than pull – if your weight is behind the item you are moving it is much easier to shift.
o Resist the temptation to push your furniture with your knee or thigh – knee ligaments are easily strained in this position. Better to get your hands to it and push properly.
Will it fit?
o If you are using a real tree measure it before you bring it inside. If it is too tall cut a bit off the bottom and remember to take off some of the lower braches so it will fit in the container. Take enough off so the height is right with the tree in its container.
There are various holders and containers on the market. A sturdy tripod is worth looking at. Keep the holder topped up with water to keep the tree alive. A clean cut at the bottom of the stump allows the tree to drink and stay fresh.
o If the tree is heavy or awkward get some help to bring it inside.
o Leave the netting on until it is in position. It makes it easier to position the tree and level it before you take the netting off.
o Before you decorate your tree make sure it is standing up straight. Attempting to straighten it after you decorate is difficult. Use cardboard or wooden packs under the legs of the holder to get the right angle.
o Put on the lights, tinsel, baubles and enjoy!
• The Turkey
Turkey is still the most popular Christmas bird, what can go wrong with a turkey? Apart from the importance of thawing it out in time (we all remember The Royle Family Christmas battle with the turkey) the main thing to watch out for is putting it in and getting it out of the oven.
If you are one of the fortunate few you will have a high level oven and won’t need to bend. A low oven requires you to bend and all osteopaths know that getting turkeys out of the oven is high risk for putting your back out!
So….if you haven’t got a high level oven make sure you position yourself in front of the oven (a twisted position makes you more vulnerable), bend your knees rather than stooping with a bent back and try to keep your lower back slightly arched. This is a much stronger position and you are far less likely to hurt yourself if you use it.
Getting together with friends and family over the festive season can be wonderful but we tend to do a lot more sitting than usual.
Osteopaths see a lot of back problems which are caused by too much sitting so we recommend:
1. Get up and down every so often (ideally every 20 minutes) to avoid getting stiff;
2. Watch out for saggy sofas – many modern sofas are long in the seat and a bit on the low side so we tend to slump into them with a curved back. If you have the choice and your back is susceptible to strain choose a more supportive chair. If you do have to sit on a soft sofa it can help to sit on an extra cushion and put one or two behind you to achieve a better position;
3. Falling asleep in the chair is not a good idea. Your head will drop forward and it is easy to put strain on your neck muscles and ligaments.
It is very difficult to resist the lovely food at Christmas time and it is easier to pile the weight on than get it off.
o Remember your 5-a-day;
o Have a drink or 2 but know when you have had enough;
o Enjoy your treats but not too many.
• Change of routine
Try to add a bit of exercise to your festive routine. The socialising, the eating and drinking and making merry is great but see if you can add some movement.
o Winter walks, well wrapped up can be an excellent way to help down the Christmas pud;
o A bike ride is good to get your breathing and heart rate going;
o Swimming is also good exercise if there is a pool open near-by;
o For those who are a bit fitter a run or a session at the gym is just the thing.