With trees to set up, lights to hang, boxes to bring down from the attic and luggage to carry as relatives arrive, the holidays can be a pain in the neck and the lower back.
Ochsner Spine Center surgeon Dr. Jon Kimball said lower back injuries are common during the holidays, making Christmas his busiest time of the year.
“Any of these things that ask more of our back than we typically do on an average day can very commonly cause exacerbation of low back pain,” Kimball said. “Getting up on ladders, trying to carry heavy decorations or Christmas trees and even traveling with heavy luggage can really put a strain on your back.”
Holiday related strains and muscle pulls are more common among the older population due to decreased mobility and general fitness compared to younger adults, Kimball said, but people of all ages are susceptible to back pain.
“Everyone should follow the recommendations for proper lifting techniques,” Kimball said. “Try to maintain proper alignment of the spine, carry things close to the body and try to do the majority of the lifting with the stronger muscle groups, such as the legs.”
More than anything else, Kimball said teamwork can help avoid the majority of holiday related back problems.
“I always tell folks, ‘When in doubt, ask for help,’” he said. “If you have to lift something heavy, in most situations you can avoid injury simply by getting more people involved. Grab a friend or family member who is around for the holidays and get them to give you a hand."
To learn more about low back pain, click here.