shoveling the snow

3 Tips for Avoiding Common Holiday Back and Muscle Injuries

It’s a tale as old as time: dad is tasked with stringing lights along the eaves troughs and he slips and hurts his back. From shoveling snow to carrying a Christmas tree, there are many reasons you may find yourself injured this holiday season. To avoid an emergency visit to your local chiropractic clinic, here are three tips for avoiding common holiday back and muscle injuries:

#1: Choose the Right Shovel

Shoveling is part of the Canadian experience, and even if you’re able to hire a professional snow remover, you still have to shovel the walk way, steps, and back door. Save your back from a painful spasm by using a shovel that fits. When buying your snow shovel, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Choose an appropriate weight: Steel shovels are reliable, but they’re heavy. Pick a shovel that’s lighter than you think necessary, as snow adds plenty of pounds.
  • Select a comfortable grip: while this isn’t a concern for your back, you don’t want to pick a shovel that’s painful to use. Avoid blisters and cramping by wearing gloves and choosing a size that isn’t too wide.
  • Go for ergonomic: if you can afford it, opt for an ergonomic handle or attachment to avoid constantly bending down. If you suffer from frequent strains, you’ll feel a huge difference in the arched ergonomic design of the handle.

#2: Watch Out for Ice

‘Tis the season for painful injuries, and ice is the worst culprit. Slippery stairs, paths, and walkways can cause fatal accidents, and should not be taken lightly. The wrong fall can cause permanent damage, as well as concussion, whiplash, bruising, breaks, sprains, and strains. Make sure that every walkable surface has been properly deiced with salt, sand, cat litter, or an ecological deicer, and that you have railings installed on staircases.

#3: Fit Yourself with the Proper Equipment Before Climbing Up the Ladder

Stringing holiday lights this year? Falls and other accidents associated with Christmas-light mishaps may be funny on TV, but in real life, they can be incredibly painful. This year, don’t break your neck to get the last twinkly light on the corner of the house. If you’re up on the ladder, make sure to remember these ladder safety guidelines:

  • Don’t reach. While it may be a tempting alternative than climbing all the way down, moving the ladder a few feet, then climbing all the way back up just to get a few more inches along the eaves, you won’t be thinking like that when you have to spend the holidays in a hospital with a broken neck or back.
  • Don’t mix socializing with decorating. It’s an annoying job, but someone has to do it. While you may think it’s a good idea to liven up this yearly activity with a bit of spiked eggnog, “drinking and stringing” or drinking and doing anything on a ladder is just plain dangerous. Keep the drinking for after the job is done.
  • Respect your ladder. Ensure that you’re following the weight guidelines and that all the rungs are in working order. For every four feet of height, you should move your ladder out by one foot. For extra reassurance, have someone hold the ladder for you at the bottom.

These all seem like obvious rules of safety, but after facing so many winters, we sometimes think we know how to beat Mother Nature at her own game. This year, have a safe and comfortable Christmas by taking care not to over extend your back or carry weight that is too heavy for you. In the event you get overzealous with the decorating, book an appointment with Symtrio Chiropractic today.

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